The Calgary Film Centre

The Calgary Film Centre, which celebrated its grand opening in May of 2016,  is a $28 million dream come true for the film industry in Calgary.

In the past, film and television productions in Calgary relied mainly on the beautiful scenery and geography, now with 50,000 square feet of “purpose-built sound stages” and 35,000 square feet of “workshop warehouse space,” there is potential for much more variety.

The well researched and methodically constructed from “the bottom up” centre offers an explosion of opportunity for an assortment of productions from around the world.

The centre’s general manager, Erin O’Connor, stated that this facility “is a game changer for the industry and will continue to be.”

According to the centre’s website, “Calgary is currently the fourth largest Canadian filming district,” and has previously been the home to award winning films such as Brokeback Mountain and Heartland.

Relying on a consistent good reputation through their willingness to accommodate and a positive word of mouth regarding the well-designed facility, the centre’s hope is that even more attention will be drawn throughout the film and television industry.

O’Connor, who guided SAIT Film and Video students on a tour of the centre, which is not normally open to the public, is not only the public face of the centre, but also works daily behind the scenes on the many housing details required for the shows to go on.

Details are a crucial element for those investing in and creating film, not only for the final product, but also in consideration of accumulated costs of rent and utilities for one of the fully equip 12,000, 18,000 or to 20,000 square foot sound proof stages.

The main project on her mind at the moment is to ensure enough parking for the large film crew on its way, trusting that all of the other specifics have been covered.

As a not for profit organization, “all funds not spent will be invested back into the centre,” which would include retraining, job creation and target marketing.

Already completely booked out from October to the end of December, the centre is hopefully well on its way to meet the “big numbers” set out with its working partners in the industry.

With the Canadian dollar being down, the time is right for filming in Canada, and it is projected that for every dollar put into the centre, six dollars will be returned.

Although Calgary is often viewed as an energy driven city, the reality is that it is constantly working to diversify its economy and interests, which is why this project drew the attention of Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

The city of Calgary contributed $10 million and $5 million came from the Province of Alberta.

With phase one complete and phases two and three drawn out, the potential for even further expansion at this point can only be left up to the imagination.

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