Thursday, February 09, 2017

Most communities not supporting film sector

by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star North Okanagan posted Feb 9, 2017 at 5:00 AM
Even as more film crews are casting an eye to the North Okanagan, some communities aren't rolling out the financial welcome mat. The Okanagan Film Commission is asking the Regional District of North Okanagan to increase its 2017 grant from $29,000 to $35,000. However, the only participants in the service are Vernon, Coldstream and Armstrong. Brian Quiring, a Vernon director who sits on the OFC board, says it's time for the other jurisdictions to pay up. "We have to discuss this with our partners," he said. Enderby is not part of the RDNO service but it does contribute to the film commission on its own. "What ever the percentage would be at the regional district," we pay," said Greg McCune, Enderby director. Of the $29,000 provided last year, 75 per cent came from Vernon while 18 per cent was from Coldstream and 6.3 per cent was from Armstrong. There appears to be some interest in increasing the grant by $6,000 but no decisions have been made yet. "It's pretty minor compared to the economic return," said Doug Dirk, Coldstream director. The OFC's total annual budget is $229,000 and it provides a $23 million return on investment throughout the entire Okanagan. "We are benefitting from the film industry," said Quiring of production crews using local restaurants and hotels and residents involved in the sector living here. Last year, a Kia commercial was filmed at Silver Star while Drink Slay Love shot in Vernon, Coldstream and Oyama. In 2017, Peace is expected to be filmed here while a second movie is also anticipated. Vernon also has a film studio in the former Far West building. "We have everything to make a film here, more than one film," said Jon Summerland, with the OFC. Summerland also met recently with animation companies looking to move to the valley. "Five groups said they don't want to be in Kelowna. These are big companies. One will bring 60 people here (valley) by August," he said, adding that the average animator earns $85,000.

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