Interior B.C. communities ripe with film opportunities

Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors are counting on mojo to bring film companies to the area.

Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors are counting on mojo to bring film companies to the area.

The regional district’s “lucky charm” in this case would be Mojo Films Inc., the company contracted to location scouting, data base management, communications and film production management.

Mojo Films partner Mary Jo Beirnes updated CSRD directors at the Dec. 6 board meeting, noting she and partner Mike Jamont have been scouting for and updating the regional district’s database of potential filming locations – information that is linked to the B.C. Film Commission data base. Beirnes explained that changes in the film industry may provide opportunity to the regional district.

While much of B.C.’s film industry has grown in the Lower Mainland, which has studios and other filmmaking infrastructure, a growing number of movies and TV shows are set in medieval times or other-worldly locations.

“They need remote places with no power lines, buildings or air traffic and they must travel away from big cities to find these remote place,” Beirnes said. “Big-budget films like Tomorrowland, that recently filmed near Grindrod are increasingly willing to travel out of Vancouver to get the rural look they need…”

Beirnes said there is also an opportunity to tap into lower-budget films such as documentaries, travel films and web-based productions.

“There is appetite within the B.C. government to push film production out into regions like ours as they want to see the economic spin off have a positive effect on their home ridings, and not just for the benefit of the Lower Mainland,” she said. “

Beirnes told directors that as well as continuing to find scouting locations and increasing the data base, Mojo Films Inc. plans to hold a “locations expo” in Vancouver in connection with other regional film offices to show film industry execs what is available in the regional district.

Mojo also plans to hold familiarization or fan tours in the region to show scouts and managers what the regional district has to offer the film industry.

“They go to what they know,” she said. “We want them to know us.”