B.C. film industry bounces back stronger than before COVID-19 pandemic
VANCOUVER -- One of the industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 shutdown is bouncing back even stronger in B.C.
When film and television productions were ordered to stop in March, about 40 projects were active across the province. Today, more than 60 productions are either currently filming or in pre-production.
Vancouver film commissioner David Shepheard believes it’s mainly due to the province’s overall handling of the pandemic, compared to other places around the world.
“For us in B.C., we were very fortunate in being able to manage the shutdown period and the public health elements to it,” he said. “I think what’s happened is a number of producers have looked at B.C. as a place where they think it’s safe to come and film, to come and work and I think that’s why we’ve seen a slight uptick in some of those shows coming to B.C.”
The reopening comes with guidelines set by WorkSafeBC. Some of the directions include daily safety meetings, handwashing facilities, and encouraging crews to communicate by two-way radio or Bluetooth to maintain physical distancing.
There are also suggestions around content for scenes that require close contact, like kissing, fighting or stunt work. The guidelines say that in order for shows to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, they could remove such scenes, or shoot them at angles “such that physical distance can be maintained.”
Performers who will be in close contact with others are asked to self-isolate for 10 days before shooting.
The industry is a major part of B.C.’s economy. The Vancouver Film Commission says there was a record $4.1 billion spent here in 2019.