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Okanagan film industry champions massive growth over the past three years

Over 18 per cent of all films in B.C. were shot in the Okanagan in 2020
FIlms such as Until Branches Bend, have been filmed in the Okanagan. (Courtesy of Until Branches Bend)

The Okanagan has seen a boon in the film and television industry over the past three years, with over $127 million generated by the Okanagan Film and Television industry for 2020.

According to Okanagan’s film commissioner, Jon Summerland, the number represents a 152 per cent increase over the previous seven years of production.

During 2020, the Okanagan Film Commission brought 92 productions to the Okanagan which was 18 per cent of all film and television production in B.C.

“The figures show a 17 per cent compound growth rate in the Okanagan Film and Television Industry’s direct output over those seven years,” said Summerland. “For 2021, the figures show that film and TV production in the area is growing faster than the overall provincial average growth industry, with 74 per cent more productions using local tax incentives in 2021 than in 2014.”

Summerland added that in 2023, the commission is on track to match or exceed 2022, with over 30 productions already completed in the year.

“We know that once the numbers are tallied for these years we will see a continued positive trend,” he said. “This activity is all taking place as the writer’s strike and streaming services are causing a pulling back on productions.”

The economic impact of the increased productions have been beneficial to tertiary industries within the region.

“People and businesses that supply materials and services to the film industry, which includes lumber, hardware, groceries, auto supplies, fuel, clothing, commercial rentals and accommodations have benefited,” added Summerland. “Plus this contributes to an increase in local jobs in production, animation and service businesses.”

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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