Jon Summerland with the Okanagan Film Commission says 18 new films will be shot in the Okanagan through 2021. (Black Press file photo)

Nearly 20 films to be shot in Okanagan through 2021

Okanagan Film Commission announces deal with Reel One Entertainment

A new slate of films to be shot in the Okanagan is expected to create a huge economic impact for the region.

Jon Summerland, the commissioner of the Okanagan Film Commission, said Montreal’s Reel One Entertainment has begun filming its first of six films to be shot in the Okanagan in 2020.

That will be followed by another dozen films shot in the region in 2021.

Reel One is also building its own production office in the Okanagan and hiring all local talent for the productions.

“Gilles Laplante, Reel One Entertainment’s senior vice-president, Production Vancouver, who has brought this slate of movies to the Okanagan, is a pioneer at Reel One Entertainment/Champlain Media West,” said Summerland.

“He has set up successful slates of films in New Mexico, Atlanta and Toronto, and I look forward to this slate of films being shot here.

READ MORE: Okanagan Film Commission seeks more funding for 2020

“This is significant for film production in our region. The number of productions, 18 in total, employing local talent alone is a substantial contribution to economic development.”

The films are a series of romance stories for the Lifetime Network and the first film, Vintage Hearts, just completed production.

Vintage Hearts stars Gabrielle Christian (Jersey Shore, Shark Tank, Girltrash: All Night Long); Cody Ray Thompson (The Man in the High Castle, The Shape of Water); Matthew Smalley (The Terror, iZombie, Riverdale); and Stephanie George (Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter; Nina’s World).

The film is directed by David I. Strasser (The Dating List, Just for the Summer, Love is a Piece of Cake) and written by Aimee Pitta.

The next production, however, is delayed because of the COVID-19 concerns.

“The next film is on hold until the travel bans are off,” said Summerland. “Actors can’t get insurance at this point.”

Reel One Entertainment develops, finances, produces and distributes television films and series for a worldwide audience.

“This confirmed slate of films is a great start to 2020 and 2021 and signifies the continued growth of the film and television production industry here,” Summerland said.

“And as we know other productions will be coming to shoot in the Okanagan, we are looking forward to the expansion.”



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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