Arts & CultureNation & World

Emmys honour Alberta talent, Minister Fir speaks on film and TV’s momentum

Fir visited Los Angeles in early January to pitch Alberta to large production organizations. Her ministry plans to continue supporting the growing film and television sector.

The 75th Emmy Awards honoured America’s film and television industry and its numerous actors, projects, and people involved behind-the-scenes. Two projects that stood out are Prey, which had six nominations and won one Emmy, and The Last of Us, which had 24 nominations and won 8 Emmys.

What makes these two projects particularly special (at least in the eyes of the Albertan writing this), is the involvement of Alberta talent in their making. The Last of Us was entirely filmed in Alberta, and six Albertan crew members received Emmy nominations. Additionally, Prey was filmed in Alberta, involving Alberta crews. The success of Alberta’s film and television industry doesn’t stop here.

According to Minister of Arts, Culture, and Status of Women Tanya Fir, the success of Alberta’s film and television industry and exposure to the province “continues to diversify and strengthen our economy.”

HBO executive tells Fir that Alberta is in the “major leagues” on trip to Los Angeles

From January 10 – 12, Fir visited Los Angeles (LA) and spoke with production organizations including Disney+, HBO, Netflix, and Sony. According to Fir, a HBO executive affirmed Alberta’s film and television success, which they said has put Alberta in the “major leagues.”

Meeting with studio executives allowed Fir to “capitalize this momentum” and pitch Alberta as a filming location to studios.

“Since 2020, we’ve had 267 film and TV productions funded,” Fir said. This equates to “about $1.2 billion towards our economy, [and] 4,000 jobs.”

Because of this current success, the Government of Alberta has plans to continue providing support, Fir added. This includes increased investments in incentives such as the Alberta Made Production Grant, the Film and Television Tax Credit, and training programs.

“We’re going to continue to work together and find ways to change and implement policies that will keep people coming here to shoot amazing blockbusters.”

“We’ve got a very skilled crew base here. We just don’t have enough of them,” local producer says

Dept. 9 Studios is a film-production facility in Edmonton that produces projects in-house. It features a recording studio, a post-audio mixing suite, an editing suite, and more. President of Dept. 9 Studios and producer, Don Depoe, said that the company mainly focuses on developing its own projects.

Any project requires many talented people within the cast and crew. Depoe said that the company is trying to build its crew base with the incentives the provincial government is providing.

“It’s not as deep as LA or other film hubs, but we’ve got a very skilled crew base here. We just don’t have enough of them,” Depoe explained. He said that investment in training from the provincial government is necessary, especially for smaller, independent producers.

“Normally, in a very small production, one person has to do like three jobs,” Depoe added. “The training funds are very much needed. I think it’ll pay dividends in the long-run if they keep investing in people.”

Scenery, investments, and affordability make Alberta “very attractive,” Fir says

Film and television is “a very exciting industry,” Fir said. Unsurprisingly, the industry is attracting many Albertans.

“I don’t think there’s a lack of people interested in it,” she explained. “It’s making sure that we have the training for them and making sure we keep them in Alberta.”

According to Fir, post-secondary institutions like Bow Valley College and Mount Royal University have programs targeted toward the film and television industry. But, an important part is continuing to invest in funding and training programs, Fir added.

Fir thinks that people will choose to stay in Alberta and that the province will continue to attract productions. A bonus, Fir explained, is that Alberta is better than Toronto or Vancouver “when it comes to affordability and cost-of-living for cast and crew.” This is in addition to “our breath-taking landscapes, all the studio space we have, and the incentives that we offer.”

“So, I think Alberta’s value proposition is very attractive,” Fir said.”It’s just so exciting to see the film and television industry to continue to boom in Alberta.”

Lily Polenchuk

Lily Polenchuk is the 2023-24 Managing Editor at The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 and 2022-23 News Editor, and 2022-23 Staff Reporter. She is in her second year, studying English and political science. She enjoys skiing, walks in the river valley, and traveling.

Related Articles

Back to top button