The Hope and Lower Fraser Canyon Film Cooperative (HLFCFC) wants Hope and area to get a slice of the film industry.
They made it clear at the Aug. 28 council meeting that they want a “very conservative, and a very attainable” one per cent slice of production totals — which equate to an extra $10 million in the region’s GDP.
“It takes a lot of labour to create a film,” said spokesperson Art Green. “Our ultimate goal is to attain a … television series or a fairly large feature film which … hires like 125-150 full-time, high-paying jobs over extended period of time. Obviously, if we were to attain something like that, that would expand our builders’ supply and it will probably bring a hotel into Hope.
“The benefits of such is quite incredible, actually.”
Currently, they have enlisted the support of various people and organizations from towns and cities surrounding Hope including Chilliwack Economic Partners, Lytton First Nation, Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart and Creative BC. They are currently seeking support from the Agassiz-Harrison Chamber of Commerce, Fraser-Cascade School District 78 and the District of Hope council.
Green explained that the HLFCFC has chosen its boundaries to expand west and east to allow for a bigger area for videography.
“Harrison Hot Springs has the most freshwater beach in British Columbia, so obviously that’s a real asset,” said Green. “Chilliwack has the metropolitan look and then we have the support the community forest as well, so it’s a whole broad range of different perspectives and areas for photography.”
Green said that he has received “overwhelmingly positive” responses and that funding will be their biggest obstacle to achieving what they want.
“Eventually, what we’d like to do is build a cultural centre, film stage, sound stage and film school,” said Green. “They recently just built one in Kelowna and it’s a real game changer for the city. That’s kind of our model.”
Green explained that he would like the proposed facility to have three uses to ensure that if the film industry declines, the town will still have a use for the building. He said Hope “dearly needs” a cultural centre and another education facility.
Green said Hope gets a lot of location filming, but not the bulk of filming, which is done on a sound stage where the atmosphere can be controlled.
Green said the cost of such a facility would vary depending on how successful the commission is in getting funding. He estimates that it will cost over $1 million, although it could cost multiple millions depending on the scale of the facility.