posted Sep 15, 2015 at 2:00 PM
From sprawling acres of farmland to the streets of historic downtown, Chilliwack has become a go-to location for major film shoots.
The Chilliwack Film Commission has just been renamed and rebranded as the Chilliwack Creative Commission to broaden its horizons even further.
The name change points to the shift from an exclusive focus on film and TV industry, to a broader one that includes music, publishing, digital and interactive media, said Tim McAlpine, CEPCO representative on the the Creative Commission.
McAlpine told council at a recent meeting at city hall that Chilliwack has proven to be an attractive filming location for major motion pictures, television series and commercials.
"Our scene-stealing locales, combined with CEPCO’s and the City’s responsive staff, have given Chilliwack a fantastic reputation with location managers and scouts in the B.C. film industry," McAlpine said.
When a film crew rolls into Chilliwack, there are ample economic spinoffs. They sometimes shoot with Chilliwack's buildings and facilities in the background for both small and large productions alike.
"They compensate our merchants, they eat in our restaurants and they stay in our hotels."
Sometimes the film crews do something "wild" like temporarily paving a corn field to film a commercial starring the ghost of Steve McQueen driving a Ford Mustang.
"Downtown in particular has been a focal point of many TV series and movies."
Wellington Avenue in downtown Chilliwack figured prominently in the Sci Fy show Eureka.
But the film industry can be very cyclical and is very dependent on the relationship between the Canadian and U.S. dollar. The Film Commission saw the need to look for more varied creative industry opportunities and hired consultants Nordicity to map out a "Creative Industry Positioning Strategy" for Chilliwack in 2012.
The rebranding of the Creative Commission, is part of that effort and the consultant's research really gave CEPCO "a glimpse into Chilliwack's under-the-radar creative industry," he said.
The Creative Commission will be a sub committee of Chilliwack Economic Partners (CEPCO), and has its own new logo.
The creative industry they're talking about includes commercial video and film production, web development, performing arts, computer animation and more.
"It really showed the committee that there are a number of individuals and companies that call Chilliwack home and are exporting their creativity far beyond our city limits," said McAlpine.
The strategy pointed to the need for the Film Commission to re-evaluate its role, and the potential was recognized for it to become "the catalyst" to connect the local creative community.
"We want to surface and connect these creative individuals and enterprises that are largely working independently," he said.
And, it’s not just Chilliwack that’s starting to look beyond film.
The BC Film Commission recently rebranded itself as Creative BC.