January 21, 2016 9:15 am

New Calgary film studio hoped to help struggling Alberta economy

WATCH: A new film centre being built in Calgary is almost fully constructed, and officials say it could help Alberta's struggling economy. Doug Vaessen reports.

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CALGARY – Officials say a new film studio being constructed in southeast Calgary is nearing completion and could help bolster Alberta’s struggling economy.

The Calgary Film Centre, located at 5750 76 Avenue S.E., features three sound stages; one 20,000-square-feet, one 18,000-square-feet and one 12,000-square-feet.

Film Commissioner with Calgary Economic Development Luke Azevedo said the facility will be a benefit to the local economy, especially with a deflated Canadian dollar.

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“Film and TV notoriously is the upside of the downturn of the dollar. Across the country we are seeing increased activity that’s occurring  based on the fact [American production companies] are able to cross the border and get incentives to be here,” Azevedo  explained. “This industry is also purposeful diversification. The industry itself attaches nicely with the economic strategy for Calgary with diversification and innovation.”

“I think what the studio helps us do put ourselves in a position where we have purpose-built facilities that producers can walk right into and operate without having to invest and retro0fit buildings, as we have been doing our entire time here in southern Alberta.”

READ MORE: Calgary to build sound stage to attract more film and TV production

Alberta is no stranger to film and TV production. The province played host to feature films The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey.

A TV series based on the film Fargo was also filmed in Alberta, as well as several seasons of Hell on Wheels.

“We have had some great things happen for us in the last few years with Fargo, The Revenant, Heartland, Hell on Wheels – all these different productions that have done extremely well for us on the global marketplace, on the national marketplace,” Azevedo said.

“What we have now is an opportunity to be selling the jurisdiction in a much different way than in the past. They are not asking us whether or not we can do productions, we have some of the best crews in the world and some of the best talent in the world right here in the province, so adding infrastructure to that gives us a lot of tools that we can utilize.”

WATCH: Calgary Film Centre time lapse

According to Calgary Economic Development, Alberta’s film, television and digital media industry employs over 3,000 people and is responsible for “hundreds of millions of dollars” in economic activity every year

The total cost to build the film centre was originally pegged at $22 million but has since climbed to $28.2 million due to the weak Canadian dollar.

The studio is set to open in April.

– With files from Doug Vaessen

© 2016 Shaw Media

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