A team with Game of Thrones, HBO’s massive TV fantasy hit, was in Banff, Alta. recently to shoot some particularly fierce scenes, according to the Alberta Media Production Industries Association.
Michael Jorgensen, the chair of AMPIA, told Global News it was a certain animal attraction that drew the producers to Alberta.
“It turns out Alberta has the biggest wolves in the world, so they’ve shot a little bit here.”
Game of Thrones, which is based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series, features six direwolves, one for each of the children of House Stark. Direwolves are an unusually large and intelligent species of wolf. They are also part of the sigil of House Stark.
There’s already an Alberta connection. An Arctic wolf named Quigley, who plays a direwolf called Ghost on the show, is trained north of Calgary by Andrew Simpson, the owner and operator of Instinct Animals for Film.
Earlier this month, actor Maisie Williams was spotted taking in the sights at Banff National Park. Williams, 19, plays Arya Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Her visit to Alberta has Game of Thrones fans wondering if it means Arya will be reunited with her direwolf Nymeria, who she sent away in season one.
The actress posted several photos to her Instagram account showcasing the idyllic mountain town, including one which features her standing in front of a Canadian flag installation at the Canadian Citizenship Pavilion on top of Sulphur Mountain.
Alberta’s rugged terrain has attracted other major film projects, including the award-winning movie The Revenant.
Jorgensen says Alberta could do more to draw in even more production.
“There’s a real opportunity for us to bring bigger productions like we have in the past – the Unforgivens, the Brokeback Mountains, Interstellar most recently and The Revenant – that bring in a lot of money, employ a lot of people, and touch a lot of areas of the Alberta economy – restaurants, hotel, rental cars, carpenters, labourers.”
He said traditional TV and film projects in Alberta results in about $300 million for the economy. In B.C., he said, that number exceeds $2 billion.
Watch below: Once booming, the film industry in Alberta has suffered recently with a lot of the work going to other provinces. Now, the Alberta film industries have banded together to turn that around. Gord Steinke sits down with Michael Jorgensen, the chairman of the Alberta Media Production Industries Association, to learn more about the efforts.
With files from Melissa Gilligan