A new state-of-the-art film studio opened its door in Langley on Tuesday.
Despite losing a few productions to California recently, it appears B.C.’s film and TV industry still has plenty of room to grow. Martini Film Studios is 150,000 square feet with eight stages and full backlot services.
The new studio is part of a number of stages heading outside B.C.’s traditional film hub of Vancouver, where rising land values and surging demand have the industry looking to the suburbs.
“Our family has been in the manufacturing business for decades and we are now proud and excited to be part of another growing sector,” Gemma Martini said.
According to Creative B.C., the motion picture business in B.C. has grown over the past 30 years from just four productions in 1978 to more than 260 in 2016.
“With this exciting addition of Martini studios here in Langley, Metro Vancouver now provides over 2.75 million square feet of studio space,” Prem Gill with Creative B.C. said.
“That’s amazing for any jurisdiction in North America.”
A local actor, Martini and her family have invested millions to open the studios in Walnut Grove but says she isn’t worried about the renewed competition from California.
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In mid-March it was announced that Vancouver-shot television series, Lucifer and Legion were relocating their filming to the Hollywood hills.
Business representative for Local 891 of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Phil Klapwyk, said at the time that the relocation of two Vancouver-filmed series is not indicative of the health of the local film industry, and it is “business as usual” for them.
According to California’s Film Commission, the expanded California tax-credit program is in its second year and is proving to be a win for Los Angeles as a total of 11 television series have been sought out to relocate to the city.
After the announcement Vancouver’s Film Commissioner David Shepheard said although he is disappointed to lose the two shows, he is confident in the competitiveness of the B.C. tax credit incentive for the film industry.
While the relocation of two series ended up taking 400 jobs back to California, Martini said new projects will help fill the gap in no time.
“There is a lot of excitement around our facility and there is a high demand,” Martini explained.
“Again there are so many shows shooting and I think in the past, we’ve actually lost the opportunity for shows to come to British Columbia because we haven’t had the space. And now that we have the space, we might in fact attract more shows.”
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Martini Film Studios is located in a former window manufacturing plant and can house three different productions at once. The finishing touches are being made and is expected to open next month.
~ with files from Jordan Armstrong and Simran Gill