Calgary a top 10 place to live and work as a filmmaker

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s film industry going strong'
Alberta’s film industry going strong
Luke Azevedo from Calgary Economic Development joins Global News Morning Calgary via Skype to discuss Alberta’s film industry, which remains busy despite pandemic restrictions. – Jan 28, 2021

Move over Toronto, Calgary is one of the top 10 best places to live and work as a filmmaker in 2021, according to MovieMaker magazine.

The industry magazine considered factors like industry resources, recent productions, in-person visits and surveys to come up with its top 25 list.

MovieMaker listed Calgary as number 10, citing the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of Calgary as the fifth-most livable city in the world,  a relatively young average age and close proximity to a variety of natural features like the Rocky Mountains, prairies and badlands. Calgary also gets marks for sound stages at the Calgary Film Centre and the CL Western Town and Backlot with era-accurate western settings.

“We’ve been the best kept secret amongst insiders for a long time and it’s great to see the recognition happening on a broader scale,” Luke Azevedo, commissioner of the film/television and creative industries at Calgary Economic Development (CED) said in a statement.

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Azevedo also said Calgary has “some of the best and longest ‘magic light’ in the world.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary film and TV productions hit pause amid COVID-19 outbreak'
Calgary film and TV productions hit pause amid COVID-19 outbreak

MovieMaker’s editor-in-chief said this year’s list is very different from previous years, calling it “a time of incredible upheaval, but also opportunity.”

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“Many in the film and TV industry are looking to change their way of life, and many cities and towns across the country are welcoming these storytellers with open arms,” Molloy said in a CED statement.

CED president and CEO Mary Moran said she was “thrilled” that Calgary made the magazine’s list.

“Calgary prides itself on being a film-friendly city for many reasons,” Moran said in a statement. “We work closely with municipal departments, business zones, community leaders and the arts community to ensure one-window access to quality locations and services. We offer a competitive business environment and have a large pool of local talent available for productions.”

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In January 2020, the Alberta Government announced the new Film and Television Tax Credit, hoping to entice more production to the province. Productions could apply for either a 22 per cent or 30 per cent credit rate up to $10 million, per production.

Vancouver, B.C. and Montreal, Que., ranked fourth and seventh, respectively on the list. In both city profiles, MovieMaker highlighted tax credits. Vancouver productions can get a basic tax credit of 35 per cent and up to 69.5 per cent for digital animation projects. Montreal-based productions can get up to a 43 per cent tax credit.

Other big cities in the top 10 include Boston, Mass., Miami, Fla., Chicago, Il., Atlanta, GA., and Albuquerque, NM. Toronto was ranked 11th. New York City and Los Angeles are in their “hall of fame.”

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