New Okanagan film studio creates buzz

By Pete McIntyre
November 23, 2016 - 4:35pm

VERNON, B.C. — More film and TV productions are expected to come to the Okanagan, thanks to a new  facility in Vernon.

Okanagan Studios has been officially opened in the former Far West building on Kosmina Road, offering stage and production facilities.

"It provides 50,000 square feet of specialized production space including multiple stages, 34 furnished production offices, and ample parking on a dedicated 4-acre lot," says a news release.

The lot also features a separate 7,000 square foot construction shop and art department, plus an additional parking lot for circus trucks and trailers.

Valley film commissioner Jon Summerland says it makes the Okanagan more attractive for long format productions, like TV and web series.

I'll be able to sell the Okanagan to long format, which is television and web series. Longer, bigger shows," Summerland tells Kiss FM.

Summerland says it allows companies to shoot not just their their locations -- but also their interiors -- in the Okanagan.

"Without a designated box for productions, it's very difficult to get any of them to look this way because they would come here, shoot locations, and they would have to go somewhere else to do the interior location stuff."

He says that will also make more productions eligible to get tax credits.

"To get tax credits, you have to shoot 51% of your film in the Okanagan, so when you're doing a series, you don't get any tax credits to come here because you are never going to do 51% of your film, you will do 3% here. So now we have an opportunity to sell it to areas that are desperate for production space."

Summerland says the new Canadian owned studio being run by Tim Bieber is creating positive talk in Hollywood.

"It still will take some time. It's not like I'm going to have a TV show in there next week, and we're set for months and years, but Tim Bieber and myself were just in LA, and there was a very positive buzz about the Okanagan Studio."

The owner also plans to add a third stage on the Vernon site, and also wants to open studios in the Central and South Okanagan in the future.


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