Strong BC film sector producing blockbusters, animation, jobs . . . but distinctive BC stories? Not yet

If Vancouver is “the best place in North America, possibly the world, to shoot a major feature film,” as producers’ association boss Peter Leitch told council this morning, when will we see an internationally-acclaimed film that features BC actors, stories and locations?

BC actors and locations are front and centre all the time, but internationally-acclaimed BC films, like those we see from Quebec, Australia, even Romania at VIFF? Yes, the festival showcases BC productions, but those plucky producers seem further from Cannes than our national soccer team is from the World Cup.

Consider that our city is a global force in contemporary art photography (think of Stan Douglas), digital special effects (District 9, countless games and films) and has a large stable of award-winning writers (Chris Haddock, for one, not mention countless novelists, screen writers and playwrights) and it’s a mystery to me why our province has not produced a distinctive cinema.

That was the question that lingered for me this morning after an upbeat council presentation that indicated the desperate days of #SaveBCFilm are fading from memory: jobs are up, production is good, digital studios are opening new offices here and planning for long-term production.

Leitch, city film office head Sandi Swanigan and other industry leaders, including Richard Brownsey, CEO of the province’s new Creative BC film business agency, were before council to provide an update on the city’s film sector and it was all good news.

It’s easier than ever to film in our city and Hollywood’s top decision-makers like us very much.

Those looking for proof that Vancouver stands tall need look no further than the dramatic special effects that saw Godzilla trample parts of Vancouver’s downtown core, or the Jeep commercial in which a rugged 4 x 4 forded a river running down the 400 block of Granville.

But a film that builds on the innovation Douglas and Haddock demonstrated in Helen Lawrence? We haven’t seen that yet and no one at council today was ready with a reason why.