Net-zero and carbon-neutral production
Energy is only one dimension of the sustainability trend in film. Vancouver is full of service providers and vendors that help productions with decarbonization strategies, waste hauling (with specific attention to diversion and reuse, repair, and recycling), fully electric transport fleets, food diversion (from set catering) and carbon offsetting. The city is also home to a new generation of clean energy kiosks that will replace diesel generators with renewable energy.
Film tourism has increased in popularity over the years with destinations promoting locations where film and TV productions have filmed. Destination Vancouver has compiled a comprehensive Filmed in Vancouver web portal that lists films and TV shows shot in Vancouver, top filming locations, interviews with members of the local film industry, self-guided itineraries and more.
Film in Vancouver: The Lure of Hollywood North
Globally acclaimed for the quality of its crews, locations and competitive production environment, the Vancouver region is the third-largest film and TV production centre in North America.
Productions that film in Vancouver also benefit from the city’s proximity to Los Angeles and the West Coast time zone, stable and competitive tax incentives and government support, and a skilled talent base and connected community.
The region is home to an array of world-class studios and soundstages, including the world’s first B Corporation-certified film studio (Vancouver Film Studios) and a growing number of LED stages used for virtual production. Vancouver’s film industry is further distinguished by leaders pursuing carbon-neutral studio operations (Vancouver Film Studios, Martini Film Studios), as well as industry-wide initiatives such as the Sustainable Production Forum, Creative BC’s Reel Green, and the City of Vancouver’s city-wide network of clean energy kiosks.
What’s driving the Film sector in Vancouver?
Vancouver’s film and TV industry consists of a supportive and collaborative ecosystem spanning government agencies, industry associations, festivals and awards, and professional organizations. The industry also enjoys private sector support, which has contributed billions in industry infrastructure.
Productions in Vancouver have access to top-of-the-line post-production facilities that provide colour correction, composing, sound and other services. Vancouver’s film industry is complemented by thriving digital entertainment and interactive and post-production and animation clusters.
Demand for content
Shifting patterns of entertainment consumption and the rise of streaming services has created a surge in demand for quality, original content. The bulk of features and series created and serviced in Vancouver serves this demand, and the city’s industry delivers through its physical production, post-production and animation services.
Productions filming in Vancouver access a diverse suite of labour-based provincial and federal tax credits. This provides additional incentive to spend on competent, experienced crews, and contributes to the local economy. Creative BC administers these tax programs, and the most up-to-date information can be found on their site. [Motion Picture Tax Credits]
Studios are increasingly focused on net-zero and carbon-neutral operations. Vancouver is considered by some as the gold standard for green filmmaking, and there’s room to grow when it comes to set and studio decarbonization, zero emissions transportation and waste management.
Vancouver’s Film sector in action
Vancouver productions have access to world-class film and TV studios, including:
The provincial film commission
maintains a comprehensive list of studio spaces and provides information on availability to producers upon request.
Contact Creative BC
The city is also home to the largest cluster of post-production and animation studios in the world, which have worked on visual effects for major blockbusters and indie pictures alike. These include:
Refer to our sector profile on animation and post-production for a more comprehensive list of multinational and local studios.
Sustainable film in action
Vancouver is full of service providers and vendors that help productions with decarbonization strategies, waste hauling (with specific attention to diversion and reuse, repair, and recycling), fully electric transport fleets, food diversion (from set catering) and carbon offsetting. This is in direct service to industry financiers and content providers – such as like Netflix, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, and BBC Studios – that have made commitments to carbon neutrality, net zero or other environmental stewardship practices.
Portable Electric: Vancouver-based manufacturer and global distributor of the VoltStack (pictured on the left) and other portable battery solutions for film industry and other industrial and live event sectors
Keep it Green Recycling: A Port Coquitlam-based recycling and materials reuse provider that services the film industry with zero-waste programs.
Diversion Zero Waste: Vancouver’s first film-only waste diversion and deconstruction company specializing in reducing set waste
Green Spark Group: A leading green film consulting firm that runs the annual Sustainable Production Forum and helps sets, producers and studios with operational strategies and tactics for decarbonization and waste management
Vancouver Film Studios: The largest and most established film studio facility in the city of Vancouver, it is the world’s first and only B-Corp-certified film studio and has been carbon-neutral since 2008
Martini Film Studios: In addition to its significant sustainability pledges, MFS is the first film studio in BC to commit to using renewable natural gas, a carbon-neutral heating source
Film sector jobs and training
The film and TV, post-production and animation industries have collectively invested $30.9 billion in the provincial economy over the past decade. During that time, physical production has accounted for $23.1 billion of spending, approximately half of which was paid directly to British Columbians as salaries and wages.
According to Creative BC’s most recent Annual Impact Reports (2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21), BC’s creative industries sector employs 61,000–72,000 workers and supports approximately 35,000 full-time and equivalent jobs. Most production work is performed under high-paying union contracts where six-figure incomes are achievable without requiring high levels of post-secondary education.
Vancouver’s film industry draws success from the city’s diverse educational institutions and training programs. Many academic institutions and universities offer respected filmmaking programs, while numerous others provide technical training for hair, makeup and prosthetics, costume building, set design and manufacture, lighting and camera operations specific to the needs of the local film industry.
Vancouver Film Commission
The Vancouver Film Commission provides tailored services for investment intelligence and business development in Vancouver’s film sector, including:
- Annual industry spend research demonstrates the value of Vancouver’s film, television, visual effects and animation industries.
- City of Vancouver film office provides support related to permitting in public locations and parks, and provides information about filming locations, fees, and industry resources.
- Marketing and promotions activities include public relations, attending film festivals and trade shows, marketing trips, promoting new and iconic film locations and vendors, communicating film friendly policies and programs, and collaborating with organizations promoting film tourism.
Peers and Partners
- Destination Vancouver’s Filmed in Vancouver – comprehensive portal sharing consumer-facing information about the film industry in Vancouver, including top filming locations and self-guided film-inspired itineraries
- Creative BC – non-profit created to sustain and grow BC’s creative industries, including the film industry; delivers programs and services such as administration of the provincial government’s motion picture tax credit programs
- Reel Green – an industry catalyst and forum that provides networking opportunities, best practices, and training for those in Canada’s industry committed to climate action
- Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC (MPPIA BC) – member-based non-profit dedicated to building and growing BC’s film industry
- Motion Picture Association (MPA) Canada – advocate for producers and distributors of film, TV and streaming content in Canada
- PwC – provides a comprehensive guide to Canada’s tax incentives for film, video, digital media and animation projects