When Dwayne ‘The Rock‘ Johnson gushed about Surrey in an Instagram video he posted for his millions of followers, it became official — the biggest bigwigs in Hollywood consider the city to be part of ‘Hollywood North.‘
“Mayor Linda Hepner, I just want to say thank you so much for the love,” Johnson said when he was in town last October filming the action flick Skyscraper.
“Thank you for opening up your hearts in your wonderful city.”
Surrey Film Liaison James Monk says 2017 was the city‘s third consecutive record breaking year for issuing film permits.
There were 189 productions in the municipality, including 15 that were shot at Surrey City Hall.
“That‘s a nine per cent increase from 2016,” Monk said.
“Last year we had grown by over 600 per cent compared to where we were in 2010.”
Surrey isn‘t the only community south of the Fraser where the film industry is booming.
Langley, Delta and Abbotsford also had banner years in 2017.
“We had an extremely busy year and that‘s something we‘ve seen as a precedent in the Township over the last couple of years,” said Val Gafka with the Township of Langley.
In Delta — where more than 100 permits were issued last year — film liaison Danielle Werner expects to swamped in 2018.
“We‘ve had lots of inquiries already, even starting in November and December,” she said.
What‘s the draw?
Creative B.C. CEO Prem Gill acknowledges the weak loonie is a big help for the industry but she says that‘s not the only reason for the boom.
She points to increased studio space, a skilled labour force and an unprecedented demand for content from companies like Netflix and Amazon as contributing factors.
“Things have been holding steady year over year over the last three years but they‘re also growing,” she said.
“There is still active interest in the province, in the Lower Mainland and all over.”