Vancouver Film Studios
It seems that 2020 was not exactly a blockbuster year for Vancouver’s film and television industry.
A new report from the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) reveals that spending on the sector fell by $ 700 million compared to a year earlier when pandemic-induced restrictions took their way.
Wednesday’s report found that film, television, post-production and animation companies generated $ 3.4 billion in direct spending last year — significantly lower than the $ 4.1 billion in spending generated in 2019.
The sector was hit hard by the suspension of live-action productions at the start of the March 2020 pandemic.
Productions did not start to rise again until the summer of 2020, leaving the industry in a state of paralysis much of last year. BC, however, was able to remain competitive as lower numbers of covid-19 cases allowed productions to resume faster than in California.
“In context, $ 3.4 billion is a truly impressive achievement during a pandemic year,” Acting Film Commissioner Geoff Teoli said in a statement, noting that last year’s spending exceeded the $ 3.2 billion generated in 2016.
The pandemic also experienced major upheavals in terms of logistics, with new (and more expensive) security guidelines being put in place at the same time as animators and professional visual effects (VFX) were rapidly shifting to work remotely.
This resulted in BC companies such as Teradici Corp. experienced an increase in business during this period, according to Vice President Ziad Lammam.
The Burnaby company develops enterprise software that enables companies to remotely access desktops from less powerful devices, making it easy to launch high-performance applications needed for animations and VFX houses. All applications are hosted in the cloud or Teradici’s data center.
Blink more than a year ahead, and foreign VFX companies like DNEG (Double Negative Ltd.) and Zoic Studios promise Vancouver employees the opportunity to work from home if they choose to do so.
Meanwhile, data released earlier this week from Statistics Canada showed that cinemas were facing big last year amid pandemic-induced restrictions.
Operating revenues went from nearly $ 2 billion in 2018 to $ 553 in 2020 when people turned to other entertainment, such as streaming services.
The VEC report also cites a study by non-profit FilmLA, which found that BC was home to 16 out of 24 new streaming projects launched in Canada last year.