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Northwest Territories in Canada builds filming appeal

The Northwest Territories (NWT) in Canada is building its production appeal with a filming incentive programme and infrastructure that will help make the province more accessible.

Bordering Yukon to the west and British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south, the Northwest Territories is a vast province characterised by landscapes of boreal forest and Canada’s Arctic Archipelago. The population is around 45,000, with most based in the capital Yellowknife.

The territory mainly attracts documentaries, but also hosted the Yellowknife-set drama Arctic Air, which ran for three seasons until mid-2014.

The NWT is looking to build on a filming incentive launched last year. Producers can access a base 20% rebate and are also rewarded with an additional 15% for offering on-set training positions and for filming outside Yellowknife. There’s also incentive support to help filmmakers get to the NWT in the first place, and for travelling in the territory itself.

Flying is the main route into Yellowknife, with six different airlines connecting the city with Canadian hubs like Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

“If you look at a map of the NWT you will see that most of our communities are air access only with the exception of our southern region winter road travel,” says Camilla MacEachern, head of the Northwest Territories Film Commission. “We have had some of our larger productions that require a lot of equipment drive up but most do fly.” 

Authorities are working on improving transport infrastructure on the ground, with an all-weather highway currently being built connecting remote communities on the Arctic coastline.  

“I think that the incentive finally puts the NWT in a position to sit at the table with the other respective film offices and play some ball," says MacEachern. "There is no doubt this programme will have a positive impact fiscally by leveraging funds into our territory but it also opens up training and co-production opportunities for our local filmmakers.” 

For more on filming in the Northwest Territories see our production guide.