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New Alberta film studio opens in Calgary

Alberta in CanadaThe Calgary Film Centre has opened as a purpose-built studio facility in the western Canadian province Alberta.

Producers shooting at the studio have access to three sound stages, the largest of which is 20,575 sq ft, plus 15,000 sq ft of warehouse space.

“These studios here, quality-wise, are as good as anything that has ever been built in this country and in the world,” said Paul Bronfman, chairman and CEO of equipment supplier William F White International, an anchor tenant at the Calgary Film Centre, in comments to the Calgary Herald.  

“It’s just as good as Pinewood in Toronto, just as good as North Shore [Studios in North Vancouver]. There’s not as many stages. But the quality of the stages are second-to-none.”

A Calgary delegation recently travelled to Los Angeles to promote the new studio in Hollywood, but more work may need to be done to expand Alberta’s filming incentive support. The Alberta Media Fund is currently capped at C$5m per production, which is a limiting factor compared to Canada’s main filming hubs of Toronto and Vancouver.

“Five million per project translates to US$3.9m and that’s just not competitive,” said Emmy-winning make-up artist Gail Kennedy in a previous interview with the Calgary Herald.

“It’s only competitive for projects under $20m and projects under $20m are typically not a series or a miniseries. For the kinds of locations we have and the stories that those locations attract – more of the epic variety - it’s not typical feature-budget projects we get either. The cap needs to be dealt with.”

The Calgary Film Centre is nonetheless a big positive step for Alberta and more stages are planned for development to enable the facility to host multiple TV shows and film shoots in the coming years.

For more on filming in Alberta see our production guide.