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Netflix films in adapted Vancouver studio

A Series of Unfortunate EventsMajor Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events is filming in a Vancouver warehouse that was independently adapted for production by a pair of movie fan entrepreneurs.

Ironwood Studios was converted into a prospective filming facility with seven stages. The existing building was appropriate as it already offered high ceilings and an architectural design that shielded the interiors from outside sound and light, according to a report. 

The resulting space suited the needs of A Series of Unfortunate Events, a Netflix series adaptation of the gothic adventure novels of the same name written by Lemony Snicket, the pen name of author Daniel Handler. The books were previously adapted into a 2004 movie starring Jim Carrey (pictured).

Location manager Phil Pacaud made the Netflix series producers aware of Ironwood Studios. 

“The way they were looking to design the space was basically perfect for this show,” Pacaud told the Globe and Mail. “With the [Canadian] dollar the way it is right now, with the industry as busy as it is, it’s definitely a positive for Vancouver, and for the industry.”

Production activity in Vancouver soared 40% in 2015, driven partly by the low Canadian dollar and by British Columbia’s filming incentive programme. Vancouver is second only to Toronto as a Canadian production centre and as a result there is intense demand for studio space.

Whereas purpose-built studios are expensive both to build and to hire, existing warehouses can be adapted relatively quickly into new filming spaces. This means there’s an opportunity for individuals willing and able to invest in smaller changes needed to retrofit an industrial site, to form new businesses setting up studios on lower budgets.

Netflix has committed to Ironwood Studios for a year with A Series of Unfortunate Events, but the building owners can repurpose if demand for a filming facility then falls away.

Vancouver industrial sites are part of long-term strategies for major media companies as well. Skydance Media recently announced plans to convert a former city printing press into a five-stage facility that will add to British Columbia’s studio infrastructure.

For more on filming in British Columbia see our production guide.

Image: François Duhamel/Paramount Pictures