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Oscars 2017: Alien movie Arrival filmed in Quebec

ArrivalDenis Villeneuve’s Arrival shot on location in Quebec to tell the story of two scientists struggling to communicate with an alien race.

Arrival was nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards.

Made from a script by Eric Heisserer, production was based in Montreal, with studio scenes shot at Mels Studios.

Countryside locations in Quebec doubled for rural Montana where in the story a team of scientists and soldiers make first contact.

“It started when Denis Villeneuve called me on my mobile and said he was thinking about shooting a film in Montreal and did I have room!” said Michel Trudel, president of Mels, in comments to KFTV.

“In total the film was here for about six months, including set building and doing post-production work along the way.”

The film used a subtle variety of visual effects, which included creating most of the movie’s military vehicles digitally.

“With Arrival, the main actors are American, the financing is American, the director of photography is American, but the rest of the team is all Quebecois,” said Villeneuve, in recent comments to the Montreal Gazette. “All of the special effects were done in Quebec. The sets. The sound. The film is very Quebecois in many ways."

For more on filming in Quebec and for local contacts see our production guide.

“I remember when I first read the script and they said we need to make this ambitious film for $45m," he said. "I said: ‘We can’t make it like a Hollywood film. We have to make it like a Quebec film, where we put all of the money on screen.’ 

“We have a creative way of making films in Quebec, and that’s how we were able to make this film at that budget.”

Quebec offers a 20% base filming incentive and a 16% visual effects rebate, neither of which has a minimum spending requirement or a per-production cap. Production support is on offer from the Quebec Film & Television Council.

The X-Men movies have been among the highest-profile features to film in Montreal over the past few years and X-Men: The New Mutants is scheduled to start this spring.

Image: Paramount Pictures