Calgary Film Centre: Calgary’s story on the big screen

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When The City of Calgary invested in building the Calgary Film Centre, it was a calculated risk. Industry experts were certain if a facility was built, productions would come. Fast forward to 2021 when the city broke the annual film and TV production spend record at $522 million. This record-breaking trend is expected to continue with a fully booked Calgary Film Centre through 2022 and 2023.

Tom Cox, an executive producer and managing partner of Calgary-based SEVEN24 Films, is among the renowned industry leaders who championed the Centre.

“The Calgary Film Centre has a special place in my heart,” says Tom. “It was the first purpose-built facility in the city and helped us prove it was possible for Calgary to attract productions and investment from the private sector in the film and TV industry in our city and province.”

Tom sees Calgary stepping more and more into the spotlight as a location that offers cutting edge infrastructure, world-class crews, and a breadth of backdrops.

“I love the access to different environments Calgary offers – from mountains, foothills, prairies and the Badlands, to slick office towers and gritty urban streets – we have incredible natural resources offering a broad palette to paint with,” says Tom.

The Calgary Film Centre, alongside William F. White Studios and Rocky Mountain Film Studios, form an arsenal of world-class infrastructure for Calgary’s rapidly growing film and TV industry, and contribute to over half a million sq. ft. of purpose-built and retrofit studio space.

Tom believes a key contributor to the film industry transformation in Calgary is the sense of community within the city.

“Calgary has an entrepreneurial blue-sky spirit that I see not just in the film and TV industry, but in every aspect of Calgary life. I think this is what sets Calgary apart from other film jurisdictions. If you have a strong creative idea, you can make it happen here,” shares Tom.

With a career boasting an impressive highlight reel of accolades, including Heartland and Academy Award-winning Brokeback Mountain, filming Season 4 of Wynonna Earp in the Calgary Film Centre during the pandemic remains a cherished memory.

“The Calgary crew and cast took so much pride and ownership in the production. The last day of filming felt like a miracle,” smiles Tom as he remembers the team’s celebration. “But there was more to it than that – there was a sense of community spirit, family spirit.” 

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Article and photos courtesy Calgary Economic Development

Categories: Business