When watching a movie or TV show, nothing beats recognizing Langley as the setting and thanks to growing interest in the diversity of the community, the trend is likely to continue.
Val Gafka, Township senior manager corporate administration, oversees the film production team and noted 2016 was a successful year.
“The direct spend by the film industry has been well over $30 million,” she said. “Last year was a banner year for the Township. Every year we have about 100 productions… in 2016 we had 136 productions.”
Each TV series is considered a single production even though there may be several episodes filmed in the community. (If there are three companies filming on one day the count is three filming days.) The Township had more than 1,000 filming days in 2016. (In comparison, Surrey issued 140 permits for more than 203 filming days in 2016.)
“That consists of over a dozen feature films,” she said of the Township filming. “We had almost 60 TV movies. There were 119 filming days just in Aldergrove last year.”
Among the favourites of those TV movies are the Christmas specials.
“There’s lots of community pride around those Christmas movies,” Gafka said. “Last year we had 13 Christmas-oriented movies.”
Production companies are seeing value in using various neighbourhoods for more than just tree-trimming and Christmas shopping venues. That being said, Gafka noted Christmas-theme fans should watch out for the new iteration of holiday productions – Christmas wedding movies.
Beyond movies a number of series take place in the Langley region. Bates Motel, now in its final season, is perhaps one of the best known for being local, but Wayward Pines is also Langley-based as is Supergirl which has relocated from L.A. to Langley. Riverdale – a new TV series based on the popular Archie comics – will also be coming to Langley courtesy of Warner Bros.’ interest in the area.
A total of 30 TV series were filmed in part or in their entirety in Langley.
“For many years we were truly just film production, but we’re actually seeing diversity in the film landscape,” Gafka noted.
FOX and ABC are establishing temporary film studios here while Warner Bros. has two popular series based in Langley.
The ability for young, local talent to find their way into a career in their home town is also a benefit of a thriving local film industry. Jacob Tremblay who starred in Room is a Langley resident as is Amanda Crew, star of Silicon Valley.
“We are seeing people we might not have seen a few years ago coming on the lens,” said Gafka.
In addition to the direct spend the film industry makes, there are other aspects that may not be as visible or well-known. There is support to local food banks and Creative BC’s Reel Green initiative which strives to contribute to healthy relationships between filming, and the environment and society.
“They make sure whatever they do they are environmentally responsible,” she noted.
Gafka is quick to point out that there are times when productions need to be turned away because of the number of projects underway.
“We, as a municipality, always put our community first. Residents and businesses come first,” she said. “Balance is very important. We are equally available to our residents when things go sideways – and they do.