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Planning Moves Forward for New Movie Studio on Vancouver Island

A proposed movie and television production hub with soundstages, workshops and offices on southern Vancouver Island is moving closer to becoming a reality.

The studio will be designed to be world-class to attract Hollywood features and ongoing series for television or streaming, and a hub for indigenous and domestic filmmakers.

Construction of the first phase of the studio on Malahat First Nation land, adjacent to the nation’s new business park, is expected to begin in 2025, once discussions regarding financing are complete.

Film studio layout map courtesy of Alpha Select Produtions
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The project is the longtime dream of Beverly Dondale of Alpha Select Production Services in Victoria, and the Malahat First Nation is the major partner.

She says production companies will stay longer, spend more of their budgets locally, and provide greater employment when using a film studio.

Dondale says her vision for a film studio “has always been about doing film production differently, inclusive and diverse, I wanted to build on recognised Indigenous land and have them play a major role, and Malahat understood my vision and wanted to be a part of it.”

The first phase will have two double sound stages, production offices and a workshop at a cost of nearly $78-Million. She says the total cost of all three phases is estimated to be $243 Million.

She says phase one will cost a significant amount, but marketing projections have shown they will be able to fill those sound stages and move on to phase two.

To help new people take advantage of the multitude of jobs available in filmmaking, she says they plan to work with existing Vancouver Island University and Camosun College micro-credential programs and offer apprenticeships and mentorships to assist newcomers in gaining experience.

Dondale says there is a great benefit to the local economy from the many jobs involved, such as building sets and all of the lighting need to create the outside world on a soundstage, but there will also new jobs from the circular economy.

We’re doing a carbon neutral, zero waste facility, and so those are all things that entrepreneurs are going to be able to jump in on.”

Sustainable practices are expect to provide employment in food production and donation, waste management, repair, reuse and resale of textiles, plastic containers and packaging recycling and construction material reuse and donation.

The studio is expected to create 1000 sustainable, well-paying, industry jobs.

It’s also expected to create opportunities in virtual and augmented reality production, which is estimated to become a $1.5-Trillion business by 2030.

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