Developing A Local Screen-Based Industry
Our Initial Meetings
In May and July 2016, The Civic Theatre convened two meetings of screen-based industry professionals to gain a better understanding of what the needs were and how we could support this sector.
At these meetings, we learned that there is an appetite for connection opportunities within the local screen-based industry (or “SBI”, inclusive of tv, film, video, commercials and online media) and the more pressing need is to simply meet one another and create a place for cross-pollination of ideas and learn about available resources that can be shared.
There was enthusiasm for The Civic Theatre becoming that central hub, and the group suggested many options for training, events, and amenities that could be developed here to support a more robust screen-based industry in our area. One strong wish voiced by this group was that our large stage space–which is currently used primarily for storage–be repaired and made available as a studio for film activities.
Nelson’s Screen Industry History
Nelson has a long history of film projects, ranging from American feature films like Roxanne (1986) to more recent local projects like Watershed Productions’ 9-part historical documentary series Dreamers & Dissidents (Knowledge Network), and Sherpas Cinema’s Into the Mind. However, we have never been able to establish a long-term, year-round industry because of our geographic isolation. Established professionals live here and do many projects elsewhere; emerging professionals have to leave the area to gain experience, or work in other jobs to make ends meet.
Building our Capacity
With the installation of fibre optic internet in our community and an effort to build connections with one another, the local tech sector has blossomed in our area in recent years, especially with the support of the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST). We believe that the same renaissance is possible for the screen-based industry here at this time, given the presence of The Civic Theatre, which is positioned to be a presenter, hub and central connector for this sector.
With the guidance of the SBI community, we will continue to receive stakeholder input and support for physical and programmatic development of our facility. We hope that the benefits of this project to the community will include diversified opportunities to connect industry professionals and the birth of future projects through collaboration, resulting in an increase in employment opportunities across this sector and economic spin-offs in retail, catering, hotels, transportation, rental equipment and even tourism.
With the future expansion of the Civic Theatre there will be spaces for offices, editing, and other screen-based industry amenities. From within the same building those locally produced and independent films can then be screened to the public for the betterment of the media arts community.