Is there a better place to shoot a movie than Vancouver? With its versatile cityscape, beautiful forestry and mountain surrounds, and temperate climate, the city provides the perfect backdrop for almost any story you want to tell. Filmmakers seem to agree, with the city currently ranked as the third largest production centre for film and television in North America, earning the nickname ‘Hollywood North.’
For film production students, this thriving industry is a tremendous advantage. There is regular work available for editors, cinematographers, visual effects specialists and other industry professionals in the hundreds of productions that are filmed in the city every year, as well as in the many permanent studios located throughout the Greater Vancouver Area.
If you’re a film student based in Vancouver, it’s very likely that you’ve seen a movie that was shot in your hometown, even if you didn’t recognize it. Here are a few of the diverse range of productions that have called the city home.
1. ‘X-Men: Last Stand’: Blockbusters Provide Hundreds of Jobs for Film School Grads
The third instalment of the popular superhero franchise used a number of well-known locations within the city during filming, including the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Art Gallery, as well as nearby sites like Hatley Castle and Golden Ears Provincial Park.
Blockbuster action movies like ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ typically require extremely large film crews with hundreds of specialized professionals, creating valuable employment opportunities for students that graduate from a film school in Vancouver.
2. Horror Fans in Movie School Might Find ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ Familiar
If horror fans enrolled in film school find the unspoilt forest scenery in ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ eerily familiar, there’s a reason for that. This critically acclaimed 2012 slasher movie was filmed almost entirely in or around Vancouver, with the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Aerospace Technology Campus also featuring heavily in exterior shots during the film.
3. ‘50 Shades of Grey’: How Film School Graduates Helped Create a Box Office Smash
While the film might divide opinion, there’s no denying the success of ‘50 Shades of Grey,’ which took in over $215 million at the box office, breaking the record for the highest grossest opening weekend for a female-directed film. Scenes were shot in many Vancouver locations students might recognize, including Gastown, Coal Harbour, and Oceanic Plaza.
4. Film School Students Could Work on Indie Hits Like ‘Juno’
This offbeat indie comedy about a pregnant teenage girl earned widespread critical acclaim and an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2007. Shooting took place in various locations around BC – locals might recognize Eric Hamber Secondary School and the Hanna Medical Clinic in key scenes.
Despite its low budget and simple premise, the production crew for Juno still numbered well over 100, again demonstrating the numerous opportunities for trained Vancouver filmmakers to find work in a wide range of productions.
5. How Vancouver Film Students and Graduates Made ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ Possible
Another big budget action movie with a large crew, ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ used Vancouver to double for several international locations, including Seattle, San Francisco, and even Budapest. Students will find the clever shooting techniques used to transform local streets well worth studying as an example of advanced cinematography.
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