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Vancouver film industry

Oct 26, 2023
Vancouver’s Film & TV Industry

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Vancouver’s ascent in the film and television industry has been nothing short of spectacular. Often referred to as “Hollywood North,” the city has solidified its reputation as a prime location for filmmakers from around the world. Serving as the backdrop for countless blockbuster films and popular television shows, Vancouver plays a pivotal role in the global entertainment sector, contributing significantly to the richness and diversity of the industry.

Historical Context of the Film Industry in Vancouver

The film and television production scene in Vancouver has grown exponentially over the years. From humble beginnings, the city has transformed into a bustling hub, hosting productions ranging from small indie films to major Hollywood blockbusters. In the early days, Vancouver’s film and TV production scene was modest, primarily servicing local shows and small-scale productions. However, the potential was undeniable, and it wasn’t long before the industry started to gain momentum. The establishment of major studios and production houses marked a turning point, transforming the city into a competitive and appealing option for international projects.

The introduction of attractive tax incentives also played a crucial role in this transformation. Provincial and federal governments recognized the immense potential of the film and television industry, implementing policies designed to attract foreign productions and encourage local content creation. Moreover, the city’s skilled workforce has been integral to its success. Educational institutions in and around Vancouver began offering specialized programs in film and television production, nurturing a generation of talented directors, producers, actors, and technicians. This local talent pool has been a significant draw for productions, ensuring that the necessary skills and expertise are readily available.

In addition, Vancouver’s diverse and picturesque locations have played a starring role in its rise to prominence. The city’s ability to double for various American cities, coupled with its access to a wide range of natural settings, from mountains and forests to oceans and lakes, has made it a favorite among location scouts. This versatility has allowed Vancouver to host a variety of productions, further enriching its portfolio and reputation in the industry.

Economic Impact

Vancouver’s film and TV industry stands as a major economic pillar for the region, generating thousands of jobs across various domains from creative roles like actors and directors to technical and administrative positions. The local job market is further enriched by educational institutions that provide specialized programs, ensuring a steady flow of skilled professionals into the industry. Additionally, the sector has given a substantial boost to related industries including hospitality, transportation, and catering, showcasing its extensive influence on the regional economy.

Investments in world-class studios and cutting-edge post-production facilities underscore the economic significance of the film and TV sector in Vancouver. This infrastructural development not only attracts international productions but also nurtures local content creation, enriching the city’s cultural landscape. Furthermore, the industry has become a magnet for tourism, as enthusiasts visit iconic shooting locations, contributing to the vibrancy and prosperity of the local economy.

Notable Productions Filmed in Vancouver

Vancouver has served as the filming location for a multitude of high-profile productions, earning its nickname “Hollywood North.” Major films shot in the city include the “Twilight” series, which brought the mystical town of Forks, Washington to life, “Deadpool,” showcasing Vancouver’s ability to transform into a bustling urban setting, and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” utilizing the city’s diverse landscapes. On the small screen, shows like “Supernatural,” which made Vancouver its backdrop for over a decade, “Arrow,” and “The Flash” have also called Vancouver home, further cementing its status in the industry. These productions have not only showcased the city’s versatility as a filming location but have also placed it firmly on the global entertainment map, drawing attention from producers and directors worldwide. Furthermore, the city’s ability to stand in for various American cities has made it a popular choice, broadening its appeal in the competitive world of film and television production.

Vancouver’s Role in the Global Film & TV Landscape

Vancouver stands tall among the world’s major film production hubs, competing with the likes of Los Angeles, New York, and London. The city’s unique selling propositions for filmmakers include competitive production costs, a wide variety of locations within close proximity, and a supportive local government. In addition to these advantages, Vancouver’s multicultural population allows for a diverse range of on-screen talent, further boosting its attractiveness to international productions. Despite facing challenges such as fluctuating currency rates and competition from other locations offering attractive incentives, Vancouver continues to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of the global film and TV industry.

Future Outlook

The future of Vancouver’s film and TV industry looks promising. With numerous projects in the pipeline and ongoing investments in infrastructure and talent development, the city is well-positioned to sustain its growth and continue playing a crucial role in the global entertainment sector. The emergence of new technologies and a shift toward digital production methods are also anticipated to provide additional momentum, enhancing Vancouver’s capabilities and appeal for innovative filmmaking. Furthermore, initiatives aimed at nurturing local talent and attracting international productions are expected to bolster Vancouver’s standing in the industry for years to come. 

How Locals and Visitors Can Engage

Vancouver’s vibrant film and TV scene offers plenty of opportunities for locals and visitors to engage with the industry. Film festivals such as the Vancouver International Film Festival provide a platform for filmmakers to showcase their work and for audiences to experience the diverse range of productions coming out of the city. Film location tours offer a unique way to explore the city, providing behind-the-scenes insights into how Vancouver transforms into various cinematic worlds. 

For those interested in delving deeper into Vancouver’s film and TV industry, a variety of resources are available. A comprehensive list of studios, production houses, and educational programs can be found on local government and industry websites. Information on upcoming film festivals, events, and how to get involved in the industry, either through employment or internships, is also readily accessible, providing a gateway for those looking to contribute to or simply enjoy the vibrant world of film and TV in Vancouver.


As the curtain falls on the story of Vancouver’s cinematic journey, it’s evident that the city has truly made a name for itself in the global film and television landscape. Aptly nicknamed “Hollywood North,” Vancouver has become synonymous with high-profile productions, economic prosperity, and a rich diversity of opportunities for both industry professionals and enthusiasts. From its humble beginnings to its current status as a major production hub, Vancouver has navigated the challenges and embraced the opportunities, ensuring a starring role in the ever-evolving world of entertainment.

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