Lights! Camera? Not enough ‘action’ at Calgary Film Centre

Calgary’s $28-million film studio wasn’t quite as busy in 2017 as was expected when the facility opened two years ago.

Data released by Calgary Economic Development (CED) shows that there was $178 million in film and TV production in Calgary last year. That’s up from $165.5 million the previous year.

But the Calgary Film Centre saw its utilization rate per square foot drop from 65 per cent in 2016 to just 52 per cent last year.

The city invested $10 million in the project, along with $5 million from the provincial government.

Anchor tenant William F. White International Inc. invested $1 million.

CED is carrying the debt on the project. 

No film centre makes money within the first four years.– Mary Moran

Calgary Economic Development’s CEO Mary Moran said that while the utilization isn’t as high as she’d like, this is no Hollywood disaster.

“No film centre makes money within the first four years,” said Moran.

“We’re on track for sure. We just require a bit of tweaking in our marketing.”

What that means is the film centre may soon start seeing some non-movie/TV bookings under its roof.

Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, says a new business plan has been developed for the film centre. (Mark Matulis/CBC)

She said a new business plan has been developed for the film studio and they’re looking at a different approach.

“We’re going to treat it like a perishable product and if we’re not filling it with film, can we fill it with other things including events and you know, do more advertising production in that film centre,” said Moran.

CED is still in talks with the provincial government regarding its screen production grants to try to lure more productions to come to Alberta.

Better days expected

Moran predicts 2018 will be a better year for the film studios.

She said the facility is ideal for a mid-sized TV series production but the challenge is ensuring producers know that Calgary’s capabilities have grown with the addition of the three sound stages at the facility.

Although other Canadian cities like Vancouver and Toronto are better known in the industry, CED is also trying to lure more international film productions to Calgary.

The Calgary Film Centre is located at 5750 76th Avenue S.E., east of the Foothills Industrial Park.

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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