A film crew took over the parking lot of Gabby’s Country Cabaret on Fraser Highway in 2017, to shoot “Riverdale.” Langley Advance Times film photo Troy Landreville Langley Times

A film crew took over the parking lot of Gabby’s Country Cabaret on Fraser Highway in 2017, to shoot “Riverdale.” Langley Advance Times film photo Troy Landreville Langley Times

Langley film industry busier than ever

Since 2014, the Township of Langley has been in excess of 1,000 film days per year.

Langley’s film industry is booming – especially in the Township – and it’s common to come across film crews working in rural areas, and throughout the scenic village of Fort Langley, where dozens of movies, TV shows, commercials, and even music videos are filmed each year.

Fort Langley has an impressive list of credits such as Bates Motel, Once Upon a Time, Twilight, Night at the Museum, Riverdale, and Arrow – and those are just a few.

“In 2016 alone, the creative sector which includes digital media was $2.5 billion to the provincial economy. When we drill it down to the Township, we have about 1,700 Township residents that work in the film industry so we want to continue to keep that growing,” she elaborated,” said Val Gafka, Township of Langley senior manager of economic investment and development.

Since 2013, filming in the Township has really started to grow, as measured by the number of film days tracked by the Township.

“If we have two productions working in the Township in two separate locations on the same day, we count that as two film days,” Gafka elaborated.

“So for 2018, we had over 1,700 film days, 135 productions, and we issued 720 permits. Since 2014, we have been in excess of 1,000 film days per year. Which is good for our economy.”

According to Gafka, the industry gets a provincial tax incentive for working east of 200th Street.

“They always look to get as close to 200th as they can,” Gafka noted.

She added that over the last year or two, film studio space in the Lower Mainland has been wholly occupied, and said the Martini Studios in Northwest Langley is just as busy.

“They opened up last year, and Netflix signed them immediately for five years.”

As part of the Metro Vancouver Regional Properity Initiative, Langley Township was selected to ‘soft launch’ a new online service in January, that offers a simpler way for film production companies to apply for film permits.

It’s called the Regional Film Application Portral, and is a “centralized gateway” that standardizes and streamlines the film application process, allowing companies to apply to film in one or more than one municipality simultaneously.

“Essentially it’s a project where municipalities find a benefit in working together,” explained Gafka.

From TV series, to feature films, Langley sees it all.

“We have a lot of different looks – urban areas, agricultural areas, small downtown cores – a lot to offer the industry as far as inventory is concerned,” Gafka added.

But there has been some concern over filming in the Township, after the Agricultural Land Commission introduced Policy L-22 – which classifies filming as an event, meaning temporary shoots on properties in the ALR can only take place 10 non-sequential days per year – in October 2016.

READ MORE: ALC policy could have ‘detrimental impact’ on Township’s film industry

After concern over the policy was expressed, the policy was put on suspension until Jan. 31, 2019. Gafka confirmed the policy has once again been suspended for the remainder of 2019, while the ALC and Creative BC work to find a solution.

Over in Langley City, there’s also a fair share of film crews and celebrity sightings.

Multiple movies with “recognizable talent” have filmed in the downtown core, according to Teri James, Downtown Langley Business Association executive director.

“I would say it’s been very positive on the economy. I’m going to say 98 per cent of companies that come here are nice to work with,” she added.

For more information on the Township of Langley film industry, email film@tol.ca, and for more information on City of Langley filming, email engineering@langleycity.ca.

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