Gondek and CED head to Hollywood for a two-day trade mission


“You will find a lot of talent here, whether in front of or behind the camera”

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Mayor Jyoti Gondek joins a cast of Calgary film industry leaders on a trip to Los Angeles to promote the city as a place to do business this week.

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The two-day trade mission will include meeting with studio executives at a “Calgary Film and Television Industry Night” hosted at the Consulate at Canada House. Meetings are also scheduled with the studios throughout the two days of the trip.

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Luke Azevedo, Vice President of Creative Industries, Operations and Calgary Economic Development Film Commissioner, said this was not his first trip to Los Angeles with a Calgary mayor. The last time was in 2016 with then-Mayor Naheed Nenshi to promote the new Calgary Film Centre.

Azevedo said that center now hosts 70-75% of all movies and TV shows in Calgary.

He said this model of traveling to Hollywood to sell a location works well for other jurisdictions, like Toronto.

“This gives us the opportunity to enter a market with the city champion to talk about support, growth and opportunities for Calgary, film and television,” said Azevedo.

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Gondek said she will act as a champion in making sure the executives they talk to understand the diversity of the workforce available in Calgary.

“You’ll find a lot of talent here, whether in front of or behind the camera,” Gondek said. “And I think that’s important, because more and more what we’re hearing from film and television is that they want to do authentic productions, where they actually use people who have been through a experience in acting, writing and directing.

She said the recently released Predator franchise prequel, Prey, is an example of a film that found success after hiring many local Indigenous actors.

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Gondek said business owners who previously worked in the energy industry are succeeding in the film industry by creating modernized sound stages with their properties, another thing she will promote to executives.

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“We have retrofits of buildings that were previously used for manufacturing in the energy sector, and if you talk to owners, they’ll say that’s really part of their energy transition where they’re reallocating those spaces,” she says. . “They redid them inside. It’s adaptive reuse, and it’s the opportunity to have more space for film and television production.

Azevedo said with this new infrastructure coming online and a growing pool of film industry workers, Calgary is creating an environment that can support the best filmmaking projects on the planet.

“We’re competitive in all aspects of production and that allows us to attract these productions here, and make them not only successful but extremely successful,” he said.

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Azevedo said that while unplanned, the trade mission takes place days before the Emmys on Monday.

He said the budget for this trip is not large – the Canada House event will cost around $14,000 to organize, and beyond that it’s mostly travel expenses.

He said the private industry partners pay their own travel expenses.

“They come because they see an opportunity to help develop the market here. And they are all extremely interested in seeing that happen: prosperity for all.

In its 2021 annual report, Calgary Economic Development said film and television development injected just over half a billion dollars into the local economy.

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Twitter: @brodie_thomas

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