The 10 Spookiest Movies and TV Shows Filmed in B.C.

By Mathew Parry, Locations Consultant – Creative BC 

Right in time for Halloween, we explored some of the schlocky and scary movies and television shows filmed in B.C. from the spooky town of Greendale in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to the cult base of The Wicker Man (2005). Grab the candy corn, we’ve got some frightening gems ahead!

 

BCIT’s Aerospace Campus – Photo Credit: Tony Zhou (Vimeo)

 

  1. The Cabin in the Woods (2012) – This thought-provoking, thrillingly-meta and innovative horror flick showcases some of BC’s best natural assets. Woods and forests obviously get a look in as the title would suggest, and who could also forget the lake scene with teenage Thor: “Don’t kill the gorgeous man! We’re endangered!” But also keep an eye out for the high-tech interiors of BCIT’s Aerospace Campus, which were used as the control centre for the underground laboratory that is manipulating the doomed students.

 

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

 

  1. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) – All the best horror films start with “Based on a True Story” and this one even goes so far as to use that very line on its poster. Luckily for us though, those actual sad events happened in Leiblfing, Bavaria, and not on the UBC campus where several scenes were shot – the Buchanan Tower, and HR MacMillan and Douglas Kenny Buildings all feature.

 

 

Photo Credit: Youtube

 

  1. The Fog (2005) – This update of the 1980s John Carpenter classic was poorly received by audiences, despite the abundance of adorable BC locations. Atmosphere abounds though, as is only appropriate in a film with this title, and Tofino, Cowichan Bay and Fort Langley all benefit from swathes of dry ice to hide the horrors in the fog.

Photo Credit: Friday The 13th Clips

 

  1. Friday 13th: Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) – Nah, he doesn’t take Manhattan. He takes the SkyTrain! Various establishing shots would lead you to believe you’re in New York, but no – you’re mostly in Vancouver. Look out especially for the Granville Skytrain station, if you’re getting withdrawal symptoms whilst it’s closed for escalator replacement.

Photo Credit: Movieclips-Youtube

 

  1. Lake Placid (1999) – Not all Halloween monsters have to be supernatural. Why not have a 30ft animatronic crocodile on your lawn with Betty White as a helpful ally!? Or you could just take a paddle across the tranquil waters of Shawnigan Lake, Buntzen Lake or Hayward Lake – a combination of which stood in for the fictional Black Lake of Maine.

 

 

Photo Credit: CraveTV

 

  1. It (1990) – And let’s stay in Maine for the next on our list. So much attention for the more recent iterations of It, but there’s a lot of love out there for Tim Curry’s Pennywise as seen in this mini-series. Burnaby, New Westminster and Vancouver all feature strongly, with appearances from Stanley Park, New West’s Paramount Theatre and the Burnaby Village Museum. Keep passing those storm drains, everyone, but keep an eye out for a documentary about the making of this original It, out in 2020.

 

 

Photo Credit: moviemaps.org

 

  1. Underworld: Evolution (2006) & Underworld: Awakening (2012)Vampires are a pretty essential component of Halloween nowadays, but we don’t typically associate them with SFU… Or do we? So much of Underworld: Awakening was shot at the institution’s Burnaby Mountain campus with the Convocation Mall, WAC Bennett Library and Transportation Centre all featuring. The franchise’s earlier installment, Underworld: Evolution also found a home in the Lower Mainland.

 

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Netflix 

 

  1. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2019 – present) – With Sabrina’s own home surrounded by forests, there’s no shortage of weird woods for the production to decamp to in the PNW. But the series has also used its fair share of non-natural locations too, including the Paramount Theatre in New Westminster and the Vogue in Downtown Vancouver, which featured in the show’s opening episode. Meanwhile the program’s “Cerberus Books” is in Cloverdale, and the role of Sabrina’s Baxter High School is played by Lord Strathcona Elementary School in East Van.

Photo Credit: SPN UK

 

  1. Supernatural (2005 – present) – Currently filming their 15th and final season which premiered on 10 October, it’s hard to walk around the Lower Mainland without tripping over somewhere or other that the Winchester brothers have visited. With its great variety of looks and feels, one of their most consistently used spots is UBC. They can also be regularly found in Langley and Fort Langley. This region is going to get a whole lot more haunted once the boys leave town! They will be missed.

 

 

Photo Credit: Thriller Movie Trailers

 

  1. The Wicker Man (2006) – Horror of a different kind here. Sadly, not the classic, Christopher Lee version from 1973, but instead a box office bomb which swaps the Scottish Highlands and Islands for Washington State. Only it’s not Washington State, it’s BC. Both Saturna and Bowen Islands feature, as does Merrit (in the Thompson-Nicola) and, yet again, Langley. One critic described watching this horror as an “excruciating experience”, so view at your own peril. Don’t have nightmares!

An Interview with Crystal Braunwarth, Unit Publicist and Assistant Business Representative at IATSE 891

“Never wait to be asked, and never be afraid to ask”– Crystal Braunwarth

From appearing as an extra alongside her Grandfather at the age of 4, Crystal Braunwarth always knew that film and television would be the right path for her. As an Assistant Business Representative for IATSE Local 891, Crystal has explored a lot of different avenues in her publicity role, from working on Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 2 to running her production company Last Train Pictures. Crystal Braunwarth is an also award-winning short filmmaker and has been involved in union and non-union film and television in British Columbia for the last eighteen years.

We spoke to Crystal about her twelve years of experience as a unit publicist in a rapidly evolving motion picture industry in B.C.

How did you get started in the industry?

I was exposed to the entertainment industry quite young.  My Grandfather was involved on the acting side and so I was on my first set as an extra at the age of 4 in a movie that filmed in Alberta, called Betrayed.  I went to Capilano University Professional Film Studies program, graduated and began assisting producers and directors and making my own films. Included in those roles was script coordinating and clearances/product placement, which are a couple of non-union roles that people interested in film can explore to break-in.  From there, I joined the production office via IATSE 891, then mentored under one our wonderful ICG 669 Senior publicists, Lee Anne Muldoon.  I joined ICG 669 and became a Jr. Publicist and moved up to Senior.  That’s a short summary of a 22-year span!

What was it about publicity that sparked your interest?

What immediately appealed to me was the creative aspect of the job.  On some productions, the unit publicist is the first one to do a pass of loglines, synopsis and summaries, along with production notes.  That, and going through the reams of photography and choosing selects based on what best represents the show.  They are the images that will potentially accompany articles, magazines, social media…the list goes on. You get to really contribute in a meaningful way because you know the show intimately. Interviewing producers, directors and actors was a bonus, they have invaluable insight and knowledge of the industry that you don’t get in film school.

What is a semi-typical day like for you working as a Unit Publicist?

Every show is quite different.  Television is a very fast paced environment with changing schedules, block shooting and revisions, so you have to be on your toes.  You have to schedule stills days per episode based on what’s most important to cover, look for good days to have press on set, anticipate where your gallery shoot might fit in, constantly look for opportunities to interview cast and key crew members for production notes,behind the scenes shooting and special marketing requests.  For feature films, it is similar, but normally higher profile actors and producers, a little slower paced but just as intense in its own way.  You really have to experience it to fully grasp the nuanced differences, but those are the basics.

What are some of the differences between working on a domestic vs. foreign production as a publicist?

I find domestically, I have built up firm relationships with producers and content creators, so they often involve me more in a creative way when it comes to coming up with engaging special features/digital/web content and gallery shoot concepts.  I work with a solid team of photographers and shooters so they know whatever we deliver will be top notch.  On Foreign shows, there is a much bigger marketing machine behind the scenes that normally has predetermined the promotion path and it’s a matter of managing and gathering content on the ground during filming.

Could you describe a moment in your career where you felt like you’d reached that happy medium of balancing work with your passion?

I think that’s a constant balancing act as someone changes along with their career.  In 2015 I was able to attend San Diego Comic Con with the wonderful publicity team from AMC, promoting Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead.  As a publicist, it was a wild and crazy few days of interviews and panels with both shows, crossing paths with Quentin Tarantino and the cast of Hateful 8, Jamie Lee Curtis and others.  As a filmmaker, listening to Tarantino give an interview two feet away was an interesting moment of my passion for making films and the career that led me to that moment, running head-on into each other!  Interviewing Ellen Burstyn and Harrison Ford were also two ‘pinch me’ kind-of moments.  A girl from small town Alberta sitting across from iconic, movie legends and having a conversation no less.  As I’ve worked very hard to get to those seats, I also recognize there is a certain amount of privilege that has been afforded me to get there.  I am grateful for the experiences and try to pass along as much knowledge as I can to anyone looking to break in.  As part of that giving back, I also developed the first of it’s kind unit publicity course offered earlier this year via ICG 669, and loved the experience of seeing people eager to get into the field, excited and prepared to go apply their new skills.

What’s a common misconception about your field?

That ‘unit publicists’ handle the actual promoting of the show.  We really handle all the publicity garnered and gathered during ‘unit photography’, which is during the shooting process.  Some of us venture outside of it and join launch teams, and some have their own marketing companies, but it’s really the studio/network marketing engines that handle the splash of campaign pushes, in all aspects.

What advice would you give to people entering this field of publicity?

Be prepared to work hard.  It’s a constant outreach for contacts locally and Internationally and you must be proactive about finding them and keeping connected.  You have to apply that to your work ethic as well.  In most cases, you are a department of one on the ground and so you must be the one asking questions, setting up phone calls and making things happen.  Never wait to be asked, and never be afraid to ask.

Publicity and comms/PR can be notoriously busy industry, what do you do for self-care in such a hectic field?

I make time for my family.  I have a two-year-old now and so it is important not to get caught up in the grind of film hours.  I commit to 8-hour days on shows, and I’ve never had push back.  I think it’s easy to get stuck in film thinking you have to conform to certain structures and in some departments you do.  But in publicity, you have a little bit of flexibility and so I was able to make it fit in with my transition to motherhood. I’ve been fortunate as well to work as the assistant business representative this year at IATSE 891, a union over 9,000 members strong and it’s a role that relies heavily on my past experience and communications skills. It’s also a bit more stability at this time in my life, as production cycles can be a bit up and down when it comes to the demand of who is hiring a local unit publicist and who is using their own, in-house publicists.  Unit publicists are not a ‘mandatory hire’ as other positions are, so we’re not as protected in that sense.  That’s a draw back for sure, for local unit publicists here.

What’s a fun and unexpected bonus of your role?

What’s been truly fulfilling to me is the lasting work and personal relationships I’ve built over the years.  When you work in such a demanding industry, you go through the fire with colleagues from the moment you step on the ladder and move up.  Specific to my role, having the opportunity to work with the incredible talent that comes into this city and talent that resides in this city, in front of and behind the lens has been a tremendous influence on me.  From small art house shows, to big Hollywood films, every production has presented an opportunity for me to grow in all areas of my craft.  Passing that knowledge on to future publicists has been an honour and a privilege.

VIFF 2019 is Here at Last!

VIFF is back again exposing B.C. to the filmmakers of the world and proving that the motion picture industry here is thriving. With over 320 films spanning across the globe, exclusive masterclasses and creator talks, the integration of music, comedy and theatre this festival is one of the largest industry events in Vancouver.

Kicking this year off with the Opening Gala film “Guest of Honor” a Canadian psychological drama starring David Thewlis, Laysla De Oliveira, Luke Wilson, Rossif Sutherland, Alexandre Bourgeois and Arsinee Khanjian. Start planning your festival schedule now and take a look at the Creative BC sponsored events as well as the five Creative BC supported films we are proud to announce will be screening at this years festival. We look forward to seeing you there!

We’re celebrating B.C. at VIFF! Check out the some of the incredible work our B.C. filmmakers have to offer with over 25 films in this years B.C. Spotlight.

A special shout out to these Creative BC supported films:

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

Discovering Rosie (Violet Nelson), a pregnant teenager, sobbing and barefoot on a rainy East Vancouver street, Áila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) swiftly intercedes, initially offering shelter in her own apartment before working feverishly to get the girl access to proper support networks so that she needn’t return to her abusive home. As these two Indigenous women embark on a revelatory odyssey to a safe house, they must confront society’s assumptions about them, overcome their preconceptions about one another, and reflect on their own respective self-images.

My Dads, My Moms and Me

In the 2007 documentary Fatherhood Dreams, Julia Ivanova chronicled the touching and challenging journeys of four gay men who each made the decision to become parents after Canada legalized same-sex marriage. Married couple Randy and Drew adopted baby Jack. Scott connected with a surrogate to have twins Ella and Mac. Stephen decided to co-parent his daughters Jazz and Zea with lesbian couple Coreen and Wendy. In My Dads, My Moms and Me, the filmmaker revisits the lives of these men and their children, now teenagers, with a decade’s worth of insight.

Red Snow

When captured by the Taliban, a Gwich’in soldier (Asivak Koostachin) must confront tormenting memories he believed he’d left behind in the Canadian north. In turn, when he strikes up an alliance with a Pashtun family, he discovers an affinity with these ethnic Afghans beyond their shared bid for survival. Shifting between striking arctic and arid landscapes, and tapping into a universal need for belonging, Marie Clements delivers an enthralling thriller that’s as poignant as it is pulse-quickening.

This Ink Runs Deep

All across Canada, Indigenous artists are reawakening traditional tattoo practices – and sometimes lending them a contemporary twist – as a way to reclaim their cultures and identities.

The Whale and the Raven

Journeying into BC’s Great Bear Rainforest, German documentarian and cultural anthropologist Mirjam Leuze investigates the potential impact of a liquefied natural gas exporting plant and increased tanker traffic on this stunning ecosystem. Not only are we introduced to the remarkable people who call this place home and oppose the plant’s construction, including whale researchers Hermann Meuter and Janie Wray and elders of the Gitga’at First Nation, but also the humpbacks, orcas, and porpoises who use the Kitimat fjord system as a feeding- and playground.

Creative BC sponsored events:

VIFF Immersed

A two-day conference (September 28–29), Immersed features case-studies, roundtable discussions and hands-on workshops with some of the world’s leading immersive content creators.

September 28-29

Pyatt Hall and The Annex

VIFF Immersed Exhibition

VIFF Immersed Exhibition is a public marketplace exhibition featuring the finalists of this year’s International VIFF Immersed Competition and special features from the creative nexus that is British Columbia.

Sunday, September 29

Pyatt Hall

VIFF Immersed – BC 

A day of valuable workshops for producers, directors, technologists and content commissioners wishing to understand multiple aspects of immersive production.

September 28-29

VIFF AMP

Over a three day summit, October 3-5, world-class experts will weigh in on subjects such as diversity in the music marketplace, the art of music supervision and how music rights management victories around the world are benefiting songwriters and composers.

October 3-5

Visit the VIFF website to get your tickets now!

BC Literary Festival Calendar: 2019/20

 

A Literary Adventure

As summer in B.C. begins to cool and fade into fall there is yet another festival season approaching. Literary festivals! That’s right. Grab your pumpkin spice lattes’, throw on your chunky knit sweaters and head out to one of these incredible festivals hilighting all things, book, poetry, writing and more.

LiterAsian: September 27-28 | Vancouver

Victoria Festival of Authors: October 2-6| Victoria

Cascadia Poetry Festival:  October 4-5 | Cumberland

VCON 43: October 11-13 | Vancouver

Whistler Writers Festival: October 17-20 | Whistler

The Vancouver Writers Fest: October 21-27 | Vancouver

Surrey International Writers’ Conference: October  25-27 | Surrey

Growing Room: March 11-15| Vancouver

The Creative Ink Festival for Writers and Readers: May 15-17  | Burnaby

 

 

 

B.C.’s Motion Picture Industry Remains Steady with $3.2B Contribution to Economy

Creative BC is pleased to report that 384 productions which qualified for labour-based tax credit certifications during the 2018/19 fiscal year have contributed $3.2 billion to B.C.’s economy.

 

British Columbia is world-renowned as a versatile and dependable hub for motion picture production. As a global competitor in visual effects (VFX) and animation, the motion picture industry is estimated to support full time equivalent positions totalling over 71,000 in B.C. [1]

These figures show that production activity levels are holding steady as indicated by the annual total budgeted production spend, which is slightly lower by 6% year-over-year. While the total number of productions certified by Creative BC this year is down by 68 productions year-over-year, the number of productions certified is dependent on certification submissions and timing.

With these production expenditures, direct industry jobs and labour income accounted for approximately $1.67 billion spent in British Columbia. B.C.-based creators accounted for 154 productions, with non-B.C. and foreign companies bringing 230 productions to the province.

A breakdown by program of the 384 tax credit certifications approved by Creative BC during fiscal year 2018/19 includes:

  • 154 tax credit certifications were issued under the Film Incentive BC Tax Credit Program (FIBC) for Canadian owned and controlled productions, with estimated budgeted expenditures in B.C. of $391M;
  • 230 tax credit certifications were issued under the Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) program for international productions, with estimated budgeted expenditures in B.C. of $2.8B;
  • The Digital Animation, Visual Effects and Post-Production Tax Credit (DAVE), was leveraged by 152 of the total 154 FIBC claims and 218 of 230 of the PSTC claims respectively;
  • 139 productions of the 384 total tax credit certifications, or 36%, leveraged regional tax credits (outside the designated Vancouver area);
  • 61 of the 384 total tax credit certifications, or 16%, leveraged distant location regional tax credits (beyond the regional tax credit zone);
  • 7 FIBC projects accessed the newly established Scriptwriting Tax Credit.

A breakdown by format of the 384 tax credit certifications is below:

  • Feature Films: 95
  • Mini-series: 4
  • Movies of the Week: 84
  • TV Programs: 20
  • TV Series: 148
  • Web-based/other: 13
  • TV pilots: 20

For more information and detailed expenditures by production type, please visit: https://www.creativebc.com/motion-picture-industry-statistics


Highlights from B.C.’s motion picture industry during fiscal year 2018/19 include:

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Over 80% of the Academy Award-winning animated film was created by animation artists and visual effects teams in the Sony Pictures Imageworks’ Vancouver studios.
  • Ironwood & Fraserwood Studios – In April 2018, Whites Studios announced renovations and expansion for two distinct studios: Ironwood and Fraserwood Studios. Ironwood has 177,000 total square footage, including seven sound stages and office facilities and Fraserwood contains 119,000 total square footage, with four sound stages and a mill shop and paint shop.
  • A Million Little Things – ABC Studios’ A Million Little Things spent over $27M in B.C. in its first season and engaged more than 779 local businesses from 32 communities across the province. The show also used the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) to stand in for the Boston Garden.[2]
  • Last Kids On Earth – This year, Vancouver-based animation studio Atomic Cartoons signed a worldwide licensing deal for their upcoming Netflix series ‘The Last Kids on Earth”, currently in production.  The studio has also worked on Hilda, the British-Canadian co-production with Netflix, based on Luke Pearson’s graphic novel.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe – Much of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has a Vancouver stamp on it with visual effects and post-production companies Industrial Light and Magic, Double Negative (DNEG), Method Studios and Cinesite working on Captain Marvel and Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Game of Thrones – Many British Columbians may have caught the Province’s screen credits at the end of episodes of the final season of Game of Thrones. That is due to the creation of the dragons that were visualized by B.C. studio Image Engine. This high-end creative work is supported by the Canadian Film and Video Production Services Tax Credit and the Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit.
  • Unspeakable – The CBC drama examines the tragic circumstances in which contaminated blood and blood products infected thousands of Canadian patients with HIV. Unspeakable was created and written by BC-producer Robert Cooper and filmed on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.
  • Riverdale – Over three seasons, the Warner Bros. Television show Riverdale spent over $103M in BC, creating 1,785 jobs in the province. In season three alone, the show has spent $43M in B.C.[3]

 

[1] CMPA Profile 2018 estimates of direct and spin-off FTES, Exhibit 2-3

[3] MPA Canada: Economic Impacts of Riverdale, 2019

BC Music Festival Calendar: Summer 2019

Summer is here and that means the days are long, the sun is hot and the music scene is thriving!

With genres ranging from Alternative, Pop, to Hip-Hop, Country and everything in between, we have compiled a list of some of the best music festivals BC has to offer. With festivals spanning across the province there is something for everyone.

Indian Summer Festival: Jul 4 – 14 | Vancouver 

Carnaval Del Sol: July 6 – 7 | Vancouver

Khatsahlano Street Party:  July 6 | Vancouver

Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival: July 6 – 7 | Okanagan

Q’ƏMCÍN 2 Rivers Remix : Jult 6 – 7| Lytton

Atlin Arts and Music Festival: July 12 – 14 | Atlin

Bass Coast: July 12 – 15 | Merritt

African Descent Festival: July 20 -21 | Vancouver

Fort Langley Jazz Festival: July 26 – 28 | Langley

Squamish Consellation Festival: July 26 – 28 | Squamish

Luna Arts Festival: July 27 – 29 | Revelstoke

Rockin’ River Musicfest: August 1 – 4 | Merritt

Vancouver Mural Festival: August 1 – 10 | Vancouver

Hornby Festival: Aug 1 – 10 | Hornby Island

Mosaic Arts & Culture Festival: August 2 – 3 | Pender Island

Five Acre Shaker Musicfest: Aug 9 – 11 | Port Alberni

Shambhala Music Festival: Aug 9 – 12| Nelson

The Robson Valley Music Festival: Aug 16 – 18 | Dunster

Nelson Mural Festival: Aug 16 – 18 | Nelson

CULTIVATE Theatre + Music + Art Festival: Aug 30 – Sept 1 | Gabriola Commons

Denim on the Diamond: Aug 31 | Kelowna

Koksilah Music Festival: September 6 – 8 | Cowichan Valley

New Forms Festival: September 26 – 29 | Vancouver

An Interview With Brenda Bailey Executive Director of DigiBC, The Interactive and Digital Media Industry Association of B.C.

“I want people to trust that I will work on their behalf.”-Brenda Bailey

With training in business and law, a background in social work, and a degree in Arabic, Brenda Bailey has followed a unique career path. “Everyone expected me to do typically female jobs, when really, I should have been a technologist right from the start. But we didn’t know about those opportunities.”

Brenda grew up in a small town on Vancouver Island. “In the early 80s, arcades were all the rage. I think the arcade was a really integral part of growing up in a small town at that time. It’s something we did with our friends; it was our community.”

Back then, it never felt odd to Brenda to be a girl playing video games – it wasn’t seen as a male space, but that changed with the onset of first-person shooter games. “I don’t believe video gaming is an innately male space – I think it’s been a reflection of who’s making the video games rather than an innate desire to play them.” With that in mind, she set out to change the types of games being made by going into the video game business. “I wanted to build high quality games for girls, but it was tough as there weren’t a lot of concepts being developed.”

After working with several startups in the interactive digital media space, Brenda was asked to lead DigiBC, an umbrella association that supports people working in video games, animation, visual effects, augmented and virtual reality. It’s an amazing time in the interactive digital media world right now, and there’s been incredible growth in the digital media space because there’s so much technology and so many technologists coming outof the video game industry.

“We have the largest cluster of animation studios in the world. From Parksville to Kelowna to Victoria, there’s an incredible technology sector thriving in our province.”

Video games are no longer something that you need to access at your local arcade – the technology is in your pocket.There’s more ability to make and deliver games than ever before, and that gives rise to new voices. “It’s now about discoverability. The market is saturated with so much product that we need to help those diverse stories come forward.”

Getting young people involved in technology, and helping stories be told, is what’s fueling Brenda now. She’s trying to incentivize the creation of intellectual property here in B.C., and she’s focusing on empowering and equipping the next generation. She’s exposing students to the plethora of opportunities that exist within B.C.’s interactive digital media space. “If it’s art you’re interested in, become an animator. If you’re a natural leader, become a producer.”

There are opportunities for musicians, mathematicians, even those kids who maybe don’t fit into any place yet.” What’s really exciting for Brenda though is the number of women leading this space to move forward. “If you look at the leaders in Vancouver’s technology and creative industries, it’s amazing – I’ve never seen so many women! So is it really a surprise then that the different tech industries are working together more and more, and collaborating? I don’t think so,” she says with a smile.

An Interview with Kim Thé, Booking Representative & Artist Manager at Pebble Star Artists

Kim Thé gives us some incite into Pebble Star Artists, a full-service art management and booking agency for family friendly entertainment and young audiences. With a little help from Creative BC Kim talks about what the future looks like for this family built company and what exciting things we can expect to see from them in the future! Check it out.

How did you or your company get started?

My husband is children’s performer Will Stroet from Will’s Jams on CBC Kids, and I’ve been working as his manager and booking agent since he started performing in 2005. We formally incorporated our company, Pebble Star Productions, in 2012 when we landed a deal with CBC television and got into TV production. Over the years while managing Will, I was also working in marketing and communications in the private and public sectors. In 2013, juggling motherhood, our company work and a communications job became too much, so I started working full-time for our company to handle all the grant writing, event production, bookings, branding, merchandise coordination and marketing. After booking Will for more than 1,500 shows over the years and receiving more requests than I could fulfill, I decided to launch my own booking agency Pebble Star Artists in March 2017.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Thanks to the support of Creative BC, I was able to launch a new website and attend a few performing arts showcases for the first time across the country last year to promote my roster. It was great to meet people face-to-face since I’ve only ever communicated by email and phone. I’ve had a successful first year booking shows for my artists.

What milestones have you achieved or are you focusing on now?

One of my artists,  beatboxer and livelooper RupLoops had a great showcase at Arts NorthWest in Oregon and I’m working on booking his first US tours for 2019/2020. Another one of my artists, Bollywood dancer Karima Essa, had a great showcase at ArtStarts, which resulted in a 50-plus show tour in schools this year.  I also worked with Will to build his new Will’s Jams Live multimedia show which has toured in China three times since July 2017. We’ll be working on building Will’s brand in China and Hong Kong to move beyond Canada. Will and I also raised $9,000 through Kickstarter to support  the recording of his new album, which will be launched at the Children’s Festivals in Vancouver, Surrey and Kootenays in May 2019

Are there any projects we should know about that we can promote for you?

Thanks to the support of Creative BC, we’ve been able to produce lots of new video content for Will. We recently  launched a new web series called Will’s World to build Will’s profile online. It’s a fun show for kids and their parents that can be described as “Wayne’s World” meets “Mr. Rogers” with a dad’s sensibility! ” We’ve also just started releasing French lyric videos for French teachers and students as well. I’m also really really excited to be working with local soul singer Krystle Dos Santos. We’ve developed a young audience show called  “A History of Motown,” which she’ll perform at the ArtStarts showcase in March, and will hopefully result in a significant amount of school bookings in the 2019/2020 school year.

If there is a particular individual currently working at your company or with whom your company has worked with in the past who has had notable impact, please tell us more about them…

With Creative BC’s help, we’ve been able to hire Mital Gorman as our marketing coordinator. She is the main producer and videographer for Will’s World who is full of great ideas and has helped me produce two successful Family Day concerts in February 2018 to showcase some of my artists. She also helps us with our social media planning and newsletters. It’s been great to have another person working with us on a regular basis to grow both of our companies.

An Interview With Ian Harper Producer of Inanimate Alice.

“We are trusting people to contribute to the story as is progresses”-Ian Harper

As an International Project Manager, Ian Harper spent most of his life travelling. He lived and worked in the Middle East, South East Asia, and Africa before settling down in Nanaimo, B.C. where he now produces the digital novel, Inanimate Alice.

Ian loves the fact that he can work from anywhere thanks to technology, yet he says technology doesn’t always benefit us. “Thirteen years ago, I was at Waterloo Station in London waiting for a train when a young woman bowled me over while she was looking at her phone.” That may have been Ian’s first experience of someone being so distracted by technology they lost grasp of where they were, but it was not his last.

Those experiences inspired him to explore the hold that technology has on us. It also challenged him to find a way to use technology to help people better understand their place in the world, rather than feel so disconnected. “The underlying dilemma for me was, who is controlling the conversation, who is driving the relationship?”

Once Ian started asking these kinds of questions, he was compelled to change his entire career. “By the time I was 50, I got to this moment in life where I realized I could do something else. I went back to school to learn to write for the screen. It was an eye-opening experience, and it sparked this need in me to tell an in-depth story involving technology and connectivity.

”Inanimate Alice is an ongoing digital novel that progressively incorporates interactive media. It’s a collaboration between Ian, writer Kate Pullinger and developers Chris Joseph and Andy Campbell. Alice starts out as a young girl learning to use technology. As she gets older, the viewer experiences greater technological complexity through the unfolding story. “Each episode becomes more and more complicated, and you uncover things as you go. It leaves much to the imagination and encourages readers to find their inspiration within ideas. It’s a voyage of exploration, which is why I think kids are attracted to it.”

Ian is currently working with libraries to develop a unique model where people can access each episode on library servers and use their virtual reality headsets to interact with the series.

“This is a key moment for reading,” states Ian, “as libraries define their role in teaching digital and technological literacy in support of the new economy.”

With the support of Creative BC, Ian has been able to build partnerships such as with the Fraser Valley Regional Library, where Inanimate Alice is now available. “Creative BC has done a fantastic job promoting this series and helping us build relationships with libraries. Now we need support to complete the story.”

Inanimate Alice has been downloaded by at least 1.5 million people, with more and more teachers using it as a tool in their classroom. “We are talking about a story that inspires and opens up the imagination. Kids and teachers alike feel like they are coming along with us on the journey – they are part of the team.”