A lot of big and little screen shows have been filmed in Cloverdale. Over the years, Paul Orazietti, the executive director of the Cloverdale BIA, has documented those productions.
Now Orazietti wants to share that information with the public. He’s already spoken to the City of Surrey and they’re keen on his idea to create an interactive webpage with pictures and production notes that fans will be able to access.
“Basically, we are copying what Tourism Vancouver has done,” said Orazietti. Tourism Vancouver has created and all-things film and television page than can direct fans to former film locations so they can revisit the production roots of their favourite shows.
“The idea was to do something similar,” explained Orazietti. “Unfortunately, the city has a very limited inventory of information regarding filming, so we’ve agreed to work together to build a database with photos and maps.”
Orazietti said he has about 3,000 photos and production information stretching back 15 years.
He noted the city’s webpage will encompass all of Surrey, but Orazietti will only focus on productions that went ahead in Cloverdale.
“People come to Cloverdale just to visit set locations. And that number is growing every year.”
He said he’s met people from Australia, Kenya, and other places from around the globe that have come to Cloverdale just to see locations used in the series Smallville.
“Some of them go to great lengths to research it,” said Orazietti. “So it’s become a new form of tourism.”
He said Cloverdale has a lot of film history, but nothing has been connected or promoted in any way. “There’s been virtually no marketing money available.”
He hopes the new site will act as a starting point for anyone interested in Cloverdale’s film locations and film history.
He said the next steps toward creating the interactive film page will involve James Monk, the city’s filming manager, and the city.
“They’ve come to me and said, ‘Alright, what exactly can you provide?’ Now I need to get back to them with more details,” said Orazietti. “A lot of what I’m missing now are the production notes. This is when (the film people) come in and explain what they are going to do. I have to find those. I have all the other photos.”
The first production he witnessed when he came to Cloverdale was a movie called A Storm in Summer (2000), starring Peter Falk.
“It was neat. We were at town in Middle America and the gentleman who directed it was a guy named Robert Wise. And Robert Wise directed The Sound Of Music (1965), and the first Star Trek movie (1979).
This show rises above all others who have come to Cloverdale. The production company purchases locally, the crew are super friendly and they feed their fans with autographs and are kind to them. Plus you have wonderful actors and an endearing story line. A Super Fan forever! https://t.co/Yk2SYJbDH2 pic.twitter.com/9kzAoXxoUR
— Paul Orazietti (@Paradeguy) May 18, 2021
Orazietti said as interest in filming locations continues to grow, he needs to figure out ways to promote it.
“We’re trying to make (filming history) a valuable asset for the community and were trying to do it in a variety of ways. There is a lot of filming on 176th, but there is also a lot of filming located only a few blocks away.”
He also said there are rumors a big studio will be built in Campbell Heights. One that would be a similar size to the big studio being built in Langley.
“It would match what Martini’s doing, about 600,000 sq. feet, which would be one of the largest in the country.”
He said there is no timeline yet on the when the City of Surrey film website will go live, but he’s hoping it’ll be done by the end of the summer.
“Everyone treats filming differently, but you can see there is a huge interest in it.” He said social media has elevated that interest. “People love to see what’s going on, if you feed them that stuff, they get excited about it.”
He said the new webpage will help take that interest and fan interaction to the next level.
“There is a charm, but right now there is still a need to invest and make things look a little better.”