Surrey will have its first TV production coming back to the city to film at the end of the month.
City of Surrey’s filming manager James Monk said a TV series that films regularly in the city, and the Lower Mainland, will be “coming down the pipe at the end of the month.”
Monk added it’s the first application the city has issued for the TV industry since the B.C. film industry was given the green light to start up again after the COVID-19 pandemic shut productions down.
“We’re happy to hear they’re coming back.”
During a press conference Thursday (July 9), Premier John Horgan said there are currently 24 TV and movie-of-the-week productions filming throughout the province.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll get back to the full complement of TV and movie productions before the end of the summer.”
In early June, the provincial government gave the go-ahead to B.C.’s film industry to restart productions that were stopped due to COVID-19.
The guidelines will ensure social distancing during film and TV production and they cover everything from costumes and makeup to transportation and catering.
Film production companies are allowed to start working once they have a COVID-19 safety plan that meets both their protocols and the provincial health officer orders, WorkSafe said.
However, Monk said the commercial industry has already been working in the city for several weeks.
He said Surrey has issued 10 commercial permits in the last four weeks since that industry is able to work with smaller crew sizes.
But he said the city will be reviewing TV and film applications on a case-by-case basis.
“For productions, our expectation, it’s a requirement that they would have to have a safety plan on site for them,” said Monk. “Safety is a priority, for staff and the public.”
Monk said applications are “coming in slowly” as crews develop safety plans, but he expects it will be busy again toward the end of the summer.
He added that had been on the phone earlier in the day with five other productions that are in the process of restarting.
Filming in the province is “primarily” in studios right now, he said, since it’s a “controlled environment.”
But for filming on location, Monk said he expects “we’ll start to see more and more of that” as time goes on.
Surrey has become a “real destination” for productions, he noted.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the film industry.”
Notable productions in recent years have included The Flash, Supernatural, The Good Doctor, Supergirl and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
However, it was announced earlier this week that Sabrina’s final season would be airing later this year.
The show filmed often in Surrey, specifically along 176th Street in Cloverdale. The production had leased two storefronts on the street, and would film in the city three to four days a month, Monk said.
He said it was “a bit of surprise,” hearing about the show’s upcoming final season.
“When they’re there that often, you build a relationship with the crew. It’s going to feel a little different without them there.”
But with that, Monk said he’s already had to calls for filming in Cloverdale since the news broke.
“Word spreads quickly. Everyone’s thinking of Cloverdale.”
– With files from The Canadian Press
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