New partnership with China could mean big business for Alberta filmmakers

Amy Stalker, Senior News Producer (CTV News)

A partnership with China could be the boost the Alberta film industry needs.

A memorandum of understanding between a delegation from Guangdong province and the Alberta Media Production Industries Association was signed Monday during the Banff World Media Festival.

The province of Guangdong is the biggest consumer market on the planet.

There are 250 million people living there and that means a chance to showcase Alberta connected stories to a massive audience.

It’ll also be a chance to collaborate and to produce content which will potentially translate into more jobs for Albertans and many local production companies are excited to get on board.

“We want to be able to tell our stories and to team up with the Chinese and Guangdong province in particular is just massive because there are 250 million people in there,” says Michelle Gayse a producer with Leader Production Services. “That’s a huge audience; that’s a huge number of eyeballs that could potentially be watching Alberta based stories.”

It’s a deal some say could help diversify our economy.

“Films that either have been shot by Albertans in Alberta or films shot in Alberta have won more Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes than any other region in the country so I think we have a great opportunity to really build the economy in Alberta and diversify in a really significant way,” says Michael Jorgenson the chair of the Alberta Media Production Industries Association.

This memorandum of understanding follows a recent trip to Guangdong province by Premier Rachel Notley where both provinces agreed to become sister provinces.

Chinese delegates visited the Calgary Film Centre Sunday and were very impressed with the $28 million facility which produces many international projects such as Fargo.

 “This is my first time here and I'm really impressed with the studio here and the people here I meet the film people here and they are really professional and they bring new and creative ideas here,” says Cathy Wu the general manager of the Chinese Film Company.

 “China is looking for a partnership around the world to establish and support its industry and Alberta is ideal position to do that,” says Ron Hoffman the senior representative for Asia Pacific Alberta.

This September AMPIA will lead a delegation to China and is inviting qualified, local production companies to join them and the province will lend a financial hand to those interested in attending.