Edmonton to launch new film industry advocacy body

A new city body is set to push for more Edmonton faces to appear on small and big screens — a boost industry players say is needed to grow the film industry here.

The new screen industries office and advisory council will take over the role that was played by the city’s film commissioner until last year, when the office became vacant.

Eric Rebalkin, CEO of Mosaic Entertainment, said with film, digital, music and gaming businesses doing well in Edmonton there is an opportunity to bring those groups together and the office will help make that happen.

“We can find ways to work together to create awesome products. We can be the next Austin,” he said.

Production manager Karen Redford, who is working on a feature film with Mosaic, told councillors the industry has to grow with small projects to keep homegrown talent in Edmonton.

“It has the potential for growth, but it needs to be grown in a careful way,” she said.

She said the business is there if Edmonton can go out and get it.

“There is so much production happening in Canada right now, it’s crazy.”

Redford said right now local crews and technicians struggle with work and that makes it difficult for young talent to stay.

“This is July and this is the first project they have worked on.”

The proposed office would initially be housed in the Edmonton Arts Council and would have a board of industry representatives. The office will advocate for the industry and attempt to bring co-productions here to showcase the benefits of working in Edmonton.

Mayor Don Iveson said it took too long for the city to put this office in place, but working with the whole industry has allowed it to see the bigger picture and not just focus on movies.

“We have fumbled this for a little while, quite frankly, but that has created a really exciting opportunity,” he said.

Iveson said the investment the city makes, currently pegged at a one-time offering of $150,000, will be worth it if it spurs the industry.

“I am convinced that there are good returns on investment here.”


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