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'Bring it on!' Calgary is ready for a promising year in the film industry

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As people look forward to watching the TV show The Last of Us, Calgary’s film industry looks forward to people seeing the city’s potential.

The HBO’s post-apocalyptic series, set to debut Jan. 15, was a major production with an enormous budget that filmed in and around Calgary in 2022, including at Calgary Film Centre.

“I'm excited for the premiere of The Last of Us,“ said Erin O’Connor, business development manager with Calgary Film Centre.

“It will bring a lot of eyes and a lot more attention to this area.”

The area’s film industry has boomed in the past two years. 2021 was a banner year for TV and movie productions in Calgary. In 2022, the city was ranked one of the best cities to live and work in the film industry by Moviemaker, and 2023 is looking promising for expansion with more crew members available and new sound stages opening.

“We're ready for the growth. Bring it on!” said International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) 212 president Damian Petti.

“We're in discussions with a couple of projects. So by about February or March, we should be quite busy,” said Petti, who represents motion picture technicians, artists and craftspeople in 23 departments including grips, wardrobe and special effects.

IATSE 212’s membership has grown 35 per cent in the past two years, according to Petti, with 500 more people now trained for the industry.

“We now have a lot more crew than we used to have as a result. So we're hopeful that in the new year, we can put all those people to work.”

Calgary Film Centre was booked solid the past two years and that is expected to continue in 2023. Fraggle Rock is scheduled to wrap production at the centre in March but O’Connor says they have nine leads for the upcoming year.

“I can't say what they are. But they're all very solid leads and very exciting for Calgary,” said O’Connor.

“I think we'll see some celebrity star power on the streets."

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