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Calgary's mayor in Hollywood as another production begins back home

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek is in Hollywood, trying to bring more film and television productions to her city.

And Gondek's two-day Los Angeles trip comes as another feature film is shooting in and around Calgary this month.

The Birds Who Fear Death spent Wednesday morning filming scenes on a ranch near Cochrane, ahead of the film's expected spring 2023 release.

"The story focuses on two brothers who are Indigenous," Sanjay Patel, the writer and director of the film, told CTV News.

"They are greedy, they are entitled and they are spending their time and lives chasing money. But at the end of the day, they realize money is not the architect of happiness."

The 23-day production is just the latest project to use Alberta's film crews, infrastructure and landscapes.

The Birds Who Fear Death joins a long list of movies and series to come through the Calgary area in the past two years, including Hulu's hit film Prey and HBO's massive production The Last of Us.

"You can't find this anywhere else. You can look at Montana in the States, but there's a beauty here that you can't find anywhere else in Canada," said Adam Beach, who plays Adam in The Birds Who Fear Death.

"I think filmmaking is one of the best ways to capture the heart of a nation, the heart of a city, the heart of the people," Beach said.

"It's not just the monetary value. Doing a movie is giving you free advertisement of 'come and see our beautiful place.'"

Industry on a roll, officials say

The mayor is part of a delegation from the city and Calgary Economic Development in Los Angeles this week, pitching the city to production companies.

Since the Calgary Film Centre opened in 2016, the Calgary area has drawn in dozens of productions — from blockbusters to smaller, independent series.

"As the studios are looking at opportunities in this region, they see that the confidence level is there and that the enhancements that have been made in those areas are extremely important. It's going to be a great selling feature," said Luke Azevedo with Calgary Economic Development.

Alberta's film and TV industry has grown from about $250 million in 2019 to double that in 2021.

Officials say it isn't unreasonable to see the industry in the province climb toward $1 billion annually.

"This is the place to be," said Gondek.

"We've got the talent, both in front of the camera and behind the camera. We are the third-most diverse city in Canada, so we've got the opportunity for them to allow the stories of real Canadians, real Albertans to be told and broadcast right around the world," she said. Top Stories

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