Filming generates money and pride

The red carpet was rolled out, the PWK gym was full, and Fort Smith
author Richard Van Camp was ready to enjoy the community’s premiere
of his latest film. Hickey Gone Wrong (2015) and Three Feathers (2018) were shot in Fort Smith. “To feel community pride at a screening where you see the town and people that you adore so much – the people, land and town that helped inspire my stories – is the best feeling in the world,” he said in an interview.

Filming creates opportunities for local actors and crews, and contributes to the local economy. “We shopped in Fields, Northern, Kaeser’s,
Anna’s Catering, the hotel, taxis, Northwestern Air Lease, accommodations
at the B&B owned by Sandra Robichaud, the restaurants,” Richard said. But there’s another economic spinoff to having shoots here. “I think our films showcase our beauty, and our movies can be calling cards for more tourism dollars.” Fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, for example, flock to New Zealand to see where the films were shot.

The territorial government provided some funding for Three Feathers and Hickey Gone Wrong but could be courting larger productions with funding, tax credits and the availability of local film crews. Despite being set in the Northwest Territories, the 2012 film The Lesser Blessed, based on Richard
Van Camp’s novel, was shot in Sudbury, Ontario. It cost $2.2 million to make and took 20 days to shoot. “That money should have been generated and spent in the North,” Richard said. “I want more $2.2-million movies and TV series made from my work and the work of Northerners. I want that money to stay north of

“I want to invest in all of the local businesses. I want to see and feel more community pride. I want to invest in local actors, producers directors, production teams, portable editing suites, state of the art technology. I want more for the North – and the film industry is one of the best ways to do it.”

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