Film commissioner says The Rock, Kevin Costner highlight flourishing Alberta film industry

A number of stars were in Alberta over the past week — and caught attention by letting their fans know how nice it is — but Calgary’s film commissioner says Alberta’s movie industry deserves its share of the spotlight too.

Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson — who were filming another iteration of Jumanji — both posted on social media from the mountains, while Kevin Costner was making waves in parts of Didsbury and Fort MacLeod, Alberta, where he and Diane Lane are filming a new movie.

“For us it’s beyond the stars. Those will be the people that eventually get us more recognition, however the quality of the production and the quality of the people that occurs in Alberta is world-class,” said Luke Azevedo, commissioner of film, television and creative industries with Calgary Economic Development.

Azevedo said that in addition to the province’s film talent, the locations available in Alberta set the province apart from other areas.

“The vistas are a major, major draw. We have within a three-hour radius the mountains, the prairie, the badlands and two municipalities of [near] a million people. Geographically, we’re very unique globally,” Azevedo said.

Alberta’s landscape allows filmmakers to shoot multiple scenes, which all look completely different, in a short period of time, Azevedo said.

Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are in Didsbury and Fort Macleod to film Let Him Go. The movie’s casting directors had also hired movie extras from within the community. Filming for the movie is expected to continue into May.

Azevedo said there’s a misconception that movie productions are usually done in the city, but that’s not the case, filming is often done in small towns, and it benefits them financially.

Alberta’s film industry hasn’t grown at the same pace as it has in B.C. and Ontario — as those provinces currently offer better incentive programs, he said.

But an increased need for content due to a rapid pace of consumption means Alberta could be one of the next major locations for film and television globally, he said.

He said Calgary Economic Development is eager to work with the incoming government.

“They talked about film and television being an area that they want to support and see grow and develop. So that’s what we’d like to see,” he said.

The Rock back in Calgary

While Johnson was filming in southern Alberta he posted about Calgary on social media, twice.

The now actor posted a photo of himself at Calgary International Airport.

“Defining memories. Wow,” Johnson wrote.

“I have a deep reverence for this town — she shook me in the best possible way.”

He later wrote another nostalgic post while in the mountains. Johnson had briefly played football for the Calgary Stampeders, but he was cut from the team after just two months. That’s how he ended up in Florida, with only $7 in his pocket.

“I came to this area, Calgary, Alberta, Canada almost 20 years ago with a big dream and the willingness to work. I left this area, almost 20 years ago my dreams were crushed, ” he said in a video.

“This place is reflective of how ironic and unpredictable life is.”

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