New film studio opens in Walnut Grove

A new film studio has opening in Langley as B.C.  as the province's film industry continues to boom.

Martini Film Studios opened Tuesday, with 150,000 sq. ft. of film lot space and seven stages. There's also 100,000 sq. ft of extra "support space."

The studio, located in Walnut Grove near 197 Street and 96 Avenue, has Gemma Martini — a Metro-Vancouver based actress — as its CEO.

Peter Leitch, chair of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of B.C., said the new studio is good news.

"We're excited about it, as an industry, in terms of expanding the infrastructure out into the [Fraser] Valley. Lots of the crew base and the cast are living out in the valley and I think it's great to see infrastructure being built there and promoting growth of the industry."

Industry booming

The number of productions made in and around Vancouver has ramped up over the past few years due to the low dollar and tax incentives offered to production companies.

Local film schools say they are getting more applications from students and SkyDance Studios — the company behind hit films like Baywatch and Star Trek Beyond — opened a studio in Surrey last September.

That city shattered its film permit record in 2016, handing out 170 notices compared to 97 the year before. 

California draws business south

However, American film studios have been trying to bring business back south of the border with incentives of their own. 

In March, it was revealed that two TV programs that had been filming in Vancouver — Legion and Lucifer — were Hollywood-bound after being lured south by California's new tax credit.

Of all the American television and movie shoots in Canada, B.C. hosts nearly 60 per cent. The province rakes in roughly $2 billion a year from the industry.

With files from CBC's Jesse Johnston