Neverland meets Newfoundland in new Disney production set to film in August

·3 min read
Tourism and Arts Minister Steve Crocker says Newfoundland and Labrador's television and film industry is continuing to grow.  (John Pike/CBC - image credit)
Tourism and Arts Minister Steve Crocker says Newfoundland and Labrador's television and film industry is continuing to grow. (John Pike/CBC - image credit)
John Pike/CBC
John Pike/CBC

Newfoundland and Labrador is heading to Hollywood once again, this time as part of Walt Disney Pictures' latest chapter in the tales of Neverland in its new live-action movie Peter Pan & Wendy.

The film is directed by David Lowery, produced by Jim Whitaker and stars Jude Law, Ever Anderson, Alexander Molony, Yara Shahidi, Alan Tudyk and Jim Gaffigan among others.

Government officials made the announcement on Tuesday of a deal through the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation (NLFDC) and Walt Disney Pictures.

"This certainly is an exciting day for the film industry in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Tourism and Arts Minister Steve Crocker. "The opportunity we are seeing as this industry continues to grow is evidence of this announcement this morning."

The agreement in place to film a portion of the movie in N.L. is a 30 per cent rebate on eligible production spending, up to $3 million. Crocker said it's estimated that the eligible total spending in the province will be approximately $9 million.

A cast and crew of approximately 150 people including local technicians, artists and film workers will be on the production throughout August in several locations on the island. COVID-19 protocols will be implemented and followed at all locations, according to the department.

John Pike/CBC
John Pike/CBC

Crocker said in 2020-21 "production activity" in N.L. equalled over $50 million and supported over 500 full-time equivalent jobs. He said several more film projects are in the planning stages for the next year, adding it will add up to about $90 million in production activity.

The NLFDC provides investments to the industry through two programs: the Equity Investment Program and the Newfoundland and Labrador Film and Video Tax Credit.

"This Disney production will provide various opportunities for skill enhancements for existing local film workers and recruitment of new labour to this growing industry," Crocker said.

"Film and television productions also help highlight this province's tourism assets."

Action in August

Dorian Rowe, executive director and film commissioner of NLFDC, told reporters on Tuesday the movie is in production with filming underway in British Columbia. He said the dates and locations for shooting in Newfoundland are still to be determined with elements such as weather to account for, but noted it will take place over the first two weeks in August.

"They initially saw pictures on the internet then contacted us for the film commission. Then many, many conversations later they decided to come," Rowe said.

Rowe said locations are being looked at around Trinity, Bonavista and the Cape Shore areas, but nothing is set in stone right now.

Crocker said the provincial government's rebate deal puts N.L. on level playing field with other competing jurisdictions.

"If you do research around what other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world are doing, California has all kinds of these subsidies and programs to keep that industry there," he said.

"It's an industry that's out there looking for this type of program and we're more than happy to be there and start being competitive and attract these shows."

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