Calgary is on location as a top destination for film talent to build a career and a life. For the fourth consecutive year, Calgary made MovieMaker Magazine’s list of the best places to live and work as a filmmaker in 2024, placing eighth among 25 cities in North America.
Cities are ranked by financial incentives, cost of living, feedback from moviemakers, overall happiness and personal visits from the MovieMaker team.
The annual ranking identified Calgary’s competitive advantages lie in its film-friendly practices, globally competitive incentives, locations and infrastructure.
Film-friendly approach key to Calgary’s success
“Calgary consistently earns its spot on the global stage as a renowned destination for creative talent by intentionally implementing a film-friendly approach that attracts and supports world-class productions of any scale,” said Luke Azevedo, Vice President, Creative Industries and Operations, and Calgary Film Commissioner at Calgary Economic Development.
“It takes collaboration between the Calgary Film Commission, the City of Calgary, our unions and guilds, all orders of government, our hotel association, technology providers, sound stages and standing sets – and some of the brightest minds that work across our creative economy – to welcome top-tier productions from around the world.”
Calgary is well on its way to shine on the world stage.
Despite the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strikes throughout 2023, Calgary still welcomed over 140 productions, and the City of Calgary approved 755 film permits.
To build upon the momentum in Alberta’s screen production industry, civic partners, community organizations and all orders of government work closely to lower barriers for productions considering Calgary.
Photo packages, location tours and sustainable local vendor recommendations are just some of the services the Calgary Film Commission and Calgary Economic Development provide to studios.
While ensuring productions think globally, Calgary also helps productions choose local.
Jointly developed with partners across the province, the Alberta Sustainable Production Guide was launched as a resource in 2022, and the Calgary Film Commission was awarded a prestigious Alex Metcalfe Award for its comprehensive Environmental, Social and Governance Strategy for Film and TV in 2021.
In addition to offering a dynamic range of landscapes and award-winning crews, financial incentives entice productions to select Calgary over other jurisdictions.
Between the Government of Alberta’s cap-free Film and Television Tax Credit, the Alberta Media Fund and the Canadian Film and Video Production Tax Credit, creative projects can make their dollar go farther in Calgary.
MovieMaker rank joins Calgary’s accolades as destination for film productions
The MovieMaker recognition comes on the heels of Calgary-filmed productions, The Last of Us, Prey and Fraggle Rock winning in nine categories out of a combined 31 nominations at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards.
The city also won the Location of the Year award at the inaugural Global Production Awards at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
Currently Canada’s fourth largest film and TV jurisdiction, Calgary’s potential as a leading destination for filmmakers is steadily growing.
Every year over 3,000 professionals graduate from local post-secondary institutions – SAIT, Mount Royal University, University of Calgary and Bow Valley College – and join the city’s creative talent pool, with skills in film production, animation, visual effects and more.
More than 32,000 people are currently employed by 12,000 businesses in Calgary’s creative industries sector.
Film talent have the opportunity to work on everything from independent productions to A-list Hollywood shows from Calgary.
Along with the recent Emmy-award winning productions, other Alberta-filmed productions include My Life with the Walter Boys, The Abandons, Fargo, Under the Banner of Heaven, Joe Pickett, Billy the Kid, Heartland, Tribal and Guilty Party.
Azevedo says the city is just getting started.
“Calgary’s recognition on MovieMaker’s list will encourage more film professionals and productions to turn to Calgary, signaling a bright future and busy year ahead for our creative industries.”
Development of the film and television sectors align with Calgary’s vision to be a creative hub and top location for talent and businesses across industries in the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy.
For more information on Calgary’s film and television sector, visit our Creative Industries page.