Calgary’s filmmaking business has been on the rise for the past several years, as many large budget movies and television shows are being filmed in the city and its surrounding area.

Most prominently, HBO’s new series The Last of Us has been filming all across Southern Alberta this spring.

However, along with the glitz and glamour of the industry, there are many different aspects to filmmaking. Bow Valley College’s newest program explores the more technical side of creating the movies, shows and games people love.

After a year and a half of planning and a partnership with Vancouver’s Centre for Entertainment Arts, the college launched its own centre in January.

A classroom for students in the Centre for Entertainment Arts | PHOTO: CHRIS BOLIN/BOW VALLEY COLLEGE

The four diploma programs currently available are: foundation in entertainment arts; advanced 3D animation & 3D modelling; advanced visual effects and advanced game development.

Each of the courses builds on the powers of visual arts, and generally focuses on either being utilized in creating video games or the computer generated images (CGI) in movies.

Tony Wigglesworth, the associate dean of technology at Bow Valley College, expressed the potential for further development and addition of programs, including a film option in 2023. All of this is being done with the goal of advancing the film industry in Alberta.

“We want to expand on the post production aspect of the growing film industry,” said Wigglesworth. “Help to make talent available for the emerging market.”

An open workspace in the Centre. | PHOTO: CHRIS BOLIN/BOW VALLEY COLLEGE

The term emerging market is true for Calgary, as the industry brought in $500 million from over 100 productions in 2021 — a $300 million increase from the year prior. Calgary was also recognized in MovieMaker Magazine as the tenth best place to live as a filmmaker in 2022.

Vancouver has also seen great development in this industry, and there is hope that Bow Valley College could see similar success by capitalizing on a training gap in the industry here.

“The program is unique in Alberta’s market,” said Wigglesworth.

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