From festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to the constant filming of high profile productions in our major cities, the film industry is thriving in Canada.
And Vancouver is playing a huge part in this…unfortunately, just never as itself.
Currently the third largest film city in North America, if you live in the city, you’ll know that camera crews and trailers for talent are a regular sighting on city streets. Which means it should come as no surprise that the city’s buildings and backdrops appear in countless films and TV shows.
But the thing is, they’re always disguised as somewhere else – from San Francisco and Seattle, to The Bronx, India, and even North Korea.
As Tony Zhou of Every Frame a Painting points out in his latest video essay, Vancouver has no film identity of its own. ‘You never actually see the city, it’s always pretending to be someone else,” he says in the video. The Vancouver native attributes this to his city’s chameleon-like ability to disguise itself as somewhere else, with the help of a few American news signs, flags, and USA Today vending machines.
“It’s on-screen image is generic,” says Zhou of the city, and points out that a few things like lighting and new angles can make city look just different enough.
Although some films in recent years have seen Vancouver playing itself, as Zhou points out, they’re not widely distributed.
Hopefully, Vancouver can follow a similar path to Toronto. While Ontario’s capital has been disguised for years (and largely continues to be), films like Atom Egoyan’s Chloe (Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, and Amanda Seyfried) and What If (Daniel Radcliffe) have shone the spotlight on all The 6ix has so offer by playing itself.