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This is where Calgary ranks among the top North American cities for filmmakers

Calgary ranks among the top 10 cities in North America for filmmakers, according to a recent list from a Los Angeles-based film magazine.

MovieMaker Magazine ranked the 25 best places to live and work as a moviemaker for 2024, with Calgary – called an “affordable, thriving and growing film hub” – coming in at number eight on the list.

The list recommends Calgary’s shoot-worthy locations, including the downtown core, prairies, badlands and the Rockies, as seen in shows like The Last of Us and Fargo.

Calgary is the third Canadian destination on the list with Toronto, Ont., finishing in first place and Vancouver, B.C., in fifth. Montreal, Que., came in as the fourth and final Canadian city on the list, finishing 10th.

MovieMaker excluded Los Angeles and New York City as obvious destinations for filmmakers, suggesting anyone looking to get started in the industry consider the other cities on their list, which factored in financial incentives, cost of living, feedback from moviemakers, happiness and personal visits

Rounding out the top 10 include Albuquerque, N.M. (second); New Orleans, La. (third); Austin, Texas (fourth); Atlanta, Ga. (sixth); Miami, Fla. (seventh); and Chicago, Ill (ninth).

Following recent recognition on the international stage, stakeholders in the film industry in Calgary are anticipating a year of growth in 2024.

“Calgary’s recognition on MovieMaker’s list will encourage more film professionals and productions to turn to Calgary, signalling a bright future and busy year ahead for our creative industries,” Luke Azevedo, Calgary Economic Development’s film commissioner, said in a news release.

A scene from The Last of Us shot in Alberta. (Source: HBO)

A delegation, including Mayor Jyoti Gondek, just returned from Los Angeles where they pitched nine major film studios on bringing more productions to the Calgary area.

Alberta’s arts and culture minister also recently took a trip to Hollywood to promote the province’s film and television industry.

According to the City of Calgary, more than 750 permits were approved in 2023 for 140 productions, ranging from student independent films, national commercials and major motion pictures and television.

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