A Canadian TV and film production company has pulled up stakes from the Prairies and is coming to Langley Township, bringing potentially hundreds of jobs.
Partners in Motion/Harmony Entertainment, which primarily makes documentary, reality, and educational TV shows, has been based in Regina for years.
“We needed to find a new home for our long form productions,” said Partners executive vice president Ron Goetz.
The decision is driven by taxes. Saskatchewan announced earlier this year that it was eliminating a tax break for film and TV production. That’s sent Partners into B.C., where it can still find such breaks.
Add to that the additional break that firms get for filming east of 200th Street, and the production company took a long look at Langley.
The company met with Township representatives, and Goetz said they were great to work with.
“They took us out and showed locations,” he said.
The size of the film industry in Langley, Goetz noted, is actually only a little smaller than the entire Saskatchewan film industry.
The move from the Prairies will allow some different types of filming.
“We don’t have mountains in Saskatchewan,” Goetz noted. They also need fields, quaint buildings, and office towers. Either here or in surrounding communities, they can find all those things.
“We do all of our shooting locally,” said Goetz.
Then there are the crew needed, which are plentiful thanks to Vancouver’s status as Hollywood North for the last two decades.
“It solved a couple of production problems for us, as well,” Goetz said.
Partners in Motion primarily makes TV programs, mostly for cable channels, including programs about unusual jobs, Canadian Victoria Cross winners, and true crime stories.
“We call it real life stories,” said Goetz.
Partners has also been looking to expand, and has joined up with another firm to add original dramas to Partners offerings of fact-based shows.
After the transition, the firm will base its actual filming in Langley, with offices in Winnipeg and Toronto as well, said Goetz.
The number of people based in Langley at first will be just five to six executive positions, Goetz said.
Whether some of their existing employees will move from Saskatchewan or be hired locally has yet to be determined.
Eventually, they expect to see about 100 full-time positions created for local productions, with up to 600 part time jobs.
The executives will arrive in the Township in November and are expected to have found a home for the company by then.
Township Mayor Jack Froese welcomed the addition of the new film production company.
“The Township of Langley has the depth of understanding of the film industry, the staff and ability to accommodate productions, the location diversity with beautiful rural, village, and urban settings, and the desire for partnerships,” Froese said in a statement. “We’ve got it all, and we are open for business.”
Langley has seen a higher than usual number of film projects here over the past year. Over the years, a few films and TV projects have caused friction with neighbours, through loud noises and special effects explosions or through traffic issues. Most productions come and go without serious disruption.