Winnipeg film industry soaring with a number of projects expected

Action film ‘Nobody’ shot to the top of the box office in 2021 and star Bob Odenkirk is coming back to Manitoba this summer to shoot the sequel – but ‘Nobody 2’ isn’t the only Hollywood flick filming here in the coming months.

“We have a Stephen King adaptation that’s going to be here – ‘The Long Walk,’ and there’s actually casting going on for that right now,” Lynne Skromeda, Manitoba Film and Music’s CEO and film commissioner, told CTV News.

Stephen King wrote the 1979 novel ‘The Long Walk’ under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. It follows a group of 100 teenage boys competing in an annual competition where the winner is the last man standing.

‘The Long Walk’ and ‘Nobody 2’ are among four “tier one” movies slated to be filmed in Manitoba this summer. A horror movie called ‘Altar’ – from the studio behind ‘Hereditary’ and Midsommar’ – as well as a movie titled ‘Normal’ are also on the production list. There are at least another six features scheduled to shoot between June and October.

“We’re probably the busiest place in the country,” Skromeda explained. “And so the people that work in the film industry here are super happy.”

Prop master Leif Ingebrigtsen said Winnipeggers should expect to see plenty of film sets around town.

“Everybody who wants to be working in this town will be working,” Ingebrigtsen told CTV News. “There’s so much crew needed for all these shows, but definitely the bigger shows. With the amount [of productions] happening at the same time, they’ll be flying people in from all over Canada for it.”

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Ingebrigtsen started working in film about three and a half years ago, and he estimates he has about 12 productions under his belt. He said Manitoba is ideal for people looking to cut their teeth in the industry.

“If you pick stuff up quickly and you can learn from a lot of different people, you can kind of rise the ranks pretty quickly. There’s a lot of opportunity for that,” he explained.

The head of Film Training Manitoba said the city and province have become a draw for big-budget studios.

“Our locations are phenomenal here in Manitoba,” said Adam Smoluk, the president of Film Training Manitoba. “We have world-class crews and actors, and everyone works collaboratively to carry out these productions.”

Smoluk said the boom isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

“When I started in the film industry, we had under $10 million of total production. And in recent years, we peaked at $365 million,” Smoluk said. “So it’s an incredible cavalcade of production happening in Manitoba.”

Skromeda said it’s promising to see companies like 87North Productions – the team behind ‘Nobody’ and recently wrapped ‘With Love’ starring Ke Huy Quan – doing repeat business in Winnipeg.

“They know our crews, they know our infrastructure – and they love it.” 

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