South Shore Looks Forward to Star-Studded Future



If you were on the streets of Lunenburg last August, you might have been surprised to find yourself surrounded by Christmas trees and fluffy fake snow. This was set dressing for Christmas Island, a Hallmark movie production. It’s among many productions that have chosen our region as a backdrop in the past few years.

Laura Mackenzie, executive director of Screen Nova Scotia, says our region has “always been one of our most sought-after locations.” As well as beautiful scenery and architecture, American crews will cross the border for the tax incentive and the dollar exchange. 

Mackenzie emphasizes developing a twelve month a year industry, rather than an industry that primarily films in warmer months. “What we need [in Nova Scotia] is a soundstage,” Mackenzie says. A soundstage — a large, indoor studio — would entice more productions to film here.

Two years ago, Premier Tim Houston’s government invested $8 million towards a soundstage. Screen Nova Scotia is in the early stages of planning a soundstage near Bayer’s Lake; at this moment, they have acquired land, but building hasn’t commenced. 

In recent years, the town of Lunenburg was able to accommodate the cast and crew for two major productions (Netflix’s The Sinner and Disney+’s Washington Black) at the Lunenburg RV Park and Campground. 

Kandace Forward, executive director of the Lunenburg Board of Trade, the organization that operates the campground, says many other productions have used the site for accommodation in the past. Forward explains the site is ideal for productions because of the ample space, amenities, and proximity to the town center.

The future of the campground has become uncertain due the proposed Blockhouse Hill development. Although the Board of Trade renewed the campground’s lease for 2024, it is unclear what will happen after this year. In an email responding to the Barnacle’s questions, Forward wrote, “Without this convenient and suitable location for crews to stay during productions, the area might lose its attractiveness as a filming destination.”

However, Forward asserts there are other accommodation options in the regions for production crews. She writes, “Additionally, I have established positive relationships with locations managers across the province and would be eager to facilitate connections and foster more business opportunities in our community.”

On this same subject, Laura Mackenzie of Screen Nova Scotia says, “Accommodations are absolutely a going concern.” 

Last year, Tim Houston traveled with representatives from Screen Nova Scotia to meet with decision-makers from Netflix and Disney, among other major industry players. If our region wants to continue developing this lucrative industry, steps must be taken to ensure casts and crews have a place to rest their heads after a long day’s work.


Comments

One response to “South Shore Looks Forward to Star-Studded Future”

  1. Nellie Walkinshaw

    I do believe the development of Blockhouse Hill would be detrimental to the “character” of Lunenburg. Please do not make the mistake of turning Lunenburg into every other town in Canada and the US. It is a beautiful and unique place and that is what brings people to the area.

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