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New LA billboard campaign keeping Calgary film in the minds of Hollywood moguls

Alberta vistas are some of the most prized in Hollywood, and a new Calgary Economic Development (CED) advertising campaign is taking the scenery right to the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles.

A billboard campaign with Rocky Mountain scenes is posted along a busy LA commuter corridor, along the route driven by major studio moguls headed to the annual American Film Market and Locations Expo (AFM).

It’s expected that more than 250,000 people a day will view the billboards in the month-long stint.

The billboards were a part of a $35,000 activation around the AFM, and it included a write up in the AFM program and more than 21 meetings and events with top studios and independent film productions. They also had signage at the events and were able to contact each of the conference attendees directly.

Luke Azevedo, commissioner, Film, Television and Creative Industries for Calgary Economic Development was there with Erin O’Connor, general manager of the Calgary Film Centre, and Azevedo said the campaign has had tremendous response.

“This activation is not something that’s normal,” Azevedo said, noting that it’s part of a larger CED marketing strategy.

“We got a couple of meetings right away from it.”

Calgary Economic Development has put together a $1.2 million integrated campaign to market Calgary industries – Creative, Agriculture, Logistics, Energy and others – in a similar focused fashion.

The funding comes primarily from more than 65 corporate sponsors in Calgary, with some cash also coming from the city and the province.

Calgarians are no strangers to the fact the city has a growing TV and motion picture industry, especially with the Rocky Mountains on our doorstep, exceptional infrastructure with quality crews and the Calgary Film Centre.

But there’s room for more in an field that shows no signs of slowing down.

Simply put, Azevedo said they’re down there to sell Calgary and area to a global film marketplace. He said it’s critical Alberta grows its share of the mammoth creative field.

“When you’re looking at companies like Netflix and Amazon, between the two of them, they’re talking about producing more than 1,600 projects over the next year and a bit. Then you add in Apple, add in Hulu, add in YouTube Red, what Disney’s going to do with Fox, Warner, Universal – the amount of projects and the amount of distribution is increasing consistently,” Azevedo said.

“We need to ensure that we position ourselves constantly and stay competitive.”

Right now, the Calgary Film Centre is at about 74 per cent capacity, with bookings that should keep the place humming well through 2019.

But keeping that project pipeline full is the goal of this kind of push.

“We need to make sure the world sees our footprint and sees that we’re around, and that we’re one of the top locations anywhere on the planet,” Azevedo said.