The lights have faded on a Vernon-based film studio.
For Sale signs dot the property housing Okanagan Studios on Kosmina Road in Vernon.
“The list price is $5.7 million, which is for 50,000 square feet and two buildings,” said realtor Chad Biafore with Kelowna-based Colliers International.
Okanagan Studios opened its doors in November 2016 at the old Far West building on Highway 6 to meet the needs of the film sector. It was the first full service film and TV studio to open, as reported at the time in The Morning Star.
The building underwent extensive renovations, complete with two sound stages, a re-purposed 10,000 square foot soundproofed stage and a second 12,500 square foot warehouse offered as a flex stage.
There were 34 retrofitted offices.
Okanagan Film Commissioner Jon Summerland said the studios were “not ideal for production.”
“The ceilings were too low and there wasn’t a clear span,” said Summerland, who added that film studios Enderby Entertainment and Minds Eye had possibly wanted to use Okanagan Studios for productions of Peace and Daughter of the Wolf, respectively.
“Enderby never did use the building,” said Enderby Entertainment president Rick Dugdale. “We looked at using it but they were already in the ‘for sale’ mode.
“It never really was a studio, that’s the thing. It was an empty building that was used for a couple indie productions.”
Dugdale said the impending sale won’t affect the region or Vernon whatsoever.
“With all the work Jon Summerland at the Okanagan Film Commission has done, the industry is alive and growing in the area. Not only did we come back to make Peace, we are now looking to start a TV series later this year. I fully expect a real studio to be available in the coming years.”
A new soundstage in Kelowna is expected to open this month.
Okanagan Studios spokesperson Tim Bieber said it was sad the studio was unable to generate enough interest to keep going.
“This would have been a big win for the community,” said Bieber. “Fact of the matter is, two clients in more than two years is not enough to sustain any business. Nothing ventured nothing gained.
“Maybe in a few years, once more productions of larger scale begin coming to the Okanagan, there will be a need. At this point there just isn’t the need so the logical conclusion is to shut it down.”