Glass plant eyed for movie studio

Movies and TV shows could breathe new life into Lavington’s vacant glass plant.

Movies and TV shows could breathe new life into Lavington’s vacant glass plant.

Officials with the Okanagan Film Commission believe the cavernous building and vast property could possibly meet the valley’s needs for a studio.

“Let me in, let me in. Let me see if I can sell this for a studio,” said Jon Summerland, film commissioner.

“I think it works well because of its size and the fact that it is so close to Vernon and 30 minutes from an international airport help.”

The Hill Drive site covers 91.74 acres and includes a 11,296-square-foot office building, a 148,340-square-foot factory and a 274,560-square-foot warehouse.

OFC currently is scouting the plant, which ceased operations in 2008 and is up for sale, for a couple of feature films.

“One wants to build a post apocalyptic town inside it,” said Summerland.

“But it is far from locked in and there are many hurdles we’ll need to cross before we will be releasing anything to press.”

According to Summerland, the film and TV sector is interested in the Okanagan but the lack of a permanent studio is restricting full-time work for residents.

“We have some pretty talented people living here,” he said.

While many people may focus on major Hollywood productions, Summerland is convinced the Okanagan’s future may rest with smaller projects.

“If we continue to grow and get $1 million to $2 million productions, we’ve got jobs for our kids,” he said.

As an example, he points to Tora, a 30-minute film that was shot in Vernon and Lake Country .

The movie, which is about the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War, is proving popular in Japan and the demand is there for similar stories.

“They’re already working on seven more scripts,” said Summerland of those responsible for Tora.

Besides heritage homes, small towns and urban settings, many producers like the Okanagan because of its lakes, desert, ranches and mountains.

“Why wouldn’t you want to shoot here — look at our locations,” said Summerland.

For 2011, the Okanagan Film Commission is seeking $24,000 from the North Okanagan Regional District — the same as last year.

“The film commission is the best bang for public dollars,” said John Trainor, a commission director and Armstrong city councillor.

“It’s important that the film commission have a level of certainty in order to operate.”