London’s Former Film Commissioner Joins Newly Created Vancouver Film & Media Centre

London’s Former Film Commissioner Joins Newly Created Vancouver Film & Media Centre

Logo for London’s Former Film Commissioner Joins Newly Created Vancouver Film & Media Centre

Industry Powerhouse David Shepheard to drive growth and innovation in Vancouver’s booming Digital Entertainment & Interactive sector

October 17, 2016 (Vancouver, BC) — The City of Vancouver and Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) today announced David Shepheard—formerly London’s successful film & TV sector lead—as Vancouver’s very first Film Commissioner. At the same time, they announced the creation of a new Film & Media Centre, mandated to raise the profile of Vancouver on the global stage, advocate on behalf of the Vancouver industry and work towards attracting investment to the city.

The Vancouver Film & Media Centre will grow industry collaboration and business development across the entire Digital Entertainment & Interactive (DE&I) spectrum by acting as the connecting point for the industry to find work and talent and continue the years of work by the VEC and other industry stakeholders that have led to a sustained boom of the DE&I industry.

“As one of Vancouver’s high growth industries, Film and Media has been a big contributor to our nation-leading economic growth and has tremendous positive impact in our City,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “David Shepheard’s expertise and experience – coupled with the new Film & Media Centre – will take our Digital Entertainment industry, already the 3rd largest film production centre in North America, to the next level on the international stage. I look forward to supporting the Film Commissioner and Centre’s work in positioning Vancouver as the premier global destination for film and TV production, talent and investment.”

Vancouver is the third largest film production centre in North America, hot on the heels of New York and L.A. In recent years, Vancouver experienced exponential growth in Film and TV production and the industry has emerged as a top contributor to BC’s diversified economy, creating jobs, services and tax revenue. 2015 was a record year for Vancouver in particular, with pilot production filming increasing by 67 per cent from 2015 to 2016. In 2015, the City issued almost 5,000 permits for 353 productions filmed in Vancouver; provisional data for 2016 from the City of Vancouver’s film office projects that this year’s numbers will be even higher.

“Vancouver is already a world-class destination for film production and talent,” said Vancouver’s new Film Commissioner, David Shepheard. “We are taking steps to elevate the industry by addressing the long-term needs of its stakeholders and becoming a global leader in innovation and sustainable growth. I look forward to building on a very solid foundation laid by the VEC, other partners in BC, and collaborating with my counterparts in other cities.”

With over 16 years of experience around the world in film, David Shepheard is well-qualified to position Vancouver as the premier place for film and TV production, talent and investment. Combined with the local knowledge and connections of Nancy Mott, Executive Director, the pair will work to bolster the profile of Vancouver on the global stage and attract film and TV production, co-production and post-production projects to Vancouver. Through the prior business development activities of its Asia-Pacific Centre, the VEC has already identified opportunities in Japan, China and Korea, all of whom have been stepping up investment and production activity in their respective DE&I industries.

“The creation of a new Centre and hiring Vancouver’s first Film Commissioner is the natural response to pent-up demand from industry for a singular point of contact for incoming productions concerning talent, infrastructure and key decision makers,” said Ian McKay, CEO of the VEC. “David brings experience and a proven ability to continue the work our organization does in advocacy, investment and promotion for our high-growth sectors.”

“The VEC has worked to support the entire DE&I industry, including the film and TV sector, for the last six years. We’ve sponsored festivals and put on career fairs, held networking and educational events and have taken Vancouver’s story on the road—we’ve done everything in our power to make the industry as resilient as possible,” said Mott, Executive Director. “The new Film & Media Centre isn’t just a continuation of that work. It’s a declaration that Vancouver is kicking up its game – that we’re going to be the place to convene for conversations between content creators and platforms.”

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Reactions from the international film industry:

“As the former Vice President of the Association of Film Commissioners International and a BC Regional Film Commissioner, I am excited about the appointment of a Vancouver Film Commissioner. Vancouver is one of the top three film centres in North America and a key driver for film production opportunities throughout the Province. The Regional Film Commissions of BC look forward to working closely with the new Vancouver Film Commissioner, collaborating to sustain and grow BC’s film, television and digital media sector.”

Joan Miller, Film Commissioner, Vancouver Island North Film Commission


“ABC Studios has filmed many series in Vancouver, including six seasons of our hit drama Once Upon A Time.  We’ve been consistently impressed by the talent and infrastructure of the local film industry. We look forward to working with the new Film Commissioner on projects in the future.”

Gary French, Senior Vice President/Co-Head, Production, ABC Studios


“The decision to launch Skybound North in Vancouver was influenced by all of the local advantages available to film productions, including the rich talent base, seasoned crews, top-notch facilities, and attractive tax incentives. We applaud the step to have a dedicated resource like a Film Commissioner mandated to advocate for these advantages and are looking forward to see how they will serve as a connecting point for the local industry.”

Catherine Winder, CEO, Skybound North Entertainment


“I had the pleasure to meet David a few years back when I was looking to put a production in London. His personality, his professionalism and knowledge of the industry just amazed me and continues to do so. I believe David is an ideal choice for Vancouver’s first Film Commissioner. This position is long overdue for the city’s burgeoning television and film jurisdiction. His role will no doubt support and strengthen the city’s growing entertainment industry, and will certainly benefit those who wish to do work in Vancouver.”

Holly A. Hines, Senior Vice President, Content, DYNAMIC TELEVISION


“It’s great to see Vancouver establishing a film commission – this bodes well for the film industry as well as the wide ranging sectors that benefit as a result of a film-driven economy.”

Kevin Jennings, Chairman, Association of Film Commissioners International, Executive Manager, Film Otago Southland


“Given Digital Domain’s extensive portfolio in sectors supporting the film & TV industry, we see the creation of a dedicated Film Commissioner role as an opportunity for Vancouver to promote growth and create new opportunities in the field. The Vancouver Economic Commission has demonstrated they look at film & TV in context of supply sectors like VFX, animation, VR and AR and worked to connect content creators to technology – this is a strong indicator of the task being in good hands.”

OD Welch, President, Digital Domain


About the Vancouver Economic Commission

The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) works to strengthen the city’s economic future by supporting existing businesses, attracting foreign investment and promoting international trade. The VEC strives to position Vancouver as a globally recognized city for innovative, creative and sustainable business.


Media Contacts:

Ingrid Cheung, VEC

Elisha McCallum, FleishmanHillard