Nova Scotia wants fans to visit film locations

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Lighthouse.  The black and white film was shot in Yarmouth, NS (contributed by Christopher Ball - photo credit)

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Lighthouse. The black and white film was shot in Yarmouth, NS (contributed by Christopher Ball – photo credit)

The Nova Scotia government is hoping for fans The sinner or which are yet to be published Washington Black will want to follow in the footsteps of their favorite characters and visit the locations where these TV series were filmed.

Season four of The sinnerstarring Bill Pullman, was filmed primarily in Lunenburg but also included scenes in Mahone Bay, Chester and nearby Ovens Natural Park. Washington Blackbased on the novel by Esi Edugyan, also used Lunenburg as a setting as well as the fortress of Louisbourg.

Film tourism consultant Stefan Roesch said film and television fans are drawn to the places they see on their screens, even when those real locations are part of a totally made-up world. In an interview from his native New Zealand, Roesch referred to his country’s success in marketing the locations for the three Lord of the rings movies.

“If we didn’t have the trilogy, we wouldn’t have had about $1.2 [to] 1.5 billion additional income from tourists,” said Roesch. “Before COVID, in 2019, 12 to 15 percent of international travelers came to take part in a film tourism experience, mainly to see the Hobbiton film set.

“It is obvious that film tourism can have a massive impact on the economy.”

Submitted by Stefan Roesch

Submitted by Stefan Roesch

And he said the effects could last as long as the classic film’s continued popularity The sound of musicpublished in 1965.

“Before COVID we still had 250,000 to 300,000 international visitors who came to Salzburg, the [film’s] most important place to participate in a film tourism experience,” he said.

Although Nova Scotia has yet to host a blockbuster production, Roesch says the province could still benefit from working with filmmakers and television crews to promote itself as a destination for movie fans.

“You have a place that’s not on the tourist map and suddenly it’s massively well known and people want to see the place, so often it’s rural communities or they benefit the most,” he said.

Roesch was a keynote speaker at the 2022 Tourism Summit hosted by the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia last November. He also offered his findings to staff at the Ministry of Tourism.

Growing interest in Nazi film sites

Chris Shore, executive director of culture and heritage development at the Nova Scotia government, said it’s clear people are already coming to the province to visit manufacturing sites, including the history channel’s popular series The Curse of Oak Island.

“There’s a growing interest and actually a significant number of people coming to Nova Scotia specifically to learn more and to visit the island for themselves, so there’s a growing tourism business,” Shore said. “We’re trying to identify other projects where we can improve this type of activity.”

Shore said the province set up a working group made up of officials from his department and representatives from TIANS and Screen Nova Scotia, the organization that speaks for the film industry.

Rob Doublett/CBC

Rob Doublett/CBC

Screen Nova Scotia chief executive Laura Mackenzie said there is potential for closer collaboration and cross-promotion.

“We will have one Lord of the rings or game of Thrones soon in Nova Scotia? Probably not, but you can scale film tourism and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” Mackenzie said.

Roesch said the province must begin talks with a production company as soon as it shows interest in using Nova Scotia as a location. He said those negotiations should focus on the potential for cross-promotion, access to the set and actors for behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, and the use of props or even production notes after filming is complete.

“Guided site visits with fans can show them some of these assets, such as: B. Call sheets,” said Roesch. “They’re really excited about it because it’s something original, an original piece from the show or the movie.”

The province hopes its film tourism strategy will be ready to pilot by next year.



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