Cast and crew of the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society production of ‘A Murder is Announced’ in Ashcroft in March 2020. New Thompson-Nicola Film Commissioner Gareth Smart is third from left in the back row. (Photo credit: Submitted)

Cast and crew of the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society production of ‘A Murder is Announced’ in Ashcroft in March 2020. New Thompson-Nicola Film Commissioner Gareth Smart is third from left in the back row. (Photo credit: Submitted)

Cache Creek resident is new Thompson-Nicola Film Commissioner

Gareth Smart succeeds longtime Film Commissoner Victoria Weller later this month

A longtime Cache Creek resident has been named as the new Film Commissioner for the Thompson-Nicola Film Commission (TNFC). Gareth Smart will be taking over the position from long-time Film Commissioner Victoria Weller starting later this month.

Smart previously lived in the area for 10 years, and has worked in Locations Management in the film industry for many years. During that time he has worked regularly with the TNFC on film locations, and is a member of the Directors Guild of Canada and an alumnus of Vancouver Film School.

While living in Cache Creek, Smart worked for the HUB Online Network as a regular broadcaster and videographer. He also worked with the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society (WRAPS) during their summer Arts Camps to teach young participants how to write, film, and direct their own movies.

Smart has also taken to the stage for two WRAPS theatre productions in Ashcroft, appearing in A Midsummer Night’s Mid-term in 2012 and A Murder is Announced in 2020.

“I am looking forward to bringing my passion for film to the Thompson-Nicola region,” Smart said in a statement. “My parents told me that if I remembered my schoolwork half as well as I can quote a movie that I would be a ‘Smart’ man..

“Living in Cache Creek during this time has provided me with a unique opportunity to not only work on films in the TNRD catchment area, but also on many other productions all over B.C. I now look forward to the challenge of another side of film, with the role of Film Commissioner.”

Smart will be only the second Film Commissioner for the TNFC, succeeding Weller, who will be transitioning into retirement later this spring. She was hired as the first-ever TNFC Film Commissioner in April of 2000, and has spent the last 22 years helping grow the local film industry and attract A-list film productions to the Thompson-Nicola region. The region competes against places all around the globe to attract film productions, including regions of B.C. and Canada, the southwest United States, Mexico, the Middle East, Tibet, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, and Japan.

“Since I started as Film Commissioner 22 years ago, the film industry has changed and the Film Commission has had to evolve along with it,” Weller said in a statement. “I feel grateful and blessed that I’ve been able to work at a job I love, with a supportive organization consisting of kind and resourceful staff, and with a supportive, progressive, and trusting Board of Directors.

“I’m so proud of our local filmmakers, crew, and actors, who now work professionally creating world-class movies, documentaries, and short films. I’m thankful to all TNRD residents, location owners and businesses who have shared their expertise and resources as we worked together to attract and facilitate motion picture productions.”

The TNFC is a full-time, full service department of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD), which markets the region worldwide and facilitates all types of motion picture productions. The Film Commissioner is a member of the TNRD Senior Management Team and reports to the CAO.

In 2021, more than $8.5 million was spent in the TNRD region by film production companies, which resulted in about $25 million in ancillary spending. Production companies spent a combined 329 days filming in the region, making 2021 the busiest year for filming on record in the TNRD.

A number of feature productions have already committed to filming in the Thompson-Nicola region in 2022. Discussion is also continuing on the construction of a proposed film studio in the region, following a Film Studio Feasibility Study that was recently completed and presented to the board in February 2022.

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news@starjournal.net

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(from l) Marina Papais, new Thompson-Nicola Film Commissioner Gareth Smart, Gaurangi Benner-Tapia, and Matthias Sampson during a dramatic moment in ‘A Murder is Announced’ in Ashcroft in March 2020. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

(from l) Marina Papais, new Thompson-Nicola Film Commissioner Gareth Smart, Gaurangi Benner-Tapia, and Matthias Sampson during a dramatic moment in ‘A Murder is Announced’ in Ashcroft in March 2020. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)