Filming on location in Alberta with Location Manager Dennis Penney
Dennis was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, and worked in film part-time from 1998 until the loss of his full-time job paved the way for a transition into film. He quickly became an Assistant Location Manager and then shortly after that he started scouting and location managing.
What can you tell me about the region that you cover?
I primarily work in Alberta and I’m based in Calgary. I have worked as far west as Golden, British Columbia, and as far east as Winnipeg, Manitoba. We offer A-list crews and cast, various equipment rental houses, post facilities, a variety of standing sets and although we do not have a traditional studio we have various locations that have been converted into studio space.
What locations are most commonly used by film and TV crews when they come and film in the area?
Alberta is a unique area. Within a 90-minute drive of Calgary to the east you can be in the ‘Badlands’ of Drumheller, and the same distance from Calgary to the west you are in the Rocky Mountains. Heading east you drive through the prairies and end up in the Badlands offering a desert setting, and towards the mountains you drive through the rolling foothills and end up in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with spectacular scenery, mountain meadows, lakes and a seemingly endless view.
The southern end of the province offers rolling hills, ranches, farms and a variety of unique small towns; everything from a Western feel to the ghost town feeling of the old mining towns in the Crows Nest Pass. The northern end of the province is home to beautiful rivers and lakes, rolling hills, prairies, farmland and the City of Edmonton.
Within a 90-minute drive of Calgary to the east you can be in the ‘Badlands’ of Drumheller, and the same distance from Calgary to the west you are in the Rocky Mountains.
What are the more unusual locations that our readers would not necessarily associate with the region?
One of the things that readers might not know is that we have two major cities in the province that offer a variety of different looks. Both Calgary and Edmonton were settled in the late 1800s. In both cities you can find areas with the old-world feel, as well as construction and expansion that has made way for new and interesting areas. This combines with the close proximity to the desert look of the Badlands and the rolling foothills and mountainous look of the Rocky Mountains to create some very rare and unique locations.
What types of production do you work on most?
I work in almost all aspects of production; features, TV, commercials, documentaries and stills. There has been a variety of different projects that have shot here recently. A few of the feature films I was involved with were a unit shoot for Les Productions On The Road Inc, a unit shoot for TSBD Canada Productions Inc and a unit shoot for Bourne Film Productions Inc.
A few of the TV series and pilots that I have been involved with recently were Wild Roses, Pet Heroes and Gavin Crawford's Wild West. The most recent commercials and stills campaigns were an international commercial for Allstate, part of the Mayhem series of commercials and an international stills campaign for Glenfiddich Scotch.
Weather can be a bit of a factor depending on the time of year; warm clothing and protection from the wind is essential in the winter months.
A few things that have shot here that I was not directly involved with were Inception, Unforgiven, Jesse James, Heartland and Hell on Wheels.
Are there any particular tips that you would like to share with our audience about filming in your region?
The area is very film-friendly and offers all of the amenities necessary for film production. Weather can be a bit of a factor depending on the time of year; warm clothing and protection from the wind is essential in the winter months. A variety of different productions have shot here from all over the world and immigration is not typically an issue.
Which are the best airports to use to film in your region and who flies there? Any tips on customs clearance or film-friendly freight agents?
The two main international airports in Alberta are in Calgary and Edmonton, and they offer flights from all over the world on a variety of different airlines.
What are the most film-crew-friendly hotels in your region and where is your favourite wrap party venue?
There is a variety of hotels in both Calgary and Edmonton, everything from the smaller boutique hotels to larger international hotel chains that offer film rates and are very film-friendly. There is also a good selection of private rental houses, apartments and condos that cater specifically to the film industry. There is a very good choice of film-friendly accommodation in the smaller centres as well.
There is a variety of hotels in both Calgary and Edmonton, everything from the smaller boutique hotels to larger international hotel chains that offer film rates and are very film-friendly.
What do you do with your time off and what would you recommend crew and cast do to visit, have fun and relax in Alberta?
I enjoy downhill skiing, hiking and visiting the beautiful spots that are so close to where I live.
Things that are interesting or would be great to visit are the national parks that are so close to both Calgary and Edmonton. Banff National Park is only a 90-minute drive from Calgary and Jasper National Park is only a two-and-a-half hour drive from Edmonton. Both places offer spectacular scenery in all seasons and world-class downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter months.
In the first week of July every year Calgary is host to the Calgary Stampede, which is a world famous rodeo and fair.
To contact Dennis please click here.
Global Filming Incentive - Canada (see more…)
- Newfoundland & Labrador: Tax Credit
- NWT Travel Rebate
- NWT Expenditure Rebate
- Cost-Of-Production Tax Credit
- Cost-Of-Salaries Tax Credit
- Canada: Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC)
- Canada: The Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC)
- The Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit: Frequent Filming Bonus
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