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Canada – Alberta

Alberta Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Alberta? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Alberta

For an introduction to shooting in Alberta see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Alberta Film Locations

Alberta is known for the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains, vast prairies, lush river valleys, glacial lakes, arid prehistoric badlands, and modern cities. The province is a popular film destination to double for a variety of American, European, Arctic, prehistoric, Old West, modern, and otherworldly landscapes.

Agricultural filmed locations include farms that produce wheat, canola, oats, barley, beef cattle, buffalo, and sheep. Alberta is a leading producer of honey. Lumber yards are available for filming. Alberta mines coal, oil and gas. Energy locations include coal and natural gas fired power plants, hydroelectric dams, solar and wind farms.

Alberta has hosted a long list of productions including The Revenant (2015), Interstellar (2014), Fargo (2014), The Bourne Legacy (2012), Inception (2010), Brokeback Mountain (2005), X-Men 2 (2003), Legends of the Fall (1994), Unforgiven (1992), and Superman (1978).

Calgary is the largest city and main production center. The city offers a modern skyline, river, bridges, urban looks, and American suburbs. Film locations of note include Calgary Tower, Calgary Central Library, Glenbow Museum, Peace Bridge, Olympic Plaza, Prince’s Island Park, Fish Creek Provincial Park, Nose Hill Park, Heritage Park Historical Village, Lougheed House, Hangar Flight Museum, the Military Museums, and WinSport’s 1988 Winter Olympic venues.

Edmonton is the provincial capital. Locations of note include the Alberta Legislature Building, Edmonton City Hall, Art Gallery of Alberta, Alberta Aviation Museum, Muttart Conservatory, Hawrelak Park, Terwillegar Park, and the University of Alberta campus. The West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in North America, includes hundreds of stores, themed streets, Galaxyland, World Waterpark, Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace, Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf, and an indoor shooting range. Fort Edmonton Park is a historical park which includes a 1846 Fort, 1885 Street, 1905 Street, and a 1920 Street.

Banff National Park is one of the world’s most beautiful locations. Located in the Rocky Mountains, film locations of note include Banff, Lake Louise, Banff Springs Hotel, Chateau Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake, Minnewanka Lake, Lake Agnes, Vermilion Lakes, Bow Falls, Johnston Canyon, Mistaya Canyon, Valley of the Ten Peaks, Mt Assiniboine, Mt Rundle, Mt Temple, Sulphur Mountain, and Tunnel Mountain. Banff National Park is home to grizzly bear, cougar, wolverine, elk, bighorn sheep and moose.

Jasper National Park is known for its glaciers, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls, and mountains. Film locations of note include Athabasca Glacier, Maligne Lake, Pyramid Lake, Athabasca River, Sunwapta Falls, and Miette Hot Springs.

The Columbia Icefield, located in both Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, offers easily accessible, year-round glaciers.

The Icefields Parkway travels through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.

The Prince of Wales Hotel is located in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Kananaskis Country includes Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park, Bow Valley Provincial Park, Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park, Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Plateau Mountain Ecological Reserve, Sheep River Provincial Park, and Spray Valley Provincial Park. The Kananaskis River is known for its whitewater rafting and mountain wave surfing. The Revenant (2015), Inception (2010), Brokeback Mountain (2005), X-Men 2 (2003), and Superman (1978) filmed in Kananaskis Country.

Alberta ski resorts of note include Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Mt Norquay, Nakiska, Castle Mountain, Marmot Basin, and Fortress Mountain.

Ha Ling Peak on Mount Lawrence Grassi is a popular rock climbing destination.

Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest national park. Located in the northeast of the province, the park is home to a large diversity of wildlife including wood bison, moose, black bears, timber wolves, cougars, musk oxen, and whooping cranes.

Waterton Lakes National Park is located in the southeast of the province.

Elk Island National Park located near Edmonton is home to bison, elk and moose.

Dinosaur Provincial Park in the southeast of the province is known for its arid badlands landscape and wealth of dinosaur fossils.

The Hoodoos of Drumheller Valley are an arid badlands film location that have hosted many productions including Unforgiven (1992).

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology is located in Drumheller.

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is known for its petroglyphs and pictographs.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site is located in the southwest of the province.

Athabasca oil sands are large deposits of heavy crude oil in the northeast of the province.

The Revenant (2015) filmed in Canmore, Calgary, Kananaskis Country, Drumheller, and Morley.

Fargo (2014) filmed in Calgary, Strathmore, High River, and Beiseker.

Interstellar (2014) filmed in Calgary, Lethbridge, Nanton, Canmore, Okotoks, Fort MacCloud, Fort Macleod, and Longview.

Brokeback Mountain (2005) filmed throughout the province in places such as Kananaskis Country, Fort Macleod, Cowley, Calgary, Crossfield, Irricana, Lacombe, Rockyford, Seebe, Beiseker, and Carseland.

Legends of the Fall (1994) filmed in Ghost River, Calgary, and Morley.

Unforgiven (1992) filmed in Brooks, Longview, High River, Calgary and Drumheller. 

Superman (1978) filmed in Barons, Drumheller, The Icefields Parkway, Calgary, High River, and Kananaskis Country.

Alberta Film Location Permits

Alberta has a film friendly, streamlined permitting process. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Winters (December to March) are very cold, dry and snowy, particularly in the Rockies and north of the province. Spring through to fall (April to November) are the best months to film for long, sunny shoot days. Alberta has hot, dry summers (June to September) with the north of the province seeing up to 18 hours of sunlight. Most crops are harvested in August / September. 

The Calgary Stampede takes place in July.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Canada.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Alberta Tax Incentives For Filming

Tax Incentives. Alberta offers a grant of up to 30 per cent of eligible production expenditures.

Alberta Film Crew & Talent

Crew. Calgary has world renowned, experienced creative and technical crews that specialize in servicing a broad spectrum of productions from Hollywood feature films to commercial stills.

Calgary is a smaller production center so larger shoots may require additional support from Vancouver or abroad.

Contact us if you are looking for a Calgary or Edmonton based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in Alberta.

Talent. The province’s population is predominately Caucasian, Asian, and First Nations. The largest First Nations cultural group by population in Alberta is the Cree. Calgary has an extensive and experienced pool of multicultural actors and models. Additional casting may be required out of Vancouver, Toronto, or abroad. Film characters synonymous with Alberta include cowboys, wheat farmers, oil industry workers, hockey players, and skiers.

Alberta Film Equipment

Equipment. Standard camera, lighting and grip equipment can be found locally. Vancouver is the closest major production center for additional gear.

Communications. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Alberta Studios & Post Production

Studios. Alberta has several state of the art facilities including The Calgary Film Centre.

Post Production. Alberta offers a range of post facilities including a lab.

Visas & Work Permits

Previously the rules were very strict with all visiting crew required to have work permits that were very time consuming and expensive to get. The good news is now commercial advertising shoots are exempt from the work permit process on the condition the project is foreign funded. See here for more information.

For crew members who will be entering to oversee the project, Western passport holders are able to enter Canada visa-free with an eTA for a period of up to six months. This excludes US nationals arriving directly from the US, who are exempt from the eTA requirement.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Canada has an extensive road network, particularly in the more populated south of the country. Several domestic airlines and charter services are available to access more remote areas. Major Canadian cities are serviced by most international carriers.

Accommodation. Please contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff and other areas of Alberta. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. Alberta is a very safe and reliable filming centre. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Explore the natural majesty of the Rocky Mountains.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Alberta, please see below:

Hire Alberta Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Alberta, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Alberta, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.