As Alberta’s experience of hosting blockbuster projects like the latest Ghostbusters movie have demonstrated, high-profile productions from major studios can generate significant investment in local business and infrastructure, generate jobs for the crew and subsidiary industries, as well as encourage tourism.
Jasper at a Glance
- Population 4,559
- Median Family Income $107,710
- Unemployment Rate 5.8%
- Residential Vacancy Rate 0.0%
- Life Stress 23.3%
- Sense of Belonging 69%
Source: Government of Alberta
This wasn’t the first time that Hollywood has ventured into the Mountain Parks of Alberta’s southwest, however, and it won’t be the last. The Canadian Rockies have attracted filmmakers looking for dramatic scenery and rugged locales since the earliest days of the screen industries. Jasper in particular has seen its share of stars: Jimmy Stewart was a familiar face during the filming of two classic features, The Emperor Waltz (1948) and The Far Country (1954), and Marilyn Monroe was in the neighbourhood when she came to film River of No Return around the same time.
The stunning landscapes and unique wildlife of Jasper and its environs have also been the focus of numerous documentaries, including notable contributions to David Suzuki’s Wild Canadian Year series in 2017. Jasper has also inspired local filmmakers. Wendy Wacko was an active member of the local film industry throughout the 1980s, when she assisted in the production of three features and documentaries in the Jasper area. The documentary Challenge: The Canadian Rockies was notable for involving a helicopter assist and a 30-person camp set up at the base of Snowdome on the Columbia Icefields.
The recent boom in film production throughout Alberta suggests a promising future for the local industry. In the meantime, film lovers among Jasper’s residents, and those coming from abroad, can enjoy a global panorama of short films from a unique Alpine vantage at the annual Jasper Film Festival.