Lethbridge is no stranger to Hollywood, having been featured in blockbusters with the notoriety of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Yet it’s the local stories, infused with the unique landscape and experiences of the vibrant community in Alberta’s southern region, that inspire filmmakers like Arjan Gill, a local director, producer, and owner of the Lethbridge-based company, Gill productions. “We have a unique story to tell,” says Gill.
Lethbridge at a Glance
- Population 101,324
- Median Family Income $95,030
- Unemployment Rate 6.6%
- Residential Vacancy Rate 5.4%
- Life Stress 20.2%
- Sense of Belonging 71.9%
Source: Government of Alberta
There has been significant growth in the film and television sector in recent years, largely thanks to increased provincial funding like the Alberta Media Fund and the enhanced Film and Television Tax Credit announced in early 2021. Lethbridge also has a thriving, grassroots screen industry.
In addition to numerous independent film and media production companies, like Gill’s, the Lethbridge Independent Film Society (LIFS) acts as a hub for the local filmmaking community.
LIFS is a not-for-profit organization that “aims to enrich the cultural landscape of southern Alberta by engaging all artists involved in filmmaking, offering resources and encouraging mentorship, collaboration and exhibition.” LIFS hosts creative jam nights, provides opportunities to meet with representatives and professionals in the Alberta screen industry and keeps its members informed about production opportunities — casting and crew calls, collaboration opportunities and more.
Lethbridge has never lost sight of the “bigger picture,” however, thanks to the Lethbridge International Film Festival (LIFF), which is entering its 37th year. Each spring, in partnership with the Lethbridge Public Library, LIFF presents six days of internationally acclaimed documentary and feature films from around the world, coupled with stimulating introductory comments and post-film discussions.
Lethbridge proves you can’t judge Alberta’s film and television industry by the size of the city.