Asia’s New Hollywood

Vancouver, aka Hollywood North.

If you’re a Vancouverite like myself, then you’ll know how this nickname originates. If you’re not, here’s a brief explanation.

Vancouver is home to many film and TV productions. Seeing a famous actor or actress on the street is next to normal. So normal that my mother states that she almost ran over a young Richard Gere (post Pretty Woman days), with her car when he was filming a movie here in Vancouver (she blames the rain).

In North America, BC ranks as the third largest production centre for film and television after LA (Hollywood) and New York. From this little fact and the placement of Vancouver geographically to the United States, you can figure out how “Hollywood North” came about.

But now, we enter this new generation of booming film and television production coming from Asia to Vancouver. The popularity has grown so largely that instead of seeing famous Hollywood celebrities; you’re also seeing popular Asian starlets roaming around the streets of Vancouver as well.

Recently at the Vancouver International Film Festival, two very popular Japanese actors and J-Pop stars made their North American debut with a premiere of their new film Vancouver Asahi (a film about a Japanese baseball team in Vancouver). The amount of screaming fan girls trying to get a picture of their celebrity crush was not expected and the security detail was heightened to control the craziness that had ensued.

Why the mayhem you say? Vancouver is full of multicultural citizens, many of whom love Asian entertainment, including dramas, variety shows, South Asian Bollywood films, and music, just to name a few. What people don’t know is that many people in the Asian film and television industry have connections in Vancouver. To see your favourite Asian celebrity is easier than you think.

A recent appearance of Donnie Yen in Vancouver. Photo credits to Madhav Goyal.

A recent appearance of Donnie Yen (star of “Ip Man”) in Vancouver. Photo credits to Madhav Goyal.

So how can Vancouver benefit from all this popularity? By becoming Asia’s new Hollywood. There’s already an established film industry based in Vancouver, with all the resources and a huge fan base that is continually growing. Taking advantage of this by promoting Vancouver as a possible production location or inviting these famous stars to film festivals, award shows, concerts, etc could influence and improve our economy and provide locals with a flair of Asian culture.

It’s time to embrace Vancouver’s multicultural-ness and build an international reputation with not only being known as Hollywood North, but Hollywood to the world of Asia.

Until Next Time,

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