The City in Disguise: Vancouver as a Stand-in for Seattle in Hollywood Movies

Publikationen, VanSea, Zeitschriftenbeiträge  /   /  By Thomas Ott

OTT, Thomas (2006): The City in Disguise: Vancouver as a Stand-in for Seattle in Hollywood Movies. Geographische Rundschau International Edition 2 (2), 36-43


Pressed by declining profits and ballooning expenses at home, Hollywood has shifted production abroad, particularly the production of low-budget movies made for television. Most are made in Canada, where a weak currency, financial incentives and proximity to the United States make production relatively inexpensive and convenient. Especially Vancouver, British Columbia, has developed into a major location for movie production; the city has become known in the industry as „Hollywood North“. Major studios and independent producers alike are attracted to Vancouver by the abundance of spectacular locations, the highly experienced production teams, the pool of talented local actors and the state-of-the-art post production facilities. However, despite its role as a set for major Hollywood movies, the city is hardly ever identified as itself. It rather acts as a stand-in for American cities, especially Seattle. This process of reducing Vancouver into a mere backdrop by neglecting space and place as a source of stories and characters is fostered by American production companies and the British Columbia Film Commission alike. The scenery of the built urban fabric obstructs, however, the view on inherited, more fundamental differences in social and cultural structures and processes between Canadian and American cities.


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