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30 Years of 669 | 1990's

In March 2020, International Cinematographers Guild Local 669 will be turning 30!

To celebrate, for the month of March, ICG 669 will be sharing a production per day for each corresponding year the union has officially been in existence. The years attached to each production will be their production date, and not release date.

Here is a list of our 90's hits:

1990 - MacGyer

To begin our 30-year journey, we bring you MacGyver (1985). From seasons 3 to 6, the action-adventure series was filmed in Vancouver, BC.Stephen Downing, the ex-Los Angeles cop turned Executive Producer noted in The Christian Science Monitor he has the choice of different locations and somewhat more flexibility on the 30-mile travel zone.

“We thought we could improve the look of the show,” he says. Episodes have been filmed in such nearby locations as Capilano Canyon, Cypress Mountain, Squamish, Indian Arm, and Britannia Beach.

“A 10- or 15-minute drive and you are in another world,” says Downing, referring to the variety of habitats - mountains, harbor, inlets, rivers, city, suburbs, canyons, and so on.

“The economics allow me to put more on the screen,” he concludes.

Read the full interview here:

Image courtesy of ABC.

1991 - Unforgiven

Day 2 features Unforgiven (1992). The Clint Eastwood directed feature was shot near Longview, Drumheller, High River, Brooks and Calgary. The train sequence was shot in Sonora, Calif. The town of Big Whiskey was built, and later dismantled, near Longview.

In the spring of 1991, then Alberta film commissioner Bill Marsden and veteran location manager Murray Ord flew Eastwood, producer Valdes and production designer Henry Bumstead to various Alberta locales in a helicopter.

Eastwood would go onto say, “The province of Alberta has a lot of variety in terms of looks,” said Clint Eastwood in an interview posted on the Alberta Film Commission website. “Going from the Rockies to the stark plains, these are very beautiful areas.”

Unforgiven was nominated for nine Oscars, winning four, including: Best Picture, Best Actor (Gene Hackman), Best Director, Best Film Editing.

Jack Green, a Local 600 member was nominated for Best Cinematography.

Image courtesy of Allstar/Warner Bros.

1992 - North of 60

We’re heading back to the television set with North of 60 (1992). North of 60 was set in the Dehcho Region, Northwest Territorries, but filmed in Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada.

'It really is remarkable, the loyalty that Canadians have to this show,' says co-creator Barbara Samuels

Samuels said with Indigenous issues at the foreground of conversations today, the political climate could be ripe conditions for a reboot.

Tina Keeper, the star of North of 60 has a "dream scenario" for a reboot, and it would be to do it with an entirely Indigenous production team, something that could be possible as the show's alumni continue to advance in the film industry.

An online petition garnered more than 1,500 signatures and a Facebook page with 4,000 subscribers, including actors from the show, to bring the show back to the screen.

Image courtesy of Alberta Filmworks / CBC

1993 - The X-Files

The X-Files (1993) was primarily filed in Vancouver, BC for its first five seasons, and offers producers a perfect location to shoot on location. Season 10 and 11 of the hit show were filed in Vancouver, after its move to LA at the start of season 6.

Chris Carter (creator of #TheXFiles) noted that, “When we were preparing to do the X-Files pilot, we were preparing to do it in Los Angeles, but we couldn't find a good forest within the zone [the area you can work in without having to pay a premium]. So, I said, let's go to Vancouver, and it was kind of a no-brainer.

I found a workforce that gave you everything they had. If there were people who were a little green, I was green myself, so we grew up together.”

Interview here:

Image courtesy of Fox / Getty Images

1994 - Jumanji

Jumanji (1995) was filmed in Vancouver, BC with the production making use of the surrounding forests and locations.

The late Robin Williams starred in the adventure film. A New York Times interview with the original cast and crew remembers the comedian during filming,

“Every Monday night, Robin went to a comedy club in Vancouver and did an hour and a half of improv with the locals, then another hour and a half of solo stand-up — three hours of burning off excess steam. He was glorious.”

Read the full interview here:

Image courtesy of TriStar Pictures / Columbia Pictures

1995 - Happy Gilmore

Happy Gilmore (1996) brings us to day 6 of 30. Exterior shots were filmed extensively in Vancouver, BC, the cult film was filmed between July and September 1995.

One of the most iconic scenes was filmed at Furry Creek Golf Course. A fight scene between Happy and Bob Barker (pictured) will not be forgotten.

Vancouver and its surrounding stands in for Connecticut in Happy Gilmore. Some notable filming locations include Happy’s apartment, located at 101 East 7th Avenue; Grandma’s house, located at West 19th Avenue between Maple Street and Cypress Street; the Michelob Invitational which was filmed at the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt; and the Happy Land Mini Golf course scene that was filmed at Vancouver’s Playland amusement park.

Image courtesy of Universal

1996 - Air Bud

Who doesn’t love a good dog? Air Bud (1997) was filmed in the winter of 1996 in Vancouver, BC. The Disney show did incredibly well at the box office, securing ~$26M in revenue on a $3M budget.

As noted in the Vancouver Courier, Air Bud and its offspring is where a lot of Vancouverites got their first taste of the movie business. Talk to anyone in Hollywood North, either in front of or behind the camera, and chances are they’ve cut their teeth in an Air Bud movie or two, or at the very least know someone who has.

You can read the full interview here:

So far there has been four sequels for the illustrious pup: Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Air Bud: World Pup (2000), Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (2002), and Air Bud: Spikes Back (2003). All of the Air Bud series was filed in Vancouver, BC.

Image courtesy of Universal

1997 - Stargate SG-1

We’re back to TV in Stargate SG-1 (1997).

Talking to the Vancouver Sun in 2006, show creator Brad Wright, a Vancouverite, mentions that the show is almost entirely Canadian, “Occasionally we'll bring up an American guest star, but I always look here first”. The show was shot mostly at The Bridge studios in Burnaby, BC.

Cast and crew usually totaled about 200 union employees, although that number would exceed 300 if a lot of carpenters are called in to build some of the show's elaborate sets.

Between 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1 and its spinoff series, Stargate Atlantis (now in its third season), Stargate has brought $500 million US in production to British Columbia.

Image courtesy of Universal

1998 - Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) brings us to day 9 of 30. The adaptation of David Guterson’s book is filmed primarily in British Columbia, with some filming taking place in Washington State.

In a Vancouver Sun article, dated Sep 23, 2011, Greenwood, BC is mentioned as providing the setting to an entire town, becoming a fishing village set in the Gulf Islands,

“In 1997, the historic town of Greenwood in the Interior became Amity Harbour, Wash., for the movie Snow Falling on Cedars.

It was somewhat bizarre, because Amity Harbour was supposed to be a fishing village in the Gulf Islands, while Greenwood is a landlocked old mining town in the Boundary region, just west of Grand Forks.

But there was a connection. Snow Falling on Cedars is set amid the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans from their homes on the West Coast during the Second World War, and Greenwood was one of the places to which Canadian authorities deported Japanese-Canadians at the same time.”

Full story can be found here:

Image courtesy of Universal

1999 - Shanghai Noon

The martial-arts western comedy, Shanghai Noon (2000) is next in the series.

Drumheller and Cochrane, Alberta was used in the filming of Shangahi Noon as it gave the film a realistic “Old West” look as the film’s director, Tom Dey mentions,

"Visually, it was very important to me to paint as large a canvas as possible, as well as give the film a realistic look.”

"Westerns are built on landscapes, and I tried to take advantage of the dramatic vistas Alberta has to offer. For interiors, my director of photography Dan Mindel and I talked a lot about keeping a very naturalistic look. This is not the norm for a comedy, but I felt that a story as unbelievable as ours needed to be grounded in as real a setting as possible.”

Read the production notes here:

Image courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

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