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Hollywood comes to Concordia … again!

With more than 14 productions in only three years — who knew the Loyola and Sir George Williams campuses were such cinematic hotspots?
September 30, 2016

American flags fly in front of the Faculty of Arts and Science Administration (AD) Building Spot the difference in the Administration (AD) Building’s imposing facade... | Photos courtesy of Adan Suazo

“Concordia’s Loyola Campus goes Hollywood!” tweeted Adan Suazo, then-coordinator of the Loyola Sustainability Research Centre (LSRC), as he picked his way past cameras, rigs and other filmmaking paraphernalia.

In summer 2015, Loyola and Sir George Williams landmarks like the Grey Nuns Reading Room (GN) and the Quadrangle (QA) stood in for a fictional Los Angeles university in the sequel to the 2011 French farce Les Tuche.

And the cameras are back on campus next week, from October 3 to 6, 2016.

Due to Concordia's increasing appeal as a filming location, this past spring and summer have seen an unprecedented level of activity.

“We've had 26 offers so far!” says property rental coordinator Esther Bozzer.

This time, the Athletics Complex (RA) laces up for a freshly commissioned CBC-TV "soccer drama" called 21 Thunder.

It’s one of no fewer than 14 films and TV series to come to the university in the past three years — including Xavier Dolan’s Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy (2014), which recorded a scene in the parking lot of the Faubourg Building (FB).

Quebec director Denis Villeneuve brought Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker to campus for Arrival (2016). It went on to a world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and a Canadian premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.



Ultimately, Concordia signed off on six film shoots in spring/summer 2016, with two more to come. They include Bad Santa 2 and The Glass Castle, with Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.

Also, a film crew was on campus to film an entire season of the TV drama series This Life, currently airing on CBC.

But, stardust aside, what are the benefits of Concordia's transformation into a film set?

Profits made from all location fees  — an estimated $80,000 in the last three years  — go straight to student awards and scholarships, through a fund run by the Financial Aid and Awards Office.

"These film shoots take a lot of work to coordinate,” Bozzer says, describing a Concordia Facilities Management-led team in cooperation with event analysts, designated space administrators, department coordinators, security guards, custodians, electricians and others.

“But when people hear it's for the students' benefit, they're always happy to help."


Find out more about Concordia's Policy on Filming and Photography on University Premises.

Keen to make your own movie? Try Concordia's Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.


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