Creative Sask. announces first major TV series production following grant creation

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Creative Saskatchewan, the agency responsible for creative industries in the province, celebrated a milestone on Friday when it announced a major television production would start filming in the fall. 

King of Killers: The Series will be filmed at the John Hopkins Regina Soundstage for at least one year, a news release from Creative Saskatchewan said. The series is based on a feature film set to be released under the same name and tells the stories of assassins competing for a $10-million prize and title of “King of Killers.”

The series will be using the Feature Film and Television Production Grant, which was bolstered by $8 million in the most recent provincial budget. In total the project could generate some $20 million in labour, goods and services, Creative Saskatchewan’s news release said.

Benefits to the local economy will come through accommodations, car rentals, food purchases and other economic impacts an influx of people in Regina will create, Creative Saskatchewan said.

“By growing our labour force, or technology sector, tourism, the spin-off benefits for hospitality and support services will also be really exciting,” Erin Dean, CEO of Creative Saskatchewan said at a news conference on Friday. 

“We look forward to seeing things ramp up here at the John Hopkins Regina Soundstage this fall.” 

The news release said there could also be future seasons for King of Killer: The Series

Anand Ramayya, a producer with the Saskatchewan-based Karma Films Inc., said he and the other production companies involved in the series started discussing the project two years ago.

He said he’s happy to have taken part in a production featuring “high-octane” action with larger-than-life characters right here in Saskatchewan.

Ramayya said the technology crews will be using — a unique custom built LED wall built at the soundstage to display digital content — will put Saskatchewan back on the map when it comes to video and TV production.

“We’ve all had challenges over the years, but we’re back in a growth phase,” Ramayya said after Friday’s announcement. 

“I as an entrepreneur and a producer can start thinking about growth as opposed to just maintaining a status quo.” 

The LED wall will make Saskatchewan competitive nationally and globally in the film industry, Ramayya said. 

The soundstage is a film and TV production facility in Regina and will play host to the cast and crew filming King of Killers: The Series in the next year. (Saskatchewan Government)

The wall itself was a highlight on Friday, as was the province’s spending on the film industry in Saskatchewan. Ten years ago the province eliminated its film tax credit in a move decried by many in the industry. 

“[The investment is] exciting, it’s exactly what we’ve been making the case for for the past three years,” Ken Alecxe, executive director of the Sask. Media Production Industry Association told reporters on Friday.

“We used a business case approach rather than thumping on [the government]. We had done that for 10 years and it wasn’t effective.”

Availability at the John Hopkins Regina Soundstage is a huge positive draw too, he said, as many other soundstages across North America are booked for years in advance. 

The LED wall in particular was a source of major excitement for lead actor and executive producer Alain Moussi.

“We’re getting right into virtual production, which for me, is one of the most exciting parts of this show,” Moussi said. 

“We’re using this amazing technology that’s used on these major shows on Disney, like the Mandalorian, but we’re going a step further and our is the most advanced digital wall in the world.” 

Creative Saskatchewan’s news release said the LED wall itself will be responsible for creating 20 full-time employment jobs through its maintenance and operation.

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Bryan Eneas

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