Wednesday , 29 November 2023

Liked seeing Alberta in The Last of Us? Here are some of the province’s other recent productions

It’s common to hear about movies and TV shows being filmed in Toronto or Vancouver. There’s even a term for this — ‘Hollywood North.’

That’s a key reason why The Last of Us has been such a big deal. With a reported budget that rivals many Game of Thrones seasons, it’s believed to be the biggest TV production in Canadian history. And yet, it wasn’t actually filmed in Ontario or B.C. — it was shot entirely in Alberta. Moreover, members of the cast and crew, including stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey and production designer John Paino, have praised the province for its beauty.

With that in mind, we wanted to take a look at some other notable productions in the province. Of course, if we go back several years, we’d have titles like the award-winning movies Brokeback Mountain (the Canadian Rockies in Southern Alberta) and The Revenant (Calgary and Kananaskis). But for the purposes of this piece, we’ll focus on some other movies and TV shows that, like The Last of Us, were recently shot in Alberta. We’ll also make note of where you can stream them.

Fargo (2014-?)

Genre: Black comedy, crime
Runtime: TBA

Synopsis: This anthology series follows various crimes in Fargo, North Dakota.

Plot details are under wraps on the upcoming fifth season, though we know it will include the likes of Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Juno Temple (Ted Lasso), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) and Joe Keery (Stranger Things).

Alberta connections: We’re cheating a bit by including the entire FX series, but outside of Season 4, it was filmed completely in Calgary. This includes the undated fifth season, which began shooting last year in the city.

Where to stream: The first three seasons are available on Amazon Prime Video (via the MGM channel). The fourth season, however, isn’t currently streaming anywhere beyond PVOD platforms like iTunes and Google Play.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Genre: Supernatural comedy
Runtime: 2 hours, 4 minutes

Synopsis: A single mother and her children move to an Oklahoma farm inherited from her estranged father, original Ghostbusters member Egon Spengler.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife was co-written and directed by Montreal’s Jason Reitman (Juno) and stars Carrie Coon (The Leftovers), Vancouver’s Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), McKenna Grace (I, Tonya) and Paul Rudd (Ant-Man).

Alberta connections: The Ghostbusters sequel was shot in Calgary between July and October 2019.

Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video

Prey (2022)

Genre: Sci-fi action
Runtime: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Synopsis: One of last year’s surprise hits was this prequel to the Predator franchise which follows a Comanche warrior’s first encounter with a deadly alien hunter.

Prey was directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) and stars Amber Midthunder (Roswell, New Mexico), Dakota Beavers (debut acting role), Dane DiLiegro (American Horror Stories) and Calgary’s Michelle Thrush (Blackstone).

Alberta connections: Prey was filmed in Calgary, primarily in Stoney Nakoda First Nation.

Where to stream: Disney+

Under the Banner of Heaven (2022)

Genre: Drama
Runtime: Seven episodes (63–88 minutes each)

Synopsis: A police detective finds his faith shaken when investigating the murder of a Mormon mother and her daughter that appears to involve the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

Based on Jon Krakauer’s 2003 non-fiction book of the same name, Under the Banner of Heaven was created by Dustin Lance Black (Milk) and stars Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!), Sam Worthington (Avatar), Daisy Edgar-Jones (Cold Feet), Wyatt Russell (Lodge 49) and Denise Gough (Angels in America).

Alberta connections: Under the Banner of Heaven was filmed in Calgary between August and December 2021.

Skinamarink (2023)

Genre: Horror
Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Synopsis: Two children who cannot find their father and must deal with mysterious happenings in their home.

Alberta connections: Skinaramink is perhaps the most quintessentially Albertan title here. This viral experimental horror flick was shot by YouTuber Kyle Edward Ball in his childhood home in Edmonton over the course of seven days in August 2021. Due to the small $15,000 USD (about $20,000 CAD) budget, Ball actually had to rent equipment from the Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta, a non-profit that supports local independent filmmakers.

Where to stream: Shudder

What are some of your favourite movies and shows that were filmed in Alberta? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: FX

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