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An exhibit on the city’s film history to open at Museum of Surrey this fall

Exhibition will highlight film and TV productions shot around town
Paul Orazietti walks across 176th in front of the Dann’s Electronics building. Because of the film history attached to Dann’s, Orazietti said the corner has become the most-photographed spot in Surrey. Orazietti is consulting on a new exhibition about Surrey’s rich film history that’ll open at the Museum of Surrey this fall. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

A film history exhibit is coming to the Museum of Surrey.

The show, called “Surrey on Screen”, will cover the history of filming in Surrey.

“It’s still a work in progress,” said Paul Orazietti, executive director of Cloverdale BIA. “There’s a heck of a lot of detail.”

He noted that “heck of a lot” makes it challenging to tell the story in a concise way that still covers all the important bases.

Colleen Sharpe, curator of exhibits for the museum, is heading up the show and Orazietti said he’s consulting on the project for her.

Orazietti is a self-described lover of all things film: the in-front-of-the-camera stuff, the behind-the-scenes stuff, the business of film, the administration of film projects, and the whole fanside of post-filming fascination—that is, the location tourism and the social media side of it that draws fans to long gone shoot locales. And he thinks Cloverdale will greatly benefit from film-location tourism in the future.

The Dann’s Electronics building is a prime example of the latter. He said it’s the most photographed corner in Surrey. He said fans will stop just to grab a shot because the building has been used in several different shows such as The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Peacemaker, and many others. (The building itself is 102-years-old, built as a Royal Bank branch in 1920 then becoming a government liquor store in 1923.)

Orazietti added the museum’s exhibit will look at the history of filming in all parts of Surrey, not just Cloverdale.

“I’ve been going through boxes to pull all the filming notices from over the last 20 years, but it’s taking some time,” he said, laughing. “Because there’s been so much filming in Cloverdale, and because I was involved with it, I’ve accumulated a lot of material.”

He’s given a ton of photographs and filming notices to the museum for possible inclusion in the exhibit.

“Colleen (Sharpe) has been working with Warner Brothers,” he added.

Sharpe is hoping to get a few production items, like props and costumes, from Warner Bros. on loan—items from Surrey productions such Supernatural, Smallville, iZombie, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Superman & Lois.

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Orazietti said now that Cloverdale has roughly two decades and a half of film history behind it, it’s becoming famous.

“When you start to look at Hot Rod (2007), it’s kind of the defining movie that changed the film landscape for Cloverdale,” he said. “A Coca-cola commercial was filmed here in the mid-90s, probably ‘96, and that opened the door, but Hot Rod, Hot Rod really captured Cloverdale.”

He said A Storm in Summer (2000) was also important, as was Smallive (2001-2011), but because Hot Rod was shot throughout Cloverdale, it endeared itself to locals and it lent itself to fans that wanted to see original locations.

Hot Rod was shot at Greenway pool. They used a local house, you can still go by there. They filmed in local parking lots, different streets, and the town centre. It was shot on the Fairgrounds. It was as Cloverdale as you can get.”

He added Hot Rod was the most significant of all the movies—in terms of making a name—for Cloverdale in that first decade.

Deck the Halls (2006) was the biggest production up to that point,” explained Orazietti. “That ran for eight weeks. It was very disruptive. Closed the road down. The movie wasn’t well-received. It wasn’t iconic so it didn’t live on in the hearts of fans. But, it did have a big effect and it did draw people to the city.”

He said for everything that Hot Rod was to fans, Deck the Halls was for filmmakers.

“It got the ball rolling and put Cloverdale on the map,” he explained. “It endeared Cloverdale to filmmakers from both the United States and Canada. After that, filming here took off.”

He said he’s excited about the exhibit and he’s excited about what type of materials the city and the museum will generate because of the exhibit.

“The city and the museum are running with this,” he said. “One important byproduct of the exhibit will be the maps and other materials that may come out of it. Cloverdale could use those materials to help with its film tourism.”

Orazietti said the exhibit will open in August and run until April, 2023.

“Film history and visiting filming locations is a growing form of tourism,” he added. “A lot of younger people are travelling great distances to see the sets and locations of some of their favourite films and television shows.”

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Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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