Members of the Canadian and global film industry were in ‘complete and utter awe’ as they toured Nahanni National Park Reserve in June.

“Nahanni knocked it out of the park for them,” film commissioner Camilla MacEachern says of the response she received from a group of producers, directors and locations managers who recently toured the NWT. Among the group was Robert Boake, supervising locations manager on HBO’s Game of Thrones, as well as Edward Mazurek, Amanda Verhagen, Gary Harvey and Meredith Hodder.

While infrastructure, gear and post-production constraints would likely prevent a series like the global phenomenon Game of Thrones being based in the territory, MacEachern says the territory is attracting feature films and special effects filming.

“We have now shown that we can host feature films, recently Red Snow, that was filmed here two springs ago, and the Sun at Midnight and Elijah and the Rock Creature. Arctic Air, which was a CBC drama series,” she says. “Now, with special effects, there are other areas not neccesarily limited to production and cast and crew coming here. There’s also plate shot units.”

Plate shots are images which are captured and applied to a green screen, which Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time shot in the territory in 2017. “It’s like virtually bringing the Northwest Territories to the green screen,” MacEachern says.

Held during solstice, the tour was able to showcase one of the biggest assets of the North – its light. “Really, we’ve got hours of magic hour which is that beautiful morning light and that evening light, before the sun sets, and its a really desired light by film productions.” The group also commented on how close knit the territory’s film family is and how close Yellowknife is to the rest of the world, some of whom took a direct flight from Vancouver.

The tour was based in Yellowknife and included visits to Dettah, Aurora Village, Blachford Lake Lodge and the Deh Cho, specifically Nahanni National Park Reserve. This is the second tour of the year, the first was focused on the Beaufort Delta and Yellowknife, MacEachern says is made possible by a $200,000 investment by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency into the territory’s film industry.