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The Last of Us success spilling over into Edmonton film industry, say industry members

The Christmas Train Parade is a romantic holiday movie being shot in Edmonton. The Christmas Train Parade is a romantic holiday movie being shot in Edmonton.

The HBO zombie-adjacent thriller show The Last of Us has captivated audiences around the world and officials say it's bringing the Edmonton film industry back to life as well.

A romantic holiday movie is currently in production in Edmonton and the director says it's just one of several productions planned for the capital city this year.

"This is going to be our second feature of six that we’re doing this year in Edmonton," director and producer Dylan Pearce said.

The Christmas Train Parade is being filmed at Fort Edmonton Park.

"It’s a story about a mayor who's trying to keep the heritage and soul of her town alive," Pearce said.

The park's train will play a central role in the film.

"It’s not only a beautiful locomotive, but it’s the heart of our story in saving the heritage and the soul of the town," Pearce said during an interview on set Thursday night.

"We've shot all over Fort Edmonton, and the community here at Fort Edmonton has been amazing to work with in helping bring this film to life."

Pearce, who has worked in the industry for over a decade, says things are looking bright for the local film industry.

Fort Edmonton's train is featured in the holiday movie The Christmas Train Parade.

"What makes Edmonton stand out is the people, the personalities, the crew. Everyone here is excited.It’s a very warm and welcoming place for the film industry," he said. "We have some unique locations here and we have some places that haven’t been seen on film before."

The organization that represents Edmonton to the film industry on the world stage says the uptick in production is creating jobs in the city.

"Over the last 20 years really, there’s been a lot of folks that have been sucked up by the other regions that have been growing substantially," said Tom Viinikka of the Edmonton Screen Industries Office.

"It really helps to keep everyone busy [and] bring home some of the folks that have moved to other busier regions over the past couple of years."

About 60 people are working on The Christmas Train Parade.

Crew members on set of The Christmas Train Parade in Edmonton.

Additionally, Viinikka says producers are currently focused on growing homegrown talent.

With film-related programs at both NAIT and SAIT, Alberta is a hub for young filmmakers.

"Our local producers are actually engaged in the community and working to help develop the folks here who have an interest in this, whether they’re coming out of school or whether they’re just taking an interest in the industry," he said.

Viinikka says this is Edmonton's chance to show the world that top-notch films can be made right here in the city.

"We go out to the world to sell this region and to tell people about our region. I can tell you right now that the conversation has changed a lot in the last year as we’ve been able to be part of some of these really big things," he said.

"I know there’s a lot of folks who just don’t realize how much goes on and the types of things and the level of talent that exists here – and we’re going to change that."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Darcy Seaton. Top Stories

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