Rocky View County’s CL Ranch has been included in the prestigious Location of the Year Award at the Global Production Awards recently held in Cannes, France.
The recognition brought immense joy to CL Western Town and Backlot owner Teresa Copithorne, who was delighted to see the venue’s years of hard work being acknowledged on the international stage.
Although the news came as a surprise, Copithorne attributes part of the venue's success to the overwhelming response received for the multi-million-dollar production, HBO’s The Last of Us, which captured the attention of audiences worldwide.
“It attracted the attention worldwide of where Calgary is and why should we go there,” Copithorne said. “It’s a wonderful honour to have been chosen.”
Located on the western boundary of RVC, the permanent set has served as the backdrop for several high-profile film and TV productions in recent years, including Fargo, Heartland, Wynonna Earp, and others. The ranch's contributions to the flourishing film industry in Alberta have significantly aided in putting the region on the Hollywood map.
In addition to CL Ranch, two other Alberta-based ranches, Albertina Farms near Okotoks and John Scott Ranch near Longview, were also recognized for their exceptional standing sets at the Global Production Awards.
Together, the three ranches have played a pivotal role in facilitating the visions of filmmakers who choose Alberta as their filming location.
“Each one of us has a different look and serves similar but different purposes,” Copithorne said.
“We work together, if we get scouted for something and it doesn’t suit, I refer one of the other two [ranches] and they do exactly the same.”
According to the venue’s website, CL Western Town and Backlot is a meticulously designed period studio showcasing buildings from the 1850s to the 1930s. Most of the buildings boast finished interiors and are situated along two main intersecting streets, offering an authentic and immersive experience.
In addition, there is a large warehouse containing over 4,000 western set dressings available for rent.
Furthermore, an earlier period street on the west side of the town provides a picturesque view of the Rocky Mountains on the horizon.
“We have prairies to the east and mountains to the west, so we are right on the Foothills,” Copithorne said. “I think our advantage is that we are 40 minutes from an international airport, 40 minutes from downtown Calgary, and [have] 360 degrees of unobstructed view.”
Noteworthy features of the studio include a school, a church, early canvas roof buildings, a sound stage, a carpentry shop, and a train station.
Copithorne said their international recognition has elevated the status of CL Ranch and helped put Alberta on the map on a much bigger scale.
The success of these ranches and the overall filming industry in Alberta demonstrates the region's exceptional potential as a premier filming destination.
With its stunning landscapes, versatile settings, and dedicated studio owners, Alberta is well-positioned to attract more major productions and further enhance its reputation as a go-to location for filmmakers worldwide.
“The Last of Us attracted an awful lot of attention. Having our sets available and looked at it’s just going to bring a lot more business – The world is looking,” Copithorne said.