By Steve Hubrecht 

[email protected] 

The Columbia Valley may feature on the silver screen. Again. 

As long-time locals already know, the valley and its beautiful backcountry have been the setting of plenty of movies in the past.

Not one, but two Hollywood blockbusters were filmed in high mountain areas of the valley: first the 1993 film ‘Alive’ starring Ethan Hawke and Josh Hamilton in a true-life tale about the survivors of a plane crash; and then the 2017 drama ‘The Mountain Between Us’ featuring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, which also centres around an alpine airplane accident (local residents reported seeing Elba on the slopes of Panorama Mountain Resort and Winslet visiting local ice fishing huts while the stars were here for filming).

Then there was the 2017 indie film ‘Suck It Up’ which was shot almost entirely in the valley, centred at a cabin on Lake Windermere. It tells the story of two friends dealing with the loss of a loved one by taking a road trip to the valley.

And the Columbia Valley occasionally also crops up in ski movies, such as the segment of Teton Gravity Research (TGR)’s 2021 ski flick ‘Stoke the Fire’ which features local big mountain skiers Christina Lustenberger and Ian McIntosh making the first ski descent of the eastern face of Mount Nelson — the tallest peak visible from Invermere.

Now there may be one more. Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Pete Bourke and business advisor (and Invermere councillor) Theresa Wood spent two and a half days during the last week of April touring with movie location scouts, a director, and a producer up and down the valley.

Bourke couldn’t tell the Pioneer the name of the film, the film company or even the precise locations they visited.

“That’s top secret for now because there are a lot of pieces that still need to fall into place for this to happen,” he said. What he could say was that if things do go well, shooting could start here in the fall.


The film won’t be another blockbuster with A-list Hollywood celebrity actors, but it will be on a larger scale than the indie film ‘Suck It Up’, explained Bourke. “I guess you can say it’s mid-scale,” he added.

Bourke and Wood have been in conversation with the film company for about six months. “They found a project that they thought could be a good fit for this setting,” said Bourke. “We went from Brisco to Canal Flats with many stops in between.”

For each type of setting the scouts and director were looking for, Bourke and Wood made sure to show them several examples.

“That way they have an option A, B and C for each kind of location they want,” said Bourke.

The initial interest in using the Columbia Valley as a setting for a film came because someone at the film company “has a long history in the valley and has been visiting here for years,” he explained.

If the project is a success, there could be even more films shot in the valley in the future, outlined Bourke.

“We’re excited to have this type of interest in our region,” he said. “There’s a lot of economic spinoff for local suppliers, caterers and other job creation opportunities.”