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Desert Communities

Desert web site: www.tnrd.bcfilmcommission.com/deserts1

Desert communities comprise excellent open and vast film locations, friendly small towns and crystal clear air for filming.

Ashcroft

The Village of Ashcroft (http://www.village.ashcroft.bc.ca) is nestled in a desert valley, off the Trans Canada Highway #1 and Highway #97C, 10 km south of Cache Creek and a 1-hour & 10-minute drive from Kamloops. Ashcroft is centrally located in the BC’s South Central Interior. Ashcroft’s elevation is 335.2 meters and its coordinates are 50°5’ north by 121°5’ west. Ashcroft is “The Heart of Gold Country” based on its gold rush history.

Climate

Ashcroft experiences very little precipitation throughout the year. Ashcroft’s climate can best be characterized as dry continental, dominated by Pacific air movements northward and eastward along the valleys. The summers can bring temperatures over 35°C (110°F) and the winters are mild with an average daytime temperature of -5 degrees and very little snow.

Tourism

Gold Country (http://www.exploregoldcountry.com)

Population

1,790

Did You Know?

  • The Campbell Hill Airport is located north of Ashcroft and is shared with Cache Creek. The paved airstrip is 3,310 feet long and can accommodate modern commercial jets and turbo-prop aircraft.
  • Ashcroft & District General Hospital is available for filming as well as health care.
  • Ashcroft Slough is a carved river basin typified by unique clay cliffs, hoodoos and pristine desert areas.
  • Local ranches have open, desert rangeland for filming.
  • Many desert films have been shot in the area.

Projects

“An Unfinished Life” with Robert Redford & Jennifer Lopez; “Shooter” with Mark Wahlberg; “2012” with John Cusack and Woody Harrelson; “The A-Team” with Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson.

Cache Creek

The Village of Cache Creek (http://www.cachecreekvillage.com) is located at the junction of the Trans Canada Highway #1 and Cariboo Highway #97N. Cache Creek is situated on the Thompson Plateau at the junction of the Cariboo and Thompson Valleys meet, which help to form the Interior Plateau. Cache Creek is home to more than 11 motels, and numerous restaurants, gas stations and services, that support crews filming in the area.  Cache Creek is less than a 50-minute highway drive from Kamloops.

Climate

Cache Creek is very dry and situated within a zone of very low precipitation, with an annual rainfall of 10 cm (that’s hardly any). The area is termed Dry Continental, being hot and dry in the summer, and cool and dry in the winter. Cache Creek’s dry arid climate is alluring to productions because work can begin early or late in the calendar year without rain or snow.

Tourism

Gold Country (http://www.exploregoldcountry.com)

Population

1,037

Did You Know?

  • The Campbell Hill Airport is managed by Cache Creek and can accommodate modern commercial jets and turbo-prop aircraft.
  • Cache Creek hosts “Graffiti Days” and supports races at Ashcroft's Nl'Akapxm Eagle Motorplex (http://www.eaglemotorplex.com)
  • Cache Creek is only 10 minutes south from Historic Hat Creek Ranch, and very close to the Bonaparte Bend Winery (www.bbwinery.com) and Horstings Farm with acres of orchards and crops (http://www.horstingfarms.com)

Projects

“Shooter” with Mark Wahlberg; “2012” with John Cusack and Woody Harrelson; “Joyride 2: Dead Ahead” with Nicki Aycox and Nick Zano; “Ill Fated” with Peter Outerbridge; "Afghan Luke" with Nick Stahl.

Kamloops

The City of Kamloops (http://www.kamloops.ca), “Canada's Tournament Capital”, is situated where the North Thompson and South Thompson Rivers meet and where the rugged Thompson pine valley meets desert and grasslands. It is also where the Yellowhead Highway #5N, the Trans Canada Highway #1, the Coquihalla Highway #5 and Old Nicola Highway #5A meet, making Kamloops the trading centre of British Columbia.

Kamloops is a modern city with amenities to support any size of crew, in comfort and style, and yet, only 10 minutes away from sagebrush, clay hoodoos and desert, grasslands, forests, water and valleys with no signs of mankind. Kamloops boasts a modern university and many historic houses, glass buildings and rustic ranches nearby, quaint shops and industrial warehouses. It is a city of contrasting looks, a city of many bridges, and a city with talent and experienced crews and actors, and a film-supportive community and government.

Climate

Tourism Kamloops informs us that Kamloops is British Columbia’s second-sunniest filming city with more than 2,000 hours of sunshine annually, which is fabulous news for filmmakers because this makes for more shoot days and longer days. Spring comes early in Kamloops, with April being dry with no snow and mild temperatures. Summers temperatures often reach more than 30°C (90°F) with no precipitation. Fall is still warm but cools at night with gentle breezes. In winter, the lower valley level of Kamloops experiences cold snaps from -5 to -15C and about 6 inches of snow, with more on the upper areas surrounding the city. Snow drifts can either help provide deep pockets of snow, or blow it away, which promotes a tundra-like look in the grasslands and deserts immediately surrounding Kamloops. At Christmas, downtown Kamloops is a winterland fantasy of lights and snow and homey charm.

Tourism

Tourism Kamloops (http://www.tourismkamloops.com) and Sun Peaks Resort (http://www.sunpeaksresort.com)

Population

87,017 but services and amenities to support a trading population of 150,000+

Did You Know That?

  • West Jet, Air Canada and Central Mountain Air fly out of Kamloops Airport YKA and that our airport was remodeled and the runway expanded to 8,000 ft AND provides permanent customs and immigrant services.  (http://www.kamloopsairport.com)
  • Kamloops is only a 45-minute flight from Vancouver or a 3.5-hours drive, and a 1-hour flight from Calgary, Alberta.
  • The BC Interior Filmmakers Association (BC Interior Film & Television Association) that trains and supports local filmmakers and crew, are based in Kamloops. (http://www.interiorfilmmakers.com/)
  • CC Helicopters is based in Kamloops and has flown for more than 30 film projects in the area and are used often for scouting due to their extensive knowledge of the Thompson-Nicola region.
  • Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Lopez, Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Martin and Charlie Sheen, Josh Lucas, Laurence Fishbourne, Eric McCormack, Sam Neil, Rampage, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Clint Black, Patrick Warburton, Elias Koreas, Michael Madsen, Lorne Cardinal, Roland Emmerich, Antoine Fuqua, Lasse Hallström, Michael Damien, Richard Loncraine, Charles Martin Smith, Stephen Hopkins, Mikael Salomon and many, many other actors and directors and Oscar winners stayed in Kamloops while filming in the region.

Projects

“An Unfinished Life” with Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez & Morgan Freeman; “2012” with John Cusack and Woody Harrelson; “The A-Team” with Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson; “Traffic” the miniseries; “The Andromeda Strain” the miniseries; "Iron Road" the mini-epic; "Alice" the mini-series.

Savona

Savona or Savona Ferry, (http://www.exploregoldcountry.com/index.php/community-directories/savona) as it was then known, was established in the 1800s, and served as the last stop on the Cariboo Wagon Road from Cache Creek.  Travellers would disembark the BX stagecoach to board the steamship for their journey up the lake to Kamloops, or continue on to Shuswap Lakes. The lakeside community of Savona is located at the western end of Kamloops Lake between the BC communities of Cache Creek and Kamloops.

Local Attractions include: Deadman Creek Valley (west of Savona) with flowering cactus plants and hoodoos, Balancing Rock, The Three Witches Falls, the annual summer Fishing Derby, white trumpeter swans that winter on Kamloops Lake and the Lakeside Country Inn (more) situated on the shores of Kamloops Lake.

Climate

Savona is surrounded by a semi-arid terrain of grasslands, sagebrushed desert and hills. Moderate with hot summers and very little precipitation.

Tourism

Gold Country (http://www.exploregoldcountry.com)

Population

700

Did You Know?

  • The picturesque community of Savona dates back thousands of years when the First Nations Shuswap Band inhabited the region enjoying the abundance of fish and the good hunting. Things changed in the early 1860s when Europeans moved into the area.
  • Gold was the original attraction, but within a few years, ranches with large herds of beef cattle became the mainstay.
  • When the Canadian Pacific Railway line was built on the south side of Kamloops Lake in 1885, the community was moved across the ice-covered lake, building by building, to the new south-shore site of Savona.

Projects

“An Unfinished Life” with Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez & Morgan Freeman; “The Andromeda Strain” with Eric McCormack & Rick Schroder; and "2012" with John Cusack & Woody Harrelson.

 

 Spences Bridge

The community of Spences Bridge (http://www.exploregoldcountry.com/communities_spences_bridge.php) is north of Lytton, at the confluence of the Thompson and Nicola Rivers, and where the Trans Canada Highway #1 and Spences Bridge-Merritt Nicola Highway #8, meet. It is about a half-hour drive from Ashcroft and Cache Creek. Tumbleweeds, sand hoodoos and sagebrush surrounded by rugged pine and rocky mountains are typical of this community.

Spences Bridge is renowned for its Steelhead and Salmon fishing, whitewater rafting, large herds of bighorn sheep, plus dry, desert, rocky landscapes, and Murray Creek Falls. It boasts orchards, and small diners such as Rumors Restaurant (with Internet) and the Packing House (with live music and great coffees and teas) and motels, bridges and a great pub (Log Cabin) as unique filming locations.

Climate

Spences Bridge has a very dry climate, almost desert-like, with only around 254 mm (10 inches) of precipitation in a year.

Tourism

Gold Country (http://www.exploregoldcountry.com)

Population

138

Did You Know?

  • The Inn at Spences Bridge was built in the 1860s and is newly renovated and lovely, and was formerly known as The Garuda Inn, the Steelhead Inn, the Spences Bridge Hotel and the Hermitage Hotel. (http://www.spencesbridge.ca/)
  • The Spences Bridge Circle J Motel was used as a location in “An Unfinished Life” where Robert Redford “Einar” confronts Damian Lewis “the bad boyfriend” (star of “Life” TV series),
  • The Spences Bridge-Merritt Nicola Highway #8 is where Atom Egoyan situated “The Sweet Hereafter” highway.  It's a great motorcycle ride!

Projects

“An Unfinished Life” with Robert Redford & Jennifer Lopez; “The Sweet Hereafter” with Ian Holm and Sarah Polley and Kamloops’ Gabrielle Rose; “Hard Core Logo”.

Walhachin

Walhachin (http://www.exploregoldcountry.com/communities_walhachin.php) lies 36 kilometers east of Ashcroft, between Savona and Cache Creek on the south side of the Thompson River. This small town was originally settled by English “upper class” and was a horticulture colony. But the town’s men were all killed during WW1 and winds devastated the orchards. Walhachin is now an eclectic small town area with remnants of the past, adobes and trailers, and small bungalows, isolated in the desert.

In this dry, semi-desert area, wind and water have combined to erode the earth into tall, strangely shaped pillars called hoodoos.

Climate

Semi-dry, little precipitation, and very hot in the summer with temperatures into the 30°s C (+90°F). Long growing seasons.

Population

100

Tourism

Gold Country (http://www.exploregoldcountry.com)

Did You Know?

  • There are four provincial parks near Walhachin – Steelhead Provincial Park, Juniper Beach Provincial Park, Arrowstone Provincial Park and Walhachin Oxbows Provincial Park.
  • Thompson Rivers Estates is where the orchards used to be.
  • That travelers can see the remnants of the flume that carried water from Deadman Creek 20 km away to the orchards.
  • Walhachin means “land of round rock”.
  • The Walhachin Bridge is home to large nests of Osprey.

Projects

“The X Files” with David Duchovny; “Flower & Garnet” with Callum Keith Rennie; “Firewall” with Harrison Ford; “The Andromeda Strain” with Eric McCormack.

   
  • Association of Film Commisioners International