Faces of BC Film – Alvin Sanders, Actor

Alvin Sanders. Photo: Katja De Bock

Alvin Sanders. Photo: Katja De Bock

Alvin Sanders, 61, is an American actor who moved to B.C. for love 30 years ago. As the president of the Union of B.C. Performers, Sanders is used to speaking to crowds.

At a meeting of different union members in New Westminster on Feb. 13, Sanders moderated the evening, speaking to the audience with a deep, warm voice, which evokes memories of a U.S. TV-reverend and Santa Claus.

Sanders combines his love of theatre with work in recorded media. He often takes on supporting roles in TV series and films, and says these types of roles sometimes come easier to him as a minority actor.

He says there are times when being a minority is an advantage, because in the film industry, they need to cast roles in a way which is similar to what is visible in society.

He also benefits from his American accent and works as a voice talent for commercials and documentary narrations. A recent development is his work as a performance capture actor for the gaming industry.

As an eloquent and judicious proponent of educating the public, Sanders appeared in one of Save BC Film’s public service announcements.

“The perception that the government is giving money to the film industry is what needs to be changed,” says Sanders. “The government is returning a percentage of the money that is already being spent by people in the film industry in British Columbia. So they’re bringing billions of dollars here and the government, as an incentive for them to come, agrees to return a small portion.”

Sanders refers to the offshoots that hockey gives to businesses, like sports stores or restaurants, which all benefit from the NHL season. That’s similar in the recorded media industry, says Sanders.

“People just have to get that into their heads, that when I get paid, I pay taxes. Then what I have left, I spend it at the Safeway store or Starbucks. And they take that money and they pay taxes on the money I’ve spent with them, “ says Sanders. “So the TV film money, it’s money that keeps on giving, it doesn’t just stop, it just keeps on flowing.”

Next week: Braden Haggerty, underwater cinematographer 

Reported by Katja De Bock

***This six-part series was originally created as a feature length article at Langara College’s journalism department. The series shows the faces of some of B.C.’s film industry workers who are affected by the recent decline in jobs. Some of them are involved in the #SaveBCFilm movement, others are relocating or reinventing themselves professionally. But all are passionate film lovers, and great people.***

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