Ottawa film industry could see boom thanks to slipping loonie

Ottawa is becoming a growing destination for filmmakers as U.S. producers look north to make movies on the cheap.

'It's been really good,' Ottawa film commissioner says

Film commissioner Bruce Harvey says the sinking loonie is causing U.S. production companies to increasingly consider Ottawa as a potential filming location. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Ottawa is becoming a growing destination for filmmakers as U.S. producers look north — where their dollars go further — to make movies on the cheap.

It's not uncommon to see increased production in Canada when the loonie drops, but a unique set of circumstances could draw more crews to the capital, said Ottawa film commissioner Bruce Harvey.

"The activities in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal — the prime centres in Canada — were already really high before the loonie started dropping to the level it's at now. So what that means is that there's more interest in coming to secondary markets, like Ottawa, to shoot films," Harvey told Alan Neal on CBC Radio's All In A Day.

"For us, it's been really good. Ironically, we were already expecting to have a very good year here, and this just means it's going to be really going full out for a lot of the companies in town."

Listen to the full interview below.

One of the upsides of the current low loonie is a possible upswing in movies being filmed in Ottawa. Ottawa's film commissioner joined All in a Day with a film industry outlook. 9:20

It's tough to pinpoint exactly how many productions are coming to town because some keep a low profile by shooting in private buildings where permits are not required, Harvey said.

But on average, he said, there are at least three crews shooting in Ottawa a day.

"The number of major projects coming is increasing," Harvey said.

The loonie fell below the 70-cent US level for the first time since 2003 this week.

While good for some, the current exchange rate is less desirable for Canadian filmmakers looking to bring in talent, props or construction materials from the U.S., Harvey said.

The 2015 horror film February, starring Emma Roberts, was filmed in Ottawa. Ottawa was also host to Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Christian Slater during the filming of the 2011 film Sacrifice.