Ottawa film production companies excited for new boss

The Ottawa Film Office has a new boss in Bruce Harvey, who has spent most of his career in Calgary, and film production companies are excited for changes he could make.

Bruce Harvey heads Ottawa Film Office, aims to boost small but important industry

Ottawa film production companies say they are excited for the new head of Invest Ottawa's film office, Bruce Harvey, and hope he can boost the area's movie-making reputation.

Harvey, an Ottawa native, has spent most of his film career working for Illusions Entertainment Corporation based in Calgary, which has won Genie Awards for its work.

Ottawa's film industry is not large compared to major Canadian centres like Vancouver and Toronto, but it plays an important role in the city's economy, according to Invest Ottawa.    

In 2013 the Ottawa region saw 990 filming days for different projects, representing budgets of about $21.5 million spent within the city and $17.8 million outside of Ottawa.

Harvey, who started his new job as the senior business development manager of film and television on June 23, said the area has a lot of potential to grow its film production.

"It is one of the amazing secrets of film production and television production in Canada. To be honest, when I first started looking into coming to Ontario to work, I didn't really realize how strong the Ottawa film and television community is," he said.

"I think that's one of the big problems that we have here is that the Ottawa film community is not very good at promoting themselves, but it's really quite talented here."

Ottawa's challenge is self-inflicted, companies say

Ottawa's Film Office is located on Aberdeen Street in Little Italy. But most don't know that, which is part of Ottawa's challenge.

It's self-inflicted, according to Michael Dobbin, who runs one of the city's few film production companies, Quiet Revolution Pictures.

Genevieve Menard Hayles ran Ottawa's film office for just over a year before leaving and soon after joining Quiet Revolution Pictures.
Dobbin said the industry needs to develop more local talent and attract large productions, while Robert Menzies, president of Zed Filmworks, said Ottawa has "a long way to go" to compete in the world market.

Menzies said the city needs to provide more incentive for local production. Both Menzies and Dobbins also said jurisdictional red tape has haltered film production.

Genevieve Menard Hayles ran the city's film office as the film, TV and digital media commissioner from early 2012 to April 2013 before leaving and joining Dobbins at Quiet Revolution soon after.