Ottawa hopes to boost film, TV industry
Invest Ottawa commissioner sets ambitious goals for local growth
Invest Ottawa is hoping to breathe new life into its film and television industry with a new sound stage and a new industry commissioner.
Genevieve Menard Hayles recently became Invest Ottawa's commissioner of TV, film and digital media after more than 10 years working in the business in Canada and the U.K.
She told CBC News there's a big opportunity for the industry to grow in Ottawa.
"It's a sector that has amazing potential for growth," she said, adding that every million dollars spent results in about 23 jobs.
"We need to work very closely with quite a few stakeholders to make our destinations available, open and, like I said, friendly to the industry, and accommodating," she said.
New sound stage could help attract productions
A database of industry resources — such as local make-up artists and other talent, as well as infrastructue — helps showcase the city and its perks.
A provincial tax credit of about 35 per cent exists in Toronto, but regional centres such as Ottawa offer an additional 10-per-cent break, Hayles said.
A new network featuring food and lifestyle programming launches soon from Ottawa's Knight TV, run by Chris Knight.
Knight is chair of Invest Ottawa's creative industries working group. He commutes to his Toronto office three days a week and said he'd like to do all his work from home in Ottawa instead.
"We have the infrastructure and we're building the infrastructure to take some of that business away from Toronto and take it away from Montreal, and in some cases take it away from Vancouver," he said.
He said Ottawa isn't necessarily looking to take the $200-million films from Toronto and Vancouver, but that Ottawa can instead attract a significant portion of the rest of the market.
Knight said it's less expensive to shoot in Ottawa, and a sound stage expected to be built in the city will help draw the small- to medium-size productions.