Low loonie a boost to Toronto film business
City projects another record year after film and television industry brought in $1.2B in 2015
The Toronto film industry, already a booming business, could be in for a big boost as the low loonie makes the city an even more attractive shoot location, industry insiders say.
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Half of the eight films nominated for best picture for this year's Oscars were at least partially shot on Canadian soil. "Spotlight," nominated for six Academy Awards, was shot in a Hamilton, Ont., newsroom.
Toronto's film and television industry brought in a record $1.234 billion last year, and the city's film development office says even bigger bucks are expected in 2016.
"Looking at our figures right now we're going to be even busier for 2016," Michele Alosinac, Toronto's film sector development officer, told CBC News.
So far, 14 television shows and four feature films are slated to be shot in the city this year, including "Downsizing" with Matt Damon and Reese Witherspoon.
The low loonie allows those in charge of film budgets to splurge a little, Alosinac said.
"Better visual effects, maybe better talent, maybe better looks on the screen," she said.
The dipping dollar isn't just having an effect on film shoots.
Traditionally, crews film in Toronto and then return to the U.S. for post-production, according to Nick Iannelli, vice president of operations at production firm Deluxe Toronto.
But the low loonie is keeping that business in the city.
"Some of the studio shows out of L.A. and whatnot would come to Toronto, produce the show, shoot the show, but then take the post-production work back," Iannelli told CBC News. "They're now leaving that work in Toronto."
The studio, in the city's King West neighbourhood, has hired more post-production staff who can also connect remotely with teams in the U.S.
"We tell them that talent that exists in Toronto and Ontario is equal to the talent that they get in Los Angeles and elsewhere, and they're not missing anything, they're not losing anything," Iannelli said.
"We've got Emmy Award-winning mixers working on their shows."