Film London's push to get more movies filmed in the city is working

Film London has been working to attract production companies to film in the city and it appears to be working.

Toronto-based Vortex Productions is shooting an indie comedy in London

Vortex Productions shooting their latest comedy film on Dundas Street in London, Ont. (James Chaarani/CBC)

Film London has been working to attract production companies film in the city and it appears to be working. 

The agency is an initiative launched by the London Economic Development Corporation about one year ago after they received funding from the city. Their outreach includes cold calling potential studios based on research and networking. 

Vortex Productions, a Toronto film company, is currently shooting their latest independent film around the city after Film London discussed the possibility with them. 

"I had met one of the producers at a few events and we got to talking," said Andrew Dodd, manger at Film London. "And finally I was able to say, 'We have enough collection of locations and crew and some other incentives we can offer, so what would it take to get Vortex's next production to be in London?'"

That producer was Chris Giroux, a producer at Vortex and an executive producer on the film currently underway in London for 15 days.   

"[Giroux] happened to agree and he has connections to the area as well, and the timing was just right to make it happen and we hope it's going to be the first of many," said Dodd.

Giroux told CBC News that London offers a fresh option for shooting locales, explaining that its the antidote to what he describes as "film fatigue" from shooting in the same locations in places like Toronto or Hamilton. 

Film London also promoted the city to filmmakers through an ad campaign launched in July aimed specifically at Toronto producers and studios with transit ads and billboards.

An accessible comedy

Although Vortex's film title is not yet released, Giroux hinted that it's a comedy along the lines of the 1987 classic comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

"We found this comedy that we thought would be a really great fit for the community because it's an accessible comedy — it will be most likely rated like PG or PG-13," Giroux said. "So it's a real community piece that we think that the community can rally behind. We also just really wanted to invest in the London film infrastructure."

As is the case with some films shot in Toronto, where the city is a stand-in for another, London will not be London in the movie.

Another scene for the new film was shot on Queens Ave in London, Ont. (James Chaarani/CBC)

"We're cheating a lot of it for Toronto by finding those really hip, fun, cafes and using the city streets here and things like that, and we've got a lot of very exciting locations to showcase," Giroux said. 

The film is slated to be released some time next year. It'll be Vortex's 20th production.


James Chaarani is a reporter for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo and London. You can reach him at