Ottawa expects record year for filmmaking

Ottawa film industry officials are expecting a record year as the region quickly attracts top productions to the area.

Ottawa film industry officials are expecting a record year as the region rapidly attracts top productions to the area.

Ottawa film industry officials expect the city to have a record year as U.S.-based companies flock to the area. ((Yoshi Carroll/Associated Press))

Last year, production companies spent $12 million filming in the region, which included the thriller Summer's Moon, and this year's number is expected to top that amount, with $10 million spent in the last four months alone.

Two feature films, a made-for-television movie and a TV comedy are currently being shot in the city, and two more films are set to begin production in mid-November and December.

Don Osborne, a producer and partner with Ottawa filmmaker Zed Filmworks, said the company's movie budgets have increased because it has attracted money from the industry's big players. Plus, he said, Ottawa is very adaptable.

"We've drawn attention from Los Angeles … places that we did not think we'd ever get attention," Osborne said. "It passes for anywhere in middle America."

Film officials also point out that Ottawa is less expensive than other cities such as Montreal and Toronto and offers directors locations with less traffic and other distractions.

Roch Brunette, the general manager of the Ottawa Gatineau Film and Television Development Corp., said Ottawa has also attracted attention because of the financial benefits.

"The tax credit system and the financial structures … the way they are all put together makes Canada and Ottawa all very attractive to Americans," he said. "But they have to find partners here who they can work with and be well served by."

In order to attract larger budget productions, however, Brunette said the city needs to add more production facilities, including a sound stage for filming indoors. His office is negotiating with the Ontario government and private investors to build a facility.