$33M investment in northern Ontario film projects to help create 'self-sustaining' industry
Investment will go towards 51 film and television projects across the northeast
Northern Ontario's film industry is getting a multi-million dollar boost from the provincial government.
On Friday, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation announced a $33.8 million investment in 51 film and television projects across the northeast, including season two of the crime drama series Cardinal and the Hallmark Christmas special, A Song for Christmas.
The investment is good news for people like Christine Rochon.
Rochon has worked as a production coordinator on several film and television projects. She is also the producer of the indie movie Fugue, which was shot in Sudbury this fall. She says finding steady work in Sudbury hasn't always been easy.
"I remember my first year...I finished working at the end of November, and I don't think I had employment until the following February."
But Rochon says things have started to change over the last three years.
"It's because of [the government] that I think producers and films have become attracted to the north," she said. "It's the reason that jobs are being created in the north and sustained here."
Investments stimulate local economy
Those production companies are in turn putting money into the local economy says Meredith Armstrong, manager of tourism and culture for the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation.
"In 2015 and 2016, we saw local spending of $40 million."
"We are seeing more and more local spending, because we have more and more qualified people that are living and working in the north," Armstrong says.
That spending increases what Armstrong calls "new money" — money that might not have come to the region without investments to help build the industry.
That money also goes on to build infrastructure to help sustain the industry.
Rob Riselli is the film programs and reporting supervisor for Music and Film in Motion. He says it's important to develop local businesses that can provide everything from studio space, to camera equipment and catering services.
"If we can build a sustainable industry, where these companies are paying taxes within the region, where they're gainfully employing people and stuff like that, these productions don't have to bring things from away," Riselli says.
"The hope is that we're much more autonomous, much more self-sustaining."