Sudbury

Sudbury film industry jobs continue to be plentiful

Sudbury's film industry is in the midst of another busy year.
Hollywood north is experiencing a busy start to the year. Six productions are set to be filmed in Sudbury by the spring. File photo. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

Sudbury's film industry is in the midst of another busy year.

Six productions will be shot in the Nickel City by the spring — and that means lots of work for those who are choosing to make a career in the north.

Christine Rochon was ready to say goodbye to Sudbury and head to Toronto last year. But after considering how much she could grow in the northern film industry, she decided to stay.

"It was kind of a surprise to me because I thought I would leave and here I am staying, making my career here."

Rochon is now working on a thriller being shot in Sudbury called "Backcountry."

The film is employing about 70 people, who are mostly locals.

Like Rochon, Alina Dockery chose to make her career in Sudbury — and it's paying off.

She started as a production assistant five years ago, and now she's the head of her department.

“To have that kind of growth within only a few years is just unheard of in Toronto."

In the past five years, more than 1,000 contract crew positions and more than 7,500 positions for background performers were created in the Sudbury film industry, according to the group Cultural Industries Ontario North.

'Fingers-crossed'

TV shows and movies can get up to half a million dollars in government funding if they shoot in the north and employ local people on their sets. (Nael Shiab/CBC)
And producers continue to look north for tax and grant benefits.

Heather Dahlstrom, an outreach officer with Cultural Industries Ontario North, said the incentives are driving enthusiasm wherever she goes.

"When I was at Toronto Film Festival last year, I handed out all my cards in 24 hours — and I brought over 100 with me."

Producers are drawn to studio space in Sudbury, which many say is better and more containable than studio space in Toronto.

Dahlstrom said the next challenge is to attract another television series up north, like Hard Rock Medical, which could guarantee steady work for those involved in this growing industry.

And that would help Dockery, who said she hopes to continue to find work in northern Ontario's film industry.

“We have our fingers crossed hoping that we can still continue working up here in the north because of the tax incentives,” she said.

“Hopefully, it lasts longer. If it should disappear, we hope that people would still want to be up here because of the experienced crew that is now established here.”

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation offers grants to film projects in the north.

The deadline for the first round of this year's applications is March 27.

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