Beginning of a beautiful friendship? Film industry in northern Ontario thrives
An impressive list of talent has come north in recent years — and the trend doesn't seem to be slowing
It's fairly common these days to see film crews blocking off entire Sudbury streets. Many production companies have set up shop to take advantage of a low loonie, generous tax rebates, and a skilled workforce.
But are those the only reasons why the industry continues to thrive in the north? To provide a bit of insight, we assembled a panel of industry professionals to chat with Markus Schwabe on Morning North.
Location, location, location
Mark Montefiore, co-president of Toronto's New Metric Media, said that Sudbury has an enormous amount of variety in its landscapes. And when you're talking about moving a crew from location to location, this translates into money saved.
"In 15 minutes, you can get farmland, completely middle America type look," Montefiore said, "and, you can also get the city vibe that's in Sudbury here."
Heather Dahlstrom, with Music and Film in Motion, said that producers are excited to get a little breathing room in the north..
"I'm finding that it's mainly Ontario-based productions that are coming up here to shoot. Toronto is getting way too big," she said, "[Ontario producers] don't want to compete with the bigger features so if they come up here, they get a little bit more breathing room.
"They also get our northern Ontario enthusiasm that you don't necessarily get in Toronto."
Teamwork at all levels makes for smooth sailing
Montefiore said there's a remarkable lack of red tape to get their operation running.
"Working with the city has been easy, we're getting our permits easy and efficiently," he said, "Toronto can be out of whack."
Tracy Legault, president of Carte Blanche Films in Ottawa, said that Sudbury provides the perfect mix of provincial and regional tax breaks, like those from the Northern Ontario Heritage Funding Corporation, and infrastructure.
"For regional production there's a ten percent tax credit on top of the 35 percent that's available in the GTA," Legault said, "we're accustomed to training freelancers, and with the NOHFC [the goal] is to spend locally, train locally, and we've integrated very well into its mandate."