Supporting local talent the way to build Windsor's film industry, says film studio owner

According to film studio owner Nick Shields, Windsor currently doesn't have the infrastructure for it to be attractive to outside film producers. However, supporting local talent will build up that infrastructure.

Nick Shields says it's important to focus on celebrating filmmakers and artists in the region

Suede Productions owner Nick Shields, back, stands behind a cinematographer on a Harrow, Ont. film set in 2017. (Suede Productions)

The key to making Windsor an attractive place for outside producers to make movies locally is to build up the infrastructure.

That's according to film studio owner Nick Shields, the owner of Suede Productions and the first sponsor of the Windsor International Film Festival when it started back in 2004. WIFF is in town for the 14th time this year.

Shields said when producers look for a location, they also look for resources, talent and a crew.

"Windsor doesn't provide a lot of that," he said. "You would have to fly all that in. when you bring all that in, that's huge overhead."

However, local filmmakers are able to make their projects happen because they are "building it all in passion," so they manage to pull pieces together to make it work.

"We're a very, very creative place and I think that's what's going to get traction out there in the market."

What will it take?

To build the infrastructures that outside filmmakers need, Shields thinks Windsor needs to start looking at the local talent who are already making movies in town.

"I think the most important part is to not worry about attracting outsiders to come here and make their movies, but celebrate the filmmakers and artists that are in this region," he said.

It might take a couple of local films to take off for some of that infrastructure to establish, according to Shields, but it's doable, especially with Windsor being a film consumption hub.

"We basically get a superhero film, a comedy, a drama and a family film sitting at your local Cineplex. And so we're starved," he said.

"So when WIFF comes along, we are ready and willing and we show up ... You only have to go downtown any time during the week of WIFF to realize that."


  • The previous version of the story could have been interpreted as Nick Shields being against outside production. The story has been updated to better reflect what he said during the interview, which is that currently Windsor doesn't have the infrastructure for it to be attractive to out-of-town filmmakers, and that the city can build it up by supporting its local talent.
    Oct 30, 2018 7:46 PM ET


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