Film crew for Stephen King movie It creates horror show for Riverdale resident

Filmmaking may be a billion dollar business in Toronto, but it's not worth it for least one homeowner who says movie crews are becoming a nuisance in his Riverdale neighbourhood — and he's calling on the city to stop issuing film permits for the property next door.

Film production has broken city by-laws meant to protect neighbours, Nick Shcherban charges

Nick Shcherban, shown here holding filming notices for the production of the movie version of the Stephen King novel It, says the film crew has trespassed on his property, littered and made excessive noise. (Stephanie Matteis/CBC )

Filmmaking may be a billion dollar business in Toronto, but it's not worth the trouble for least one homeowner who says movie crews are becoming a nuisance in his Riverdale neighbourhood — and he's calling on the city to stop issuing film permits for the property next to his.

Right now, a crew is shooting a movie version of Stephen King's novelIt — starring Bill Skårsgard as a murdereous clown —in an old mansion near the corner of Pape Avenue and Riverdale Avenue.

But for Nick Shcherban, who lives in the house next door, the activities of the crew are more of a horror show than the movie itself.

Shcherban says film crews "trespassed on our property ... smoke in front of our house, they litter, (there's) excessive noise from generators."

The heritage mansion where the shooting is taking place, called Cranfield House, was built in 1902 and is about 18,000 square feet. Most of the time, it's empty.

But since April it's been a busy film location. At first, Shcherban says it started with an afternoon or one-day shoot, then two or three days at a time,

"Now it's full-time," Shcherban told CBC News, estimating there have been 10 shoots there this year alone.

The heritage mansion where the movie It is being shot, Cranfield House, was mostly empty until production companies started shooting films there. Shcherban lives next door and says it's been the scene of at least 10 movie shoots this year. (Stephanie Matteis/CBC News)

For the It shoot, huge vans drive in and out regularly, there are paid duty officers directing almost unending traffic and the grounds are littered with massive equipment like generators, huge lights and cranes.

Last Tuesday, Third Act Productions Inc. applied to the city to film interior scenes for It at the home starting two days later on Thursday. Shcherban says the company was setting up with less than the 48-hours notice required by city bylaws.

In an emailed statement to CBC News, Zaib Shaikh, the city's film commissioner, said residents in the area were surveyed on Tuesday — the same day the production company sent out a filming notice. 

"The production received approximately 70 per cent of approval from affected residents on Riverdale Ave./ Pape Ave.,"  Shaikh wrote. "As this filming is occurring on private property, the production company is responsible for knowing and maintaining the appropriate city by-laws."

But Shcherban believes this is just the latest crew to break the rules.

Wife leaves until filming over

He lists other productions like Orphan Black, Gangland Undercover, Paranormal Witness and Habitats.

It's so noisy lately he says that his wife Cindy left to stay at her sister's until the filming ends.

"I've been complaining about the air conditioning unit. This morning[it]woke us up before six o'clock. It makes so much noise it vibrates into the house."

Shcherban knows the location is appealing to television and film location scouts but says the city shouldn't approve more productions there. Other neighbours say they don't mind but they admit, they're not right next door to it either.

The city says residents approved of "potential movement of production vehicles after 11 p.m. or before 7 a.m." and they were first notified on May 31 of this year that there might be a shoot at the location.

Warner Brothers, the film studio producing It, didn't respond to requests for comment.

Shaikh says his office is working with the company to ensure there's minimal disruption to neighbours.