Ten years ago, it was laughable to think films could be made in Sudbury.
There had been no capital investment put toward the industry, education and training for those interested in the field was virtually non-existent and gear and facilities to make movies were limited commodities.
A decade of work has begun to change that, though. Funds offered up by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation have made it more appealing for big-city production teams to head north, and the ever-growing crew of local talent capable of working on both sides of the camera is an added incentive.
Organizations like Music and Film in Motion have been instrumental in the process, but there was still an gap in what the city was offering.
The element missing from the industrial growth pyramid is the facilities and equipment portion. That is no longer the case though, thanks to the Northern Ontario Motion Picture Culture and Industry Development Corporation (NOMPCIDC, pronounced Nomp-see-dik).
During an April 20 meeting, Jason Jallet and Benjamin Paquette announced the launch of their production gear rental company that also provides professional and aspiring filmmakers with post-production facilities and sound stages.
At the Xanadu studio space, located at 125 Durham St., there will also be opportunities to train aspiring filmmakers in a professional environment, and grow into a hub that offers grants, discounts, scholarships and cost-breaks for projects that enhance the city's filmmaking scene.
Jallet, co-director of NOMPCIDC, said the corporation will add to Sudbury's cultural landscape by bringing in big-budget projects.
“We have the facilities to cater to them,” he said. The other advantage of developing a fully-functional film industry in Sudbury is that locals interested in pursuing a career in the field can stay in their hometowns and “have Sunday dinner with their families,” Jallet said.
Paquette, the second co-director of NOMPCIDC, is a prime example.
“What we're developing is what I would have killed for before I left (to pursue a post-secondary education in Montreal),” Paquette said.
The filmmaker, who is also a professor in Laurentian's motion picture arts minor, said he sees the value in growing the industry as a way of adding sustainable jobs to Sudbury's employment landscape.
Unlike sectors that rely on external factors like natural resources and demographics to determine their success, the arts will forever be existent; artists of all sorts have always had patrons, he said.
Feeding into the industry, from the government and private-sector perspective, “is a no-brainer around the world,” he said.
While Sudbury is growing into a world-class filmmaking place, Paquette said there is no time to sit back and enjoy the ride.
“This is a very serious time,” he said. “(The film industry in Sudbury) is in an embryonic stage.”
Posted by Arron Pickard