Ontario is investing $12.8 million in 21 film and TV projects, Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault said Friday, in the latest boost to the fledgling industry in the North.
The money includes some productions already completed, including $1 million that went to 'Born to be Blue,' filmed here last year and starring Ethan Hawke. Other recipients include Shaftesbury Films Inc., which is getting $1.5 million to produce a TV series called 'Slasher,' and Possession Productions, which is getting $500,000 to produced the film 'Ice Babies.'
New Metric Media is getting funds for three of its productions: a TV series called 'Letterkenny ' ($723,755); another called 'What Would Sal Do' ($500,000); and, a film called 'Girlfriend's Day' ($500,000).
Speaking at Cinéfest's Larch Street office, Thibeault said a film being shot in town has been a common sight in recent years.
"It should be noted that 11 feature films and 10 short films screened at Cinéfest this year were filmed in Northern Ontario," he said. "I'm proud to say four of these feature films were funded by NOHFC. Our government recognizes the importance of a strong arts and cultural sector in Ontario."
In addition to film and TV funding, Thibeault also announced $694,000 for Cultural Industries Ontario North (CION), a non-profit that shares space with the film festival on Larch Street. It's goal is to promote music, film and TV industries across Northern Ontario.
"Our funding over a three-year period will help CION support and encourage growth of the film, television and music industries through projects and initiatives throughout Northern Ontario," he said.
"In recent years, we've seen the positive impact of film and television productions that come to our Northern communities. From hiring crew members, production staff and extras, to the spinoff benefits to local restaurants, businesses and hotels, these film TV and film projects contribute to our local economy."
Tammy Frick, CION's associate executive director, said they haven't stopped since the non-profit's creation in 2012.
"We hit the ground running,” Frick said Friday. “As Glenn mentioned, not only are there many productions happening here in Sudbury, but across Northern Ontario – to date, over 33 productions so far this year alone.
"Our goal is really to facilitate the industry, to provide the tools and infrastructure that's needed. This is still a baby industry for Northern Ontario. There's still a lot of questions and we have an an amazing team of experts that deal one-on-one with production companies that have a lot of questions in regard to licensing, any type of city policies around film.”
CION also acts as a marketing tool for arts industries in the North, she said.
"Our staff ... actually represent the North at various conferences and talk to producers and encourage them to come to Northern Ontario," Frick said. "It's wonderful to have these productions coming to Northern Ontario, but we also ... have to make sure that people see the success stories and are aware of how quickly this industry is growing in Northern Ontario.
"This is seed funding that will reap immense benefits. For the next three years, we've made a promise to make sure this industry grows in a very strong growth pattern and we're just thrilled that we have such amazing partners that come on board."