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Up, Up, Up; We?ll only go up from here

BY DAN HAWES I picked up The Globe and Mail to read about how Sudbury is stealing Timmins? thunder by filming the Shania Twain movie in Sudbury. HAWES I?m certain Timmins Mayor Vic Powers is a wonderful man.

I picked up The Globe and Mail to read about how Sudbury is stealing Timmins? thunder by filming the Shania Twain movie in Sudbury.

I?m certain Timmins Mayor Vic Powers is a wonderful man. He appears tenacious in guarding the interests of his constituents. That said, I?m not
sure he has all of the facts, so here?s a little back-story.

Prior to the involvement of the Northern Ontario folks in the Shania movie, this project was going to New Brunswick. Why? For the same reason that many Hollywood movies are filmed in Canada. It?s a combination of economics and resource availability.

Knowing this, a burgeoning faction of art lovers in Northern Ontario took it upon themselves to try and bring the Shania project to Northern Ontario.

Credit Mark Palumbo and his team at Music and Film in Motion for doing an amazing job. There was no agenda other than bringing this project to the north where it belongs.

And when Mark sells a project, he promotes the whole north. I know this for fact. I?ve worked along side him trying to help out in any way
possible. When you see that type of ?unpaid? commitment to building something, you grab your oar and start rowing.

When the filmmakers assessed the possibilities, the Northern Ontario option was very appealing. But more was required.

In order to compete with New Brunswick, or for that matter other regions in Canada, it was important to adjust the economic balance so that Northern Ontario was not disadvantaged. Thanks to the financial commitments of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines through the
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, FedNor and Nickel Basin that smartly chose to invest in this project, Northern Ontario was able to complete the

The benefits to Northern Ontario will be immense. Besides the huge marketing boost and the high probability payback on investment, it creates a
sense of excitement and possibility for our youth, not just for Sudbury but for all Northern Ontarians.

Here are some thoughts on Barna Alper, ?the producer.? The company is both a competitor and an ally.

As a competitor, they compete for screen time with national and international broadcasters. As an ally, they tell great stories that entertain people and create opportunities for those involved in the production. Lazlo Barna is one of Canada?s top film/television producers and a class act. He has not only made a commitment to Northern Ontario but he has embraced it.

He has done way more than asked and the folks at Barna Alper have gone out of their way to look for opportunities to keep work in Northern Ontario.

Yesterday I received a call from Brian Dennis, the line producer on Shania. They were looking for an animation house to do some neat 3D special effects. Without hesitation they came to us (Chilly Beach). There are at least two dozen specialty houses in Toronto with more experience. They chose us.

About shooting in Sudbury. Most of the film is being shot in Sudbury for one reason. That?s where much of it occurs. Some scenes will be shot in both Timmins and Huntsville to maintain the authenticity of the film. Fact is, Shania did really go to high school in Sudbury, and the book that the movie is based on focuses on her high school years and the early launch of her career.

This isn?t a slight on Timmins but rather a great opportunity for the filmmaker to get actual locations that make a better movie.

By any measure, this Shania project is a complete success for Northern Ontario. We should credit our politicians and senior bureaucrats with the same passion we show when we think the government has done something wrong. In this case they?ve done something horribly right. Rick
Bartolucci?s team, NMDM, NOHFC, FedNor, Nickel Basin, MFM and the City of Greater Sudbury have pulled together to do something great for Northern Ontario.

It?s an incredible example of multi-party collaboration in creating something greater than any one organization could create. Kudos to all involved.

I?d like to invite Mayor Powers and our good friends from Timmins to join us in building Northern Ontario. There?s a lot more than just Shania out there?and we aim to get it.

Dan Hawes is the producer of Chilly Beach and a proud Northern Ontarian.


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