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Video: Plans in the works for new purpose-built film studio in the Nickel City

CION looking for a partner to launch Freshwater Production Studios, a more than 100,000 sq. ft. facility

Cultural Industries Ontario North (CION) is looking to build a new film and television studio in Greater Sudbury. 

CION is seeking a party to partner to establish Freshwater Production Studios (FPS), the non-profit said in a news release today. Located in Sudbury, CION was created both to promote and to foster Northern Ontario’s film, TV and music sectors in the region.

Interested proponents can visit FreshwaterProductionStudios.com for more information. Request for Expressions of Interest submissions are due by May 6.

“Since 2013, there have been upwards of 110 film and television projects shot with a total production spend of over $300 million in Greater Sudbury. A purpose-built film studio is the next logical step in advancing the growth of the production industry in Northern Ontario,” said Tammy Frick, associate executive director of CION.

The plan in Phase 1 of the project calls for the 116,000 sq. ft. facility to feature three clear span soundstages (20,000 sq. ft., 20,000 sq. ft. and 18,000 sq. ft. with 35’ ceilings). 

As well, the plan includes 23,000 sq. ft. of production and soundstage offices in addition to wardrobe, mill, paint and other ancillary spaces.

FPS will be a “purpose-built” film and television production studio located in Greater Sudbury. In Ontario, and around the world, there is an unprecedented demand for digital content that is fueling demand for studio space, CION said in the news release. 

The goal, the organization said, is for the studio to attract larger scale productions to Northern Ontario that have previously relied on studio space predominantly available in large cities like Toronto, Los Angeles and New York. 

In Ontario, studios have been operating at full capacity since 2016 and hundreds of millions of production dollars have been turned away due to a lack of available studio infrastructure, CION said, arguing that FPS would “immediately alleviate unmet demand” for studio space.

“The growth of production volumes and demand for studio space across Ontario continues to be strong,” said Justin Cutler, Ontario Film Commissioner at Ontario Creates, in the release. “This timely development will help attract additional production to Ontario and will drive high value job creation and economic impact in Sudbury and throughout Northern Ontario.”

Since 2012, Northern Ontario’s film and television production industry has experienced significant expansion, CION said. Between 2012 and 2016, the industry generated more than $194 million in GDP and 3,011 full-time equivalent jobs for the municipalities of Greater Sudbury and North Bay. 

Ideally, CION said, FPS will attract studio-housed productions that will shoot year-round, providing full- time employment. CION also said the new studio would not harm local film industry businesses, arguing existing film sector enterprises will benefit from the increased demand FPS will help create.

CION said Northern Ontario is one of the fastest-growing film production jurisdictions in North America. Acclaimed productions including Hulu/Crave TV comedy Letterkenny, Netflix’s Bad Blood and the upcoming Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City have all been shot in Northern Ontario.

Interested parties can visit FreshwaterProductionStudios.com for more information, with a deadline for submissions of May 6.