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May 18, 2016

May Update from Film Ontario, May 18, 2016

Dear FilmOntario Members;

FilmOntario welcomed the opportunity to comment on the DRAFT Culture Strategy presented by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. We were pleased to see many of the recommendations made in our December 2015 submission included in the draft. We are looking forward to providing input and advice to the Government in the interest of growing and supporting our industry.

FilmOntario is very pleased with the establishment of the private/public Film and Television Industry Advisory Panel, and equally pleased that the government acted quickly to convene its first meeting. As members of the panel, we look forward to working with our public and private sector partners to promote the growth, innovation and global expansion of the sector.

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Mayor John Tory speaks at Cinespace Studio

Last year was the busiest year on record for Toronto’s film and television industry but Mayor John Tory says there is a “capacity to do more” and is promising to work to make the continued growth of the business possible.

In 2015, a total of $1.5 billion was spent on productions in Toronto, topping the previous high-water mark of $1.23 billion (2014) by 26 per cent. There was also a new record for the number of location-filming shoot days with 6,680 in 2015.

The industry shows no signs of slowing down in 2016, either.

So far Tory said that Los-Angeles based studios have planned more than $800 million in productions for the city this year with a bevy of domestic-based productions expected to add to that total.

“It is great to go to a meeting where I ask everybody ‘How it is going?’ and everybody just says ‘fantastic,’” Tory said during an appearance before industry stakeholders at Cinespace Studio on Thursday. “We now have had five consecutive years of more than $1 billion in productions in this city and that is a big deal.”

The film and television industry currently employs about 30,000 people in Toronto.

Tory, however, said that municipal leaders must do everything they can to support the continued growth of the industry.

“We are going to start by identifying possible city-owned assets in terms of buildings and land that might be contributed to this cause in one way or another,” he said. “We are then going to try to deal with the parking issue better because that is a challenge that I know many of you face when you are doing productions. We are going to look to identify off street parking, maybe on city land.”

As part of his efforts to continue to grow the film and television industry, Tory has unveiled a four-point plan that was prepared by staff following a February trade mission to Los Angeles.

The main tenants of that plan are as follows:

  • Finding more space for productions by identifying city-owned land and other assets that could be used as studio facilities
  • Launching a community engagement campaign to foster stronger understanding and goodwill among residents for studio productions operating in their neighbourhoods.
  • Creating more jobs with specialized film crew training by working with union guilds and educational institutions to raise the level of expertise in Toronto’s workforce.
  • Establishing a cross divisional working group to provide consistent and streamlined support to the film and television industry and cut red tape.
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WEEKLY UPDATE from Kelly Graham-Scherer, Los Angeles Representative

The Hollywood Reporter this week published several stories on filming locations across the globe and Ontario was prominently featured. In the article below, location managers from some of our jurisdiction's most recent, prolific shoots are interviewed about how Ontario is able to stand in for just about anywhere.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/why-hollywood-is-flocking-ontario-893335

There was big news for fans of the Warner Brothers series Supergirl this week. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter below, the series is being moved both to the CW network and to Vancouver where it will shoot its second season
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/supergirl-season-two-cw-892629

Digital giants like Netflix and Amazon continue to disrupt the film and television landscape by luring top talent to their projects. A story in the Los Angeles Times this week details how Amazon struck the deal with Woody Allen to produce a six-part comedy series.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-amazon-roy-price-20160510-snap-story.html

After reporting disappointing earnings this week, Disney announced the discontinuation of Disney Infinity, a series of action-adventure console video games that incorporates physical toys based on Disney characters into the on-screen action. The L.A. Times has details below.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-disney-earnings-20160510-snap-story.html

Also from the L.A. Times this week: a piece on whether the squibs used by stunt performers are harming their health. As detailed below, an entertainment industry safety group is warning that many of these squibs contain particles of lead, creating potentially hazardous toxic dust upon explosion.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-gun-smoke-lead-safety-20160510-snap-story.html

Last, but not least this week, the City of Toronto released its record-breaking production stats for 2015 and Mayor John Tory revealed plans to make Toronto even busier. Playback has details below
http://playbackonline.ca/2016/05/13/john-tory-outlines-plans-for-a-more-production-friendly-toronto/

Warmest regards,

Kelly Graham-Scherer
Los Angeles Representative
Toronto/ Ontario Film Office

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