Industry Report: Focus: North America
Ontario film, TV production soars in 2009
by www.cbc.ca, FilmContact.com
- Ontario's film and television industry got a massive boost in production for 2009, with spending rising nearly $150 million over the previous year. The Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), which promotes the industry in the province, released its annual report on Wednesday indicating a 41 per cent increase in production for 2009 compared to the previous year. In total, the film and TV industries contributed $946.4 million to the province's economy.
"We certainly got a boost last summer when the Ontario government said they were changing our production services tax credit to include all spending in Ontario," Karen Thorne-Stone, OMDC's president, told CBC Radio One's Metro Morning. At the end of June last year, the province announced it would allow a 25 per cent tax credit for the overall budget of films shot in Ontario, the same measure announced in Quebec June 12. Thorne-Stone said Ontario, despite the high Canadian dollar, is still able to attract Hollywood productions because of the talent in front of and behind the scenes. "When you combine [the tax incentive] with all the other assets … the world-class infrastructure, the diversity of locations and the best-in-class talent … then we have the whole package."
'Film-friendly province' Director Michael McGowan, currently filming Score: A Hockey Musical, agrees. "What we have in Ontario is this fantastic infrastructure. If we have a great Steadicam operator, we don't just have one, we have a number of them," said McGowan, whose previous credits include Saint Ralph and One Week. "We are a film-friendly province."
McGowan admits the past two years have been tough on the industry. "I directed a lot of TV in 2009 but certainly the crews have been struggling…. They become carpenters, real estate agents and they get desperate just like everybody." One of the highlights of 2009 was the growth in animation work, which accounted for about 10 per cent of total production. "Our domestic industry has continued to grow and be strong throughout the past few years," said Thorne-Stone. "The latest trend we're noticing is that there are a lot of productions coming here to do their post-production work, to do their effects work and to do their animation."