Sudbury seeks to reinvigorate its role in the film industry


The municipality hires a cinema liaison officer

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While Greater Sudbury was once known as the Hollywood of the North (or maybe it was Northern Ontario), in recent years the local film industry has fallen behind.


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Sudbury, it seems, has been bypassed time and time again for its neighbor to the east.

“In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of producers submitting requests for shoots taking place in North Bay. This includes producers who had already shot films in Greater Sudbury, ”said a staff report presented Thursday to the finance committee. “North Bay has invested in a dedicated workforce to lead strong film investment attraction efforts and has developed excellent marketing of the venue, team and equipment. Additionally, the community of North Bay has embraced filming in their city, providing a welcoming and accommodating experience for film productions.

While Greater Sudbury was once the pearl of the oyster – there have been 141 productions shot here since 2012 – since 2017, the number of productions choosing to film locally has declined. The number of locally shot projects peaked in 2017 with 19 productions; however, due to longer series, the number of shooting days was the highest in 2019 at 749 days.

In 2021, only 10 productions shot in Greater Sudbury, for a total of 382 days of filming.

To revitalize the local industry, Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland introduced an amendment this week during Budget 2022 deliberations to create a new position at City Hall, a Film Liaison Officer, at around $ 78,000.

The councilors saw the money as a worthwhile investment and voted unanimously to create the post. It will be financed by the tax levy.


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As McCausland said at the finance meeting, the officer will work to nurture the local film industry.

As he pointed out, out of 12 recent requests to shoot in northern Ontario, only one requested to shoot in Greater Sudbury. Many indicated that their first choice was North Bay.

McCausland said at one point that Sudbury “has a lot to do,” but that momentum has waned in recent years. He said the liaison position could reinvigorate the local film industry and estimated the return on investment would be 53: 1.

According to the staff report, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation has been a major driver in attracting investment to Northern Ontario. Since 2004, Greater Sudbury has been a happy beneficiary.

“Thanks to this program, the city has experienced substantial growth in the industry in terms of films shot in the region, development of infrastructure and services dedicated to cinema, as well as job creation,” notes the report. . “Data from this program shows that every dollar invested generates close to $ 5 in local spending in the North. “

The report states that since 2012, Nickel City has benefited from more than $ 200 million in local spending from the film and television industry.

“Since 2012, the local expenses of these 141 productions total more than 200 million dollars, which represents approximately half of the global production budgets. In Greater Sudbury, there has been a significant development of new infrastructure and new services dedicated to cinema during these 10 years, ”notes the report.


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But the staff report also noted that the percentage of NOHFC funded projects filmed in Greater Sudbury has increased from 40 percent (2004-18) to 29 percent (since 2018). Similarly, the percentage of NOHFC funding that reached Sudbury increased from 50 to 31 percent.

“Greater Sudbury has many cinematic assets; however, without an increase in requests for Greater Sudbury productions to the NOHFC, a decline in film traffic is likely to continue, ”staff predicted. “The staff will continue to maintain the film productions and market the city for other investments. Working with provincial partners and other northern municipalities, staff will leverage existing resources to provide new opportunities for the region and encourage the continued success of the NOHFC Film Fund.

McCausland asked for an annual report to be part of the liaison post, detailing the activities of the local film industry, which will include “the number of films that year, the level of each film, the number of shooting days, local film expenditure, number of local films hires, hotel nights and other relevant information to reflect the industry’s community benefit.

Twitter: @marykkeown

Facebook: @mkkeown



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