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Hollywood North Gets Film and TV Production Outpost in Northern Ontario

Sudbury Studio Interior - H 2012

A disused hockey arena in Sudbury has been turned into a single span, 20,000 square foot soundstage for local and foreign producers.

TORONTO – Hollywood North has gone north.

Canada’s long-established reputation as a backlot for the Hollywood studios in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal has been bolstered by the launch of Northern Ontario Film Studios complex in Sudbury, Ontario.

A local consortium, led by David Anselmo of Hideaway Pictures, converted a disused hockey arena into a 20,000 square foot film studio.

The result is local and foreign producers shooting on the new soundstage to capitalize on generous rebates from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, which provides financial support for projects that film locally.

The latest productions to tap the regional tax incentive includes the Canadian indie Stage Fright, which stars Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf, and the Andy Garcia-starrer The Truth.

Going north to shoot in and around Sudbury is a departure for foreign producers that generally fill soundstages along the Canadian-U.S. border.

That’s left Canada's northern hinterland as a transient filming location for foreign producers that go in seach of regional incentives.

But a hockey barn turned into a soundstage and supplementing Ontario’s 25 percent all-spend tax credit explains the lure of Northern Ontario Film Studios.

Depending on the size of the film or TV shoot, producers can secure up to $1 million per-project, half coming as a grant and the remaining part as a repayable loan.

“It’s based on the incentives, paired with the Ontario tax credit,” Anselmo, CEO of Hideaway Pictures, explained of the new public coin available through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund for film and TV producers.

Additionally, there's protection from the cold northern Canadian winter in the Northern Ontario Film Studios complex, which includes 20,000 square feet of clear span space, dressing rooms, a green room, storage space and parking.

Anselmo and his investors, besides building up a separate movie equipment rental business, are also looking for land on which to build a permanent studio as they lease the renovated hockey arena for a three-year trial period.