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Construction work on a 137,000-square-foot film studio with three planned soundstages is underway in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as demand from Hollywood for precious studio space in Canada grows.
Big Sky Studios, set to open by the end of the year, will be built over nine acres and on the former headquarters of women’s apparel maker Nygard International. A Vancouver-based partnership, the Eighth Avenue Development Group, bought the property and is retrofitting the facility to draw major studios and streamers looking to tap Manitoba’s Film and Media Tax Credit, which offsets up to 65 percent on local labor or up to 38 percent on eligible Manitoba expenditures.
The sale of the former garment factory was preceded by now-disgraced fashion mogul Peter Nygard being arrested and jailed in 2020 following a U.S. extradition request over allegations that he sexually abused women and underage girls after wooing them with the promise of jobs in fashion and modeling over a 25-year span.
Besides soundstages, the Big Sky Studios facility will house production offices, meeting rooms, workshops, on-site equipment rentals and specialty areas for different film departments. Long-term leases will likely be eventually required to take space in the Winnipeg studio, as is common across the Canadian and international film studio market where soundstages are in short supply amid Hollywood’s streaming war.
“Big Sky Studios will incorporate three state-of-the-art soundstages and all necessary support spaces to accommodate multiple productions concurrently, along with long-term tenancies for industry-related services like equipment rentals, VFX, animation, and editing,” Ed Kolic of Eighth Avenue Development Group said in a statement.
Hollywood producers like the major studios, Netflix and Amazon Studios, are returning to Canada in record numbers post-pandemic for its cheap currency, generous tax credits and studios close to downtown streets that double as Chicago, New York City and other locations.
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