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Construction work on a 160,000-square-foot film studio, MELS 4, is set to start shortly in Montreal.
Quebec broadcaster TVA Group said the proposed film studio, with a 60,000-square-foot soundstage able to be divided into two smaller stages, will aim to bring more Hollywood blockbuster movies and TV series to the city. MELS, a division of TVA Group, already runs 20 soundstages in Montreal at three locations: Cite du Havre and two separate facilities at Technoparc.
Work on MELS 4 is set to get underway later this year, with the first projects to fill the studio in spring 2023. Roland Emmerich’s Midway shot at MELS studios in 2018, and Ari Aster’s Disappointment Blvd. for A24 is currently before the cameras in Montreal.
With MELS 4, the city aims to catch up with Vancouver and Toronto as production hubs for Hollywood studios and streamers. The proposed studio facility will cost $76 million to build, with $25 million coming from the Quebec government in the form of a loan.
Canada is seeing a boom in film studio construction as property developers, long used to building just condominiums and suburban housing, are coming round to soundstages as a surer bet as Hollywood streamers and studios increasingly shoot original movies and series in Toronto, Vancouver and elsewhere countrywide.
The major media players are increasingly taking long-term leases on available film studios as production space remains in short supply everywhere, and Canada offers lucrative tax credits and currency savings for those coming north.
“The construction of a new, world class studio like MELS 4 is essential to maintain the vitality and competitiveness of both Montreal and Quebec on the worldwide audiovisual production market,” Pierre Karl Péladeau, president and CEO of TVA Group parent Quebecor, said in a statement.
On completing MELS 4, TVA Group will have in all around 500,000 square feet of production space, including 270,000 square feet of soundstages, in Montreal. Much of that studio space hosts French-language movie and TV shoots from the province’s indie sector.
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