Canada's Hollywood Production Boom Attracts New Equipment Investment

Rentals giant William F. White International has invested $20 million into new cranes, camera support and cutting-edge technologies and promises more purchases.

TORONTO -- Surging Hollywood film and TV shooting in Canada is prompting new investment into cranes, camera support and cutting-edge production equipment to keep Los Angeles producers coming north.

Equipment rental giant William F. White International expects to continue purchasing big-ticket items for film and TV production after investing $20 million since 2010, when Ontario and Quebec introduced a 25 percent all-spend film tax credit to woo Hollywood shoots from Louisiana and Georgia.

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“We will continue to invest several million dollars per year in order to maintain and enhance our market leadership position,” said Paul Bronfman, chairman and CEO of Comweb Corp. and William F. White International.

Bronfman, who is also chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios, picked up a new off-road camera car for the Robocop reboot, the horror film Carrie and the Transporter TV series shoot in Toronto.

And a new TechnoDolly crane was brought in for the Orphan Black TV series shoot by Temple Street Productions, while Arrimax M18 lighting equipment was acquired for the 2013 TV pilot season in Vancouver.

Despite a high Canadian dollar, the 25 percent all-spend film tax credits has had U.S. TV series such as NBCUniversal’s Defiance, Netflix’s Hemlock Grove and Gaumont International’s Hannibal shooting on location in Toronto, just as Ontario in 2012 racked up another record for overall film and TV production activity.

The production boom is spreading elsewhere in the province.

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Technicolor is moving postproduction equipment to the newly launched Northern Ontario Film Studios complex in Sudbury, Ontario, while Starline Production Rentals has sent a fleet of trucks to the Hollywood North outpost.

“Not only do northerners believe the industry is here to stay, but the big companies are moving up here too,” said David Anselmo, CEO of Hideaway Pictures, which launched the new northern Ontario studio in July after new subsidies from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund became available to producers.