Toronto: Directors Guild Billboards Urge Hollywood to Hire Local Talent (Exclusive)

Directors Guild of Canada
DGC Ontario billlboard

The Directors Guild of Canada's "Hey, Hollywood" TIFF blitz wants U.S. filmmakers to use more Canadian directors, editors and designers when shooting locally.

The Directors Guild of Canada's Ontario members will be running an out-of-home marketing campaign during the Toronto International Film Festival to urge Hollywood production execs to hire more local Canadian creative talent.

The campaign's message is "Hey, Hollywood" as it encourages studio and network execs to use Canadian talent after the Oscar-winning film The Shape of Water and the Emmy-winning series The Handmaid's Tale and Orphan Black relied heavily on key local creative — including directors, writers and production designers — when shooting in Toronto.

The Canadian guild, which represents 5,000 members nationwide and over 700 key creatives in Ontario, argues Hollywood has been slow to catch on to the international awards recognition and produce more with Canadian talent. At Pearson Airport, where TIFF-bound American execs arrive, the festival blitz will be visible on digital billboards in terminals 1 and 3.

The campaign also will be viewed on giant billboards on the QEW and Gardiner Expressway leading to downtown Toronto hotels. One of the billboards reads, “Hey, Warner Bros. Wondering if you should produce your next picture with Toronto directors? Just ask Hulu. And Handmaid’s Tale’s 11 Emmys."

"The messaging is a little tongue-in-cheek,” say Alan Goluboff, chair of the DGC Ontario executive board. “But we’re just reminding our friends at the studios that when they shoot in Toronto, they should remember that we’ve got talent sought after by the biggest names in film and television."

Other billboards and digital signage speak directly to studios with messages beginning “Hey ABC…,” “Hey Netflix….,” “Hey Universal...," and there's still others for Paramount, Fox and MGM. The DGC Ontario campaign also will have social media ads and digital signage in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, TIFF's industry hub.

The Canadian guild has also unveiled the website makemorewithtoronto.com, which offers a Rolodex-like way for Hollywood producers to get to know more about veteran Toronto-originating creative talent, including Game of Thrones director Jeremy Podeswa, Handmaid's Tale picture editor Aaron Marshall and J.R. Fountain, sound editor of Guillermo del Toro's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

The DGC chose the duration of TIFF for its campaign as U.S. and other international film and TV production execs are in town and circulating around the festival and its venues.

"As a Canadian producer, I’d love to keep all of this talent to ourselves,” says J. Miles Dale, who earned a best picture Oscar for del Toro's Shape of Water. “But as a director and a guild member, I know these people are too good at what they do for the whole world not to discover them," he added.

The "Hey, Hollywood" campaign was executed by creative agency partner Juliet.