Mayor Tory outlines plan to grow Toronto's screen-based industries after record-breaking year|
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At an industry event at Cinespace Studio today, Mayor John Tory outlined a strategy to grow Toronto's $1.5-billion screen-based industry, drawing on experiences and insight gained during the City's business mission to Los Angeles in February.
"We're proud of Toronto's film and television industry and we want it to continue to grow," said Mayor Tory. "We must do more to ensure that productions choose our city, and that our industry partners have the opportunity they need to create jobs, attract talent and contribute to the economy."
Twenty prominent screen-based industry delegates joined the City mission to Los Angeles earlier this year, Toronto's largest public and private sector collaboration in this sector. Over three days, Mayor Tory met with 11 studios to encourage them to expand their presence in Toronto.
A staff report generated after the mission will be presented to the Economic Development Committee on May 17. Its recommendations include:
• Improve customer service by:
- establishing a cross divisional working group to provide consistent and streamlined support to the film and television industry, cut red tape and removing barriers to growth, and
- providing a single point of contact for talent, staff and their families who relocate to Toronto during production to connect them with all the city has to offer.
• Find more space for productions by identifying City-owned land and other assets that could be used for in-demand studio facilities and downtown production parking;
• Create more jobs with specialized film crew training. To do this the city will work with union, guilds and educational institutions to raise the level of experience, talent and depth of our workforce; and
• Create a more film friendly city by launching a community engagement campaign to foster stronger understanding and goodwill among residents for studio productions operating in their neighbourhoods.
The Mayor also announced that last year was the largest production year in Toronto’s history, with on-location filming investment exceeding $1.5 billion for the first time. Los Angeles-based studios have projects valued at more than $800 million planned for Toronto in 2016.
"World-class filming destinations require a successful partnership between government and production, which includes a co-ordinated cross-divisional approach and an alacrity in the way government responds to on-location production issues," said Michael Walbrecht, Vice President, Public Affairs with Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. "The City of Toronto has been a great partner on the projects that Warner Bros. has based in the region and clearly understands the ever-changing variables that go into film and television production at the local level."
“I would like to thank Mayor Tory for his strong support of our industry," said Wendy Noss, President, Motion Picture Association Canada. "Toronto is a globally competitive destination for international film and television production and the Mayor’s commitment and close collaboration with our industry will ensure continued growth and success. I look forward to working with Mayor Tory on his innovative initiatives to grow Toronto's film and television industry, and build local jobs and the economy."
"On behalf of Universal Cable Productions, I applaud Mayor Tory’s efforts to grow the film and television industry in Toronto," said Mark Binke, Executive Vice President, Physical Production, Universal Cable Productions. "Universal Cable has enjoyed a longstanding production relationship with Greater Toronto Ontario, including filming of the current series, Suits, Killjoys and 12 Monkeys. We look forward to continuing working with Mayor Tory on initiatives that help us create world-class entertainment and support jobs and economic development in Toronto."
Toronto has one of the largest screen-based (film, television, commercials, animation) industries in North America, employing more than 30,000 people. For the fifth consecutive year, this important sector has contributed more than $1 billion to Toronto’s economy.
• Domestic and international screen-based productions exceeded the $1 billion mark for the fifth consecutive year, with a 26 per cent increase over the $1.23 billion reported in 2014.
• Television series continue to dominate investment in Toronto and 2015 saw the largest increase in this production type since 2012, attributable to new major episodic series.
• Animation productions increased to $144.5 million in 2015 from $87.1 million in 2014.
The number of location-filming shoot days has also set records the past two years, with the number of days in 2015 (6,680) a small increase over the 2014 figure.
More information about the Los Angeles mission report and the proposed changes can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1TEEzNd.
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