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September 4, 2007
Toronto looks to realignment for screen industry growth
  
City positions itself to be the leading centre of the digital age

Since 2000, Toronto-based screen productions, including commercials, have declined from $1.2 billion to $700 million due to ill-conceived public policies, intense foreign and domestic competition and the rising Canadian dollar. According to the Toronto Film Board, one way to ensure sustainability and growth within the industry is to embrace platforms, formats, production methods and distribution systems that align with the digital age. That recommendation, along with 17 others, is contained in the Strategic Plan for Toronto’s Screen-based Industry, which was adopted today by the City’s Executive Committee.

“The film industry is a critically important part of Toronto’s cultural sector,” said Mayor David Miller. “We must protect and enhance it wherever and whenever possible. I’m pleased that we now have a clear vision to do just that through this strategy.”

Other key strategic recommendations include: advocating for success-based policies and programs from other orders of government; redress of the 1999 CRTC policy shift to one that drives the creation; production and broadcast of Canadian programs; promoting Toronto world-wide as the best location for purpose-built, state-of-the-next-art studios; and, forming partnerships and forums to accelerate understanding and integration of the traditional and new media arenas.

“If Toronto fails, the viability of the industry across the country will suffer,” said Peter Finestone, Acting Film Commissioner for the City of Toronto. He noted that the screen arts sector in Toronto directly employs 27,000 people or 30 per cent of all who are working nationally. He added that Ontario and Canada’s spread-the-wealth policy for the screen-based industry undercuts the significant public investments already in place.

Susan Murdoch, Producer and Co-Chair of the Toronto Film Board, presented the strategy to the Executive Committee on behalf of the industry and spoke about electronic entertainment and screen arts as being the high-value sector of the future. She concluded that, “If we do it right, you will see creative entrepreneurs and talented people coming to Toronto in droves. Stories and products by Canadians will be seen domestically and around the globe. Toronto will be the envy of the world.”

The Strategic Plan for Toronto’s Screen-based Industry is available on the City’s website at http://www.toronto.ca/tfto/strategy.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Susan Murdoch, Producer and Toronto Film Board Co-Chair, 416-778-6800 ext. 3240
Peter Finestone, Acting Film Commissioner, 416-392-3376
Shelley Carroll, City Councillor and Toronto Film Board Member, 416-392-4038


 

 

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