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Veteran actor Art Hindle and 24-year-old director Corey Stanton, MD, of Vaughan. They worked together on “Robbery.”
By Mark Pavilons
Art Hindle is like a kid at Disney Land when he's on the set of a film or TV production.
Behind the scenes, he's a tenacious lobbyist fighting for incentives, infrastructure and opportunities to keep Ontario's entertainment industry chugging along.
Business is booming in Toronto and the GTA. We have it all, but there are some shortfalls in studio space. The talent pool in Ontario (and across Canada) is as good as anywhere in the world, Hindle said.
The veteran actor is still in demand and loves getting in front of the camera. He admitted that even when he's not scheduled for a shoot, he visits the set just to check it out and chat with cast and crew.
The industry continues to post record gains year after year. Hindle is also vice-president of external affairs for ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists), the union of more than 23,000 professional performers working in English-language recorded media in Canada including TV, film, radio and digital media.
Hindle is hopeful the new provincial government will continue the support of the industry. The Liberals, along with Toronto Mayor John Tory, have been total friends of the industry, he said. They've also received a lot of support from Melanie Joly, federal Minister of Canadian Heritage.
What the industry needs is solid infrastructure, along with tax incentives. As well, most Canadian actors have to work other jobs to subsidize their incomes and they need help in terms of medical benefits and affordable housing.
When schmoozing Hollywood powerbrokers in Los Angeles, Hindle said they are seldom interested in the exchange rate. They know we have the talent – actors, production crews and facilities – to make any project a success.
But as California aggressively offers tax credits and other incentives, it's important we follow suit.
One way any resident can help is to register their property with the Ontario Media Development Corporation, which maintains an extensive list of shooting locations for U.S. producers. King residents who have unique or interesting properties or homes can get on the list by contacting OMDC.
The 2016-17, the production industry generated 171,700 full time equivalent jobs, including direct (i.e. cast and crew) and spin-off impacts. The full screen sector value chain (including production, distribution, film festivals, and broadcasting) generated $23.6 billion in GDP for the Canadian economy, including $10.8 billion directly within the value chain and an additional $12.8 billion in other industries within the Canadian economy.
Last year (2017) was a strong year for Ontario's film and television production industry. It contributed $1.6 billion to the provincial economy (the seventh consecutive year the industry contributed more than $1 billion) and supported 32,800 jobs. Television production accounted for $1.4 billion, or 87% of the total production.
In 2017 in Ontario, there was an increase in the overall number of productions that took place compared to 2016, with domestic feature film spending increasing 16% to $80.6 million from $69.7 million. On the foreign side, television production continued to dominate; a $120 million decrease in foreign feature film spending year over year was offset by a comparable $140 million increase in foreign television spending to $653.3 million, buoyed by series such as The Handmaid's Tale, Star Trek, and Designated Survivor.
King Township is doing its best to market itself as a location. According to Jamie Smyth, King's economic development officer, location managers are pleased with the Township's straightforward permit process. Site managers love the “beautiful rolling hills of King and our towns and villages they can dress up as they like. We do have some desire-able outdoor/quiet locations … so close to Toronto is a plus.”
Smyth said crews working in King can be good for the economy, providing short-term injections of cash to businesses.
Clerks department staff work with location managers in getting the proper permits as required. The criteria is such that any filming requiring the use of a municipal or regional road (includes parking) requires a permit. The Township also issues permits on private property when special effects are required.
Award-winning film-maker Guillermo del Toro is a fan of the city. His Academy Award-winning The Shape of Water was filmed in Toronto and Hamilton. His TV series, The Strain, was also filmed in the city.
There more than a dozen TV shows being shot in Toronto this June, including Suits, The Dogs of Babel, American Gods, Kim's Convenience, People of Earth, Private Eyes, Schitt's Creek and Killjoys. Toronto is also home to sci-fi adventures Star Trek: Discovery and The Expanse.
One of the reasons Hindle is excited about the industry is he's quite busy himself. Six films he worked on are all in post-production. He worked with the likes of Nick Mancuso, Richard Dreyfuss and Colm Feore. He recently appeared in The Good Witch and The Joke Thief.
“They keep calling,” Hindle said with a grin.
With passionate professionals like Hindle in the fray, Hollywood will keep calling and visiting Ontario locales.
Excerpt: Art Hindle is like a kid at Disney Land when he’s on the set of a film or TV production. Behind the scenes, he’s a tenacious lobbyist is fighting for incentives, infrastructure and opportunities to keep Ontario’s entertainment industry chugging along.
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