Local Film Production Contributes to Local and Provincial Economies

Photo Karen Graham.

This week’s film production seems to have had a different flavour than ones in the past.

The disruption to the downtown was well-managed by friendly, helpful crew.  Considerable investment was made in the downtown area to bring the village to the director’s vision of a small, seaside town called Whispering Pines.  The inconvenience of limited access to stores over a few days of film production was more than offset by the excitement of knowing it was for a hit series that most residents had at least heard of it not seen.

What are the community benefits of local film production?  Individual shop owners receive compensation from the production company if they are directly in the area affected by the event.  Where filming was happening inside the shop, renovations could be retained if the owners felt they would be beneficial.  Efforts are made to keep the sidewalks available for people to get to and from a business when there is not an actual shot happening.

In the broader community the production companies have employed local companies to do certain work i.e. street cleaning, set clean up, etc. Production usually engages crew of more than 50 people to keep things moving.  These people are purchasing local supplies from the hardware store, coffee and snacks from restaurants and food retailers.  They often rent facilities including the Legion and the Mason’s facilities for crew/cast gathering spaces or for wardrobe issues.

Broadly speaking, the film industry is a big employer.  According to the provincial government, the 2022 film and television industry created 45,891 high-value, full-time equivalent jobs in Ontario.  These jobs were created in 419 film and television projects, 316 of which were domestic productions and 103 were foreign projects.   This sector contributed a record-breaking $3.15 billion to the provincial economy.

There was production growth across all categories of domestic production, with live action accounting for 93% of total production that year.

By all accounts, last week’s filming was well received by the community.  That’s a good thing, because rumour has it the production might return to “Whispering Pines” for another shoot.  They should expect larger crowds of onlookers next time.  KG

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