New deal for Filmport by new year

The future of Filmport will be decided by the end of the year, according to sources at ...

The future of Filmport will be decided by the end of the year, according to sources at Toronto’s city hall, though it remains unclear if British giant Pinewood Studios will buy into the city’s newest, biggest and so far underused film stage.

The Toronto Star reported earlier this week that Pinewood — operating through a consortium including itself, ROI Capital and Castlepoint Realty — is trying to acquire a 60% interest in Filmport, built in the city’s redeveloping east side thanks to a 99-year lease issued through the Toronto Economic Development Corporation.

City councilors met Wednesday night behind closed doors to discuss the fate of the studio and, according to one source, granted TEDCO the ‘opportunity to broaden the investment base at Filmport.’

The potential investors are described as having ‘vast knowledge in the production sector,’ but Pinewood was not named as the sole potential investor. The source did acknowledge, however, that Filmport needs investors, and that the situation must be resolved by the end of the year.

‘It’s all about jobs and competing with the unions in Hollywood,’ said Toronto Mayor David Miller, speaking to Playback Daily. ‘If — and I emphasize if — Pinewood was to work together with Filmport, that would be a good thing for the industry here. Films in Canada should tell our stories, and we have to continue to build our industry.’

Filmport is operated by Toronto Film Studios and the Rose Corporation and has seen few tenants since it opened to much fanfare in August, due in no small part to the looming Screen Actors Guild strike south of the border. Earlier this year, Pinewood was considering building its own studio in Toronto and, years ago, was attached to an early version of the Filmport project.

Calls to Filmport for comment were not returned.