Town of Cochrane begins construction on film studios

The northeastern Ontario district has plans to become the new Hollywood North, and has attracted $11 million in productions in just two months.
Cochrane Ontario-1

Hollywood North is about to move even further north if the district of Cochrane, located in north eastern Ontario, has anything to say about.

Peter Politis, the mayor of the town of Cochrane, announced this week that construction had started on the Video Innovation Park Studios, a collection of 20 micro studios.

The move comes only two months after the town’s film office opened its doors, and mere weeks after the town beat out Alaska as the location of choice for an unnamed, 12 episode “man and environment” project that is currently in pre-production.

Politis says the goal is to mirror, or improve upon what Alaska has done with its film and TV industry over the past five years.

“We’re trying to transplant something similar to what Alaska has, which is a $200 million a year industry, into this region,” he tells Playback Daily.

“If we’re successful in doing that the impact on the infrastructure along with the other growth is going to see us having to do some very interesting things we’ve never thought of before,” he adds.

The initiative is being led by Los Angeles-based consulting agency Aduvo Studios, which has invested $1 million of its own money.

The expected cost of the project is $1.2 million.

While Politis is open to attracting outside talent, he says the real goal is to start by building the industry locally.

“You don’t need to build these mass, expansive sets and transport actors to those sets to do production and recording,” he says.

“What you do is use the sets you have, which is the natural environment here, and people’s natural workplaces. You use the players that are there already and train them to be cinematographers and actors,” he explains.

Another possible part of the plan will include portable sets, which can be constructed and transported quickly and easily.

Thus far, the district, which includes Timmins, Moosonee and Kapuskasing (birthplace of filmmaker James Cameron), has attracted $11 million worth of productions.

Politis says that if it maintains this pace, the district could see up to $60 million in productions in its first year.

He adds that much of this is thanks to Ontario’s tax credit regime.

“We have tax credits that equal up to 45% of the cost, so we can have productions take place here at 55% of the cost of taking place elsewhere,” he says.

“That’s what’s attractive to the high-end consultants we have here now, and getting these quick productions in place,” he insists.