Ontario's film industry needs a state-of-the-art studio facility, according to a study commissioned by the Ontario Film Development Corp and the Toronto Film and Television Office.
The report, undertaken by real estate consultancy Drivers Jonas North America and LA-based analyst ERA, suggests that Ontario's industry should stop competing on price point alone and bring about qualitative changes that only a top-flight studio can deliver. This would entice the high-budget, effects-driven productions that pass the region over.
Otherwise, warns the study, the region risks running a "race to the bottom" as competitors in Canada and abroad undercut its prices for lower-echelon fare.
While admitting that a report recommending a studio is nothing new, OFDC CEO Adam Ostry challenged the industry to use the document as a building block for developing a project. "Individual players have to look beyond their own needs and focus on the macro issues," said Ostry at press briefing at the agency's Toronto headquarters. Complacency may be a factor: total production budgets in Ontario have increased from $501m in 1994 to $994m last year.
Neither Ostry nor city representative Brenda Librecz could indicate the level of public sector support a proposal might attract. However, given the poisonous relationship between Ontario premier Mike Harris and Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien, it's unlikely such a prestige project will move forward anytime soon.