A coalition of Ontario-basedfilm and television industry interest groups has formed a united front to lobbythe federal government and market the province as a production destination toHollywood.

Amongst the members of theOntario Film and Television Consortium (OFTC) are more than 30 companies,including the leading service producer in the country, Dufferin GateProductions, as well as unions such as IATSE and guilds such as the DirectorsGuild of Canada. Joining the effort is the Ontario Media Development Corp.(OMDC), an agency of the Ontario government.

Armed with an initial budgetof C$400,000 for 2003-2004, the private-public partnership has set as apriority the expansion of Ontario's presence in Los Angeles. Describing thecurrent LA operation a "listening post", Brian Topp, the executive director ofthe Toronto branch of performers union ACTRA told Screendaily that an expandedLA presence will concentrate the separate voices and messages into an effectivemarketing unity.

On the lobbying front, Toppsaid the OFTC will be asking the federal government to "reconsider" itsregional production incentive, a bonus tax credit available to producers whoshoot outside of Toronto. He described the bonus as a "kick in the teeth" toToronto's production community. But lobbying will not be limited to the federallevel. Topp suggested the OFTC will ask the Ontario government to boost itsproduction services tax credit to equal the 16% currently offered by theCanadian government.

The OMDC was once known as theOntario Film Development Corp. and was the leading source of public sectorproduction financing in Canada after Telefilm. But the agency was gutted in themid-1990s and has not played a significant role in production since. Toppdescribed the current agency as suffering from "mandate drift" evident in thechange from "film" to "media" in its name -- and suggested its involvement inthe OFTC signals a return to a more activist approach to its core industry.