The bid to builda megastudio in Toronto has narrowed to two finalists: a local film studioplayer and a famous outsider.

On the home frontis Toronto Film Studios, which operates the city's largest facility. The othercontender is Pinewood-Shepperton Studios, the UK-based operators of England'stwo most famous soundstages.

According to theToronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO), which controls the land andissued the call for proposals, what was a four-horse race is shaping up to be aphoto-finish.

Both pitches haveserious money behind them: Toronto Film Studios is backed by parent company TheRose Corporation, a large property holder and merchant banking group, whilePinewood-Shepperton are partnered with Toronto-based land-owner and developer CastlepointDevelopments.

"Over thepast few months we have conducted an extensive process of
review, analysis andevaluation of all four submissions," TEDCO president and chief executiveofficer Jeff Steiner said.

"Theevaluation process determined that two of the four proposals were clearlysuperior, but to recommend a single proponent required further clarificationand analysis."

Out of the raceis a long-shot bid from Raleigh Enterprises, which operates film studios in LosAngeles. Ironically its president, Mark A Rosenthal, is co-founder of theCenter For Entertainment Industry Data and Research, one of the most vocalcritics of runaway productions.

The otherunsuccessful application was filed by the Comweb Group, operators of Canada'slargest production equipment providers, and partner O&Y Properties,controlled by Philip Reichman, the developer behind London's Canary Wharf.Comweb put its studios in Montreal into receivership earlier this year.