Two weeks after the announcement of plans to build a massive studio in Toronto, another facility is going forward in the province of Quebec. The backers of Studio Bromont plan to convert a 1.2 million sq. ft automobile plant north of Montreal into the largest film production studio in the world. The project's backers include the provincial agency Investissement Quebec.
The former Hyundai assembly plant, purchased in December 2001 for $13.2m (C$21m), will be refitted at a cost of $15.1m (C$24m) to include several soundstages totalling 250,000 sq. ft. The two main stages, each 40,000 sq. ft, with ceilings 58 feet high, will be complemented by two 60,000 cubic foot water tanks and 100,000 sq. ft of office space featuring a high-speed fibre optic communications system. The site also features a landing strip, a 1.5km double lane car test track and a cafeteria able to serve 1,500 meals a day. The facility is a 45-minute drive from Montreal.
In a statement, Jocelyn Parenteau, co-promoter of the project, said the new facility will significantly boost Quebec's profile as a production destination. "We literally lose several major productions each year because of a lack of adequate facilities. This represents about $47m (C$75m) to $78m (C$125m) that is passing us by. The major U.S. and European productions each employ between 500 and 700 people, depending on the size of the project. Since we will be able to film three projects simultaneously, you can imagine the level of economic activity that the studio will generate for our industry, not including the spin-offs that will benefit both Bromont and the whole [Montreal] metropolitan region."
The first phase of the work has been awarded to BPR, a Montreal engineering consulting firm, which will take care of preparing the premises for the new infrastructure.
The Toronto facility, backed by the administrative support of the UK's Pinewood Shepperton Studios, is scheduled to break ground in March 2003, pending land-use assessments by the city.
Other large studio facilities in Canada include the Lions Gate Studios and the Bridge Studios in Vancouver, and Mel's Cite du Cinema in Montreal.