Will Callander become home to a new film studio? David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Callander is set to become a major film production centre if the minds behind Trillium Pictures have their way. The group wants to construct a film studio, complete with three sound stages, off of Terrace Road and Country Lane in Callander.

“At this time, we wanted to have the conversation early, to see what the appetite is for such a project,” said Warren Wayne, of Trillium Pictures, who presented to Callander’s council on June 27.

The team wants to engage with Callander’s council and residents, “and build something that we can all be proud of.” Much work needs to be done before the plan materializes. The land must be rezoned, environmental studies will be completed, and plans are underway for a public meeting in early fall.

If all goes well, the idea is to start building over the winter and have it ready for filming by mid-summer, 2024.

The building would stand on a 16.24-acre parcel of land along Terrace Road. Once complete, the studio “would be the first facility of its kind north of Toronto,” Wayne said, and he expects there would be no shortage of production companies who would like to work there.

With the number of productions coming to the area, this space would be a welcome, and needed addition. The plan includes two 20,000 square foot soundstages and one 30,000 square foot soundstage. There will be office space, screening rooms, equipment rentals and other amenities.

The space “could handle about fours shows” filming simultaneously. It will “attract world-class producers and directors,” Wayne said.

See: Is the ‘region’s largest film studio’ still a go for North Bay?

A studio like this will do much for the economy, as the average film production employs around 75 film workers, and production companies can shoot year-round within the space. “The economic benefits to the municipality will be major, with both full-time employees and film workers spending money on hotels, hardware stores, restaurants, cafes, and other retail services.”

Film veteran Frank Caruso, part of the Trillium Pictures team, also appeared before council to detail the project. Caruso lived in North Bay for 39 years, and he told council how he produced the first movie to be entirely shot in the city, 1990’s “No Angel.”

“At the time there was no support system, there was nothing,” Caruso said of those early film days.

See: Local film and television productions receive provincial boost

The folks at Trillium Pictures emphasized that they intend to make a beautiful building that blends into the natural setting. “Nobody will even know we’re there,” Wayne said, adding the building will be environmentally friendly as possible.

“We’re artists, we’re filmmakers, and we’d like to help a lot of people up here,” Caruso said.

Council is interested in the idea and look forward to hearing more from the team. “This sounds like a fabulous project,” said Deputy Mayor Jordy Carr.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

By David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 28, 2023 at 16:31

This item reprinted with permission from   BayToday.ca   North Bay, Ontario
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