New megastudio puts Toronto on the map
Filmport ready for action
Lights, camera, Filmport!
SHARON ASCHAIEK -- Special to the Toronto Sun
Located on a 47-acre site on Toronto's waterfront-based Port Lands, phase one of Filmport occupies more than a quarter of a million square feet of production space, including seven sound stages -- great news for the more than 27,000 people in Toronto who make their living in the film and television industry.
As Canada's largest and most technologically advanced film studio, Toronto-based Filmport is set to turn the city into a movie-making Mecca -- and to generate tons of jobs in the process.
"Filmport will create an environment that will encourage content producers in film, television, and digital/new media to explore a variety of media opportunities," says Ken Ferguson, Filmport president.
Phase one of Filmport (www.film port.ca) was unveiled on Aug. 20 by Ferguson, Mayor David Miller, director David Cronenberg and Jeffrey Steiner, president and CEO of the Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO), the land-owner and landlord of Filmport.
Located on a 47-acre site on Toronto's waterfront-based Port Lands, phase one occupies more than a quarter of a million square feet of production space, including seven sound stages. Ultimately, Filmport will become the country's largest convergence district for film, TV and digital media companies.
"Filmport will provide a huge boost to Toronto's screen-based industries by creating opportunities for our highly skilled work force," said Mayor Miller at the launch. "This new project will also enhance the city's international reputation and will help support a prosperous and creative Toronto."
The arrival of Filmport is great news for the more than 27,000 people in Toronto who make their living in the film and television industry.
A typical production day at Filmport will have 800 to 1,000 film/television personnel working in seven sound stages, production offices and support facilities. Employment opportunities are expected to be created in pre- and post-production, including script writers, set designers, producers, directors and editors, as well as in knowledge-based industries, such as animators and new media experts.
Expected to be complete by 2010, Filmport will eventually spread across three million square feet on 47 acres of space and will likely see 6,000 people working there each day.
Filmport is also a boon to the skilled trades -- phase one alone created 400 person-years of employment.
"The full development could create up to 5,000 person-years of construction employment," Ferguson adds.
In addition to featuring state-of-the-art infrastructure to meet the needs of the film, TV and digital media industry, Filmport will also include space for ancillary film and TV businesses such as post-production companies, union and guild
offices, and film schools, as well as amenities such as restaurants and shops.
"Unlike any other studio complex in the world, Filmport offers content producers in all media the ultimate one-stop shop," Ferguson says.
Offering access to cutting-edge and ideally situated permanent infrastructure, world-class talent and top technology, Filmport is expected to draw media producers of all stripes -- and give Toronto an edge in the film industry.
"Each year between 20 and 35 blockbuster films are created in Hollywood and in studios around the world. With Filmport, Toronto is now in that game," says Steiner of TEDCO.
The emergence of Filmport is the first major step in the rejuvenation of Toronto's waterfront, and the project is expected to have a far-reaching ripple effect on the broader economy.
"Screen-based, creative and digital arts are a growth business in the new economy and Filmport's new
production facility will have an economic impact across the country," Steiner says. "Our goal is to increase the film industry's ability to be more competitive internationally, attract and retain jobs in Toronto, and
kick-start the revitalization of the
waterfront, which will create more jobs in Toronto."