LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Toronto plans IMDb page for film industry boost

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Toronto plans IMDb page for film industry boost

Good Will Hunting. Orphan Black. Spotlight.

The diverse list of film and televisions productions share two big commonalities — they've all won awards and they're all filmed in Toronto.

And the city hopes to boost the profile of Hollywood North still further with the help of the popular website, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

The Toronto Film, Television & Digital Media Board has proposed creating a special page on IMDb, dedicated to details about the city's film industry. It's something that the city's economic development committee will debate Wednesday.

City councillor and film board chairwoman, Paula Fletcher, said the page's creation would help promote Toronto as a top destination in the competitive world of filmmaking.

"[The page] makes it easier for people to see what's going on in the city, to see what's been shot here, how easy it is to do that and attract" filmmakers, Fletcher said.

Details of the proposed page have yet to be finalized, but will include running credits for films that have been shot in Toronto, popular scouting locations and buildings, as well as links to production companies operating within the city.

Fletcher said the board hopes to draw more interest to the city as a filming location by highlighting the existing infrastructure and resources available here.

"We are always thinking about how to keep Toronto in the forefront for film," Fletcher said.

Fletcher added that film and television production has long been one of the "three big industries" driving the city's economy, saying that it employs 26,000 people and brings $1.5 billion in revenue to the city's coffers every year.

A film making destination

Every September, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) delivers some Hollywood glamour as many of the world's biggest stars descend on the city.

But that only tells part of the story of Toronto's appeal to the movie industry. There are also financial incentives as the Canadian government provides film tax credits, which cover 16 per cent of labour costs on set.

Throw in a weak Canadian dollar, Toronto's architecture and its busy city streets — and that all adds up to an appealing place to shoot. It's also likely why Toronto has played New York City, Chicago, and Istanbul on the silver screen.

In fact, about 30 films and televisions shows are being shot or produced around the city right now, according to Jim Mirkopoulos, vice president of Cinespace Film Studios in Etobicoke.

Cinespace has already produced major films like Mean Girls and the Saw horror franchise, but Mirkopoulos said that the industry can always benefit from this kind of targeted marketing.

"An [IMDb] page like that would be another vote of confidence in favour of locating a film or television project in Toronto," Mirkopoulos said.

He said the website could form a city-wide marketing tool and resume, which could pave the way to more film industry investment.

"For location managers, for directors, for production designers — to sit in their office in Los Angeles and see this impressive list of projects that have shot here ... that's going to make their decision a lot easier."

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