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New soundstage being built on Wahnapitae First Nation

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There is excitement over a new project in a small First Nation community in the Sudbury area involving the film industry.

Wahnapitae First Nation will soon be home to a new 20,000-square-foot soundstage in a collaboration between an Indigenous-owned business and a Los Angeles film production company.

White Owl Film Studio building soundstage on Wahnapitae First Nation near Sudbury. (Ian Campbell/CTV Northern Ontario)

While well known with northern Ontario tourists for its popular lake, the territory's new construction project has a lot of people talking right now.

"We're all used to having gas stations, smoke stores, cannabis stores, things like that, but this industry brings something totally different which will keep our younger people here at home," Roy Roque of White Owl Film Studios told CTV News in an interview.

It was a chance introduction by the City of Greater Sudbury and an L.A.-based film production company that got the whole project rolling.

"I envision it as a gathering place for everyone. Right from First Nations People from all across Canada and non-native people from all across Canada as well to come and partake in the operation that we're building," Roque said.

Christopher Harrington is the co-CEO of Volume Global, an L.A. company building the pop-up soundstage.

"These guys have moved so quickly," Harrington said.

"They were literally clearing the first two acres, which by the way we have four acres where we can scale this as well, but they started moving and scaling and started excavating this land within the first week."

He and his partner, Michael Wright said it is more than just a partnership with Wahanpitae, it's a strategic alliance.

The soundstage will have a 35-foot-high clear span and with an initial $10-million investment, there's also room to expand.

And the first 10 months of the facility's operation are already booked.

Two television series are pre-leasing the facility, one of them a prequel to The Last of the Mohicans film called Deerslayer.

"It's a diversified agenda for them," Wright, Volume Global's other co-CEO, said.

"It also brings in tourism and positive energy and a collective, just really great industry that could fit in well with what they're trying to do."

The opportunity the new economic potential on Taighwenini Trail Road could bring will not only have an effect on the First Nation, but the entire region as a whole.

The builders are hoping to have the building ready and operational by January. 

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