North Bay welcomes back film and TV industry productions
NORTH BAY -- The cameras are set to start rolling again on Monday as the City of North Bay has started up film and television production again.
However, even with welcoming back production, things are expected to look quite different.
Mayor Al McDonald said that those coming into the city for work will have to follow the same protocols that are in place to keep everyone safe as the pandemic continues. However, he doesn't believe that returning production crews will increase the risk to North Bay.
"I will say that there are people from Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor in our community right now," said McDonald. "They're not even connected to the film industry and the reason that we're able to keep our numbers so low is because our local businesses and citizens understand how important it is for those protocols. So, I don't see our risk getting higher because a few in the film industry have come up."
McDonald adds that the city doesn't make any decision without consulting public health.
In 2019, North Bay said saw a "record year" with 15 different productions, 377 total filming days over multiple productions and over $46 million in local spending.
Now, even with the green light to start filming again, many details still remain up in the air, including how many productions 2020 will see, how much money will be brought in for the year or even who will be filming in the city.
"I cannot disclose that information because it's their information, their private information," said McDonald in regards to who might be filming in North Bay. "I can just tell you that we're working with many productions and many contacts in the industry."
The mayor adds that the draw to North Bay for the film industry remains the same as it was in the past.
"I think it's a great asset that you can get anywhere in our city in 10 minutes and time is money in any business, including the television and film business," he said. "The fact that we don't charge fees for permits, we do have permits, but there's no charge, but there's no question that they can go from downtown out to Trout Lake in 10-15 minutes to be able to do different scenes."
Producer David Anselmo said his northern Ontario film production company is "very excited to be bringing back a number of Christmas features," in a news release.
Anselmo said filming for Too Close for Christmas begins on Aug. 24.
Distinct Features President Derek Diorio said that the TV drama series Unsettled was "back and moving along with the welcome help of North Bay and Nipissing First Nation."