NORTH BAY -- It may be mid-September, but the exterior of the North Bay Museum looks more like a winter wonderland, decorated for a new Holiday Hallmark film being made in the city.

"It's called 'Too Close For Christmas' and it will be released around Christmastime," said David Anselmo, president of production for Hideaway Pictures.

The production coincides with a major announcement by the province to get film and television companies working.

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said Friday $5.5 million will be distributed to four different TV and movie companies for productions in the city and in the Powassan area.

"Film is really specialized and we have it here in North Bay," said Fedeli. "It's a huge industry and they're back and there's people working on the sets right now."

Over the years, Fedeli said the province has noticed the success the film industry has brought to Northern Ontario, both financially and for its global recognition.

"We built an industry here from scratch and it's very critical that the province continues to support the film sector," Fedeli told reporters.

The investments include:

 • $3 million for Hideaway Pictures to produce, in and around Powassan, season two of the television series 'When Hope Calls'

• $1.5 million for Hideaway Pictures to produce, in and around North Bay, the television movies 'Crossword Mysteries 3,' 'Crossword Mysteries 4' and 'Crossword Mysteries 5'

• $500,000 for HP Christmas D Productions to produce, in and around North Bay, the television movie 'Too Close For Christmas'

• $462,628 for Mythic Trips Entertainment Corp. to produce, in and around North Bay, the feature film 'Flee The Light'

• $122,457 for Post Production North in North Bay to expand its current service offerings to include digital descriptive video. Digital descriptive video is the vocal description of the action and visuals taking place in between dialogue in a movie or television show.

"The film industry in Northern Ontario is small business," Anselmo said. "It's local, small businesses who support and service the film industry from abroad."

He said with the province moving toward a post-pandemic life, and with movie and TV sets back in action, there is more demand for this kind of entertainment.

"We're seeing full-time people working in the film industry here in northern Ontario honing their skills," he said. "A lot of films here are winning awards, so they're getting global recognition and it's popularizing this region."

Anselmo said over the years, production companies have spent a lot of money in North Bay and surrounding areas.