North Bay on pace to set filming record
Chris renaud is a well-known musician.
“I’ve been a musician and singer in North bay now for over 26 years and that was always my passion,” says renaud, 43.
“The industry slowed down for me so I decided to venture into acting since performing is my love.”
Renaud has been in 23 productions since 2015. he’s played a police officer, a detective, a cowboy and a guitar player.
North bay has been a busy place as far as film and television productions are concerned. There are two productions underway at this time - one film and one tel- evision series.
“Two simultaneous productions occurs often enough,” says economic development officer Tanya bedard. “however, the record for the most concurrent productions (film and television) that we’ve had in the city is five.”
That happened last winter, while 2016 set records in other areas, as well.
Bedard says there were nine productions and 127 filming days at 145 locations. That resulted in almost $9 million in directing spending.
The influx of Northern film productions means a big demand for local actors as background performers, says Jim Calarco, actor, writer/producer and talent agent with North star Talent.
“Additionally, local professional actors are being hired for every production,” says Calarco. “usually we can count on anywhere from one to five actors being cast. The exception to that is the hard rock medical series (which) hired 37 local actors in both lead and supporting roles.
“Eighty per cent of the cast in that series is from the North.”
An actor can earn up to $765 a day when cast in a speaking role and they qualify for a buy-out - a payment in lieu of royalties - which can increase that amount.
“I returned home from Toronto after 9/11 and never thought that we would have a Northern film industry,” Calarco says, pleasantly surprised it has become such a success.
Calarco says it all began with the shooting of bill Plumstead’s That beautiful somewhere in 2006.
“The industry took off. This is due in part to the NOHFC (northern Ontario Heritage Fund) grant process set up by the province both to build a Northern film industry and provide employment for both Northern cast and crew.”
And it shows no sign of slowing. “2017 has already seen 11 productions and will be a new record,” says bedard. “Total impact figures have yet to be finalized. We are working with new and existing productions and look forward to the momentum continuing in 2018.”
Chippewa Street is the latest North Bay film set. The TV series Cardinal is one of 11 productions to shoot in the city this year.