The film industry is growing in Northern Ontario and it shows.
Not only does Northern Ontario host one of the top five international film festivals in Canada, but more and more films are being shot and produced here.
On Sept. 20, one of those films will be premiering at Cinéfest Sudbury at 9:30 p.m. “The Privileged” is an action-thriller produced and filmed entirely in Sudbury during the fall of 2012.
In the film, Richard Hunter, a young lawyer at a prestigious firm, has his ideal future planned out. Unfortunately for him, a mistake with a powerful client has put at risk everything he’s been working toward.
In an act of desperation, he and his wife, Tara, spend the weekend at the cottage of his superior, a senior partner named Preston Westwood. They are soon enthralled with their host's lavish lifestyle, but something isn’t right. Westwood and some of the locals in the area appear to be locked in a feud that takes a turn toward the extreme.
The two are soon caught in a violent series of events that test their morals and put their lives in jeopardy.
As exciting as the plot is, equally as exciting — at least for its creators — is the fact “The Privileged” is the first film co-produced by Sudbury-based production company, Hideaway Pictures. The president of production at Hideaway said filmmakers are coming to Northern Ontario more and more to make their films because it’s more cost-effective and easy to work up here.
“The No. 1 reason people are coming to film in Northern Ontario is because of the tremendous support our government has for the film industry in the north through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund,” said David Anselmo. “And then the icing on the cake is the great crew, the great hospitality northerners have.”
Anselmo said these films not only get Sudbury and Northern Ontario as a whole more attention as a filming hot spot, but also provide Sudbury with a strong economic boost and is something the Northern Ontario Film Studio is trying to bring consistently to the North.
“Now we are starting to build the infrastructure with the Northern Ontario Film Studio. The studio, over the course of the last year and a half, has had six projects come through our doors, and we’ve attracted productions to come through here which have had a direct spend into the community of $12 million,” he said.
Also, bringing more film productions up north provides more job opportunities to local talent and aspiring filmmakers.
“We’ve been able to provide 500 contract jobs to northerners, which means people are now able to have a full professional job in this industry,” Anselmo said.
Tickets on sale at Silver City at the Cinéfest booth.
Sudbury and 'The Privileged'
Originally titled “Deadweight,” the film that came to be called “The Privileged” was shot entirely in Sudbury over three weeks in the fall of 2012 at a large home on the shores of Little Raft Lake in the city's South End.
It stars actor Sam Trammell of "True Blood" fame as Preston Westwood, the wealth lawyer. His Canadian co-stars include Josh Close ("The Exorcism of Emily Rose") as young lawyer Richard Hunter, and Lina Roessler ("Lost Girl") as his wife, Tara. Laura Harris of "Dead Like Me" and "24" fame also stars.
Of the 65-70 crew members, more than half were from Sudbury or Northern Ontario.
Ryen Veldhuis is a freelance writer in Greater Sudbury.