Car crashes, fires and storms are closing the streets of downtown Sudbury. There is no need to worry though — all the tragedies are simply for effect. This week alone, three separate film projects are being shot in the core of the city.
“It's a super busy week for filming downtown,” said Maureen Luoma, executive director of Downtown Sudbury. “It's pretty exciting.”
The projects underway in the city include the TV medical drama Hard Rock Medical, the Hallmark Film love story Be My Valentine and the zombie thriller The Returned.
“Not only are we excited about watching films, increasingly, Greater Sudbury is becoming a local hub for film and television production,” said Mayor Marianne Matichuk.
“The city is supportive of the film industry and the jobs it creates, and we're seeing results,” she said. “And it doesn't hurt that it improves Greater Sudbury's image at the same time.”
There have been quite a few other positive effects on the city since an influx of film productions have been travelling north.
Much of the 13-episode season of Hard Rock Medical will be filmed in Greater Sudbury. The locations aren't the only thing that's local — according to Tracy Legault from Carte Blanche's northern production services, about 90 per cent of the 50-person team calls Sudbury home.
Along with Distinct Features and Title Entertainment, Carte Blanche is continuing to train locals for key roles.
“Assistants in various departments are now taking key crew roles,” she stated. “Last week, we provided a three-day bootcamp for Grip and Electrics, with the goal of this entire department being strictly northern talent, and not having to bring crew from Ottawa or Toronto. Our efforts were fruitful. We now have a best boy and key grip trained who are regional and all of our creative departments are now local.”
Last week, we provided a three-day bootcamp for Grip and Electrics, with the goal of this entire department being strictly northern talent, and not having to bring crew from Ottawa or Toronto.
Carte Blanche Films
Hometown actor Stéphane Paquette is the Sudbury lead in the film, performing alongside Patrick McKenna who played Harold Green on the TV series The Red Green Show, Angela Asher and Tamara Duarte.
Be My Valentine is the story of Dan, a single parent in a small town who is happy with his simple life. Love is the last thing on his mind until he is called to a fire at the flower shop. Around the same time, his 12-year-old son falls for one of his coworkers.
“Love is in the air.”
The film stars William Baldwin, Christian Martyn, Allison Brennan and Lisa Berry. David Anselmo from Northern Ontario Film Studios said there is “quite a bit” of local talent on the film.
“I'm pretty proud of that,” he said. The entire grip, electric, assistant directors and location department is from Northern Ontario — a total of about 50 jobs.
“We are also training above the line positions such as a director and producer trainee and technical positions such as a DOP trainee, and hair and makeup trainee,” Anselmo said.
Luoma said it's been interesting to see Sudbury portrayed through the eyes of outsiders. Not only does it highlight the city on an international level when the final products screen at various festivals, it also gives locals a different perspective on their own hometown.
“We get to see ourselves in a different light from how we see ourselves on a normal daily basis,” she said.
Looking at local landmarks, like many filmgoers had the chance to do when The Truth screened during Cinéfest, puts the “neat character” Sudbury has to offer in a positive light. The immediate benefits to the city are evident too.
“(Crews) are staying downtown, they're eating at the restaurants downtown and they're shopping downtown,” Luoma said. “They're supporting the community where they do work.”
According to the city, the following roads will be effected by the productions:
Tuesday, Sept. 25: Be My Valentine — 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. police intermittent street closures from the Van Horne fire station south to Elgin Street (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.) then westwards to Durham Street, ending at Medina Lane (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The fire truck will then loop back around Larch Street to recommence at the fire house again (this wrap around will not close traffic, but is for the truck to get back to the starting point). There will be no on-street parking on the Durham Street portion of the film shoot. Durham Street from Elgin Street to Larch Street will be intermittently closed to allow for static video in front of and inside Carissa's. Access to the YMCA will be impacted by the movie production throughout the day.
Thursday, Sept. 27: The Returned — 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. police controlled intermittent street closures at three separate areas at different times throughout the day. Underneath the Brady overpass using a bucket truck to clean mock graffiti off the overpass. The north lane of westbound traffic would be completely closed (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.) limiting traffic to one lane in this direction. Police controlled intermittent street closures will also be on Elgin Street from Grey Street to Brady Street with no parking on the north side of Elgin Street in this stretch (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.).
Friday, Sept. 28: The Returned — 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. full police closure of the southern eastbound lane of Elm Street from Elgin Street to Durham Street with film production vehicles and equipment in this lane.
Thursday, Oct. 4: The Returned — 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. police controlled intermittent street closures on Cedar Street from Lisgar Street to Durham Street with no on-street parking on either side. Special effects will be used to produce a temporary rain shower.