The Kingston Film Office, a division of Tourism Kingston, is collaborating with RTO 9 on a Regional Expansion & Support Study encompassing surrounding regions in South Eastern Ontario from Belleville to Cornwall. The project includes assessing and inventorying current resources and processes to streamline, organize, and promote participating regions jointly, leveraging the strength of the region’s unique assets and communities to position South Eastern Ontario as a filmmaking destination. As part of this study, the Kingston Film Office will complete extensive locations photography across greater Kingston and the surrounding regions this summer.
“We are very excited to be partnering with the Kingston Film Office and Tourism Kingston on this initiative that will highlight South Eastern Ontario as a film destination within the Province of Ontario. The film industry has a substantial impact on the economy while also promoting the region,” said Bonnie Ruddock, Executive Director, RTO 9.
The Kingston Film Office is also supporting area producer J Joly on a Hyperlocal Original Screen-Based Content action plan to explore recommendations and models for supporting more independent end-to-end production locally. The Hyperlocal action plan is funded by the Ontario Creates Business Intelligence Program in partnership with Kingston EcDev, Frontenac Business Services (formally Frontenac CFDC), Upper Canada Equity Fund, the Kingston Film Office, and is supported by the County of Frontenac
“We’re excited by the investment from Ontario Creates to advance strategies for building the local film industry. Kingston is known for a vibrant creative economy and the work of the Kingston Film Office and partners to build greater capacity will have a long-term impact on attracting and retaining talent and investment. This support reinforces the importance the arts have on communities, and the role culture will play in leading the way to a strong economic recovery,” says Donna Gillespie, CEO, Kingston Economic Development Corporation.
"Having begun my journey as a filmmaker in Kingston, at that time, advancing my career meant moving to Toronto. Working with the region's stakeholders, the proposed Hyperlocal Action Plan will focus on establishing a slate of back-to-back productions that will serve as a platform for entry-level jobs, accelerated skills training and revenue for local support sectors. The goal is to enable our next generation of filmmakers to stay and build their careers working on original local market-ready productions," says area producer J Joly.
The Hyperlocal Original Screen-Based Content action plan comes on the heels of the Kingston Film Office hosting an independent feature film shot entirely in Verona and the Destination Fund Committee earmarking $200,000 from the Development Fund for the Kingston Film Office to use as incentive for attracting more end-to-end productions in Kingston with a $500,000 or greater budget. Productions that receive this incentive will be required to provide training opportunities for local members of the industry, building on the local development opportunities provided by the Kingston Film Office.
Both studies are part of the Kingston Film Office’s mandate to attract and support film and TV production within the greater Kingston area. Each initiative complements the creation of a proposed $25,000,000 South Eastern Ontario Production Accelerator Fund (SEOPAF) that is currently being lobbied to the provincial government with support from a dozen area MPPs.
“We’re constantly looking at ways to attract and support film and television production in the region, and especially to develop a labour force and industry that resides locally,” says Alex Jansen, Kingston Film Commissioner. “We’ve seen exponential sector growth year over year since the formation of the Kingston Film Office, and these initiatives, and especially the SEOPAF, could be transformative for the larger region.”
Since the Kingston Film Office was established in 2018, the city has increasingly become a sought-after location for film and television production and is projected to see record levels of activity this year as it hosts productions such as Murdoch Mysteries, Reacher for Amazon, and The Mayor of Kingstown with Paramount. It is estimated that film and television production in Kingston will generate a direct spend in the community upwards of $2,000,000 in 2021.
ABOUT THE KINGSTON FILM OFFICE
The Kingston Film Office was launched in 2018 to attract and support film and media to the greater Kingston area. Since this time, the KFO has streamlined processes, launched various incentives and training programs, increased access to key locations such as The Kingston Penitentiary, and begun active promotion to industry and servicing productions. The Kingston Film Office has hosted multiple major productions including DC Comic’s Titans and Locke & Key on Netflix, multiple episodes of Murdoch Mysteries, CBS’s Star Trek: Discovery, and upcoming series with both Amazon and Paramount among others. The City of Kingston recently named the creative industries a priority sector as part of COVID-19 recovery efforts.