Big Cities: 7. Toronto, Ontario
“Ego and negative competition feel far less present in Toronto,” says moviemaker Gavin Michael Booth (The Scarehouse). “Everyone who’s moved here to pursue filmmaking wants to collaborate and understands that working together is going to help everyone, themselves included.”
Perhaps, then, if you’re looking to set up your own studio in Canada, Toronto is the place to be. Famously multicultural, it’s also clean and safe, with a foodie culture rarely rivaled. Like Vancouver, Toronto doubles as New York in so many movies that you’ll feel like you’re living in the Big Apple in many of its 140-plus neighborhoods.
Downsides? It gets cold in the winter, and the public transit system leaves much to be desired in the face of this level of urban sprawl. Even so, the city was a hub for moviemaking in 2016, boasting productions like Suicide Squad, Downsizing (starring Kristen Wiig and Matt Damon), Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, and TV series like Orphan Black and the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery. Besides del Toro, who settled in the city years ago, Toronto is home to directors Ivan Reitman, Sarah Polley and David Cronenberg—pretty decent company.
Canada offers a federal labor-based 16-percent tax credit, which can be combined for a healthy sum with provincial credits including the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit (35 percent for eligible Ontario labor expenses), the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (21.5 percent refundable for qualifying production expenses), and the Ontario Computer Animation & Special Effects (18 percent refundable for qualifying Ontario-based visual effects and animation labor expenses).
Top among the dozens of festivals here is the affair that the city is synonymous with in the biz: Toronto International Film Festival, 42 years old and going strong. Also noteworthy is Hot Docs, the largest documentary film festival in North America. Head to one of the nearly 2 million square feet of sound stages at your disposal, including Pinewood Toronto Studios (with its 46,000-square-foot Mega Stage), the six retrofitted stages at Cinespace, Revival 629, TRiBRO Studios and Showline Studios. Toronto is sure to provide the resources and support you need for years of moviemaking to come—eh?