What went down at CB’s Thought Leadership Panel on Hollywood North

In anticipation for TIFF, the event focused on Canada’s emergence as a global leader in the film and television industry and why it is being hailed as ‘Hollywood North’
Photography: George Pimentel Photography

In partnership with Greybrook, Canadian Business has explored Canada’s appeal on the global stage through intimate and engaging thought leadership panels. These discussions have unpacked the country’s real estate market, appeal as an investment destination and, on September 6—our booming film and television industry. 

Gathering at restaurant and lounge Luma inside the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a panel of speakers joined event moderators Sasha Cucuz, CEO at Greybrook Securities Inc., and Jason Maghanoy, associate publisher of Canadian Business and vice president of digital solutions & business development at SJC Media for the in-depth discussion. In anticipation of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the night’s conversation covered all things Hollywood North—including how the industry is positioning itself for continued growth and with focus on Toronto, hot topics including intellectual property, talent and studio infrastructure. 

Among the panelists, Marguerite Pigott, film commissioner and director of entertainment industries at the City of Toronto, described Canada’s film and television growth as a byproduct of streaming companies. “When we were producing for television, we were producing for a medium that broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” she shared. “That gives you an infinitely smaller amount of shelf space that needs to be filled compared to that of streaming services.” Adding that “Streamers now need endless amounts of content that is fresh and excellent, and Canada’s workforce has more than delivered on that.” 

Along with the marketplace and demand changes in the film and television industry, space has become a very important factor of the industry’s growth. Sharing her experience navigating the spaces that host Canada’s film and tv production, Megan Guy, head of client services and operations at Cinespace Studios (Toronto’s largest provider of studio space spanning 1.3 million square feet) shared her thoughts. “It extends beyond the audience’s experience of the spaces they engage with our content, and also includes our crews’ experience working in these spaces,” she says. “We’re looking to provide our clients with the best experience possible—I want them to feel at home in their working environments which means addressing our services along with our infrastructure.” 

Canadian talent reaching the U.S. market, diversity and the sustainability of the film sector were all topics of discussion—along with the buzzworthy topics of advancing technology. “Are all our actors going to be replaced by AI,” joked Maghanoy. “Virtual production is an example of a technology that has entirely changed the industry,” said Guy. “It’s combining video game technology with the film and television industry in ways that have truly changed how we create our products.” 

Beth Janson, chief operating officer at the Toronto International Film Festival rounded off the discussion with insight into the role TIFF plays in elevating the power of curation and other home-grown elements of the film industry. “We have an incredible spotlight at TIFF, and what we’re exploring now is how we refocus it onto those that might not have the stars or budgets in their films.” She went on to express her passion toward the curation of all the films featured in the festival, adding that “any film at the festival is guaranteed to be worth your money—this level of curation cannot be done by an algorithm.”

After a brief audience Q&A, the panel joined an audience of over 100 in an open networking mixer over shared food and drinks. 

Scroll down for a closer look at what went down, and learn more about our partner, Greybrook, here

CB Staff
CB Staff
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