OMDC Newsletter
Fall 2015

OMDC Takes U.S. Production Execs on A Fam Tour

From September 27-30th, seven senior executives with LA-based television companies ABC Family, HBO, Starz, VH1, Weinstein Television and Endemol Shine Studios were invited by OMDC to participate in a familiarization (Fam) Tour of Toronto and Ontario, designed to showcase the best that Ontario’s film and television sector has to offer their productions.

ACTRA Luncheon in the Distillery District   Carmen Angeli Starz and Theresa Tova, ACTRA

The tour opened with a welcome breakfast attended by municipal and provincial government officials, and over the course of the three days, executives met with key industry stakeholders at a variety of events and venues around the city including: a reception and dinner hosted by the City of Toronto Film Television and Digital Media Office and attended by Mayor Tory; an ACTRA talent luncheon in the Distillery District; a networking breakfast with industry union and guild representatives; a reception at TIFF Bell Lightbox, hosted by industry consortium FilmOntario; and a VIP producers dinner hosted by Cinespace, Pinewood and Revival 629 Studios, which was attended by Michael Coteau, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport.

Fam Tour Group outside Le Select Bistro: Janice Reid Johnston (OMDC), Leslie Belzberg (Shine America), Jeannie Koenigsberg (HBO), Gigi Causey (Weinstein TV), Cameron Angeli,(Starz) Richter Hartig (Startz), Eric Jensen (Toronto Film TV and Digital Media Office), Donna Zuchlinski (OMDC), Gary Mrowca (ABC Family), Kelly Graham Scherer (Toronto/ Ontario Film Office), Donny Herran (VHI)

“It was a wonderful, informative visit that most certainly got my wheels turning regarding a couple of projects we have in our early development pipeline. We look forward to continuing the relationships that TWC already enjoys as well as forging many new ones”, Gigi Causey, VP Physical Production, Weinstein Television.

At Deluxe: Cameron Angeli, Richter Hartig, Gary Mrowca, Jeannie Koenigsberg, Donny Herran, Leslie Belzberg and Gigi Causey

SIRT Demonstration.   Pinewood Studio

In addition to surveying popular GTA filming sites and hearing about all the advantages of filming in Ontario, the group toured Toronto’s major studios and post-production facilities, saw presentations from top VFX studios and a demonstration of virtual filmmaking advancements being developed by the Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT).

Front Row – Donny Herran, Gigi Causey, Kelley Graham Scherer, Doug Till/ Back Row: Gary Mrowca, Cameron Angeli, Jeannie Koenigsberg, Richter Hartig and Janice Reid Johnston

On the last day, the production executives were treated to a visit to Niagara Falls (hosted by the Niagara Parks Commission) and enjoyed a gourmet wine-makers lunch in Niagara region wine country at Jordan’s Inn on the Twenty, before departing for home that evening.

“At VH1 we are certainly aware of the value of Ontario production; having the opportunity to see it first hand through the Fam Tour cements this awareness and helps further our relationship. The Ontario tax credit is a HUGE component to that relationship, but having a solid infrastructure that not only supports foreign production but also grows its own content and furthers its own advancements is essential. Thank you for such an impressive line-up for us to meet with – I look forward to speaking with them all in the future”, Donny Herran, VP Production at VH1.

Past OMDC Fam Tours have resulted in new business for Ontario, including the Alcon series The Expanse, the Independent feature Shimmer Lake, the Morgan Creek feature Dream House.