OMDC SUCCESS STORY: WHIZBANG FILMS
An abashed love of Canadian content led to the founding of Whizbang Films.
Founded in 1999 by president and CEO Frank Siracusa with Paul Gross, Whizbang’s business model was to feed Canadian broadcasters’ appetite for domestic content.
Siracusa and Gross had worked together on a couple of seasons of Due South, and were compelled to continue working together even after the series had ended. They went on to produce several award-winning television series like Trojan Horse and H20 before parting ways in 2013.
Siracusa has carried on with Whizbang Films, parlaying that success as he navigates today’s very different television landscape.
“The broadcaster model in Canada has changed dramatically,” says Siracusa, explaining that with three companies doing most of the buying, competition is fierce. “These days the biggest challenge is engaging Canadian broadcasters in our domestic slate, but with the advent of new platforms Whizbang is only going to get busier.”
Having produced over 200 hours of content, he has built strong connections with broadcasters and distributors throughout the industry.
“We have strong relationships with many in the community,” says the producer, adding that streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are also creating more opportunities.
“We’ve been there, we’ve done it. That helps us stay afloat.”
Some of those relationships were forged thanks to the OMDC and its export fund, which enabled Whizbang to reach an international market and build relationships on a global scale that have been integral part to the company’s success.
Indeed, Whizbang’s current projects reflect a mix of content for traditional broadcasters—Reign, Beauty and the Beast, The Good Witch—and streaming content: A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Handmaid’s Tale.
With a strong base in Canadian content, it’s perhaps not surprising that Siracusa remains committed to working from Ontario.
“Ontario has the highest skilled technicians in North America,” he says. “It also provides for a healthy family life for people in my company.”
Siracusa also highlights the OMDC for its location services in particular.
“Seventy-two hours after submitting a script; we have photographs of locations in Ontario.
“The OMDC does everything we as a film and television community need them to do. They are a critical partner for film in this province.”
Learn more about Whizbang Films: