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Local film production thriving in its 'wonder years' phase

Actor Danica McKellar was among those who thanked Fedeli and the NOHFC for the nearly $3.4M in funding to help create industry jobs, showcase northern talent, and increase the quality of films and TV series produced in northern Ontario

The "wonder years" or "coming of age" period is marked by new experiences, lessons learned, and growth. The same can be said of the robust yet still blossoming local film production industry. After more than a decade of expansion and much artistic and financial success, the North Bay scene is thriving in its wonder years with room to mature.

Friday, from the North Bay location of the Northern Ontario Film Studios, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli announced $3,370,238 in provincial funding through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) for eight film and television projects in our region. The investment is designed to help create industry jobs, showcase northern talent, and increase the quality of films and TV series produced in northern Ontario.

Actor Danica McKellar, who has been involved in multiple recent projects in the area, and is best known for her role as Winnie in late-'80s/early-'90s hit series The Wonder Years, was featured in a short video clip played during the announcement in support of the local film industry. She commended the NOHFC and Fedeli for their commitment to the industry and thanked them for giving a little help to her friends in the film production world (see video above, also featuring industry players David Anselmo, Jesse Ikeman, and Micheline Blais, plus North Bay Mayor Peter Chirico).

Fedeli said, "With these investments, we are contributing to the region's reputation as a top film and TV production centre in Canada. Our government is
committed to strengthening this growing local industry because these investments create jobs, develop homegrown talent and support other businesses in the area.”

The following NOHFC film projects received funding:

  • $500,000 for Be Mine Productions to produce the Hallmark film I’m Glad It’s Christmas, in North Bay
  • $500,000 for HP Drive-In Productions Inc. to produce the Hallmark film Christmas Drive-in, in North Bay
  • $500,000 for HP Into Winter Productions Inc. to produce the holiday movie Fall Into Winter, in North Bay
  • $500,000 for Love Song H22D Inc. to produce the made-for-TV movie Writing A Love Song, in North Bay
  • $500,000 for Motel WFTBU Inc. to produce the feature film We Forgot To Break Up, in North Bay
  • $440,238 for Whimper Productions Inc. to produce the feature film Civil, in North Bay
  • $280,000 for New Tang Dynasty Television to produce the two-episode television series The Royal Welch Chen Jones, in North Bay
  • $150,000 for The Time We Met Productions Inc. to produce the feature film Mockingbird, in Whitney

"Northern Ontario has become for our movie and television production company the new gateway to Canadian multiculturalism. Northerners are welcoming, bilingual, enthusiastic and incredibly hardworking. In North Bay, we’ve had the opportunity to work with local cast and crew who hail from all parts of the globe and who have brought skills and expertise that fashion a fantastic product." said Joel Etienne, director of The Royal Welch Chen Jones.

Jonas Chernick, who will act, write and produce on Mockingbird said the film "quite simply, could not have been made without the support of the NOHFC. The
gorgeous scenery of Algonquin Park is essentially a key character in our film, and we can’t wait for the world to see this beautiful, remote corner of Northern Ontario up on the big screen."

The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects — big and small, rural and urban — that stimulate growth, job creation and skills development. Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $608 million in 5,070 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $1.93 billion in investment and creating or sustaining over 8,100 jobs.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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