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Trillium Pictures dedicated to building film studio

Studio will serve the ever-growing Northern film industry, but there is work to be done
Artistic rendering of the main entrance of Trillium Pictures' proposed studio project

The minds driving Trillium Pictures remain dedicated to building and operating a film studio in the North and are looking at various potential sites around Callander and North Bay. Last month, the group presented to Callander’s council, eager “to see what the appetite is for such a project,” said Trillium Pictures’ Warren Wayne during that meeting.

A plot of land off of Terrace Road and Country Lane in Callander was considered for the build, but the team decided to look elsewhere to locate the project. Frank Caruso of Trillium Pictures explained that the team is now considering other options, with four parcels of land in the area on their radar.

Two are in Callander and two are in North Bay, so the final site remains up in the air at this point. One thing for sure is that building in the area is paramount. “We’ve made up our mind that we want to build here,” Caruso said. “I mean it’s my hometown.”

See: Callander the next Hollywood North? Trillium Pictures thinks so

“I grew up there,” he added, speaking of North Bay. The city is also where he shot his first movie – the first feature-length film completely shot in town – and he wants to bring things full circle. That film was 1990’s No Angel, and from there, Caruso learned the ins and outs of the independent film world, where securing funds is rarely easy, and finding supports can be a challenge.

Now with eight features in the can plus many other video and commercial projects, Caruso and Trillium Pictures are in a position to take things to the next level – a film studio complete with three sound stages, production offices, and other amenities for filmmakers.

Once complete, it will be the first major studio built north of Toronto, and Caruso is certain it will have no problem attracting major productions. Three films or television series could be filmed concurrently, given the massive sound stages. The building would allow year-round filming in complete studio comfort.

“We’re determined to be in the area,” he said. “Wherever we go, it will be within 15 minutes of North Bay’s centre, and very close to Callander.”

That’s the goal. The challenges are securing the land, possibly having to ask council to rezone, ensure adequate services, and then building. However, since much of the studio plans include modular sections, the build would progress rather quickly. When Trillium Pictures presented in Callander, the timeline was to start building over the winter and have it ready for filming by mid-summer, 2024.

That schedule might be a little tight now, but the goal remains to build. And one of the many things the world of independent filmmaking has instilled in Caruso is to have a Plan B. Having a Plan C and D also doesn’t hurt, and all of these plans revolve around building this studio in the area.

“We’re willing to work with what we have to work with. We are determined to be here.”

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
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