City set to bail out Toronto's film industry

That strong Canadian dollar may make Amazon.com a virtual playground of untold bargains these days, but it's been playing hell with Toronto's film industry: not much point in Hollywood's runaway productions running away to T.O. when there aren't vast savings afoot. Couple that with Toronto's traditionally low scorecard in the mega-studio arena, which doesn't even allow us to compete with our own Freshdaily family (Vancouver and Montreal) let alone Europe and the States, and you've got a local industry that's been on life support since SARS dealt it a death blow back in 2003.

Well, help is coming: according to the Star, City Hall will unveil a new strategy today aimed at bolstering the flagging industry. Surely breaking this news in the same week that Hollywood's luminati are about to descend upon the town is a merry coincidence.

Ironically, the news comes hot on the heels of reports that Montreal has just scored three major-budget productions for the next year: the sequel to Night at the Museum, the remake of Fantastic Voyage, and the adaptation of Dragonball Z. With Watchmen also rumoured to be angling towards Montreal (Zack Snyder shot 300 there), Montreal's dance card looks full for the forseeable future.

But what of Toronto? Our highly publicized Hulk production is winding down, and although we've got Mike Myers' The Love Guru still on our plate, next year's larger productions have yet to announce their intentions with our town.

Hopefully the City's strategy, when announced, will address our lack of competitive mega-soundstages, along with the usual tax breaks and financial incentives meant to lure the Los Angeles moviebucks north of the border.

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