|Scene from the movie 'Blindness'|
If city council is looking for priorities in this new year, then perhaps they can follow Toronto's lead. A recommendation from the City of Toronto's Economic Development Committee earlier this week (that sadly wasn't discussed due to quorum issues) floated the idea that T-dot should have its own IMDb page, administered by the City, to promote film and TV production in Toronto. Well, if it's good enough for Toronto, I say it's good enough for Guelph too.
What's the story here? Well chances are that you've been to the website for the Internet Movie Database, a one stop shop for all things movies and TV (plus web series, video games and most visual media productions). Well there's also a social media function to the site called IMDb Pro, where paid-users, mostly industry professionals - actors, directors, publicists, et al, catalogue and promote their own works. So a Toronto IMDb page, or a Guelph one for that matter, would have all the information someone would need if they were to considering making a movie in Guelph, or using it as a location: a 45-second intro video, a list of contacts at city hall, and a verified list of all previous productions to come through town.
And what a list it is too. Fernando Meirelles' Blindness starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, Jim Sheridan's Dream House starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, Amazon's 11/22/63 starring James Franco, Starz' American Gods starring Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane, and let's not forget the semi-annual visits from CBC's Murdoch Mysteries, most recently this past summer at MacDonald Hall at the University of Guelph. But while it's nice that our existence is noticed by Hollywood glitterati, there's a more important reason to promote Guelph film, the homegrown talent.
Yes, while the top of the IMDb search of films that used the Royal City as a location is filled with Hollywood hogwash, much of the rest of the 100 some odd entries are from Guelph-based filmmakers like Chad Archibald, Thomas Gofton, Phil Carer, Mary Lalonde, the Crosland Sisters, Ryan Barrett, Reese Eveneshen, Angus McLellan, Thomas Roper-Brown, Peter Szabo, Martin Buzora, and let's not forget Shawney Cohen, whose documentary about his family, The Manor, opened the 2013 Hot Docs film festival in Toronto. Even Guelph subjects are made into films, like the 2015 National Film Board doc Seth's Dominion about the graphic artist of the same name.
Interestingly, the City of Guelph has a film office, but if you follow the link, the webpage is very matter of fact. While it was relatively easy to Google "Guelph Film Office" it's only because one already knows that they're looking for it, and that's not the way you attract new business. The combination of our picturesque boulevards and the hot crop of locally developed talent seem prime to be exploited, so why not exploit it. Perhaps soon we'll have Hollywood tours of famous Guelph film locations, like the intersection of Wyndham and Macdonnel, which doubled for post-apocalyptic Paris in the Total Recall remake...
Maybe not. Still, the IMDb thing is a good idea.