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Want to make movies or TV shows? Check out the OPL and OFO’s Lights, Camera, Ottawa lecture series

By Apartment613 on November 17, 2020

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Every now and then we hear about a movie being filmed in Ottawa with some big(-ish) Hollywood star in town for a few days of shooting. Almonte and the Rideau Canal are frequently seen in Hallmark Christmas movies, for example. But did you know that Ottawa’s film, television, and animation industry contributes over $100 million to our local economy each year? And it’s still alive and growing, even with COVID-19. A new soundstage campus is slated to be built here within the next few years, which will expand local opportunities even more.

So how does an Ottawan with aspirations of breaking into the film or TV industry get started? The Ottawa Public Library is partnering with the Ottawa Film Office for Lights, Camera, Ottawa: A series of four online information sessions starting tomorrow, November 18, at 7pm. Both the live-action and animation sectors will be covered. You’ll virtually meet local producers, casting directors, and studios who will share how Ottawa residents can get involved in these growing industries.

The Schedule

Wednesday, November 18, at 7pm – Ottawa’s Film Industry: Past, Present, and Future

Did you know that Ottawa is home to one of the first films to be projected in Canada? Ottawa is an attractive filming destination for all types of productions, Hollywood productions and made-for-TV holiday films. In this talk, Ottawa Film Commissioner Bruce Harvey gives an introduction to the local film industry – its history, what type of productions are being filmed here today, and where the current industry is heading. Bruce will also talk opportunities for growth with the Soundstage Campus and Creative Hub and exciting new technologies.

Wednesday, November 25, at 7pm – So, You Want to be in the Movies?

Hundreds of locals work in Ottawa’s film and television industry on productions that range from Canadian TV series to multimillion-dollar feature films and, of course, Hallmark Christmas movies. The jobs are varied and appeal to those with or without knowledge of the industry, such as production assistants, accountants, carpenters, composers, directors, actors, and office staff. As the film industry continues to grow in Ottawa, so does demand for cast and crew. This panel discussion with production coordinators, casting directors, and locations managers from the local film industry, moderated by Bruce Harvey, will explore what it takes to break into the film industry, how productions are coping with COVID-19 restrictions, and how businesses and residents can get involved.

Wednesday, December 2, at 7pm – Let’s Get Animated!

Did you know that Disney’s Mickey Mouse series is created in Ottawa, or that we annually host one of the world’s largest animation festivals? Ottawa’s reputation as a world-class animation centre is one of the city’s best-kept secrets! Bruce Harvey will moderate a panel discussion with Ottawa’s leading animation studios, where they will discuss the types of projects animated in Ottawa, what they look for in animators, and how they’re coping with increasing demand for new, original content for platforms like Netflix and Amazon.

Wednesday, December 9, at 7 pm – Alors, vous voulez passer à la télé? (en français)

In addition to full-length films shot in Ottawa, this city is home to a very active Francophone television production community. Local companies such as Slalom, Balestra, and Carte Blanche Films produce hours of television content each year, working on stories that bring Francophone communities together. This round table of producers and talent agents will discuss the challenges and opportunities of producing content in French in Ottawa, and how Francophone residents can get involved in this exciting and growing field.


Visit the Ottawa Public Library’s website for more information about the Lights, Camera, Ottawa lecture series. All lectures are free and offered via Zoom. 

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