Ontario’s ‘Record-Breaking’ Year in Film & TV is Great News for TFS Students: Andrew Barnsley

“A great news story for Toronto Film School students.”


That’s how Andrew Barnsley characterized a recent announcement from Ontario Creates declaring 2019 a “record-breaking year” for the province’s film and television industry.



In total, Ontario hosted more than 343 film and television productions last year, bringing in $2.16 billion in production spending to the local economy and supporting 44,540 full-time equivalent direct and spin-off jobs – a jump over 2018 numbers representing a nearly 15 per cent increase in production, the agency announced in a statement.


“What this news shows is that there’s a market demand for trained labour and market demand for creative voices – and whenever there is this kind of demand, you need to have reliable feeders into the workforce,” said Barnsley, Toronto Film School’s Executive Producer in Residence.


“I feel Toronto Film School students are positioned very well for future employment, especially considering the education they’re getting and the foundation of knowledge they’re gaining from Toronto Film School programs,” he added, noting that the school offers a full slate of 18-month diploma programs ranging from Film Production, Writing for Film & Television, and Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre, to Fashion Design and Marketing for Fashion & Entertainment.




Some examples of compatible local jobs created by Ontario’s recent film and television boom include production managers and coordinators, location managers, post-production experts, performers, lighting technicians, make-up artists, set designers and wardrobe experts, as well as carpenters, craft services, accountants, and drivers.


Barnsley touted a “world-class labour force” as just one of the multitude of reasons he’s confident Ontario will only continue to grow as a go-to location for productions both domestic and foreign. In fact, William F. White International Inc. just recently announced its plans to open a sprawling, 181,000-square-foot new film studio in Mississauga to cater to big Hollywood shoots.


“What makes it really attractive to shoot in Ontario is the very reliable tax credit system; the support of all three levels of government, which creates a stable environment for working and for financing productions; a world-class labour force; and world-class infrastructure in terms of sound stages and production resources,” said Barnsley, whose Emmy-nominated hit comedy series, Schitt’s Creek, was one of several stand-out shows recognized by Ontario Creates for being filmed and produced right here in the province.



“I think the other piece of it is that Ontario really has a lot to offer in terms of locations. We have a big city, we have small towns, and we have country. Any location a script could call for, you can find it here in Ontario.”


Those sentiments were echoed by both Karen Thorne-Stone, President & CEO of Ontario Creates and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.


“Our suite of financial incentives, over 10,000 locations, world-class crews, diverse talent, award-winning post-production facilities, and expanding studio space are a huge draw for producers from Canada, the U.S. and around the world,” said Thorne-Stone.


“In 2020, we are continuing to work with Ontario Creates and the industry to ensure producers at home and around the globe know that there’s no better place to create content than right here in Ontario,” added MacLeod, touting Ontario as “open for business, open for jobs, and open to the film and television industry.”


Indeed, the economic and employment benefits of Ontario’s “vibrant” film and television industry are felt across the province, with many popular and critically acclaimed productions produced here.


In addition to Schitt’s Creek – which was filmed primarily at Revival Film Studios here in Toronto, as well as on-location in Goodwood and Orangeville – Barnsley and his company, Project 10 Productions, also have several other Ontario-based projects on the go. They include the upcoming Kids in the Hall revival they’re producing for Amazon, which is slated to be filmed here in Toronto this summer, and the Family Channel tween series, My Perfect Landing, which was filmed primarily at Revival.



Barnsley also previously produced the Canadian Screen Award-nominated series, Spun Out, here in Toronto.


“That was a perfect example of using a world-class facility. We shot it at Pinewood Studios, where we built Canada’s first multi-cam production with a live audience,” Barnsley said. “I don’t think there’d been one for about 30 years – and we built that using Ontario expertise and talent and resources.”


Other projects filmed and produced locally here in Ontario include:


Cardinal and Letterkenny in Northern Ontario

Hilda in Ottawa

Workin’ Moms, Kim’s Convenience and Star Trek: Discovery in the GTA

Umbrella Academy across Central and Southwestern Ontario


“It really feels like this is just the beginning of this good news story. It feels like we’re on track for future, continued growth,” Barnsley said.


“We know there’s investment from all levels of government to address the demands of the marketplace, and I think Toronto Film School students should be feeling very confident going into an industry that will value their education and their expertise.”