Ottawa’s neighborhoods find the film industry spotlight as a production destination

June 27, 2017 by in Tips

To Hollywood producer Danielle von Zerneck, Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood, south of the downtown core and not far from the Parliament Buildings, is a kind of swiss-army-knife location for movie-making.

The lively area with its shops, eateries and bars was one of the selling points for shooting films in the city, Ms. von Zerneck said in an interview – describing areas of the Glebe as flexible enough to allow crews to fake streets in the New York borough of Brooklyn.

“People say you can turn it into a Manhattan street. You can’t, but you can turn it into a decent Brooklyn street, maybe Greenwich Village,” said Ms. von Zerneck, who has shot three Lifetime TV Christmas movies since 2018 in the Ottawa region – most recently Under The Christmas Tree.

There’s a lot about Ottawa that the former actor – she played Ritchie Valens’s girlfriend Donna in the acclaimed 1987 film La Bamba – adores.

“If I have a script that’s set on the east coast, I’d much rather do it in Ottawa where I can get more money on the screen with less stress,” she said. “It ticks a lot of boxes for me.”

Despite the buzz around shooting in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city has so far been a modest player in the production of feature films, TV movies and animation compared to production centres in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Shane Boucher, an Ottawa-based producer with 1Department Entertainment Services, which provides production services for filmmaking projects, said when his team leaves flyers at homes that might work as sets for TV movies, he gets quizzical calls from the public.

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