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Northern Ontario's Hideaway Pictures inks new $150M, 25-picture production deal

New agreement between Northern Ontario filmmaker and Motion Picture Corporation of America will keep region’s film sector busy for years to come
021221_nofs-deal-set of When Hope Calls photo (credit Shane Mahood) crop
On the set of ‘When Hope Calls’ in North Bay. Among those pictured is MPP Vic Fedeli, Northern Ontario Film Studios owner David Anselmo and actor Lori Loughlin.

Business for Northern Ontario’s lucrative film and television sector will continue to be brisk with a new $150-million, 25-picture deal between Hideaway Pictures and the Motion Picture Corporation of America.

The deal was announced on Dec. 1.

The agreement will see 25 movies and one television series be produced in Ontario.

It is the second contract between the two companies. The previous $100-million, 25-picture deal resulted in several popular productions, including the Brooke Shields vehicle “Flower Shop Mysteries”, “Crossword Mysteries” starring Lacy Chabert and the popular Hallmark broadcast series, “When Hope Calls”.

The partnership also resulted in several Netflix productions, including “The Knight Before Christmas” starring Vanessa Hudgens and “The Holiday Calendar” starring Kat Graham, as well as multiple Christmas-themed movies for CBS, Lifetime, the Hallmark Channel, GAC Family, Peacock, and Amazon/IMDBTV.

David Anselmo, the president of production at Hideaway Pictures, the largest production company in Northern Ontario, said he is excited to be able to ensure the North’s film sector, and the hundreds of people it employs, remains healthy.

“I love living and working in Northern Ontario,” Anselmo said in a news release. “It has been truly an honour helping to showcase the region to the world through our stories. I had to move away to pursue my dreams, but now that I’m back, I hope I can create more opportunities for Northerners to stay local and work in this wonderful industry.”

Launched in 2012, Hideaway Pictures has spent $100 million producing films and TV shows in Ontario through its partnership with MPCA. In terms of numbers, that translates into two million hours of work for film professionals in the North, and 1,200 full-time equivalent jobs, the companies report.

“For ‘When Hope Calls’ Season 1, production created a permanent, $2-million, turn-of-the-century studio backlot in Powassan (as reported here), during the winter of 2019, generating over 1,000 days of construction in the span of 12 weeks,” Hideaway stated in a news release. “This studio backlot is the largest in Northern Ontario, and has attracted multiple other productions to the region since.” 

Sticking with the numbers, at the helm of Hideaway, Anselmo has produced more than 60 film and television projects in Northern Ontario. The studio he founded at an unused arena in New Sudbury — Northern Ontario Film Studios — provided the bedrock upon which the North’s film and TV sector has grown. Through Hideaway Pictures, Anselmo’s productions have attracted more than $200,000,000 in economic development to the region over the last decade.

In 2021 alone, Hideaway and MPCA produced seven original movies in Ontario, including the much anticipated second season of “When Hope Calls,” which launches Dec. 18. The second season also marks the return to the screen of actor Lori Loughlin.

MPCA's Brad Krevoy will serve as executive producer in this deal, alongside Anselmo. Krevoy has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including the Farrelly Brothers, Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd, producing nearly 250 movies totalling more than US$1 billion in worldwide revenue.