The City of Toronto, in collaboration with the local screen industry, is launching xoTO Schools, a pilot program with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to enable enhanced access for location filming at 11 pre-approved TDSB properties as well as interactive educational opportunities for students.
“This new program opens up access to locations that are very desirable to productions filming in the city,” said Mayor Tory. “xoTO Schools will also create exciting new co-op placements and educational opportunities for youth working towards careers in screen based industries.”
Filming at these locations will take place primarily during summer months and on evenings and weekends during the school year. At the pre-approved locations, the scouting and permit application processes will be streamlined with designated permit personnel servicing applications. It will also feature a special daily rate card and a 72-hour permit turnaround timeline.
Co-op placements will be created through the academic year in categories such as makeup, hair, sound, special effects, props, set decoration, costume design, continuity, lighting, grip, construction, paint and transportation. The students will work with industry professionals, providing them with unprecedented on-the-job training that will best position those who want to further their education and employment opportunities in the industry.
Toronto’s unions and guilds will also work with the TDSB to provide students access to industry workshops, seminars, events and guest speakers that support existing TDSB film arts curriculum, and to educate students on the variety of jobs available in the film industry.
The xoTO Schools pilot project will run until June 2019. It will be reviewed quarterly by all partners throughout its term and it is supported by the project partners at the Ontario Media Development Corporation. More information is available here.
The xoTO Schools pilot project also fulfils one of the action priorities of Spotlight on Toronto: A Strategic Action Plan for the Film, Television and Digital Media Industry, which was unanimously approved by City Council in 2017.
Toronto has one of the largest screen-based (film, television, commercials, animation) industries in North America, employing more than 30,000 people. For the third consecutive year, this important sector has contributed more than $1.5 billion to Toronto’s economy.