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Bronfman kin joins studio project

Comweb Corp buys into Filmport

MONTREAL — Paul Bronfman’s Comweb Corp has bought into the Filmport project, a gigantic film studio being built on Toronto’s waterfront.

Toronto-based Comweb, one of Canada’s leading production services and equipment-rental companies, will be one of three stakeholders in Filmport, alongside the two existing partners, Rose Film Studios and a company owned by Toronto Film Studios and Filmport president Ken Ferguson.

The exact ownership structure was not disclosed but Rose is the controlling shareholder.

Together the three companies will invest C$30 million ($28 million) in the project, with $28 million more coming from bank financing.

Comweb had been one of the original bidders for the contract to build Filmport but lost out to Rose Film Studios. Bronfman, who founded and runs Comweb is the cousin of Edgar Bronfman Jr., and has previously owned two major Canadian film studios, North Shore Studios in Vancouver and the Cine-Cite studios in Montreal. He does not own either anymore.

Bronfman told Daily Variety that the industry is having a rough time, particularly in Toronto. The business has been hit hard by the high Canadian dollar and the fact that many U.S. states now have tax credits that are more generous than anything offered in Canada.

“It looks like it’s a bad time, but I believe the business will come back in Toronto,” he said. “One of the main issues holding Toronto back is the lack of a full-service Hollywood-style studio like Filmport.”

Bronfman said the producers of “The Mummy 3” scouted Toronto but chose Montreal instead because of the lack of studio space.

Construction has begun and the first phase of Filmport is expected to be open in March. ends

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