Exclusive Interview with Derek Diorio (Part 2)- Film Industry in North Bay

Exclusive Interview with Derek Diorio (Part 2)- Film Industry in North Bay

Editor's Note: This is Jim Calarco's part two of the two-part series of an exclusive interview of Derek Diorio regarding the film industry in North Bay and Northern Ontario. Part one was originally posted on February 11th. The link to part one is below:

Exclusive Interview with Derek Diorio
Jim Calarco exclusive interview with Derek Diorio, an international award-winning writer, producer and director Derek Diorio for Report North Bay

Part 2

Derek DiorioJim JiJ

 Jim: what do you mean by “bigger piece of the pie”?

 Derek: Part of what I learned in my travels to New Zealand and Australia twenty years ago was that government policy and believing in your community can have astonishing results. Australia insisted that if you wanted access to Australian money and resources, you had to take Australians along for the ride in a meaningful way. What that meant was, you weren’t just going to hire day players and tech positions. It had to be “marquee” positions - directors, on-camera stars, cinematographers. If you look at what that one policy decision has done for Australia with the number of International acclaimed stars - think Nicole Kidman, Baz Luhrmann, Hugh Jackman - that policy has served them incredibly well. In New Zealand – when I met Richard Taylor, one of the driving forces behind Weta studios – the special effects studio behind Lord of The Rings, Avatar, Blade Runner 2049, etc., he told me that the thing he was most proud of was that 98% of everything that was created within the walls of their facility was by New Zealand talent. His belief in the artist in his own backyard has created one of the most successful special effects movie companies in the world, in a country of only 5 million. So, what I mean by getting a bigger piece of the pie, is that with a combination of policy that provides incentives for using Northerners in the highest positions as well as the Northern community believing in itself and having people in positions of power believing in them, we would all do exponentially better.


Jim : what do you see as a future for northern film production?

 Derek: I don’t have a crystal ball – but one way that you could create a truly sustainable industry in the north is to pick a sweet spot of “genre pictures” where northern productions could excel. It’s already doing well in the “Hallmark” rom-com space thanks to David Anselmo and Hideaway Pictures.  But let’s say that North Bay could also become the horror film capital of Canada or better yet of the world. And if you think that’s a laughable idea – look at what Australia and New Zealand have been able to achieve by believing in themselves and selling themselves to the world. We have good crews; we have very competent actors, even star actors in the making - and a funding body that can support that model. Initially the budgets might be lower, but you might be able to make more of them.  And if you can get local crews, local actors, working on shows 12 months of the year in a space that isn’t necessarily “star” driven, you can have a sustainable industry and you become a production “destination” to make a certain kind of film. The “build it and they will come” philosophy can only get you so far. What’s required is a capital V vision on what Northerners want the film and television industry to be here.

Jim Calarco


 Jim Calarco, a member of ACTRA has most recently appeared in A Masked Saint, Orah, The Captive and the TV series Hard Rock Medical. Formerly a Drama consultant with the Near North Board of Education he retired in 2000 and began working exclusively in film and TV. In 2008 he established North Star Talent with producer Brigitte Kingsley in order to represent Northern Ontario Actors. In the same year he started Real to Reel BG Agency. In 2010 he started Cast North, a film and television casting and audition agency. He is winner of the Quonta Best Actor Award and a Best Actor in a Short Film Award (Belgium) and in 2008 he was inducted into the Northern Entertainers Hall of Recognition. His two most recent shot films that he wrote and directed have won 23 awards internationally. He continues to work as both an Actor/Director and Northern Film Consultant.

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