Canada Is Not-So-Subtly Asking Hollywood to Pay More Attention to Its Talent Pool

A campaign calling out the issue will run during the Toronto International Film Festival

The Directors Guild of Canada is running a campaign that it hopes will catch the eyes of Hollywood's bigwigs. Directors Guild of Canada Ontario
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With the Toronto International Film Festival just days away, the Directors Guild of Canada is using the opportunity to draw attention to the many talented individuals working in Ontario who often go unnoticed by Hollywood execs.

Through a campaign that spans print, out-of-home and social, the organization’s Ontario division—which represents more than 2,000 professionals working in the film and television industries—is shining a light on the award-winning Canadian talent behind hit shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Orphan Black. And it’s hoping Los Angeles’ entertainment bigwigs will take notice.

The crux of the campaign focuses on the fact that while American studios are often happy to shoot movies and TV series in Toronto (largely for cost-cutting purposes), they don’t always take advantage of its local directors, editors and designers.

Created by Juliet, an agency formed by JWT Toronto vets Ryan Spelliscy, Denise Cole and Sarah Stringer in 2017, the work highlights productions that were not only filmed in Toronto, but also won various awards thanks to the city’s creative community.

For example, Canadians Paul Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau won Best Production Design for The Shape of Water at last year’s Oscars, giving the film one of its four big wins that night.

“The messaging is a little tongue-in-cheek,” Alan Goluboff, chair of the Directors Guild of Canada’s Ontario executive board, said in a statement. “But we’re just reminding our friends at the studios that when they shoot in Toronto, they should remember that we’ve got talent sought after by the biggest names in film and television.”

Additionally, a dedicated microsite for the effort includes a comprehensive list of directors, production designers, picture editors and sound editors in the Toronto area, each with a summary of their credentials listed under their name.

The campaign is running in both L.A. and Toronto to align with the latter’s annual film festival, which takes place from Sept. 5 until Sept. 15 this year.

@Minda_Smiley Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.