World Film and Television Studio Leader, Pinewood Shepperton plc, Brings International Experience to Toronto Studio Operation



    TORONTO, June 25 /CNW/ - Paul Bronfman, chairman of a new ownership
consortium, announced that Pinewood Shepperton plc has concluded a
comprehensive sales and marketing agreement for Toronto's largest studio
operation, formerly known as Filmport Studios and now renamed Pinewood Toronto
Studios. Pinewood Toronto is critical to expanding Toronto's film and
television industry while playing a major role in the regeneration of the
city's Portlands as a media convergence district.
    "The Pinewood name is synonymous with quality and experience in the film
and television industry. We believe Pinewood's international network and
connections will take the existing studios to the next business level," says
Bronfman, who will continue as chairman of the board and maintain his equity
interest. The new investor group comprises Comweb Corporation, ROI Capital,
the City of Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) and Castlepoint
Realty Partners.
    "Pinewood has a worldwide reputation in the film and television industry
and we are very pleased to bring our name and international perspective to the
Toronto market," says Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive. Pinewood operates three
major studios in the U.K., where it is the leading European provider of studio
and related services to the worldwide screen industries. Some of the recent
productions that have used Pinewood's facilities include THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM,
MAMMA MIA! and QUANTUM OF SOLACE.
    "Toronto is a major production centre," says Nick Smith, commercial
director of Pinewood Shepperton plc. "There is a wide spectrum of film and
television activity here. The Toronto International Film Festival is an
important event in the global film calendar. We are very excited to be part of
the Toronto film and television industry." Pinewood Toronto Studios will be
working with a range of producers to provide a greater variety of production
options.
    Pinewood Toronto Studios will be led by Edith Myers, managing director.
"Toronto has robust film and television infrastructure, excellent technicians
and fine talent," says Edith Myers. "The plan is to work with the modern,
purpose-built facilities and, over time, the shareholders will look to add
further enhancements." Pinewood Toronto Studios has seven soundstages
including the 46,000-square-foot Mega Stage, the largest of its kind in North
America. The 11-acre site is situated in the city's Portlands district just
minutes from downtown Toronto.
    "You name it, Pinewood's done it. We wanted Pinewood's experience to take
the Toronto facility to its fullest potential," says John Sterling, chief
executive officer of ROI Capital and major shareholder in the consortium. "The
fact that Pinewood was looking to come to Toronto means the stars were
aligned."

    About the Film and Television Industry in Toronto

    Toronto's film and television industry contributes more than $1 billion
annually to the local economy. More than 25,000 people in Toronto are employed
across a wide spectrum of film and television activities, with more than
16,500 companies active in various aspects of the business.
(www.toronto.ca/invest-in-toronto/film.htm)

    About Pinewood Shepperton plc

    Pinewood Shepperton plc operates Pinewood Studios, Shepperton Studios and
Teddington Studios with a combined total of 34 film soundstages and 10
television studios. The studios provide facilities for major international
film production, filmed television, studio television recording, filming of
commercials and post-production audio services. An additional 310 specialist,
independently managed companies offer a range of production support services
"on the lot." (www.pinewoodgroup.com)

    About Pinewood Toronto Studios

    Pinewood Toronto Studios is a film and television studio complex located
in the Portlands just minutes from downtown Toronto. Pinewood Toronto occupies
more than a quarter of a million square feet of production space, including
seven sound stages and the Mega Stage (46,000 square feet of column-free space
60 feet in height). Ultimately, the Pinewood Toronto community will grow to
include space for ancillary businesses such as post-production companies,
union and guild offices, film schools and support and entertainment services
for these businesses. (www.pinewoodtorontostudios.com)

    About Comweb Corporation

    Comweb Corporation (www.comwebgroup.com) was originally founded in 1988
by Paul Bronfman to build and manage North Shore Studios in Vancouver with
well-known Hollywood producer/writer Stephen J. Cannell. William F. White
International Inc. (www.whites.com) is a Comweb member company. Founded in
1963, WFW is Canada's oldest and largest provider of motion picture,
television and theatrical production equipment with offices across Canada.
Comweb Corporation is the second largest voting shareholder of Astral Media
Inc. (www.astralmedia.com) and Mr. Bronfman is an active member of Astral's
board of directors. Comweb pursues production activities through its wholly
owned subsidiary, Comweb Productions Inc.

    About ROI Fund

    ROI Fund is a labour sponsored investment fund (LSIF) managed by ROI
Capital. The ROI Fund makes secured loans (private placements) to companies
for refinancing, privatizations, management buyouts, working capital and
acquisitions. The ROI Fund earns returns for investors by lending money to
companies that pay back principal and interest. ROI Capital offers its private
placement strategy in a variety of investment funds for retirement savings or
to generate income. The funds are also available with tax credits, cash flow
alternatives and in combination with equities as balanced funds. ROI Capital
was formed in 2002 and is located in downtown Toronto. (www.roicapital.ca)

    About TEDCO

    The City of Toronto Economic Development Corporation is a wholly-owned
subsidiary of the City of Toronto and an Ontario business corporation
operating at arms-length from its shareholder. The corporation's objectives
are to advance various elements of the City's Economic Development Strategy,
including preservation of employment lands, redevelopment of brownfield sites
and underutilized lands, sustainable development and job creation. The
Corporation is currently in transition. Properties currently under development
and specific developments such as the film studios are intended to be
transferred to Toronto's new economic development corporation, Build Toronto
Inc. Until such time, the Corporation continues to be the landowner of the
studio lands as well as a shareholder of the investment consortium, ensuring a
smooth transition for all tenants and partners. (www.tedco.ca)

    About Castlepoint Realty Partners Limited

    Castlepoint Realty Partners has more than 20 years of experience in
innovative property development. Alfredo Romano serves as president. In
addition to the Pinewood Group's Toronto studios, Castlepoint has been
involved in numerous high-profile public and private initiatives across the
Greater Toronto Area and in select markets in the U.S. Castlepoint approaches
projects with a commitment to civic excellence, greening and sustainability,
design and employment. (www.CRPL.ca)





For further information:

For further information: Paul Tyler, (905) 235-7285,
ptyler@h2central.ca; Elizabeth Hoyle, (416) 274-5393, ehoyle@h2central.ca

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PINEWOOD SHEPPERTON PLC

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