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Broad Films looks to turn London into a filmmaking haven

A photo of Michelle Shipley and Kelly Peckham.
Image Credit: Charlotte Poolton Photography

London’s film and television industry status has seen a surge in activity in recent years, with notable productions such as The Amazing Race Canada, The Changeling, Harbour House, How to Die Alone, and The Green Screen Saga all being shot right here in the city. Among the innovative startups driving this growth is Broad Films, a production company specializing in scouting locations in London and southwestern Ontario for fiction films, non-fiction films and television series.

Broad Films won a TechAlliance contest, providing the business with $40,000 to kickstart their venture. However, the origin of Broad Films goes back to the shared desire of producer and Fanshawe College Professor Michelle Shipley, and producer and director Kelly Peckham to tackle the shortage of film opportunities in London.

“Broad Films is poised to elevate London’s status as a premier destination for filmmakers.”

“We met about a year and a half ago and realized we must leave London to do film work,” Shipley said. “With all our college programs that can feed into the film industry, [students] must leave London.”

“London talent has left,” Peckham added. “If there were enough work here, we might be able to attract some of that talent back.”

Their vision extends beyond personal ambition to providing employment opportunities and building a local crew based in London.

“We will be doing a call for interviews in collaboration with Andrew Dodd [of Film London] to meet many filmmakers who reside here and, maybe, even attract people back who’ve been out, so we are excited about that,” Shipley said. “We’re creating a database of former students and anybody else from the other institutions in London.”

Shipley and Peckham highlighted London’s unique attributes that make it an ideal filming location, including its untapped locations, easy access, and robust support from organizations like the London Economic Development Corporation. Their recent attendance at the Canadian Media Producers Association’s Prime Time 2024 event in Ottawa underscores their commitment to attracting film productions to London.

“A couple of years ago, people would say London was too far,” Peckham said. “Now they say things are expensive in Hamilton and Toronto for smaller productions, so they’re very interested in London as an option.”

According to Peckham and Shipley, this shift in interest signals a substantial opportunity for London’s burgeoning film scene.

Broad Films stands as a beacon of hope thanks to Peckham and Shipley’s commitment to nurturing local talent, which promises to shape the future of film production in London. As they continue to build momentum, Broad Films is poised to elevate London’s status as a premier destination for filmmakers. The local business will work closely with Film London, a city-funded agency that helped attract a dozen film shoots to London in 2023.

This expansion of Broad Films signifies a significant milestone in London’s film industry, reflecting the city’s growing reputation as a dynamic and innovative filmmaking hub.