BURNT OUT BUT BOOMING: CANADA’S TV AND FILM SECTOR PLOWS AHEAD DURING THE PANDEMIC

As streaming content surges, Canadian crews fight for resources and keep filming

From Kim's Convenience to Murdoch Mysteries, pandemic protocols are creating new challenges in bringing fresh shows to Canadian screens.

For Debi Drennan, the film business is a family affair. The Toronto-based makeup artist has been working in the industry before the days of The Littlest Hobo. Her sons, Christian and Tyler, followed her into the business, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re all as busy as ever.

Christian, a key grip, just wrapped The Man from Toronto starring Kevin Hart. Key rigger Tyler recently jumped from working on Netflix’s Sex and Lies and is now on Station Eleven.

Drennan herself was one of the first to return to work after Ontario’s first coronavirus lockdown, as part of CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries.

She says that with all of the precautions in place, she wasn’t worried about safety.

“We’re not allowed on the property until we have a correct temperature and we’ve done a screening. We all had apps on our phone, and we would have to answer those apps every morning.”

With surging coronavirus rates shutting down production in parts of California, Canadian crews such as the ones the Drennans worked on are competing with an influx of American productions. In both British Columbia and Ontario, the industry isn’t just busy — it’s booming.

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