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Casting call gets wider with talent agency merger: increasingly centralized Northern film industry provides jobs for actors and those who manage them.

As more film projects head north to take advantage of provincial grants, tax credits and affordable production conditions, local actors and industry professionals are able to find or make work at home.

Sudbury-born Matthew Guthrie did his stint in the big city, working gigs at talent management agencies in Toronto. But last year, he was drawn back home by the growing film opportunities and opened his own company, Guthrie Artist Management.

"The industry was booming and, with the impact and influx of the industry in Northern Ontario, it was hard not to come back because the opportunity was so great," said Guthrie.

He represents a variety of Sudbury actors, a few of who work out of Toronto.

Ten months into opening his business, Guthrie merged with Newton Landry Management (NLM), a 15-year-old talent agency with which Guthrie had worked in Toronto. Guthrie will be the regional manager and talent agent for Sudbury, retaining his current clients and adding them to the NLM roster.

The announcement followed on a November Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. (NOHFC) announcement that $12.8 million would be going towards film projects in the North.

"It benefits our clients at NLM," said Guthrie. "We don't get any funding per se, but it opens up more opportunities for our clients." He says TV shows and Hallmark movies are creating many of the opportunities available to his clients.

Kelly Lamb is one of Guthrie's clients, and said working through a local talent agency has helped her access a broader variety of roles than before, without having to leave the city.

"Before, you'd have to travel back and forth to meet with an agent, so when Matthew opened up his [agency] in Sudbury I was so happy," said Lamb.

So far, Lamb has signed on for a principal role in the Comedy Network's Letterkenny, premiering this February. She said the opportunities she's gained through Guthrie and NLM are allowing her to stay in Sudbury and pursue her career, rather than move down south.

Guthrie said hiring local actors saves producers money, but is also mandated for some films, depending on their funding. NLM will act as the connection between actors and producers, and Guthrie hopes to increase access to professional, local actors while expanding on his clients' professional profiles.

"They don't have the right connections, the right infrastructure," said Guthrie. "We develop that infrastructure into a professional, developed actor. It's a win-win."

ELLA MYERS

emyers@nob.on.ca

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Title Annotation:Sudbury
Author:Myers, Ella
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Jan 1, 2016
Words:409
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