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Downtown Paris chosen for upcoming television series

Arts and EntertainmentDowntown Paris chosen for upcoming television series

Delegations from MHTV Canada Inc. introduced themselves and their upcoming filming project, “Motorheads” to the County of Brant Council during its regular council meeting on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

“Since we are asking to film in the downtown core on several occasions between April and July, we wanted to introduce our project to Council and highlight our schedule, scope of work and impact on local businesses during each respective visit,” read the delegation request.

Five members of the “Motorhead” project including Matt Code, producer, Ashley Shields-Muir, unit production manager, Mark Alleyne and Malcom McCulloch, locations managers, as well as Coralie Nott, assistant location manager, gave a brief overview of their Amazon-produced television series. The series will soon begin filming in downtown Paris on Grand River Street North as of mid-April.

“Allow me to start by telling you a little bit about our show. Our story begins with New Yorkers, Zac and Caitlyn, moving to the small town of Ironwood where their mother grew up and their father made a name for himself as the racing legend turned fugitive,” said Shields-Muir. “The two are faced with the challenges of a high school social life and the unfavorable reputation their father left behind. Muscle cars are the currency in this town, and the backdrop to the journeys Zac and Caitlin are on to redefine their family name, discover who they are, and prove to their friends and foes that they belong.”

Shields-Muir said that as someone who was born and raised in Brantford, she was excited about the idea of the Brantford-Brant community representing their project.

“I’m particularly excited to be here today to discuss our partnership with the town of Paris and the County of Brant. I was born and raised in Brantford and have spent countless summer days of my life working as a camp counselor at the Syl Apps Community Centre, attending the Paris Fair and swimming at the Paris pool,” she said. “The idea of this community representing our story’s hero location, makes me very proud. …Our team has been working incredibly hard for the last year or so, scouting this picturesque town and surrounding area, and beginning the process of forming strong relationships with you and your small businesses. Everyone from our show’s creator to our partners at Amazon, have all agreed Paris contains all the qualities we’re looking for to represent our story’s town of Ironwood.”

Shields-Muir said that there are set to be approximately five different filming visits of varying scales, to happen between April and July of this year.

“Each visit will accompany a different list of requests and permissions [which are] location specific, time of day, and stunts versus dialogue only, all details which will continue to be methodically itemized and coordinated with you,” she said.

Shields-Muir then walked Council through some of the fiscal contributions their project will make with the County and local businesses.

“When working in a community, we typically offer three types of location fees for people and businesses who would agree to partner with us. The first is the filming location fee where we pay individuals or businesses to access their properties for filming purposes,” she said. “…The second is an access fee, these are circumstances where we aren’t asking to film on your property but we’re asking for potential access to your property, use of your driveway, entrance to your exterior property, access to your yard and things like that. Lastly is the inconvenience fee and these are fees which acknowledge that our presence as a crew or unit, may present or create challenges and circumstances for you, your business or the association. With this in mind, we often negotiate a fee based on a loss of business, a loss of access and inconvenience.”

She noted that as of right now, they are estimating the average spend per day of filming, to be around $100,000 in location related rentals and ancillary costs, with an additional $50,000 in hotels or per diems.

“Essentially through fees, rentals, hotels and food purchases, we’re estimating spending approximately $2,000,000 over the course of the season,” said Shields-Muir. “…In addition to this, we’ve also been actively considering ways where we can bring money back to local businesses while we’re actually here working; this could be via the coffee orders at the Dog-Eared Café …or the double scoops at Paris What’s the Scoop? or lunches and dinners from any of the various delicious spots on Grand River Street North.”

The unit production manager said that she could personally ensure that the cast and crew of “Motorheads,” will work in the community “with respect and professionalism, and with a real gratitude.”

Councillor Steve Howes asked the group if there were any plans that would require closing off Grand River Street North to film and the group noted that it would be on a case-by-case basis but that they are working with relative County departments, and that any road closure would happen during the late afternoon or evening.

In regards to the relationships that the group have been building with local businesses and residents, Councillor Jennifer Kyle asked what they have done so far.

“We went and visited each business and left our business cards so that they would know to call us if there is an issue. We’re going to be working on the resident areas as well, just so when we do have some lighting setups [and if] someone’s window is being lit up, they can call me and I will come in to assist them with blocking up the windows,” said Nott, assistant location manager. “There’s lots of ways that we can work with everyone. So, we’re still in some of the early stages, but most of the businesses do have our number. And I always pop in several times a week, so we’ll continue that, and I will be the point person for Paris consistently through all our visits.”

Mayor David Bailey ended the discussion by thanking the film crew for choosing Brant as their preferred location and Council then voted to receive their delegation as information.

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