Press release

May 28, 2019

Indian Horse scores big for Northern Ontario’s economy

Production on the film generated $15.3 million in economic activity

SUDBURY, May 28, 2019—A new report released today by the Canadian Media Producers Association highlights significant economic benefits generated by the production of the Canadian feature film Indian Horse. Shot over 33 days in and around Sudbury and Peterborough, Ontario, the critically acclaimed film generated $15.3 million in economic activity, contributed $10.2 million to the national GDP and created 126 full time jobs. Additionally, each dollar of federal tax credit invested in the film generated $49.33 in economic activity and contributed $32.83 to the GDP. A summary of the report’s main findings can be viewed here.

“The Government of Canada strongly believes that investment in Northern Ontario communities can create exciting new opportunities for the region’s creative industries,” noted Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury. “Last month I was proud to announce, on behalf of Minister Navdeep Bains, a new federal investment of $850,000 in Cultural Industries Ontario North (CION), which aims to advance the development and promotion of the region’s media industries.”

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by celebrated Ojibway author Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse depicts the fictional story of Saul Indian Horse, a young residential school survivor who becomes a talented hockey player while confronting prejudice, racism, and his own traumatic past.

“As with the novel, the film takes place in Northern Ontario, and the story is very specific to the culture and history of the region, which is why it was so important to us that the project was filmed where it was set,” said Trish Dolman who produced the film along with Christine Haebler and Paula Devonshire.

“We are very thankful for crucial financial support from both federal and provincial programs, which allowed us to film this project in Northern Ontario and support the local community,” added Haebler.

In addition to utilizing federal and provincial tax incentives, the film also received funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The funding program aims to stimulate and support economic development in the region. For every dollar invested by the NOHFC, the film generated $12.17 in economic activity and contributed $8.00 to the GDP.

Today’s report shows the production of Indian Horse directly benefitted 172 Northern Ontario businesses while engaging a number of local crew members, actors and extras, many from nearby Indigenous communities. Throughout the production process, producers worked closely with community elders and knowledge keepers to ensure the respectful adherence to cultural protocols.

“Our partnership with local Indigenous communities was truly at the heart of how this film came together,” said Devonshire who is a member of Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation. “Almost every aspect of the film’s production incorporated the knowledge and creativity of Indigenous talent both in front and behind the camera, including props, art, wardrobe, music, camera operation and post-production.”

Economic analysis for the study was carried out by MNP LLP for the CMPA with financial support from Telefilm Canada. The full study is available here.


The Canadian Media Producers Association is the national advocacy organization for independent producers, representing hundreds of companies engaged in the development, production and distribution of English-language content made for television, cinema and digital media channels. We work to promote the continued success of the Canadian production sector and to ensure a bright future for the diverse content made by our members for both domestic and international audiences.

For more information:

Kyle O’Byrne
Manager, Media Relations & Communications, CMPA