Comweb - The First 25 Years
Having launched his entertainment industry career in the music business in the mid-1970s, Paul Bronfman continued on to the film and television industry where, beginning in the late- 1970s, he held a number of executive positions at Astral Bellevue Pathe (now Astral Media Inc.). With more than a decade of experience to his name, Paul founded his own company, Comweb Corporation, in 1988.
From its inception, and under the unwavering leadership of Chairman/CEO Paul Bronfman, Comweb has operated according to its Partners in Production® philosophy. This began in 1988 when, in partnership with well-known Hollywood producer/writer Stephen J. Cannell, Comweb built and managed Canada's first Hollywood style studio complex, North Shore Studios in Vancouver. The original home of the smash television series hit, The X-Files, North Shore Studios played a significant role in the growth of film and television production in Canada.
"When people ask us to describe what Comweb is or how it's structured, we say we have big company resources with small company management. Whether you're big or small, we like to think we give old fashioned personalized service." (Paul Bronfman)
The Comweb Group continued to expand by adding integrated entertainment firms dedicated to providing expert production services, facilities and equipment to the film and television industry. In 1989, Comweb acquired William F. White International Inc. (WFW), Canada's oldest and one of the world's largest providers of motion picture, television and theatrical production equipment. WFW owns CinequipWhite Inc. a full service sales company serving the broadcast, video, film, entertainment and theatrical production industry in Canada. WFW is also partners with world-renowned, Oscar® award-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond in Sparks Camera & Lighting Ltd., a leading Budapest, Hungary-based production equipment provider.
In 1990, Comweb partnered with the former Bulloch Entertainment Services Inc., (now Entertainment Partners Canada or EP Canada), providing a complete range of production related financial services to the motion picture and television industry. In 1997, as an extension of the production services offered by EP Canada, Comweb Film Capital Corp. (CFCC) was created to provide Canada's premier production management services for tax credit funding and administration for both Federal and Provincial production services tax credits. In August 2005, Comweb sold EP Canada and CFCC to Vancouver visual effects and post-production leader, Rainmaker Income Fund.
"I think of myself, simply, as someone with good partners. These partnerships exist within my organization and with my colleagues in the industry at large." (Paul Bronfman)
Comweb created Protocol Entertainment Inc. in 1993. Protocol's activities included development, financing, and production of TV series, movies, miniseries, and feature films for the North American and international markets. The company created a number of highly acclaimed audience winning productions including the worldwide hit television series, Goosebumps. This sensational show won the number one ratings slot for its demographic in the U.S. on the Fox Kids Network in its premiere season in 1995. Goosebumps has been translated into more than 20 languages and has entertained children and adults in more than 100 countries. Comweb sold its interest in Protocol in 2005.
"What we really do is supply the tools, so people can tell their stories." (Paul Bronfman)
Motion picture and television production activities are pursued by Comweb through its wholly owned subsidiary Comweb Productions Inc. Projects have included Golden Fiddles (the first Canada-Australia co-production), The Quarrel, Prom Night III: The Last Kiss, Medicine River and Rin Tin Tin: K-9 Cop (aka Katts & Dog).
Comweb has always recognized the importance of fostering and developing new talent in Canada's film and television industry. Through various initiatives, including The Comweb Group Fund, Comweb has contributed to events and organizations across the country such as the Canadian Film Centre, the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, the National Screen Institute (NSI), Ryerson University, the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association (AMPIA), the Banff Television Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Atlantic Film Festival, the Canadian Filmmakers Festival and Women in Film and Television.
Previous to its sale to Bell Media, Comweb held the second largest voting shareholder in Astral Media Inc., one of Canada's leading media companies. Through Astral, Comweb was able to play a significant role in contributing to the growth and promotion of indigenous producers and productions. Astral reaches out through a combination of highly targeted media properties in specialty, pay and pay-per-view television, radio, and outdoor advertising.
Always looking forward, Comweb continues to focus on investing in the future of Canada's film and television industry. The company is a major shareholder in Pinewood Toronto Studios (formerly Filmport), a world class, state-of-the-art production facility located in Toronto. Comweb's partners in Pinewood Toronto include ROI Capital, the City of Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) and Castlepoint Realty Partners. The studio lot includes 260,000 square feet of production facilities and seven stages, including one of the largest feature-quality sound stages in the world.