Responding primarily to the vocal concerns and urgent needs of local Montreal cinematographic productions, Mel Hoppenheim founded Panavision (Canada) in 1965. Providing cameras and other shooting equipment, Mel was soon traveling all over the world to equip ever more elaborate productions. After six years of success in his hometown of Montreal, Mel decided to open a second technical installation in Toronto in 1972. A Vancouver facility followed in 1977. Still committed to what he saw as Montreal’s vast and largely untapped potential and possibility for the production industry, Mel acquired the historic Theatre Expo de la Cité du Havre in 1988. Building five state-of-the-art studios, he soon had created the most modern of facilities available to the Canadian film and television industry. Mel’s Cité du Cinéma was born.
Through an initial investment of some $14 million, the first building in La Cité du Cinéma quickly pumped an estimated $250 million into the local economy and created more than 500 new jobs.
In 1997, Mel donated $1 million to Montreal’s Concordia University, which was subsequently used to open the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, now renowned throughout North America and the world. Mel and his partners have also helped in the development of Montreal’s Institut National de l’Image et du Son (INIS), a well-known and respected private school for the development of world-class writers, directors and producers for film and television.
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