By Peter Kuitenbrouwer
Micheline Blais always wanted to work in the movie business when she was a little girl growing up in Sudbury, Ont., a mid-sized city about a five-hour drive north of Toronto. “My parents said, ‘You need to get a trade first,’” she recalls. “They didn’t understand that there are trades in the film industry.” Nevertheless, Blais followed her parents’ wishes, graduating with a nursing degree and becoming a psychiatric nurse. Her career in medicine took her to Victoria and then back home to Sudbury, where she won contracts with Laurentian University’s Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
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But the film business buzz never left so when fellow Sudbury native David Anselmo leased the city’s decommissioned Barrydowne Arena five years ago and turned it into a film studio, Blais knocked on the door. He hired her, part time, as a casting director, and her film career abruptly caught fire. “I had to quit the medical school contracts because the business grew really fast,” Blais says.