(March 2, 2017 – Toronto, ON) You need to be of a certain age to remember the Time Before Telefilm. Yes, Canadian movies got made and yes there was a Canadian film industry… sort of. The foundation of the industry as we know it today can trace its roots to an Act of Parliament that passed into law 50 years ago tomorrow. On March 3, 1967, the Canadian Film Development Corporation Act was passed in Ottawa, establishing the organization we know today as Telefilm Canada. Telefilm has played a key role in the evolution of Canada’s industry as the agency responsible for the development and promotion of Canada’s film industry since 1968, of the television industry from 1983 to 2006, and of the new-media industry from 1998 to 2010. Since 1967, the Corporation has thus funded close to 6,200 productions — 2,247 feature films, 3,611 television series and shows and 315 digital products — for a total investment of $3.3 billion. Telefilm has administered the funding programs of the Canada Media Fund since 2006.
“The industry that emerged in the 1960s has consistently grown and become more diversified over the years, becoming a cultural and economic force of international stature,” said Michel Roy, Chair of Telefilm’s Board. “I have the utmost admiration for the filmmakers who created our cinema’s first classic films in the 1960s and 70s, including Denys Arcand, David Cronenberg, Gilles Carle, Mireille Dansereau and Ted Kotcheff. Since then, Canadian talent has gone from strength to strength. Filmmakers such as Atom Egoyan, Zacharias Kunuk, Micheline Lanctôt, Guy Maddin, Deepa Mehta, Kim Nguyen, Sarah Polley, Léa Pool, Patricia Rozema, Jean-Marc Vallée, Denis Villeneuve and Nettie Wild, among others, as well as a new generation of creators, including Andrew Cividino, Xavier Dolan, Anne Émond, Adam Garnet Jones, Ashley McKenzie, Stella Meghie and Christian Sparkes, have shown exceptional creativity and daring, making all Canadians proud.”
Carolle Brabant, Telefilm’s Executive Director, added: “We’re continuing to innovate with an eye to the next 50 years in order to develop and promote the talent of our Canadian creators. Initiatives introduced over the last few years, such as the Talent Fund, the Micro-Budget Production Program and the Success Index, will allow us to better measure, stimulate and reward performance, including that of emerging filmmakers. Thank you to all our partners for their collaboration—the Canada Media Fund, the National Film Board of Canada, the Rogers Group of Funds, Technicolor, Bell Media, Corus Entertainment, Birks, Air Canada, the members of the Talent Fund Advisory Committee, provincial agencies, consulates and embassies, as well as film festivals. And thank you also to Telefilm’s employees, whose enthusiasm and commitment I salute.”
To give you some idea of breadth of Telefilm’s involvement, take a look at the 30-second announcements they have produced to help celebrate their 50th anniversary. They’re available in both English and French.
Taking those first 50 years as a foundation, Telefilm is looking ahead to their anniversary year under the theme Play It Forward. Some of the highlights for 2017, Canada’s 150 anniversary of Confederation, include:
• Canada is the first country outside of the European economic area to sign an agreement with Eurimages, the European Cinema Support Fund. The agreement will improve access to international funding and help to export our cinema.
• Telefilm is also focusing on international activity by better supporting, starting this year, the export of films budgeted at less than $2.5 million. Furthermore, more than 30 international festivals targeting emerging cinema have been added to the list of festivals for which Telefilm supports Canadian participation.
• Emerging filmmakers continue to benefit from major support through the Micro-Budget Production Program, which obtains more than 75% of its funding from the Talent Fund, a private donation fund. The Program is comprised of three components, including an Indigenous component and one for Official-Language Minority Communities.
• Telefilm is acting on its commitment, in partnership with the industry, to build, by 2020, a representative and diversified feature film portfolio that better reflects Canada’s population. The first goal is to achieve gender parity in each of the key roles of director, writer and producer.
• Telefilm is increasing production and marketing funding for feature films made by Indigenous talent to $4 million annually over the next five years.
• Telefilm Canada is participating in five multiplatform discoverability initiatives: selections of Canadian feature films in partnership with iTunes; the NFB.ca’s Emerging Talents channel; VIA Rail Canada; Elephant, the memory of Quebec cinema; and Under The Milky Way.
• Movie Nights Across Canada, chaired by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, are programmed in Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Iqaluit, Halifax, Quebec City, Calgary and Vancouver as part of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The screenings are organized in partnership with Canadian Heritage and regional cultural organizations.
Northernstars.ca joins with others in congratulating Telefilm Canada on their first 50 years. Here’s to many, many, many more.