Canadian Media in Ascendency

TIFF2012 is now wrapped, but for anyone that had the opportunity to be in Toronto during the Festival you couldn’t help but be excited by the buzz and level of activity. Increasingly, Canada is on the map when it comes to the quality of our film and TV production. Hollywood North continues to attract U.S. studios that have come to value the quality of Canadian crews and talent even though there remains fierce competition to attract the business.

In the US, over 40 states now have tax credits to encourage local production and the jobs that flow from them. But federal and provincial programs, combined with an increasingly deep pool of Canadian talent at all levels of the production process, keep Canada globally competitive and increasingly top tier. Not only is the quality and variety of our media content finding resonance with Canadian audiences, but Canada also continues to attract more interest outside our borders. Our film and TV producers increasingly see sales around the globe.

Film and TV are big business in Canada. As Minister Moore noted at the end of TIFF, these industries now generate over $5 billion annually in production expenditures and generate some 128,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Next month, Canada takes centre stage at MIPCOM 2012 in Cannes, the world’s largest entertainment market-place, where Canada Country of Honour will provide an immersive celebration of the best of Canadian TV, film and digital entertainment. Given the increasing success of our programming, that honour is well earned.

However, while our industry wins accolades in international markets, we cannot simply assume the same level of support domestically, without continually demonstrating success. Audience support is critical, but so too is support in terms of private and public investment, as well as exhibition, distribution and marketing. At the Bell/Astral hearings last week, the CMPA stressed the importance of content over carriage in the debates, and highlighted the need for continued support, exhibition and promotion of Canadian film, children’s programming and edgy scripted content.

In film alone, the success of Take This Waltz, Breakaway, Monsieur Lazhar, Starbuck, A Dangerous Method and Incendies, and the buzz around new productions like Midnight’s Children and the CMPA 2012 Producer’s Award winner Daniel Iron (producer of Inescapable) underscore why international recognition is coming our way. And now it is important that we bring this full circle by trumpeting this success here at home.

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