Canadian film and television production increased to $3.3bn in 2000-2001 against $2.84bn in 1999-2000, driven in large part by a 17% increase in foreign location shooting - often referred to as "runaway production" by US film industry lobbyists.

According to figures released today (Feb 7) by the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association (CFTPA), foreign location shooting accounted for slightly over $1bn or 35% of the total production spend across the sectors, the majority of it financed by US interests.

However, the increase is less than the 23% average annual growth rate experienced over the last five years, and just under half of the 37% surge in 1999-2000.

Production certified as Canadian, under the Canadian Audio Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) guidelines, continued to be the largest segment in the country, with over $1.26bn in production, up only 5%, less than half of the 12% average annual growth rate over the last five years. Of that, feature film production accounted for $197m, a 7% decline from the previous year.

Foreign theatrical production grew by 3%, reaching $536m, representing 70% of all theatrical production in the country.

Treaty co-production declined 14% from 1999-2000 from $388m to $334m. The majority of these co-productions - 57% or $188m - involved the UK, which displaced France as the leading production partner. France's share dropped almost half, to 24%. Australia, Germany, the Philippines, South Korea and Spain followed.

Meanwhile, the nation's federal film and TV funding agency Telefilm Canada issued its guidelines for its $60m Canada Feature Film Fund for the 2002-03 funding period.

The agency has been allocating the fund through two streams, a performance stream, based on box office track record of the producer applicants, and a selective stream, based on creative, audience, financial and corporate development criteria.

This year Telefilm is calling for Canadian cinema to secure a 5% share of the national box office within the next four years. In order to spur this ambitious project (Canadian films currently have less than 2%), the agency says the selective stream applicants will be prioritised based on their capacity to achieve box-office success relative to the size and type of the film.

Further, the evaluation criteria will now include a financial commitment by the distributor to the costs associated with the theatrical launch of the film.