Ten years after industry leaders set a target of 5% local market share for Canadian films the goal remains elusive, Telefilm Canada (TFC) chair Michel Roy told shareholders last night .
Presenting highlights of the federal funder’s 2009-2010 annual report via webcast from TFC’s Halifax office, Roy said the 3.3% market share for English-language Canadian films in 2009 was “not quite good enough.”
He added the company would reveal a strategic plan in early 2011 to grow market share and said staff were talking to Heritage Canada about ways to encourage greater private investment for production and marketing.
TFC falls within the purview of Heritage Canada, which is acutely aware of the growing digital industry and the industry’s contribution to the national economy.
TFC executive director Carolle Brabant noted that Canada’s audiovisual industry contributes approximately C$5.2bn to Canada’s gross domestic product.
“Canadian cultural industries contribute 46bn dollars to our gross domestic product – the GDP – and they provide more than 600,000 direct jobs,” Brabant said. “That’s as much as the agriculture, fishing and forestry industries combined. The audiovisual sector alone is worth $5.2bn and helps create or maintain 52,000 direct jobs.”
Roy, known for his candour, revealed that 71% of the average budget of a Canadian production came from various sources of government funding, including an average 37% from Telefilm.
“We must seriously consider other forms of financing,” Roy said, although he dodged a question about the possibility of the federal government reinstating tax incentives as an alternative to some of the direct funding, saying it was “too soon” to make any announcements.
In fiscal 2009/10, TFC distributed $192m to 43 feature productions (and administered an additional $350m in the Canada Media Fund), including award-winners such as Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies (pictured) , De Pere En Flic ($10.7m at the box office) and Trailer Park Boys ($2.9m).
Fiscal year highlights included the certification of 55 new official co-productions (with a combined injection of $248m in foreign investment) and a further reduction of overall administrative expenses to 6.1% from 7.2% (with those savings of $1.5m invested back into the industry).