Hot on the heels of the Canadian government's $67m boost to local film (ScreenDaily, October 6), Telefilm Canada is asking the country's industry for pitches on how best to spend the first gush of new money.

Over the next two weeks, Telefilm, the country's principal public sector funding agency, will be soliciting responses from those interested in tapping the $7.4m windfall slated to be spent this fiscal year. The film industry will also be consulted on new policies and guidelines for the next fiscal year when the extra funding takes full force, in effect doubling current levels. Those guidelines should be ready early next year.

Meanwhile, the agency has also released its annual report for 1999-2000 which showed that it supported 644 television and film projects in 1999-2000 - 290 in production and 354 in development - with combined production budgets of more than $300m. Telefilm's contribution amounted to $81m, or 24% of those development and production budgets.

The report also showed that:

  • 46 feature films and 420 television programmes received Telefilm investment - the TV projects through the Equity Investment Program of the Canadian Television Fund.
  • As usual, the key production centres of Toronto and Montreal received the lion's share of funding, 66%, with an uptick in spending in the rest of the country, particularly British Columbia, which accounted for 17%.
  • Approximately two thirds of the funds were allocated to projects in English, with the remaining third devoted to French-language production and less than two percent to Aboriginal-language production.
  • On the co-production front the agency certified 100 co-production projects - 24 of them features - with total budgets of over $470m amongst some 20 countries. The agency increased its number of international co-production treaties to 55 with the signing of an agreement with Austria.