Telefilm Canada has hired anagent. Canada's public sector film financier has entered an agreement with CreativeArtists Agency (CAA) that could see Hollywood's largest talent agency packagingprojects for production in Canada.

According to a leaked memodirected to Canadian producers from Telefilm executive director RichardStursberg, the purpose of the agreement is "to assist Canadian producers toattach talent, find financing and obtain distribution" and to lure expatriateCanadian talent into Canadian film production. Although it doesn't name names,this would presumably refer to the likes of Mike Myers and Jim Carey and otherCanadian actors who have made a splash in Hollywood.

Essentially Telefilm willpay CAA a retainer against fees charged to Canadian producers for theirservices. This might involve CAA finding a property that would fit therequirements of Telefilm's mandate, with a Canadian writer and/or directorattached and made as a Canadian film or as a treaty coproduction.Alternatively, a Canadian producer with a Telefilm-approved project could seekassistance from CAA in seeking casting, financing or a distributor.

Canada's performers unionreacted with fury to the leaked document. "Stursburg's secret deal is a slap inthe face for the talented performers, writers and directors who have chosen tostay and work in their own country," said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA's NationalExecutive Director. "It's completely insulting to Canada's professionalcreative community - not to mention Canadian taxpayers."

Waddell told ScreenDaily.comthat the idea of repatriating Canadians movie stars was a red herring. "Youdon't need to have CAA make an offer to Mike Myers. Just make them an offer.The issue is that Richard Stursberg has gone and put a lot of money into CAA'shands in order to package US performers, writers and directors, all of thempresumably their clients, into Canadian films."

Stursberg was unavailablefor comment. The leak has forced Telefilm to push forward a plannedannouncement, which is now expected in the next couple of days. Arepresentative of CAA was unavailable at time of going to press.