Telefilm Canada hasannounced plans to support international sales efforts of the French-languageproductions in which it invests.

Those films, overwhelmingproduced within Quebec, typically do not sell well abroad; despite the sharedlanguage, France and other French-speaking regions are generally hard marketsto crack, unless the films are international co-productions. The InternationalSales Promotion Pilot Initiative will target projects judged to have strongforeign sales potential.

"The French-language industry must be able to more effectively leveragethe international market," said Michel Pradier, who heads the agency'sFrench Operations and Quebec Office in a statement. He said the goal will be toincrease revenues generated by French-Canadian films and ultimately increaseinvestment in new production.

Quebec filmmakers were up in arms earlier this year when Telefilm'sinvestment coffers ran dry. Last week, SODEC, the Quebecois cultural investmentagency, announced the titles it is backing with its special C$10m fund createdin response to the finance crunch.

Another objective will be fostering international francophoneco-production projects with wide audience appeal. Telefilm will also launch apromotional series, Canadian Screenings in New York. That series launchesDecember 6 with a screening of Stephane Lapointe's Secret Life of HappyPeople. International promotion specialist Lucius Barre has been retained toassist Max Film International, the sales arm of Montreal-based Max Films, whichproduced the film.

Telefilm also boosted its marketing support of Canadian films, in anylanguage, that land an invitation to a major international film festival,namely those events in Cannes, Berlin, Pusan, Sundance and Venice. Eligibleproductions that are official coproductions must be majority Canadian.