Telefilm Canada on Friday (March 2) unveiled a proposed CDN$5 million private film investment fund to boost the international success of Canadian filmmakers through more aggressive promotion and distribution of their work.
The new fund, unveiled by Telefilm executive director Carolle Brabant at the Prime Time conference in Ottawa on Friday, aims at the holy grail of Canadian film financing: using public funds to attract private investment that leverages public support and intensifies its impact on the films of emerging and established Canadian filmmakers.
A Telefilm spokesperson confirmed to realscreen that theatrical docs will be eligible for the private donation fund.
Created with the support of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the fund will draw on investment by private companies and individual donors.
Their funds will be used to support the production, distribution and promotion of Canadian feature films, under the umbrella of the Canadian Feature Film Fund.
Around $5 million in private donations will be sought for the fund each year, which could then leverage other Telefilm investment.
Telefilm is yet to unveil the names of corporate or private individual donors as it now steps up its efforts to recruit angel film investors.
Contributions will be considered “gifts to Canada,” according to Telefilm.
As investors, corporate donors will receive tax deductions, while individual donors will receive tax credits.
The new fund comprises two streams. The first targets emerging filmmakers with coin for their original first works.
And the second stream is aimed at established and award-winning filmmakers, as it looks to boost and sustain their competitive edge in international markets.
The way Telefilm tells it, the private fund will help the Canadian film industry diversify its funding sources, and satisfies industry calls for the private sector to get more interested in backing Canadian cinema.
“The consultations we held with the industry over the last year revealed that there is a real need for this new fund, and I am proud of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s support for this project,” Brabant explained.
“We need to provide better and stronger support to Canadian film production and talent,” added Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Beatty is well acquainted with the challenges and demands of the Canadian film industry, as a former president of the CBC.
“The new fund is our opportunity to play a valuable role in future accomplishments in arts and culture,” he added.
The fund is now in operation, and will be managed by Telefilm.
Brabant on Friday also announced the launch of a $1 million pilot program to produce and market micro-budgeted feature films.
The program will support between eight and 10 projects with $100,000 to $120,000 of investment each in the form of a grant.
Each project must have a maximum budget of $250,000, and use innovative production techniques and release strategies across multiple digital platforms.
The pilot program will target young and emerging filmmakers, especially directors and producers who are accomplished short filmmakers looking to produce their first feature-length films. However, the Telefilm spokesperson said that as the program’s guidelines will be announced during the spring or summer, it’s too early to tell if doc-makers will be able to take part.
With files from Etan Vlessing and Barry Walsh