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Author Topic: Polley, McKellar blast Ottawa's cultural policy
Babbler # 6125

posted 07 April 2005 06:00 AM      Profile for mary123     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's about time English Canadian artists started making some noise. We need to totally embarrass the government on this. At a time when the gLiberals have an embarrassingly massive surplus Canadian culture must not be undercut. This is just plain wrong.

Health care and culture need a massive infusion of cash. And as the Globe and Mail article said let us English Canada learn from the Quebec cultural experience and emulate their successes.
(Although I did say the same earlier in another topic!)

The following are some of their key recommendations:

Force open the shelf space -- both in Canadian homes and on theatre screens -- so Canadians can actually see their own stories.

We need to make a determined and long-term effort to develop screenwriters and make it possible for them to make a living here.

Cinemas should be required to make some clear, permanent and measurable commitments to increase the proportion of their screens devoted to Canadian film, and to consistently screen Canadian trailers.

Distributors should have to come forward with binding, permanent, measurable commitments to increase and then maintain the aggressive marketing and wide distribution of Canadian films.

They urged the government to get tough on broadcasters and specialty channels, enforcing more stringent Canadian content, spending, and programming-development conditions, as part of renewing their licences.

They also asked the government to give the CBC the funding it needs to double its dramatic programming, and hold it accountable for the results.

"As the Quebec experience demonstrates, television drama is an excellent place to begin to build a star system," said Polley. "People who make their names as performers in prime-time drama on TV can then carry a domestic film."

From: ~~Canada - still God's greatest creation on the face of the earth~~ | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1448

posted 07 April 2005 07:26 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think a large part of why Canada has difficulty with building and sustaining an indiginous film and television industry has much to do with distribution. It is very difficult to get Canadian productions sold abroad, and we don't have a large enough population to support a high volume of production, especially drama (because of the higher costs involved), in a strictly domestic market. The reasons for the difficulty? An American market that is dominant and unwilling to take content from other places (ie: they would rather take the scripts, adapt them and make their own versions than license finished product no matter how good it is -- witness "The Office"), and European markets are attempting to build and maintain their own domestic markets and have been less inclined to take Canadian production for the last, oh, 5 years, IIRC. Even international co-productions are down.

We kind of shoot ourselves in the foot, too. Other countries have "screen quotas", where a certain percentage of screen time is devoted to domestic films. We don't have that here, and because of NAFTA, it's unlikely to happen.

As for looking to a Quebec model, that's problematic. Part of the reason that the Quebec industry does so well is that there is the language difference, which makes Quebeckers more inclined to tune into their own programming. English Canada doesn't have that barrier, so it's a greater challenge to gain acceptance from our own audiences.

I also have a quibble with CBC -- I would like to see them get more cash, and for them to double their drama commitment. However, I think there needs to be a big policy shake-up so that less production is done by in-house producers in Toronto. I think they need to move to a more collaborative model with independent producers from all the regions. CBC spends a lot of money on in-house production -- they should be spreading it around.

From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged

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