What is a ‘Canadian’ Film?

 

While I  was  growing up it was pretty easy to recognize a ‘Canadian’ Film.  It was on CBC, it had ‘NFB’ on the credits and it was usually a little depressing.  Going Down The Road,  Wedding in White and Mon Oncle Antoine stick in memory along with a lot of others.

Then came the era of insanely generous tax credits and the modern Canadian Film industry was born albeit with (usually cheesy) horror and teen exploitation flicks.  From that base great artist grew  though (David Cronenberg in particular) and Canadian films started to be known for something other that world class animation.   I Heard the Mermaids Singing et al showed the world what we can do without losing that feeling they were part of us.

The next big wave came from the desire of American TV and Film producers to do more with less, namely less cost to feed an increasingly voracious demand for content across a variety of delivery modalities.  So more and more shows and films started to be shot here using Canadian crews being paid in Canadian dollars for much the same rational that the original auto pact (pre NAFTA) worked – same cars, 30% less labor cost.  The net benefits to develop our skills, experience has been enormous and as a result we are  second to none in our abilities in 2017.

So the question remains, are we still producing ‘Canadian’ Films and the answer is simple, yes.  Continue reading “What is a ‘Canadian’ Film?”

Why Independent Films?

For me the appeal of Independent Film is the same appeal of Triple-A baseball or the OHL – you get to see potential million dollar players on their way up or on their way down.  Either way its a privilege to see the talent, creativity and ability to do more with less that characterize independent artists.

Its fashionable to knock Hollywood as being a non-creative money machine and certainly that’s true in many cases.  What’s interesting to me about big studio films is when filmmakers manage slip some art through to us anyways despite the bottom-line obsession.  Conversely independent films have the reputation as the sanctuary of the artist, unconcerned about revenue as much as recognition and respect.  Well that’s not true either.  Every artist knows they have to sell their current projects if they ever want to make another or step up to a studio some day.  Consequently there is repetition, familiar themes etc. that are drive by realities of the market. Continue reading “Why Independent Films?”