Journal

- SODEC credits top $85M...

- SODEC credits top $85M

SODEC’s certification department issued advanced rulings for refundable production tax credits totaling $85.2 million in 1997/98, a 31% increase over the previous exercise. During the period, ending March 31, the agency filed 290 rulings with Quebec’s Revenue Department for certified Quebec film, tv and multimedia productions.

Certification office director Stephane Cardin will have even more work this year as the provincial multimedia tax credit is expanded to 50% of labor costs, including a 10% premium for commercial French-language titles, and the new production services credit, topped up by expenditures related to computer animation, also begins to kick in.

At press time, Cardin says the department had not rendered any preliminary decisions for foreign productions/service provider applications. The production services credit is applicable to labor costs incurred after Feb. 12. The ’96/97 Quebec tax credit total was $64.9 million.

- New Cinema, New Media festival

The 27th edition of the Montreal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media runs from Oct. 15-25, with June 15 the deadline for this year’s submissions.

The reorganized festival includes competitive and non-competitive sections and welcomes feature films, short and medium-length works and new media productions produced after Jan. 1, 1997.

This year’s edition introduces market and conference programs with meeting and screening facilities and a coordination office.

Festival director general Claude Chamberlan says the new market’s potential stems from uneven results for trade markets at both the Montreal World Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, especially from a European and indie film perspective.

- New money

Maritime telco MT&T will invest just under $6 million in four Nova Scotia-based companies, $1.5 million of which is heading into Salter Street Films’ cg and interactive arm, Salter New Media.

- Second opinion

Being added to Atlantis Films’ 125-hour and $170-million anticipated production revenue slate is a new one-hour pilot to be coproduced with CBS Productions. Second Opinion is a pilot for cbs that tells the story of father and son doctors who have been recently reunited in a joint-venture medical practice. Second Opinion is created and written by Lisa Melamed.

In financial news, Atlantis Communications’ year-end results show a 29% increase in annual revenues and a 65% gain in operating earnings. Net earnings for 1997 were $5.6 million, compared to $3.4 million in 1996.

Atlantis’ $37.9-million increase in fourth-quarter revenues was bolstered by a library sale for all 65 one-hour episodes of Neon Rider to Paxson Communications’ new u.s. network Pax Net. Total library sales for 1997 totaled $16.3 million. Total revenue for 1997 was $178 million, with Atlantis’ broadcasting interests accounting for $26 million in revenue.

- Paragone

Toronto’s Paragon Entertainment filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors and Jon Slan is no longer chairman and ceo.

Slan will remain on the board of directors as Richard Borchiver becomes interim ceo and director S.C. Cooper assumes the position of interim non-executive chairman.

Though Paragon claimed last month to have five letters of intent to purchase its film division HandMade Films, no final sale has been made. Other Paragon assets will now be sold off or reorganized to keep creditors at bay.

- In at Cannes

Film Canada, a not-for-profit organization, will be taking over 20 Canadian features, docs and shorts to the Cannes Film Festival this year, giving filmmakers a chance to have their work screened by international buyers.

In addition, Film Canada sponsors an educational program whereby Canadian students can attend the festival for film-related projects.

- Slaight flies coop

Owl Communications co-founder Annabel Slaight has resigned as president of Owl/SDA Productions. Owl’s production and distrib activities were acquired by Montreal based Coscient Group in August 1997 when Owl was facing financial difficulties.

Slaight remains president of the Owl Children’s Trust and Owl Books as well as an advisor to Bayard Press Canada, which acquired Owl’s children’s magazine last summer.

When asked if she was perhaps a candidate for the head of children’s programming position at tvontario, Slaight commented: ‘I’m a producer. I’m not a broadcaster and you really have to decide early in life which one you are because they’re very dissimilar. If you’re a broadcaster and you’re a frustrated producer it’s hard to be a good broadcaster.

‘I don’t know anyone who is a frustrated broadcaster.’

- People

Ken Anderlini is the new Canadian Images programmer for the Vancouver International Film Festival. He replaces John Dippong who now works for Telefilm Canada’s Western office.

In other viff news, film director Anne Wheeler has been elected to the board of governors.

- Colin Geddes takes over the programming duties for the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program. Geddes succeeds associate director of programming Noah Cowan who continues to program the Contemporary World Cinema and Discovery sections as well as the National Cinema Program, which focuses on younger Japanese filmmakers.

- Catherine McComb has been named president of the Saskatchewan Motion Picture Association for the 1998/99 term.

- Former gm of Saskfilm and Video Development Corporation Mark Prasuhn is the new coo of Minds Eye Pictures effective June 1.

- Vancouver’s Mainframe Entertainment has opened an l.a. office and appointed Dan DiDio vp of creative affairs of Mainframe usa. DiDio, who oversees development, production and u.s. distribution for Mainframe, was exec director for ABC Television Children’s Entertainment, responsible for development and day-to-day operations of abc’s Saturday morning kid’s schedule.

- Shane Kinnear, exec producer, feature film for C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures, has been appointed to the board of the Harold Greenberg Fund. Kinnear replaces Joan Pennefather whose recent appointment as a crtc commissioner has sparked protest on the Hill as to the coziness of the commishes with the industry they regulate.

- Armand Leo has joined Dufferin Gate Productions as the in-house production supervisor.

- James Sherry has been hired by Toronto’s Alliance Releasing as a distribution consultant. Sources say Sherry is expected to take over the division’s gm duties.

- Journalist David Vienneau has been appointed Ottawa bureau chief for Global News. Vienneau was Ottawa editor of the Toronto Star.

- James Duthie has joined TSN to host cfl telecasts and host and/or cohost weekend editions of TSN Sportsdesk. Duthie exits VTV Vancouver.

- cbc has appointed Sandy McKean as head, English television news, effective June 1. A cbc veteran since 1973, McKean was executive producer of Newsworld Online, a news Website, for the past two years.

- Alliance Commuications has named David R. Ginsburg, president, filmed entertainment. Ginsburg was president of Citadel Entertainment from 1986 until Alliance acquired the company last fall from joint-venture partners hbo and United Broadcasting and Entertainment. During his tenure at Citadel, Ginsburg produced more than 50 tv movies including Cinderella (abc) and Rasputin (hbo).

- North of 60 scoops Rosies

North of 60 was the big winner with six Rosies at this year’s Alberta Film & Television Awards.

The Alberta Filmworks/Alliance Communications series was honored for best series, best lead performance nods went to both Tom Jackson and Wilma Pelly, best of the fest and scriptwriter Andrew Wriggitt was a winner for the episode ‘Borrowed Time.’

Also picking up multiple awards was The Genius, a half-hour pilot out of Edmonton’s Minds Eye Pictures and Anaid Productions, which won for best director – dramatic (Arvi Liimatainen) and best drama under 30 minutes. The National Film Board doc Lost Over Burma: Search for Closure picked up awards for best editor non-dramatic (Michel Lalonde) and best composer/musical score (Jan Randall).

WIC Premium Television president Charles R. Allard was honored with the 1998 Friend of the Alberta Film Industry Award.

The inaugural Les Kimbers, Directors Guild of Canada Professional Development Bursary went to Liimatainen.