CFC, JFL and Telefilm launch new Comedy Exchange

The new initiative, replacing the Features Comedy Lab, will put a deeper emphasis on boosting Canadian projects south of the border and developing relationships in the U.S. marketplace.

The Canadian Film Centre is launching the Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange, to replace the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab, it was announced Thursday.

“The Comedy Exchange builds upon the strengths and traction of the previous program, while even more closely aligning itself with Telefilm’s mandate to increase the packaging and promotion of exciting Canadian talent and features to the international marketplace,” said Sheila De La Varende, Telefilm director of industry promotion, in a statement.

The new initiative, part of the CFC’s North/South Marketplace and in collaboration with Just For Laughs, will aim to boost the profile of Canadian filmmakers and their projects internationally, and develop business relationships in the Hollywood and North American indie film and comedy markets.

As part of the Comedy Exchange, three writer-producer teams will receive script feedback and marketplace expertise from comedy and business execs.

The initiative will work in tandem with Telefilm’s funding programs, according to a release, making additional development and packaging resources available to producers with projects receiving financial support from Telefilm’s Development Fund.

The former Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab, a CFC program in collaboration with JFL, was launched in 2009, as a professional development program for five Canadian feature film producer-writer teams to work with top comedy execs and talent to develop and package their scripts.

The Comedy Exchange will continue to work with the 15 projects from the previous Comedy Lab.