Feature film report tabled in House of Commons

Following a series of hearings, a Canadian Heritage parliamentary standing committee has submitted a report with 11 recommendations related to the Canadian film industry.
House of Commons

Following a series of hearings, a parliamentary standing committee for Canadian Heritage has tabled a report in the House of Commons outlining 11 recommendations related to the Canadian film industry.

The report, titled Review of the Feature Film Industry in Canada, was officially tabled on Tuesday. In addition to the recommendations, the report includes comments and information from members of Canada’s film and television industry that participated in the hearing, including representatives from indie prodcos, unions, guilds and Telefilm Canada. The hearing was meant to review the state of the film industry in Canada, with the committee holding a total of eight meetings on the issue. During the hearings, committee members heard from 51 witnesses and reviewed 10 briefs.

The news follows CAFDE earlier this week releasing its own report on the state of feature film distribution in Canada, authored by former NFB chair Tom Perlmutter.

The committee was made up of MPs from across party lines, and was the first Canadian Heritage standing committee hearing held on the Canadian film industry since 2005. The federal government has 120 days to respond to the recommendations made in the report.

“We do believe if we do act quickly on these recommendations, it will just help the industry grow and provide more opportunities for Canadians,” Marc Seguin, SVP policy of the Canadian Media Production Association, told Playback Daily.

Overall, the CMPA was pleased with the report and recommendations issued by the standing committee, Seguin said. How the recommendations are ultimately implemented is up the federal government and the ministry of Canadian Heritage, whether it be in the form on new bills or policy changes.

“This is what we hope not the end of a process. We hope it’s a beginning of a process and a dialogue to take a look at various issues that we flag and we hope to find a solution to those issues through time with that dialogue,” Seguin said.

There is a certain amount of urgency around the review – if an election is called before the government responds, it would be put aside, Seguin noted, allowing that it could then be reintroduced to the House post-election.

The report recommends the following:

1. The federal government continue its overall support for the Canadian feature film industry.

2. The Department of Canadian Heritage study and review with stakeholders the Canadian feature film industry and look into the problem of federal tax credit dilution (often referred to as “the grind”) and the administrative burden involved in claiming these credits.

3. The Department of Canadian Heritage consult with the various funders and recipients of feature films subsidies, to consolidate and simplify current administrative processes and other red tape burdens for industry stakeholders.

4. The Department of Canadian Heritage work with the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO), the Canada Revenue Agency and Telefilm Canada to develop mechanisms to help ensure that recipients of federal government funding for feature films are in good standing and have no outstanding legal disputes in any other jurisdiction within Canada.

5. The CRTC consider creating a special category for Canadian feature films as programs of national interest (PNI) in order to guarantee appropriate exhibition, funding and promotion.

6. The CRTC consider reviewing its program of national interest policy with a view to preserving and promoting specifically the production of Canadian feature films and documentaries.

7. The Department of Canadian Heritage support the marketing efforts of Canadian film producers in Canada and abroad.

8. The federal government confirm its commitment to audio-visual training and that it support training programs in the audiovisual sector in collaboration with the provinces.

9. Support organizations such as Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund (CMF) recognize the increased competition in dubbing films in French and update their support programs to address the erosion of dubbing in Canada.

10. CBC/Radio-Canada consider enhancing its ability to broadcast Canadian productions and to support Canadian talent that Canadians want to watch in English and in French, including Canadian content on new digital platforms.

11. The Canada Council for the Arts encourage even more experimentation and creativity over various media platforms.