Telefilm abandoning 5% solution to Canadian film

Five Percent Film

Telefilm Canada is abandoning the infamous 5% solution.

Telefilm chair Michel Roy on Wednesday said the financier will introduce a new yardstick to measure the performance of Canadian film beyond the local multiplex.

“Canadian box office revenue alone is no longer an adequate means of measuring a film’s success,” he told Telefilm’s annual public assembly in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“The time has come to develop a composite measure that will take theatrical revenue into account, of course, but also earnings from foreign sales, television, DVDs and digital platforms, as well as cultural and qualitative considerations such at success at festivals and ­- why not – critical acclaim,” he added.

The move to measure end-user audiences according to new digital platforms and festival trophies is prompted by the obvious, Roy conceded: the target introduced a decade ago of Canadian cinema accounting for 5% of the country’s overall box office had not been reached.

English-language film production especially came well short of the goal.

“We now have in Canada producers, directors, screenwriters, actors, directors of photography, technicians, in short, filmmakers who measure up to the best in the world, who can work with the best in the world and who produce films that are among the best in the world,” Roy argued.

“Unfortunately, and inexplicably, a large segment of Canada’s moviegoers have yet to recognize this and one of our challenges is now to make them aware of the excellence of Canadian cinema,” Roy argued.

Another worrying measure for Canadian film: government funding accounts for the bulk of their production and marketing budgets.

“When we add Telefilm’s investments to those from other governmental sources, Canadian producers have balanced almost 3/4 of their budgets ­- 71% to be precise -­ with public funds,” Roy reported.

“More generally, an analysis of the financing sources over the last five years demonstrates that public monies have consistently accounted for between 50% and 75% of the production budgets,” he added.