Canadian content - Part 3

America's hegemony in the film industry is global. Because of our country's proximity to the USA, and because they both share a common language, most of Canada is considered part of the American domestic market. When it comes to movies, the country faces an even more formidable rival than it does with music and television production.

Theaters aren't regulated for Canadian content. Still, there is a concern for providing adequate opportunities for Canadians to appreciate the country's film production. Established in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada may be cited as the first effort at addressing this concern. Other federal measures to foster the development of a feature film industry in Canada have been put forward as early as 1954.

In an effort to stimulate domestic production, Telefilm Canada was established in 1968. In Québec, the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) pursues the same goal; it was established in 1994.

2001 marks an important shift in support for Canadian film making. The Department of Canadian Heritage gives Telefilm Canada specific funds to help develop the Canadian film industry with the goal of having Canadian feature films obtain 5% of the domestic box office by 2005.

The epitome of Telefilm's goal is achieved in 2006, when "Bon Cop, Bad Cop" grosses more than $12M, a Canadian record for a domestic film about unmistakably Canadian innuendos. The former record holder was "Porky's", written, directed and filmed by an American in Miami. The movie had earned $11.2M in 1981. Many question the new record holder's feat; "Porky's" domestic gross in 2006 dollars is almost twice what "Bon Cop, Bad Cop" generated. Others question the legitimacy of the former record holder; the only thing Canadian about it, is its funding.

Since 2001, the domestic box office has been doing rather well in Québec. In its 2007-2008 annual report, Telefilm Canada outlines that French-language feature films saw their share of independent film market increase from 52.7% to 57.5%, while their share of the global market went from 17.1% to 16.2%. Canadian English-language films saw their share of independent cinema increase from 11.7% to 13.1% while their share of the global market went from 1.7% to 0.9%.

The performance of "Bon Cop, Bad Cop" at the box-office illustrates the contrast between English and French watching habits rather well. Of its $12.6M Canadian box-office performance, $1.3M was generated outside Québec.

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