Last week was an important one for the Canadian movie industry. The 32nd Annual Genie Awards, honoring Canada's greatest, was held Thursday. As expected by many, Québécois movies did rather well.
Among the many recipients, one particularly caught my attention, Starbuck. It's the story of a perpetual adolescent who discovers that, as a sperm donor, he fathered 533 children. It won the Golden Reel Award, presented annually to the Canadian film that has earned the highest domestic box office. It won the same award last night at La soirée des Jutras [in French], the ceremony honoring Québec's greatest.
In the province, Starbuck raked in $3.4M. In the whole country, its box office performance totals a little more than $3.5M. You read this right... the Canadian film that earned the highest domestic box office sold for a little over $100,000 outside Québec! In other words, with a market more than three times the size of my province, the English language industry was not able to produce a movie as commercially successful as Québec did for itself.
What's wrong?... this is certainly not about lack of talent. Why aren't Canadians watching domestic movies? A recent survey [Google translation] found that 83% of the Québécois are favorably biased to Québec films. How do Canadians in other provinces feel about their own production? I mean... Uncle Sam produces some great flicks, but he's not the only one!
With theaters basically the property of American majors, can Canadians really watch movies produced outside the USA? Movies play an important part in a society's cultural fabric... how does this situation contribute to the Canadian psyche in terms of identity?
Some people probably think I don't get it... I wish they would explain.