Thursday, February 29, 2024

The CRTC may have to decide what a Canadian film is.

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
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Mary Wolf, The Canadian Press

Ottawa – a little mystery: which of these two films is Canadian? “Red Alert,” a production by Pixar Studios that chronicles the misadventures of a Chinese teenager from Toronto or “Dunes,” the epic science fiction film by Quebec director Denis Villeneuve that won several Academy Awards?

According to Canadian regulations: No.

Decision makers have the formidable task of providing the most accurate possible definition of what constitutes a movie or series right here.

This definition is in the context of billing for requesting streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+ to display Canadian content, such as traditional media.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said he plans to ask the Human Rights Commission of Canada to determine what would be considered Canadian business after Bill C-11 is passed by Parliament. According to him, the law will help increase investment in the creative sectors in Canada. It will allow Canadians to fully tell their stories.

The CRTC indicated that public consultations will take place after Mr. Rodriguez has presented the direction he expects to take.

“[Le projet de loi C-11] It will create a more equal playing field for Canadian content creators and businesses while allowing listeners to have greater access to Canadian content,” said Krista Dickinson, CEO and CEO of Telefilm Canada.

Experts want to broaden and update the current definition of Canadian content to reflect the realities of today’s film and television production. Not changing anything could encourage studios not to invest in talent here, as their work would not be considered Canadian.

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Michael Guest, Canadian Research Chair in Internet Law and E-Commerce at the University of Ottawa, may result in lower investment in joint production operations and a preference for smaller Canadian products.

He hopes for more flexibility in the definition of Canadian film.

“It is the most restrictive definition, the narrowest definition that exists in the world. It even excludes Canadian authors,” says Professor Guest of the popular series “The Scarlet Waitress” adapted from a novel by Margaret Atwood, which is not considered a Canadian production.

“Government policy is already successful in attracting products to Canada,” he adds. That’s where we have to start, from an economic perspective.”

He points out that major live broadcasters are already investing significant amounts of money in setting up in Canada. Their algorithms encourage Canadians and others to view Canadian products. These works may not tick all the official boxes, but they still end up in the Netflix search engine.

“The survival of independent production companies depends on their ability to operate in a more equitable regulatory environment that includes all the major players in the broadcasting ecosystem,” said Hélène Messier, CEO of the association québécoise de la production maladie. table in February.

According to the Canadian Media Production Association, it is important that Canadian producers obtain the rights to publish their own stories. When they own the intellectual property, those stories belong to them. “They can reinvest this revenue in our sector,” the organization said.

Some major productions featuring Canadian actors or creators are not considered Canadian works, at least officially.

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For example: “Deapool”, a Marvel Studios production. Starring Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds. It’s a Canadian comic book character quote. Filmed in Vancouver. Canadian Paul Winnick co-wrote the script. Despite everything, this feature film was not recognized as a domestic film, according to the standards of the Canadian Audiovisual Product Certification Bureau.

In order for a Canadian producer to be recognized, it must have a Canadian director, a Canadian screenwriter and one of the two highest-paid Canadian “artists”. Points are also awarded if Canadians hold other important positions such as director of photography, artistic director, composer, or editor.

Some question the need to update the points system. For example, should points be awarded to acknowledge the growing popularity of special effects or sound animators?

Peter Grant, a former member of the Radio and Telecommunications Legislative Review Group, believes that Canadian carriers should remain the mainstay of the definition.

According to him, the current definition makes it possible to support Canadian creators while giving them the opportunity to explore topics that are not typically Canadian.

This does not prevent Canadians from becoming major players in Hollywood, Mr. Grant adds.

“Current rules are based on the premise that the product company owner must be Canadian or money is spent on talent here. When defining Canadian content, a Canadian must own the intellectual property rights, but this does not require the work to be a Canadian story or appear Canadian.”

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