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State of the Film Industry in Other Countries


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#1 Craig Knowles

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 09:39 PM

I am originally from Canada and currently living in the US. I was having a debate with a Canadian friend of mine today about the state of the Canadian film industry and it got me wondering how the commercial film industry is fairing in other countries.

In Canada right now, filmmakers find it hard to get things made indirectly as a result of our close proximity to the US and the strength of the US film industry. Canadian films face direct competition from US films for screens in Canada and most major distribution in Canada is controlled by American companies. Beyond that, and although somewhat related to ad campaign dollars, it seems like Canadian audiences prefer to watch American films if given the choice anyway.

Bottom line, trying to make a film in Canada right now, trying to get it screened in Canadian theatres, and trying to find an audience has become very difficult. Many of my Canadian filmmaker friends openly suggest that if one wants to achieve success in Canada, the easiest way is to come to the US, make the film here, and hope your work finds its way back to Canada through "foreign" distribution.

Now, that being said, not all of Canada is having trouble. Quebec (the officially French province in Canada) has a been able to build a thriving self-contained film industry that is cranking out great films, finding audiences, and seems able to compete with US films.

So, that got me thinking: What is going on in other countries? England? France? Spain? South America? Are similar things happening there? Do you face similar debilitating competition? Have you guys found a way to make things work?

(Note: I'm not referring to "runaway production" or anything like that, where production is leaving the US to find cheaper places to shoot I'm talking about getting a film made and screening it in your own country.)
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 10:22 PM

Hi,

If I hadn't spent 16 hours in airports and airplanes today, and if I wasn't jet-lagged enough to buy premium ice from an Alaskan in winter, this is a subject I could really warm to.

Phil
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 03:30 AM

this is a subject I could really warm to.

Phil, "warm" is something I've never known you to be about this subject B)

As for Australia, last year, about 2% of the Australian box office was for Australian productions. (That was an increase on the previous year.) For this reason alone, it is almost impossible to persuade anyone to invest money in even the lowest budget production. Government support is vital, or we'd all be driving cabs or serving coffee. That's been increased in the last year, but it's only there to support, not to operate the industry by itself. So it's like you say it is in Canada. Tough to get a film up.

As in Canada, runaway production is critical here, in keeping production facilities open and able to service local productions when they come along.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 11:41 AM

Well I'm shooting a feature in Canada starting October 2nd. I certainly have no delusions about it getting a theatrical release that is for sure. A few plays on cable and maybe a DVD here and there is the best I can hope for. What you say about the US companies having 100% control of Canadian theatres is correct. If the situation where reversed the Americans would be screaming blue murder, but I guess it's ok when they screw us over i.e. softwood lumber, but that's another story.

As for government funding....this is some thing I OPPOSE quite ferociously!!

In Canada the gov't partially funds tons of productions and this is nothing more than corporate welfare. A select few well connected filmmakers get money, and the rest get nothing. My film is 100% privately financed and that's the way they should all be. The CBC gets 1 Billion a year in tax money and then they still get a big chunk of Telefilm money!!! It's criminal!

The only solution is to scrap this system in its entirety.

Quebec gets the lions share of gov't funding in Canada by far and this makes me and other people in English Canada just mad as hell!! We can't tolerate this situation much longer.

Ontario contributes 40% of Canada's national budget and we sure don't get any where close to 40% of the Telefilm funds! Quebec maybe contributes 20-23% of the national budget and they get way more than that of the Telefilm pie. It's totally out of whack.

And if you're from the oil rich province of Alberta and you apply for Telefilm, HA!!! GOOD LUCK!!! The Quebeccers who run the program in Hull will just drop your application in the shredder.

The only thing that keeps the Toronto film workers semi working are US features shot in Toronto. This has seen a huge drop off since the collapse of the US dollar and subsiquent rise of the Canadian dollar, it's just not as financially sensible for US producers to come here now.

Bottom line is this, no matter where you are located making a movie is tough and usually a waste of money. Yes even in the USA there are hundreds of Indie movies sitting on the scrap heap. Mine will soon be joining them, so make room on the pile guys.

Ivan Reitman once said, "you've got to manufacture your own opportunities." And that's true in Hollywood, Sydney, or Toronto.

R,
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#5 Mungai Kiroga

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 09:38 AM

The film industry in my country is an interesting affair. Numerous films, documentaries and even reality shows are shot in Kenya each year. The only thing is that a majority of them are foreign productions. These include titles such as "The Constant Gardener", Survivour Africa, e.t.c. The local market, like many others, is of course more receptive to Hollywood than it is to local productions. This means that local filmmakers have to try real hard to get noticed.

Our film industry is regulated by a Film Production Department, which is a Government body. Every film, documentary, commercial, e.t.c, has to be licensed by the Department. Fortunately, getting a license is easy, even for foreign crews. Its a 48 hour process and it costs about 200 dollars to get a license. After that you only need a daily filming fee of about 12 dollars and you are ready to shoot. There are no restrictions on the number of crew members or equipment which you can bring with you. Of course, there are hundreds of indie films which are made without permits and licenses. Services such as transport, catering, accommodation and security are not hard to find.

Probably the biggest problem facing our industry is our slow speed in keeping up with technology. Many of the crews that come to film in Kenya have to bring much of their own gear. Of course, you will get the standard 35mm & 16mm film cameras, Betacam cameras and DVcam cameras, but they are expensive and most of them only have basic features. Most of the music videos in my country are shot on mini DVand DVcam. Of course, filmmaking is expensive in Kenya, but I figure that's a common problen worldwide...
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