Canada TV prod’n fund broke

TORONTO — Canada’s principal pool of production money, the Canada Television and Cable Production Fund, has exhausted the entire C$82 million ($59.9 million) budget of its license fee program.

It announced Friday that it had closed the $19.9 million French-language portion of the program less than a week after shuttering the $39.9 million English-language window.

Producers lobbied the federal government furiously last week to commit more money to the fund, which was introduced with considerable fanfare at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival last year. Heritage minister Sheila Copps or industry minister John Manley, or both, are expected to meet leaders of the film and television production community in Toronto today. “We urge the government to consider strengthening the (fund) to continue to support Canadian production,” said Elizabeth McDonald, president of the Canadian Film and Television Production Assn. “As new production windows open up, it would be a shame to find there is no funding for Canadian producers to fill those windows.”

And the windows are opening at quite a clip. In September, seven new cable channels will be launched in Canada, including History Television, Teletoon, the Comedy Network, Outdoor Life, Home & Garden TV, Space: The Imagination Station and CTV N1.

Garry Toth , executive director the fund’s license fee program, said the money provided by his program made possible more than $348.2 million worth of production, representing 249 new television programs.

The capital pool is funded by contributions from the cable industry and from Telefilm Canada, the federal funding agency.

Meanwhile, Telefilm announced that it had agreed to commit $22.2 million to 38 Canadian television, feature film and multimedia productions between April 1 and June 30.

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