Canada mints $116 mil for TV/pic prod’n in ’99

Telefilm funds 588 projects

MONTREAL — Canuck federal film and TV funder Telefilm Canada doled out C$172.4 million ($116 million) this past fiscal year, up from $111 million a year earlier, it reported.

Montreal-based Telefilm gave out $90 million for production and development of pics and TV projects, with another $15 million distributed for product launch and promotional activities.

The public corporation’s administrative expenses were $10.6 million, or 9.1% of its budget.

Telefilm pumped cash into 588 projects: 276 in production and 312 in development. The projects accounted for production activity of $370 million. On average, Telefilm’s contribution amounted to 24% of each project budget — a figure that underlines the continued importance of public funding in Canada.

Telefilm allocated 72% of its funds to Montreal- and Toronto-based projects, with 19% going to the Western provinces and 8.3% to the Atlantic provinces.

“Most of our 1997-2000 business plan goals, both national and international, were achieved this year,” said Francois Macerola, executive director of Telefilm.

“Telefilm Canada contributed to revamping the Canadian Television Fund, played an active role in the Canadian film policy review and set up the Multimedia Fund,” he said.

“The corporation funded a record number of projects created by Canadians for Canadians,” he continued. “We strengthened international alliances through co-productions, markets and festivals, and we improved our client service around the country, notably by means of decentralization, regional business plans and regional consultative committees.”

Telefilm’s budget has been boosted in recent years by the introduction of the Canadian Television Fund’s Equity Investment Program. With a budget of $72 million this year, the program helped produce 850 hours of programming, an increase of 14% over the previous year.

TV projects supported by Telefilm included “Traders,” “Da Vinci’s Inquest,” “Power Play” and “Emily of New Moon.”

Telefilm also pumped a total of $23 million into 45 feature films whose budgets totaled $121 million. Telefilm helped finance David Cronenberg’s “eXistenZ,” Denys Arcand’s “15 Moments,” Jean-Philippe Duval’s “Matroni and Me” and Patrice Leconte’s French-Canadian co-production “La Veuve de Saint-Pierre.”

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