French-lingo pics perform much better than English

MONTREAL — Canuck film funder Telefilm Canada wants homegrown French pics to capture 12% of the overall French-language box office action in Canada. This goal is significantly higher than that set for English-Canadian film producers, who’ve been ordered by the Montreal-based agency to aim for 4% of the B.O. total.

In a speech in Montreal Wednesday, Telefilm Canada executive director Richard Stursberg said the bar was being set higher in Quebec because Quebecois films are already much more successful than Canadian films made in English.

French-language Canadian films account for roughly 9% of French-lingo box office receipts in the country. English-lingo Canadian films perform much more poorly, garnering less than 1% of ticket sales for English films in Canada.

“Your successes in both television and film can teach English Canadian producers a great deal about creating product that reflect your audiences’ tastes and interests,” said Stursberg. “And you have done this in a comparatively small market with limited resources.”

Telefilm will be releasing new guidelines next week for funding films, and the rules will be much tougher for English Canadian producers than for French-language producers. Telefilm is set to establish much more stringent requirements for P&A expenditures by distributors and for Telefilm investments. But these new requirements will not be imposed on French Canadian producers.

There are also plans to increase the number of projects that shoot in both French and English, such as hit CBC/Radio-Canada miniseries “The Last Chapter”/”Le Dernier Chapitre.”

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