Producers, distribs eligible only if feature in top 15% of local B.O.

MONTREAL — In an attempt to back more commercially successful homegrown pics, government funding agency Telefilm Canada raised the bar last week for filmmakers seeking coin for projects.

Producers and distribs will be eligible only if their previous feature was in the top 15% of the local B.O., rather than the top 20% as stipulated before, and made at least C$1 million ($639,000). Few Canuck films gross that much.

The system, by which Telefilm judges the individual merits of projects, will be made more stringent for English-lingo producers by adding the hurdle that no producer may request more than $639,000 without demonstrating that the project will generate at least that much at the box office.

Under pressure from the government, Telefilm is committed to upping the box office share for Canadian films to 5% from 2.2%. Much of the growth already experienced is due to the success of French-lingo Canadian pics.

The performance-based system is not without risks. Telefilm awarded $1.9 million to seasoned Montreal producer Richard Goudreau for his latest French-lingo action comedy “Les Dangereux,” which took just $123,000 its opening weekend earlier this month on 85 screens across Quebec.

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