Canucks redraw film funds

Telefilm Canada taps Jenkinson feature film exec

Canuck film funder Telefilm Canada is revamping the way it funds English-language films to try to revive the moribund Canuck film scene.

The Montreal-based funding agency announced Thursday that it has tapped former 20th Century Fox VP Michael Jenkinson to fill the new position of feature film executive for the English-Canadian market. He starts May 15.

Industryites have criticized Telefilm for not doing enough to remedy the grave problems facing English-Canadian film, while French Canuck cinema is booming, taking 18% of all ticket sales in the province of Quebec last year. English-Canadian films continue to languish at around 1% of ticket sales in Canada.

In a major change, Jenkinson will be able to greenlight pics and make all the significant decisions for English-Canadian film projects asking for between C$1 million ($867,000) and $3.5 million in Telefilm funding.

In the past, these decisions were made by a committee composed of Telefilm staffers from across the country.

“It became a decision by consensus, and I don’t think this is a business of consensus,” Telefilm Canada executive director Wayne Clarkson told Daily Variety. “This is a business of passion.”

Telefilm doles out around $69 million each year to Canuck producers for both French and English projects. There are no plans to appoint a similar executive for French-language film because that area is not seen as needing help.

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