Fund well runs dry

No Telefilm coin for many Quebec pix

Canuck film funding agency Telefilm Canada has turned down a slew of major French-language Quebec projects because it is running out of cash.

Telefilm had received applications for 32 pics seeking $47 million in funding by March 23. But the Montreal agency has only $3.6 million of its $20 million budget left for this year.

One of the few films greenlit is “L’Age des tenebres,” the first pic from Montreal auteur Denys Arcand since he won the foreign-language Oscar for “The Barbarian Invasions” in 2004.

For “L’Age” Telefilm will give Arcand’s producer, Denise Robert, $1.9 million — much less than was requested. Robert said the film about a civil servant who escapes to a fantasy world can’t be made without more Telefilm coin.

Org nixed helmer Robert Lepage’s adaptation of his hit experimental play “The Dragon’s Trilogy”; a biopic of Quebec criminal Lucien Rivard to be directed by Charles Biname (“The Rocket”) and star Remy Girard (“The Barbarian Invasions”); and director Patrice Sauve’s film adaptation of Quebec TV series “L’Heritier de grande ourse.” It is unclear if these films can proceed without Telefilm coin.

Michel Pradier, Telefilm’s head of French operations, said the funding crisis was due to an increased number of applications, with many asking for more money. The public funder’s budget for French films has remained the same for five years.

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