More Quebec coin for film funding

Producers claim they face cash shortage

MONTREAL — Quebec Culture Minister Line Beauchamp announced Monday that the provincial government will be giving an additional C$10 million ($8.4 million) to Quebec filmmakers each year, bringing the province’s annual film funding budget to $20 million.

In response to calls from producers for more money, Beauchamp had given Quebec’s film industry an extra $8.4 million in funding last fall as a one-time-only measure.

Film producers in the province claim they face a severe shortage of cash that threatens the long-term health of Quebecois cinema — despite the boom for such pics at the box office.

The crisis first erupted last June, when federal film funder Telefilm Canada had to turn down a slew of high-profile Quebec film projects due to a lack of cash.

At the time, producers went to Ottawa to ask the federal government for more coin, but federal Heritage Minister Bev Oda told them there would be no new money for film.

Oda “says she understands there’s a problem, but she doesn’t do anything,” said producer Pierre Even (“C.R.A.Z.Y.”). “We have to convince them that it’s not just a cultural issue. It’s an economic issue.”

This year, Telefilm will spend $35 million on English-language films and another $18 million on French-language films.

Former Telefilm and National Film Board topper Francois Macerola released a report Monday on Quebec film financing that recommended creating a new private film fund to boost film financing in Quebec and suggested that the federal government give more cash for Quebecois films.

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