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Telefilm says coin has boosted B.O.

Local Canuck hits this year are all Quebecois

MONTREAL — Government film coin agency Telefilm Canada is claiming its Canadian Feature Film Fund has helped boost box office for homegrown pics from 1.4% to 3.8% of the country’s overall ticket sales in the 18 months since its inception.

The new fund doubled the money available for films to C$100 million ($76 million) and backed more commercial pics as part of Telefilm’s aim to boost B.O. for local films to 5% by 2006.

However, Telefilm chairman Charles Belanger neglected to mention Monday that virtually all this year’s successful pics were made in French-speaking Quebec, which traditionally has a stronger film biz than English-speaking Canada.

English-language films still fail to click with auds, underlined by the recent lackluster performance of “Foolproof,” even though the Alliance Atlantis heist pic came with the biggest ever P&A budget for a Canadian film.

The local hits this year are all Quebecois, including Denys Arcand’s “The Barbarian Invasions” (soon to be launched Stateside by Miramax), Max Films’ comedy “Seducing Dr. Lewis” and coming-out-of-the-closet comedy “Mambo Italiano.”

“Mambo” is an English-language title, but it is a Quebec production with Quebec stars, and it generated more than half of its $3.8 million Canadian box office take in the province.

Telefilm doled out $180 million over the past year, including $86 million via the Canadian Television Fund and another $63 million through the Canadian Feature Film Fund.

Telefilm also handed out $4.5 million through the Canadian New Media Fund and $3.4 million via the Music Entrepreneur Program, which was launched in May 2002.

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