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Telefilm talks CAA

Canuck film fund denies influx of U.S. talent

MONTREAL — Richard Stursberg, chief of government-backed film funder Telefilm Canada, has responded to local criticism of its controversial deal with Creative Artists Agency, insisting it will not mean more American actors, writers and directors on Canadian films.

He said the tenpercentery would try to develop projects with Canadians based in Los Angeles or help finance projects from producers in Canada. CAA also will try to secure U.S. distribution for Canadian pics.

“This is not for the large producers,” said Stursberg. “It’s for the people who’re having trouble having their calls returned in Hollywood, who’re having a hard time being taken seriously. This is for the midlevel to smaller producers. This is not about using American writers and directors on Canadian films. That would be inconsistent with our rules.

“It’s also not about trying to attract more runaway productions to Canada. It’s not about trying to convince studios to come up and shoot in Canada.”

Stursberg wanted to keep the CAA deal secret a while longer, but details were leaked Monday to Canuck industryites. The plan immediately drew the ire of local actors and writers.

Many question whether taxpayers’ money should go to a Hollywood talent agency.

Stursberg said the agreement is in line with the Montreal-based film-funding agency’s goal of raising Canadian box office and making more accessible pics.

Telefilm has paid CAA a retainer for its services, but Stursberg would not disclose financial details even though it involves public money.

Actors union the Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists has vigorously criticized the deal, which has led to questions of how it can work if the actors union is not on board. Stursberg said he felt confident ACTRA would support the initiative once it receives more details.

Telefilm also confirmed that the arrangement with CAA covers films only and does not apply to television projects.

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