Want to go see a great Canadian film this holiday season? Great, me too. But the movie listings will confirm that the multiplex is largely devoid of homegrown offerings, neither commercial-minded nor art. So where are the movies? They are getting made, and the national film funder Telefilm has a much-needed plan to ease the path to make many more, but most won’t be discovered by Canadians at the box office or anywhere else.
I have spent my career in the business of Canadian film as a production and distribution executive and yes, I admit, lots of people think Canadian films are not for them – and many more would be hard-pressed to name one from recent memory. There is a paradox in the missing cohort of current homegrown films and filmmakers at the box office. It’s not a lack of talent. Canadians make movies for Hollywood every day. We have the best movie craftspeople on the planet. It, X Men: Apocalypse and Blade Runner 2049 are recent Hollywood releases made mostly by Canadian crews. It’s also not a lack of market. Canadians spent around a billion dollars on movie tickets last year. So why has it become so rare for an English-language Canadian film to connect with audiences?