Canadian filmmakers continues to defy being creatively pigeon hold, and will once again stand shoulder to shoulder with their international colleagues as we celebrate 40 years of TIFF. Our festival (Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada), is considered to be the most important North America film festival, and #3 on the circuit behind Cannes and Sundance, making Toronto a must-stop on the lead up to award season. It attracts the globe’s establish and emerging filmmakers with the best of the years new titles, with a significant number having their world premiers at TIFF, that adds up to an insane viewing schedule of films from around the world, loads of glamour on the red carpet and a city-wide buzz that’s intoxicating. At the center of this excitement, perfuming the air with optimistic confidence, are our Canadian filmmakers (Anglo & Franco) who knows with absolute certainty, CanCon is a “young giant” coming of age.
Another reason for TIFF’s festival circuit enviable standing is our discerning Canadian film loving audiences. Arbiters of the cinema, and often the first to spot a true Oscar contender, TIFF’s audiences have the respect of the global film community. Our own content creators are very aware TIFF can often be the only occasion audiences hear about or get the opportunity to screen a Canadian filmmaker’s work, so the competition for a seat in the fest is fierce. However, the festival catalog (399 films for 2015) presents a major challenge for our ‘in-demand’ film lovers whose mantra, “so much to see and so little time”, is the buzz that hovers over every lineup for a screening. In this rarefied situation, Canadians like every other filmmaker with a film in the festival are still competing for visibility and ‘bums-in-seats’, but this is our town and our festival and as always, the MIC Team is preparing their annual specially formatted schedule. We make it easy to add a few of the 74 CanCon films screening at TIFF 40 to your must see list.
The MIC Team
The MIC Team has been actively confronting and poking the bear since the 2009 making of our documentary ‘Made In Canada’, during which we were confronted head-on with the reality of inadequate domestic theatrical distribution for films with a CanCon label; little or no promotional support for this content, and the resulting limited audience awareness. It is at this intersection our documentary team felt compelled to use the insights we gained to do more than report on what is not and focus on building awareness and engagement for what is.
With the help of interns and online platforms, MIC now engages with CanCon at the grassroots: listening, screening, capturing and sharing through social media channels www.facebook.com/madeincanadamedia, www.twitter.com/micbites, www.youtube.com/madeincanadamedia and newsletter distribution. Our objective is to build audience awareness beyond our immediate industry. Recently we introduced the MIC blog at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival with our inaugural blogger Danica Oliva, herself an emerging Canadian filmmaker – we plan to continue blogging at TIFF 2015 on “Views in and outside of Canada’s film industry’. Read Danica and other guest bloggers at www.micviews.com.
Helping to make connecting even easier is the Canadian Media Producers Association http://www.cmpa.ca/ who is chairing another grassroots initiative with a very simple call-to-action #eyeoncanada.
However, MIC and the industry team behind the ‘Eye On Canada’ projects are not the only teams actively working to bridge the divide between Canadian audiences and Canadian content. For years ‘TIFF Film Circuit’ http://tiff.net/filmcircuit has toured films across Canada, and during our 2009 documentary interview with TIFF’s Executives Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey, we learned the CanCon in their touring catalog often tops the demand list. The ‘Telefilm’ http://www.telefilm.ca/ ‘Canada’s World of Talent’ slogan has become a global promotional megaphone and from MIC’s 2015 Cannes Festival Blogger Danica Oliva’s report, Telefilm’s role at international festivals and markets is absolutely indispensable. ‘First Weekend Club’ http://firstweekendclub.ca/ is on relentless ‘national blast’ to insure crucial timely alerts for every CanCon lucky to get a Canadian theatrical release, and this year they upped the ante with the launch of a VOD platform – ‘Canada Screens’ – if you missed CanCon at the cinema, you will find it here. Then there is ‘Reel Canada’ http://www.reelcanada.ca, the roving High School CanCon Festival. These young consumers and content creators are getting an early opportunity to engage with Canadian filmmakers work, and it is paying off in rich storytelling and a wealth of creatively imaginative projects vying each year for a TIFF seat. Now, with a raft of industry and business support, including the must-have participation of cinema owners, Reel Canada has taken CanCon to the streets with the launch of ‘National Canada Film Day’ http://www.reelcanada.ca/ncfd/. Next year this CanCon daylong binge fest will celebrate its 3rd anniversary April 20, 2016 – mark your calendars, share with friends and family, #eyeoncanada, #canconcomingofage and share your views http://www.micviews.com, https://twitter.com/micbites.
Yes! The CanCon industry is coming of age.