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Home » Industry » The Canadian Film Industry Is Evolving and Telefilm Is Leading the Way

Telefilm Canada’s ever-evolving approach continues to support and promote the Canadian film industry, ensuring that Canadian films succeed at home and abroad.

The Canadian film industry dates back to the late 1800s and the rise of filmmaking itself. Over the years, our country has produced many incredible films, notable directors, and world-renowned actors, producers, and writers.

Canadian films are often financed with a mix of government funding and incentives, broadcaster investment, and film distributors. Central to supporting the industry’s development is Telefilm Canada, an organization that finances and promotes Canadian productions through its various funds and programs.

Telefilm is a catalyst for talent at all career stages. Its support has enabled thousands of writers, directors, producers, distributors, cast, and crew to develop careers throughout Canada.

Christa Dickenson

Christa Dickenson

Executive Director & CEO of Telefilm Canada

Key supporters of the Canadian film industry

As a Government of Canada Crown corporation in the Canadian Heritage portfolio, Telefilm supports dynamic companies and creators by providing financial support to Canadian film projects and by promoting and exporting Canadian content at festivals, markets, and events — regionally, nationally, and globally.

“Telefilm is the primary federal funding agency for the film industry,” says Christa Dickenson, Telefilm’s Executive Director, and CEO. “We also administer the funding programs of the Canada Media Fund, which is basically anything to do with television and digital media, and we certify coproduction treaties on behalf of the government.”

Telefilm is a catalyst for talent at all career stages. Its support has enabled thousands of writers, directors, producers, distributors, cast, and crew to develop careers throughout Canada on productions in both official languages as well as in Indigenous languages.

Telefilm’s timely modernization

To best direct this support and to fairly represent the diversity of Canadian filmmakers, Telefilm has worked hard to evolve with the times and to stay relevant. Recently, the organization has made some major improvements. These include redefining the decision-making process of its Production Program, ensuring that its selection process for funding new projects is more equitable.

“We shifted away from what had been a 10-year infrastructure called the Success Index, which was a mathematical formula we used for scoring. It made sense 10 years ago, but things have changed,” says Dickenson. “The new scoring system is about cultural resonance and audience engagement.”

Telefilm has also been working consciously to be more inclusive. “We’re committed to fostering and supporting an industry that’s representative of all of Canada,” says Dickenson. “That means racialized people, Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, people from official language minority communities, the LGBTQ2S+ community, and women.”

Better together

Dickenson has over three decades of experience spanning broadcast television, technology, telecommunications, and interactive digital media, having worked at CTV, CPAC, Rogers, and Interactive Ontario — making her the perfect person to spearhead Telefilm’s modernization and also to facilitate productive partnerships between government, for-profit organizations, and not-for-profits.

“The three working together always has stronger results,” she says. “Collaboration is an opportunity to share resources, to lean in on each other’s strengths, and to gain each others’ insights.”

The future of Canadian film is bright. “Post-COVID, filmmakers will continue looking for creative ways to continue production,” says Dickenson. “And Telefilm will be there to support them along the way.”

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