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From the editor (re Sheila Copps and Bill C-55).

Sheila Copps has been on my mind recently. With two separate initiatives she has come to dominate my life in ways that are not entirely pleasant. And I'm not referring to the salacious spread in Larry Flynt's Hustler. With Bill C-55 and her feature-film proposals, whatever the minister does in the next few months will affect the future of Take One. First, let's start with Bill C-55.

The bill, as most people must know by now, is meant to protect Canadian magazines from "split runs" of American magazines, like Sports Illustrated, which publish cheap Canadian editions with little or no Canadian content but lots of Canadian ads. This particular bill grew out of a Canadian loss at the World Trade Organization in a case brought forward by the United States. Losing one battle has led the minister into charging head first into another very politicized fistfight with the Americans that is essentially irrelevant to the vast majority of magazines published in Canada. Most Canadian magazines have circulations of less than 5,000. No big, bad American publisher is going to do a split run of Take One, Fuse, Canadian Forum or C Magazine. Traditionally, this sector has been underfunded and it's these magazines that are in need of support, not the large corporations that publish the few magazines that will benefit if, by some fluke, this new Canadian legislation passes muster at the World Trade Organization, which is uncertain at best. Right now there are proposals being circulated in the Heritage ministry to establish a much-needed magazine marketing fund. These proposals, which would see part of the current postal subsidy directed toward developing marketing and infrastructure development programs for all Canadian magazines, won't see the light of day until this political version of smoke and mirrors (Copps has already said she won't enact the bill's sanctions until further consultation with American interests) has blown over.

With regards to the minister's feature-film proposals, the creation of a new feature-film fund would no doubt be beneficial to the industry, but the federal government's lack of commitment to this idea was illustrated by the finance minister deleting any new funds from the recent federal budget. There already exists a feature-film fund within Telefilm, and the creation of another fund co-managed by multipartners could lead to yet another bureaucratic boondoggle like the disbursements of television funds last spring. Still, the need for new money is imperative as is the emphasis on the national TV networks, most notably Global and CTV, to spend more money on broadcast rights for Canadian features. The threat of withdrawing tax credits for American productions is a great worry to the industry in British Columbia, but less so in Toronto and Montreal, where indigenous Canadian production flourishes; although, no one in the industry would welcome a withdrawal of the American cash cow. The oddest thing about Copps's proposals is the idea that Canadian feature films can somehow achieve a 10 per cent ownership of their own screens. Canadian films currently occupy less than two per cent in most parts of the country and 10 per cent seems ridiculously optimistic. Four or five per cent is obtainable if we can dramatically increase the production of feature films, at all budget levels. We need a critical mass, which can only be achieved by grassroot support for young filmmakers, to find the next generation of Cronenbergs, Arcands and Egoyans.

Finally, we received this letter from Paul Almond, now living in California: "Please note that on p. 30 of your Winter issue (No. 22), you erroneously state that Jean Faucher's film was the first CFDC-supported film. One phone call to Michael Spencer will confirm that The Act of the Heart was the first CFDC-supported film. Yours sincerely." We want to sincerely apologize to Mr. Almond for the factual error and thank him for setting the record straight.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Canadian Independent Film & Television Publishing Association
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Wise, W.P.
Publication:Take One
Date:Mar 22, 1999
Words:643
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