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Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema at home in Toronto on March 7, 2012. (Charla Jones/Charla Jones for the Globe and Mail)
Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema at home in Toronto on March 7, 2012. (Charla Jones/Charla Jones for the Globe and Mail)

Movies

Patricia Rozema's manifesto for Canadian movies Add to ...

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... to make Canada soo unbelievably hospitable (in terms of financial rewards and artistic freedom) to writers and actors and directors that we cause a U.S. brain drain into Canada.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... to realize the old business model is dead. We have to start including YouTube, video games, TV shows, live shows, movie theatres and music in all of our ideas about filmed fiction. Nature rewards cross-pollination. The big screens are going to be increasingly hogged by the blockbusters (“four quadrant tent-pole franchises,” as Hollywood executives call them). The rest of us have to get very clever.

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What the Canadian film industry needs is ... to realize it is the golden age of television – groundbreaking, thoughtful and socially significant work can be made for any size of screen, or combination of screens.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... to take video games seriously. Remember all movies were once considered trivial time suckers – heck, novels were too. Video games will soon be graduating into art.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... a television/Internet interview show that becomes the definitive filmed fiction show about writers, directors and actors, maybe in association with the amazing Toronto International Film Festival.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... a Directors Guild of Canada that actually pays real residuals as the Directors Guild of America (DGA) does. Directors (like writers and composers) should have an ongoing stake in a movie or show’s performance.

What the (English-language) Canadian film industry needs is ... more collaboration with the creative hotbed that is Quebec.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... more movies or shows from our Canadian native community’s artists, and our new Canadians. Their experience is unique to our country.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... more people like Stephanie Azam, Telefilm Canada’s executive in charge of English-language feature-film funding. Now she just needs five times the money to make a real difference.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... more private-equity investment. We have many highly cultivated, artistically sensitive business leaders in our midst. Let's help them support the most popular art form/business (not mutually exclusive) of the day.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... more collaboration with the United States. Our cultures overlap significantly. We have to stop acting afraid of America. There are many smart people of exquisite taste and great knowledge there but our co-production treaties encourage collaboration with everyone except them. We can work with them on our terms, and both benefit.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... to give CBC enough money truly to be a national public broadcaster. We need a place on the Canadian dial where we can watch our work without commercial interruption (who wants to read a book with ads sprinkled throughout?). We need to let the other stations worry about selling us stuff and being beholden to the whims of advertisers. And as is the case with many other fine public international broadcasting services, the CBC should have a filmmaking arm that does feature-length material that, after a theatrical-release window, is shared with the nation on television.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... three popular hits to make people discover English-Canadian movies – hits that hang on in the top-10 list for weeks. We are ready to like ourselves. We are ready to love our own voices.

What the Canadian film industry needs is ... anyone who agrees with these thoughts to contact the people who can make these things actually happen. And it needs me to get back to work.

Patricia Rozema is a Canadian film director, writer and producer (I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, Mansfield Park, Grey Gardens, In Treatment, Michael, Tuesdays and Thursdays and now, in development, The Paper Bag Princess).

The 32nd annual Genie Awards will be broadcast Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CBC-TV.

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