Telefilm Canada, the federally funded agency that distributes about $100-million annually in support of this country’s film industry, has appointed the head of a digital industry lobby group to be its next executive director.
Christa Dickenson, the president and chief executive of Interactive Ontario, will assume the position on July 30, according to a federal appointments website. Interactive Ontario represents the interests of about 300 member companies involved in gaming, app creation, e-learning, interactive media and other digital products.
She previously worked for Rogers Cable in a variety of marketing roles, according to her profile on LinkedIn. She began her career in television production at CTV and CPAC.
Ms. Dickenson does not appear to have experience in either feature-film production or agency funding, Telefilm’s primary endeavours. Telefilm’s activities include supporting script development, production and promotion.
She succeeds Carolle Brabant, a Telefilm veteran who joined the Montreal-based Crown corporation as an auditor in 1990 and worked her way up the ranks before becoming an unlikely choice for CEO in 2010.
“I cannot wait to be part of an organization that has put Canadian storytellers at the forefront of our culture for over half a century,” said Ms. Dickenson, in a statement provided to The Globe and Mail by Telefilm. “Working alongside the incredible talent of the Canadian film industry is not only inspiring but also humbling. I look forward to the incredible challenge.”
Created in 1967 as the Canadian Film Development Corporation, Telefilm’s executive suite had most recently been occupied by former producers, programmers or lawyers. Ms. Brabant was the first woman to head the organization in more than a temporary capacity. In 2011, the Hollywood Reporter tapped her as one of the 50 most powerful women in the film world.
Ms. Dickenson joins the organization as it ramps up efforts to support emerging filmmakers, as well as female and Indigenous filmmakers, after critics said the established directors and producers it favoured did not need the help.
The agency continues to struggle with how to attract English-Canadian audiences for homegrown films, which typically earn about 2 per cent of the country’s theatrical box-office revenue. During Ms. Brabant’s tenure, Telefilm introduced what it called a “Success Index,” which sought to reframe a film’s achievements by including critical acclaim, international exposure and sales, festival appearances and other metrics, as well as box-office performance.