Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hollywood North, or, "Money for Nothing"

Each year in Canada, several film and tax credit agencies shell out over 800 million dollars in tax credits, breaks, bursaries and grants.

800 million.

What comes of it? "Men with Brooms". Crap you wouldn't sit down to watch if your very life and limb depended on it. Actually, I’d gnaw my arm off so not to have to sit through THE PREVIEW! How about 'Foolproof'? A spectacular, hair raising, bile-inducing road-wreck of a film that convinced Alliance Atlantis to give up on film altogether. How about anything “Red Green’? …duct tape me to the front of the possum van and drive into a tree.

Now, Auditor General Sheila "Humbug" Fraser has decided to stick her upturned nose in. She has stated thusly:

"More than $800-million in annual federal spending on film, television and publishing is spotted with poor oversight, weak controls and a lack of clear objectives"

In her latest audit of government operations, Fraser found that Canadian content on film projects is not systematically verified, that criteria for choosing which projects will receive Telefilm funding are unclear. In other words, Canadian content, whatever the hell that means, must be more rigorously enforced. The plot thickens... Or is that, 'congeals'?

Great, exactly what the film/TV industry in Canada needs, another hackneyed government drone with no industry experience trying to further screw up a very screwed up system, like a dog humping a splintered floorboard.

Now, I have no qualms that she wants to figure out where the extreme waste is coming from and where it winds up (graft is everywhere, baby), but targeting it from the standpoint of “if we’re gonna spend so much cash it all better be Canadian!” ain’t gonna cut it. Great, more moose.

The system does not work, and continues to be a drain, simply because instead of fostering an industry until it has the experience and tools to stand on its own and compete globally, it is left helpless and servile on the government tit. Producers time and time again see their projects torn apart by these idiot beaurocrats as they slash away at a script indeterminately adding in the errant moose, maple syrup or Toronto reference, making it unpalatable for the rest of the world (and we ain't too big on it either). I've been on shows that were great concepts that never got picked up internationally due to all the Canadiana that was slapped on. So, producers know the show will never make any money. What do they do? They follow Cinar's lead and TAKE THEIR CUT UP FRONT. Now, not only is a show been rendered unpalatable, but it is bereft of proper funds. Want to know why all the talented Canucks go to Hollywood? It's because of the fact that a producer who doesn't give two turds about what happens to a show will never pay a quality person what they are worth to do the job. Quality costs and you get what you pay for. So, Canadian film and TV continues to look amateur simply because IT IS AMATEUR. If producers were given a few bucks to help out, like the fund is supposed to do, and the government worked a bit harder at getting these films placed internationally, LIKE THEY SHOULD DO, then perhaps private investors would step in and actually SPEND THEIR OWN DAMN MONEY INSTEAD OF TAXPAYERS CASH, and we'd have a healthy industry, it'd make money instead of suck it up like a Hoover on a car battery.

But, since the Canadian government, internationally speaking, has no balls whatsoever, they take the opportunity to keep our industry servile (to Americans, mostly, they lap up tax credits like milk), and on its knees, begging for scraps. Taking it up the hoop, Canadians do it so well, and here is another example. Our government uses our own tax dollars to lord over our industry, and, like Sheila, hasn't got a clue whats going on.

In the meantime, enjoy your Anne Murray CBC specials, Cause you paid for 'em.

coming soon: Why the Quebec system works.


Blogger jj said...

"like a dog humping a splintered floorboard. "

I see you know my dog, Spot

I never expect much from Ca-Na-D-a so why bother, unless you can get money from those bastards.

12:55 a.m.  
Blogger Blog Monkey said...

hey, when you never expect, every handout's christmas day.

2:18 p.m.  

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