New Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is promising more details will emerge on Creative Canada – A Vision for Canada’s Creative Industries in the coming weeks.
The strategic “roadmap” focused on supporting Canadian creators was announced almost one year ago by Rodriguez’s predecessor in the culture portfolio Melanie Joly. Since the initial announcement, with the $500 million Netflix Canada Canadian content agreement at its centre, few new details have been released.
During a stop at Vancouver Film School (VFS) Friday morning on what was Rodriguez’s inaugural tour of Western Canada since becoming minister, he took the opportunity to promote the Creative Export Strategy – a $125 million federal investment over five years – aimed at increasing the presence of Canadian content creators, from film to gaming and animation, abroad.
Half of VFS’ student body is comprised of international students and Rodriguez reiterated the importance of looking for opportunities in new markets.
Jordan Paterson, a director/producer with Vancouver-based Rare Earth Media Group, who was part of Joly’s creative industries trade mission to China in April, said his experience was extremely positive. It ended in the signing of a co-production agreement to produce a feature film on Canadian doctor Norman Bethune, who is credited with bringing modern medicine to rural China.
Paterson said Heritage staff did their homework ahead of the trip, which resulted in 23 collaboration agreements between Canadian and Chinese companies worth nearly $125 million.
“If you can have a little success each time with your projects, strengthen your repeat collaboration, then I think you have a better chance for success. The Creative Export Strategy will help. It’s highly competitive…you have all the creative industries applying for these funds…but an incredible opportunity to create work and foster work that might not be seen otherwise.”
Paterson, who is also anxious to see more details from Creative Canada, is calling for more funding for projects in diverse languages. He’d also like to see a formal TV co-production agreement between Canada and China.
Industry concerns: tax credits, skilled labour
Federal tax credits, the importance of collaboration, skilled labour, and immigration programs, were among the themes the minister said sprang from his conservations with screen industry representatives.
Following a tour of North Vancouver’s North Shore Studios, Rodriguez said his initial impressions of the movie business from the inside were “cool.”
“I’m very impressed,” Rodriguez said, noting he was particularly taken with a re-creation of the Oval Office on his studio tour.
Rodriguez wrapped up his West Coast trip meeting with arts and culture groups at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre.
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