A new law that changes Canada’s work permit rules might make it more difficult for American producers do business north of the border. “This effectively shuts down the ability for American producers to bring up actors, producers and directors to work on the shows up here,” an American producer shooting in Vancouver tells Deadline. The law was intended to reduce the number of foreign workers employed in the Canadian fast-food and oil-pipeline industries, but it could create a problem for the film and television industry.
The new law, which took effect Friday, requires employers to give 15 days’ notice before applying for permits to hire foreign workers. For American TV producers working under tight shooting schedules in Canada, this added lead time could make it much more difficult to bring in people from the States. Says the U.S. producer, “With less than eight days’ lead time and not a deep pool of Canadian actors and directors, not being able to hire American actors and directors will doom the large Canadian production industry.” Read More »
Entertainment One will continue to distribute The Weinstein Co‘s feature films in Canada through December 31, 2019 under an extended output deal. Following its acquisition of rival Alliance Films last year, eOne released TWC titles including Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook and The Butler across all media in the territory. Upcoming titles include Paddington, St Vincent De Van Nuys, The Giver and The Railway Man. The new agreement also includes Radius-TWC’s premium VOD slate in Canada. EOne has about 23% of the local market and a series of 10 output deals with U.S. indies whose films make up roughly half of its annual slate. Nelson Kuo-Lee, Richard Rapkowski and Patrice Théroux brokered the TWC extension for eOne with David Glasser, Irwin Reiter and Andy Kim for TWC.
Leading French pay-TV operator Canal Plus is planting its first flag in Canada under this new deal with Dailymotion, Europe’s answer to YouTube. Canal+ Canada will launch in November as a VOD platform carrying original programming plus movies, TV series (including Les Revenants and The Tunnel), and documentaries. Sports for the moment are not part of the package. The service will be accessible in all of Canada, but the content will be delivered in French. Unlimited access to Canal+ Canada will be available via a monthly $7.99 subscription. There’s also an à la carte option. As with the Canal Plus flagship channel in France, the online Canadian outlet will air its news and entertainment shows unencrypted. Those include daily programs Les Guignols, Le Petit Journal and Le Grand Journal (for regulars of the Cannes Film Festival, that’s the one that broadcasts from the Croisette throughout the event).
UPDATED 3:40 PM: Thailand has put up the psycho-thriller Countdown as its entry for the Foreign Language Oscar. Director Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya’s film revolves around three potheads who are tormented by a dealer (David Asavanond) in their New York apartment on New Year’s Eve.
PREVIOUSLY: Italy, Spain, Denmark and China are among the big territories yet to announce their submissions for the Foreign Language Oscar race as the October 1st deadline approaches. Canada, which has made a strong showing with the Academy in the past several years, chimed in today. The selection committee at Téléfilm Canada has chosen Louise Archambault’s Gabrielle to represent the country. Along with 2011′s Monsieur Lazhar and 2010′s Incendies, that scores a hat trick of films from Montréal-based production company micro_scope to have been annointed in the last four years. Both Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar and Prisoners‘ director Denis Villeneuve‘s Incendies went on to eventual nominations. (Last year’s Canadian entry, War Witch, produced by Item 7, was also a nominee.) Gabrielle is the story of a musicallytalented young woman suffering from Williams syndrome. When she falls in love with a fellow choir member, she seeks valiantly to prove her independence. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Although Amour, which is also one of the rare Foreign Language nominees also to be simultaneously nominated for Best Picture, is a heavy betting favorite to be named this year’s Best Foreign Language Film, the field is a rich one with the final five coming from a record 71 entries from around the world. Norway’s Kon-Tiki, Chile’s first-ever nominee No, Denmark’s A Royal Affairand Canada’s War Witchalso provide for a varied and exciting blend of some of the best international cinema 2012 had to offer. Standing out as perhaps the most unique entry is War Witch because there is hardly anything on the surface that is obviously Canadian about it. From Quebec-based director Kim Nguyen, it tells the story of a young 12-year-old girl who is kidnapped by African rebels, forced to kill her parents at gunpoint and then fight as a child soldier against the government. With an extraordinary central performance by Rachel Mwanza that won her the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 62nd Berlin Film Festival, the film will open in NY on March 1st through Tribeca Films and expand after that. First, it is going to the Oscars. Here’s an exclusive featurette.
In both the U.S. and Canada, the Super Bowl is the biggest TV event of the year. But unlike Americans, a 2012 poll showed that more Canadians planned to watch the ads rather than the game itself. Unfortunately most of the big-budget commercials in Sunday’s game aren’t available to Canadian viewers. The result, according to CBC, is a yearly rush on TV antennas by Canadians living close to the US-Canada border. In the Great White North, stations pay a fee for the right to air the Super Bowl in individual markets. That fee doesn’t include the right to air ads from the U.S. broadcast (due to royalties issues, regional ad strategies and the way media is segregated between different countries). These stations sell their own ad time at a much cheaper rate. While the U.S. ads quickly appear online, Canadian regulations have created what Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos called “almost third-world access” to the Internet. Extremely low data caps and huge fees for exceeding them make streaming video dicey for Canadians. The best option for people living close to the U.S. is to get a pair of rabbit ears and catch the signal from U.S. TV stations. Read More »
The country’s television regulators took a potentially big step in that direction on Friday — and it could reverberate in the U.S. where Big Media companies are determined to keep their lucrative pay TV packages intact. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission said that Bell Media — the country’s largest owner of cable and satellite channels — has the right to unbundle its services: A household’s payments for each channel can be pegged to the number ordered. (For example, those who want just a few channels would pay more for each one than would someone else who orders lots of services.) The ruling doesn’t require pay TV distributors to break-apart their bundles, although that’s something the regulators clearly want. Bell Media President Kevin Crull acknowledged that the ruling could result in higher prices per channel. But he says the change — which would free consumers from having to pay for channels that they don’t want — will help Canada ”maintain its position as a world leader in providing consumers with both a wide array of programming choices as well as packaging flexibility, all at affordable rates.” All eyes will be on Canada’s experience: Programmers here vigorously oppose a la carte pricing. They say it could result in consumers paying more than they do now while potentially dozens of channels — especially those appealing to niche audiences — go out of business. A change also could trash the earnings of … Read More »
“This is the most comprehensive effort to modernize our copyright laws in over a decade,” James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, said about the country’s controversial new Copyright Modernization Act. The new law — also known as Bill C-11 — aligns Canada more closely with the World Intellectual Property Organization. The country’s long reluctance to update its anti-piracy laws made it a regular on the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual Priority Watch List. In February the International Intellectual Property Alliance said that Canada’s effort to combat piracy “falls far short of what should be expected of our neighbor and largest trading partner, with ineffective border controls, insufficient enforcement resources, inadequate enforcement policies, and a seeming inability to impose deterrent penalties on pirates.” Canada’s new law includes a provision that the U.S. strongly supported that makes it illegal for consumers to break so-called digital locks, including copy protection mechanisms on CDs and DVDs. It also increased the penalties for infringment: Read More »
If you’re Canadian and you want to talk to Brad Pitt or Kristen Stewart at the Cannes Film Festival, be prepared to pay. Toronto’s Alliance Films has sent out a menu of prices to Canadian journalists for them to pay if they want to participate in junkets in France for Pitt’s Killing Them Softly and Stewart’s On The Road. Alliance is the Canadian distributor for the two movies. The costs, all originally in Euros, are very specific. The price for a TV interview with Pitt is about $3,232. A one-on-one print interview with Stewart would be around $1,293. You can’t actually get a one-on-one print interview with Pitt, as the menu says the actor is only available for paired interviews with other Killing Me Softly actors such as James Gandolfini or Richard Jenkins. A number of prominent Canadian outlets like the Globe And Mail and the National Post have said they will not pay for, nor participate in, the interviews.
“Alliance decided not to partake in the Cannes junkets for Killing Them Softly and On the Road, however we wanted to provide Canadian journalists the opportunity to participate directly if they so choose,” a company spokesperson told Deadline. Alliance says that it will be fully paying for a junket for Canadian journalists when it brings the films and their stars to North America later this year. Alliance also said there will be no fees for … Read More »
The U.S. Trade Representative’s annual list of the countries on America’s official piracy radar was released today, with Spain and Malaysia dropping off the roster and Ukraine coming aboard. The highest Priority Watch List includes thirteen countries: Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela. The report says online piracy is “rapidly supplanting physical piracy in many markets around the world” and nowhere more so than in China, where 99% of all music downloads are illegal. Streaming sites with pirated content also have become the preferred venues to watch TV shows, movies, and live sports events. “Strong copyright protection and enforcement are vital to our industry’s ability to create U.S. jobs, grow our own economy, and expand U.S. exports,” MPAA chairman Chris Dodd said today in commending the Special 301 report. Read More »
Canada’s CBC Public Broadcasting announced today that 256 jobs, overseas news bureaus, and programs on both its TV and Radio services, would be lost due to government cutbacks and budget shortfalls. At the same time it is looking for a new chairperson for its Board of Directors. Though the gig is only part time and pays a mere $17,000 a year. CBC Board chair Timothy Casgrain’s five-year term is up. Five of the 12-member CBC board, including CBC President and CEO Hubert Lacroix, are up for renewal this year. Appointed by the current government in 2008, Lacroix’s present term is set to expire in December 2012.
The layoffs will take place this spring and summer. In the English Services portion of the bilingual company, 215 full time jobs will be cut by July 31st, with the remaining 51 to come in the next two years. In the Radio-Canada French portion of the company, 153 jobs are being slashed by this summer. In corporate CBC, 105 jobs will be lost. That’s a total of 473 jobs gone by the end of July. An additional 177 jobs are to be pink- slipped by 2015 to meet the Canadian government’s $115 million CBC budget cuts announced on March 29th. The cuts are part of the CBC’s efforts to find $200 million in budget savings, plus another $25 million for severances and other one-time costs to overset the … Read More »
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) and the National Film Board of Canada are going to have to make do with 10% less. That’s the amount Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s budget cut Tuesday from the public broadcaster and the documentary agency. The CBC will lose $115 million, in Canadian dollars, from the $1.1 billion it currently receives from the Canadian government. Telefilm Canada will also see a 10% reduction in its budget.
The initial CBC cuts will take place over two years, with $27.8 million lost in 2012-2013 and then $69.9 million in 2013-2014. After 2014, $115 million will come out the broadcaster’s annual taxpayer subsidy. Government funding currently makes up 60% of the CBC’s overall revenue.
The NFB will lose $6.7 million a year until 2015. Telefilm Canada will lose $10.6 million.
While he made no reference to the CBC or NFB cuts in his budget speech, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty did say that, in aiming for a balanced budget by 2016, “we will implement moderate restraint in government spending.” The government is cutting $5.2 billion annually overall from its current expenditures of $276.1 billion. Read More »
The $3.4B deal, which includes debt, is one of the largest media mergers Canada has ever seen – and will significantly strengthen BCE’s clout in Quebec. With Astral, Canada’s top telecom company will add to its collection of pay TV channels (including The Movie Network and HBO Canada). Astral’s also the largest radio station owner, with 83 in 50 markets. And it’s the No. 3 billboard company. Astral’s shares, which trade in Toronto are up 34% at mid-day. Here are the terms:
MONTRÉAL, March 16, 2012 – BCE Inc. (Bell) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Montréal-based Astral Media Inc. (Astral) and its leading specialty and pay television channels, radio stations, digital media properties and out-of-home advertising platforms in Québec and across the rest of Canada. Greatly strengthening Bell’s competitive position in the important Québec media marketplace, this transaction directly supports Bell’s strategy of investment and innovation in broadband networks and content.
The French Canadian film that lost to Iran’s A Separation at last month’s Oscars, got partial compensation when it took home six Genie Awards Thursday night in Toronto, including best picture, best director (Philippe Falardeau) and best supporting actress (Sophie Nélisse). Monsieur Lazhar premiered domestically on January 20 at the Sundance Film Festival and is getting a limited release here on April 13. Vanessa Paradis took home best actress for Café de Flore, Viggo Mortensen took supporting actor honors and Howard Shore won for original score, both for A Dangerous Method, at the awards celebrating Canadian films.
Apple has approached Rogers Communications and Bell Canada Enterprises to determine their interest in becoming partners for a north-of-the-border launch of the much-rumored but still unconfirmed iTV, The Globe And Mail reports. One of the paper’s unnamed sources says that Apple wants a partner, or multiple partners, who have interests in wireless and broadband communications. Another says that the companies already have an iTV in their labs. Both companies offer video, phone, and broadband services — and also control content. Although Apple has not said that it plans to sell a TV set, it’s widely believed to be the company’s next big initiative after the late Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had figured out a way to improve the consumer experience. Yesterday a Web site said that Best Buy offered survey respondents an opportunity to “be one of the first” to get a 42-inch Apple HDTV for $1,499. Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek also served up an in-depth look at what he thinks an Apple iTV might do based on “our checks and an analysis of Apple’s patents.”
EXCLUSIVE: The Kansas City-based exhibition chain accounts for about 6% of Canada’s box office revenues — but I’m told that its eight theaters, with 184 screens, are a tough sell because they’re hemorrhaging cash. Cineplex Entertainment (with 66% of Canada’s box office) and Empire Theaters (a subsidiary of a supermarket chain that has 13%) are said to be kicking the tires on some of the properties, which collectively generated $70.3M in revenue in the year that ended in April 2010. But AMC’s huge multiplexes have expensive leases, and some are in competitive film zones where the stronger chains have an easier time landing the most popular new releases. AMC may find a bad deal for the venues better than the status quo. The company’s owners — several funds led by J.P. Morgan Partners and Apollo Management — are said to be desperate to recoup their investments. Read More »
Did Kremlin Have Its Hands On Russia’s Choice For Oscars? Russian critics are blaming the Kremlin and lamenting the country’s choice for the best foreign-language film entry at the Oscars. The most expensive film in the nation’s history — Burnt by the Sun-2: Citadel — was chosen despite being a box-office bomb. It was directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, a close friend of prime minister Vladimir Putin. Even the selection panel’s chairman, Oscar-winning director Vladimir Menshov, refused to sign off on the vote in protest. “The decision was unfair,” he told a correspondent from the UK’s Telegraph. “It was extremely badly received by critics, its box office receipts collapsed and it had no international festival success.” There were at least two other films that were more deserving, he added. Citadel is a three-hour take on the Red Army’s battle against the Nazis starring Mikhalkov himself and is the third installment of an epic saga. The first film in the trilogy, Burnt by the Sun, won an Oscar for the best foreign-language film in 1995. But Mikhalkov raised eyebrows by then making a two-part sequel over a period of eight years at a combined cost of $54M. Read More »
CBS chief Les Moonves has said that his company would work with Netflix in other countries. Still, this deal confirms “CBS’ ability to successfully monetize its library,” says Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker, who forecasts it will add 6 cents to CBS’ earnings per share beginning next year.
NEW YORK and BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – July 27, 2011 — CBS Corporation [NYSE: CBS.A and CBS] and Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] today announced a two-year, non-exclusive international licensing agreement that will enable certain television shows from across CBS Corporation to be streamed instantly to Netflix subscribers in Canada and Latin America. The agreement follows a separate domestic deal announced between the two companies in February. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Beginning in September, and for only $7.99 a month, Netflix members in Canada will be able to enjoy both the current and complete back seasons for CW hit “90210,” as well as past seasons of critically lauded fan favorites from SHOWTIME such as “Californication,” “Dexter,” and “The United States of Tara.” Canadian members will also have access to a broad range of CBS library programming, including “Numb3rs,” “Sleeper Cell,” and “Twin Peaks.”
Netflix announced in early July that it would be launching in 43 countries across Mexico, South America and the Caribbean later this year. Under this new deal with CBS, previous seasons of series, including “90210,” “Medium,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Californication” and “Dexter,” will be available for Latin American members to watch instantly, as will a broad range of library titles, including the original “Star Trek,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Charmed,” and “Twin Peaks.”
Santa Monica, CA, Vancouver, BC, and Montreal, Quebec (June 23, 2011) – Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, and Alliance Films, a leading Canadian distributor of motion pictures and television programming, announced that the Alliance group has agreed to purchase Lionsgate’s Canadian distributor Maple Pictures for approximately $38.5 million subject to a working capital adjustment. The announcement was made by Lionsgate President and Co-Chief Operating Officer Steve Beeks and Alliance President Charles Layton and remains subject to approval by Canadian regulatory authorities.
The Alliance group will acquire Maple and its film library and will assume responsibility for Maple’s exclusive five-year output deal with Lionsgate for Canadian distribution of Lionsgate’s motion picture and television product and Maple’s exclusive long-term arrangement for distribution of Lionsgate’s prestigious filmed entertainment library in Canada. Maple founders and Co-Presidents Laurie May and Brad Pelman will join the Alliance team.