Oct 01, 2020
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Film-industry champion buys Canadian

Mary Walsh got big laughs from a small crowd at a screening of Crackie at last year’s Victoria Film Festival.

“At least four Canadians will see it now,” she joked after noting Sherry White’s Canadian drama in which she plays a troubled East Coast teenager’s brash, foul-mouthed grandma made it onto Toronto International Film Festival’s Top 10 list.

Festival-goers chuckled when the actress of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame quipped “It’s Canadian? Nope, not going to see it. Forget about it,” yet the fact Canadian films are still such a tough sell at home is no laughing matter.

It’s an issue Anita Adams, executive director of First Weekend Club, has become all too familiar with since 2003 when she founded the national non-profit organization that aims to build awareness and audiences for quality Canadian films.

Only 3.4 per cent of nationwide box-office revenues last year were from Canadian films, she said. Not surprisingly, U.S. releases accounted for 83 per cent of box-office take, although Adams says the situation is improving.

A growing number of Canadian films that would only last a week if they didn’t sell enough tickets on the crucial opening weekend to warrant a second week, are lasting longer, she says. And while it’s difficult to measure the precise impact of the 15,000-member film club’s grassroots efforts, its mission to put more bums in seats for a Canadian film’s first weekend to help it build an audience and maybe attract American distributors, does seem to be making a difference.

The club helps create buzz for independent Canadian films that lack Hollywood’s clout. Films that get the club’s stamp of approval are promoted through emails to supporters, who in turn alert others about a film’s first weekend.

It also sponsors special screenings and and makes strategic appearances, as when club members showed up at the Odeon dressed as zombies to mark the opening of Victoria-raised filmmaker Andrew Currie’s zombie satire Fido.

“There are so many different things that have to be in a place for a film to work. We’re one cog in the wheel,” says Adams, whose word-of-mouth campaigns have helped audiences discover films like Trigger, Incendies, Chloe and Fathers and Sons.

“The attitude seems to be shifting,” the Canadian film champion says, theorizing the “buy local” movement has helped.

“It’s fitting in with that. We don’t tout that it’s your duty. Our mandate is to help people discover great Canadian films.”

Building on that success — the club has promoted 150 theatrical releases so far — the Vancouver filmmaker and mother-of-two is now taking the film promotion vehicle into the online world with a video-on-demand streaming platform.

“We’ll be able to reach more people and share more exciting things,” says Adams, noting the new pay-per-view “virtual cinema” will be the first such service dedicated to Canadian films.

“What’s different about our site is it’s curated so you’re only going to find the best. They tend to get buried on Netflix or iTunes. They don’t stand out”

Like many organizations, First Weekend Club has faced funding challenges during a time of economic uncertainty. Rather than wait for funding partners to commit, it has opted to develop the new initiative slowly, beginnng with a campaign using the online Indie GoGo crowd-funding platorm to raise $20,000 for start-up costs.

“We’re at that stage where the time is right,” Adams says. “A number of potential partners have said ‘That’s a great idea, let’s follow up next year.’ But that can go on and on and we don’t want to do this next year. We want to do this now.

“We thought, ‘Let’s build something where we can engage our 15,000 members right away, work with our existing partners and engage them in the process and let it grow organically,” said Adams, not one to take no for an answer.

The plan, she said, is to get it up and running and show funders what they can accomplish before reapplying.

“This is a proactive way to get something off the ground. A lot of sweat equity has gone into it. It’s a passion project,” notes the photogenic cinephile who even agreed to model one of the sexy black-and-gold tank tops offered to donors online.

“Hey, we’re flogging it,” laughs Adams, whose initiative has been embraced by Canadian filmmakers and actors.

A jokey teaser features input from actors Fred Ewanuick (Corner Gas) and Amanda Tapping (Stargate), and filmmakers Charles Martin Smith (Dolphin’s Tale), Carl Bessai, Velcrow Ripper, Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky), Kari Skogland (Fifty Dead Men Walking) and Jean- Marc Vallee (C.R.A.Z.Y.).

Other members of the Canadian film community have offered perks including film passes, Master Classes, autographed DVDs, and a dinner and movie experience with two of Canada’s best known filmmakers. Levels of support range from $5 to $5,000, with $50 getting you a personalized seat in the virtual cinema and a chance to test drive it.

The goal is to raise enough to develop a beta site, pay hosting fees and upgrade First Weekend Club’s current website, Adams said. Additional funds are earmarked for marketing and building a larger archive of noteworthy Canadian films.

Source: Times Colonist

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Front Page, Industry News

Film-industry champion buys Canadian

Mary Walsh got big laughs from a small crowd at a screening of Crackie at last year’s Victoria Film Festival.

“At least four Canadians will see it now,” she joked after noting Sherry White’s Canadian drama in which she plays a troubled East Coast teenager’s brash, foul-mouthed grandma made it onto Toronto International Film Festival’s Top 10 list.

Festival-goers chuckled when the actress of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame quipped “It’s Canadian? Nope, not going to see it. Forget about it,” yet the fact Canadian films are still such a tough sell at home is no laughing matter.

It’s an issue Anita Adams, executive director of First Weekend Club, has become all too familiar with since 2003 when she founded the national non-profit organization that aims to build awareness and audiences for quality Canadian films.

Only 3.4 per cent of nationwide box-office revenues last year were from Canadian films, she said. Not surprisingly, U.S. releases accounted for 83 per cent of box-office take, although Adams says the situation is improving.

A growing number of Canadian films that would only last a week if they didn’t sell enough tickets on the crucial opening weekend to warrant a second week, are lasting longer, she says. And while it’s difficult to measure the precise impact of the 15,000-member film club’s grassroots efforts, its mission to put more bums in seats for a Canadian film’s first weekend to help it build an audience and maybe attract American distributors, does seem to be making a difference.

The club helps create buzz for independent Canadian films that lack Hollywood’s clout. Films that get the club’s stamp of approval are promoted through emails to supporters, who in turn alert others about a film’s first weekend.

It also sponsors special screenings and and makes strategic appearances, as when club members showed up at the Odeon dressed as zombies to mark the opening of Victoria-raised filmmaker Andrew Currie’s zombie satire Fido.

“There are so many different things that have to be in a place for a film to work. We’re one cog in the wheel,” says Adams, whose word-of-mouth campaigns have helped audiences discover films like Trigger, Incendies, Chloe and Fathers and Sons.

“The attitude seems to be shifting,” the Canadian film champion says, theorizing the “buy local” movement has helped.

“It’s fitting in with that. We don’t tout that it’s your duty. Our mandate is to help people discover great Canadian films.”

Building on that success — the club has promoted 150 theatrical releases so far — the Vancouver filmmaker and mother-of-two is now taking the film promotion vehicle into the online world with a video-on-demand streaming platform.

“We’ll be able to reach more people and share more exciting things,” says Adams, noting the new pay-per-view “virtual cinema” will be the first such service dedicated to Canadian films.

“What’s different about our site is it’s curated so you’re only going to find the best. They tend to get buried on Netflix or iTunes. They don’t stand out”

Like many organizations, First Weekend Club has faced funding challenges during a time of economic uncertainty. Rather than wait for funding partners to commit, it has opted to develop the new initiative slowly, beginnng with a campaign using the online Indie GoGo crowd-funding platorm to raise $20,000 for start-up costs.

“We’re at that stage where the time is right,” Adams says. “A number of potential partners have said ‘That’s a great idea, let’s follow up next year.’ But that can go on and on and we don’t want to do this next year. We want to do this now.

“We thought, ‘Let’s build something where we can engage our 15,000 members right away, work with our existing partners and engage them in the process and let it grow organically,” said Adams, not one to take no for an answer.

The plan, she said, is to get it up and running and show funders what they can accomplish before reapplying.

“This is a proactive way to get something off the ground. A lot of sweat equity has gone into it. It’s a passion project,” notes the photogenic cinephile who even agreed to model one of the sexy black-and-gold tank tops offered to donors online.

“Hey, we’re flogging it,” laughs Adams, whose initiative has been embraced by Canadian filmmakers and actors.

A jokey teaser features input from actors Fred Ewanuick (Corner Gas) and Amanda Tapping (Stargate), and filmmakers Charles Martin Smith (Dolphin’s Tale), Carl Bessai, Velcrow Ripper, Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky), Kari Skogland (Fifty Dead Men Walking) and Jean- Marc Vallee (C.R.A.Z.Y.).

Other members of the Canadian film community have offered perks including film passes, Master Classes, autographed DVDs, and a dinner and movie experience with two of Canada’s best known filmmakers. Levels of support range from $5 to $5,000, with $50 getting you a personalized seat in the virtual cinema and a chance to test drive it.

The goal is to raise enough to develop a beta site, pay hosting fees and upgrade First Weekend Club’s current website, Adams said. Additional funds are earmarked for marketing and building a larger archive of noteworthy Canadian films.

Source: Times Colonist

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Front Page, Industry News

Film-industry champion buys Canadian

Mary Walsh got big laughs from a small crowd at a screening of Crackie at last year’s Victoria Film Festival.

“At least four Canadians will see it now,” she joked after noting Sherry White’s Canadian drama in which she plays a troubled East Coast teenager’s brash, foul-mouthed grandma made it onto Toronto International Film Festival’s Top 10 list.

Festival-goers chuckled when the actress of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame quipped “It’s Canadian? Nope, not going to see it. Forget about it,” yet the fact Canadian films are still such a tough sell at home is no laughing matter.

It’s an issue Anita Adams, executive director of First Weekend Club, has become all too familiar with since 2003 when she founded the national non-profit organization that aims to build awareness and audiences for quality Canadian films.

Only 3.4 per cent of nationwide box-office revenues last year were from Canadian films, she said. Not surprisingly, U.S. releases accounted for 83 per cent of box-office take, although Adams says the situation is improving.

A growing number of Canadian films that would only last a week if they didn’t sell enough tickets on the crucial opening weekend to warrant a second week, are lasting longer, she says. And while it’s difficult to measure the precise impact of the 15,000-member film club’s grassroots efforts, its mission to put more bums in seats for a Canadian film’s first weekend to help it build an audience and maybe attract American distributors, does seem to be making a difference.

The club helps create buzz for independent Canadian films that lack Hollywood’s clout. Films that get the club’s stamp of approval are promoted through emails to supporters, who in turn alert others about a film’s first weekend.

It also sponsors special screenings and and makes strategic appearances, as when club members showed up at the Odeon dressed as zombies to mark the opening of Victoria-raised filmmaker Andrew Currie’s zombie satire Fido.

“There are so many different things that have to be in a place for a film to work. We’re one cog in the wheel,” says Adams, whose word-of-mouth campaigns have helped audiences discover films like Trigger, Incendies, Chloe and Fathers and Sons.

“The attitude seems to be shifting,” the Canadian film champion says, theorizing the “buy local” movement has helped.

“It’s fitting in with that. We don’t tout that it’s your duty. Our mandate is to help people discover great Canadian films.”

Building on that success — the club has promoted 150 theatrical releases so far — the Vancouver filmmaker and mother-of-two is now taking the film promotion vehicle into the online world with a video-on-demand streaming platform.

“We’ll be able to reach more people and share more exciting things,” says Adams, noting the new pay-per-view “virtual cinema” will be the first such service dedicated to Canadian films.

“What’s different about our site is it’s curated so you’re only going to find the best. They tend to get buried on Netflix or iTunes. They don’t stand out”

Like many organizations, First Weekend Club has faced funding challenges during a time of economic uncertainty. Rather than wait for funding partners to commit, it has opted to develop the new initiative slowly, beginnng with a campaign using the online Indie GoGo crowd-funding platorm to raise $20,000 for start-up costs.

“We’re at that stage where the time is right,” Adams says. “A number of potential partners have said ‘That’s a great idea, let’s follow up next year.’ But that can go on and on and we don’t want to do this next year. We want to do this now.

“We thought, ‘Let’s build something where we can engage our 15,000 members right away, work with our existing partners and engage them in the process and let it grow organically,” said Adams, not one to take no for an answer.

The plan, she said, is to get it up and running and show funders what they can accomplish before reapplying.

“This is a proactive way to get something off the ground. A lot of sweat equity has gone into it. It’s a passion project,” notes the photogenic cinephile who even agreed to model one of the sexy black-and-gold tank tops offered to donors online.

“Hey, we’re flogging it,” laughs Adams, whose initiative has been embraced by Canadian filmmakers and actors.

A jokey teaser features input from actors Fred Ewanuick (Corner Gas) and Amanda Tapping (Stargate), and filmmakers Charles Martin Smith (Dolphin’s Tale), Carl Bessai, Velcrow Ripper, Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky), Kari Skogland (Fifty Dead Men Walking) and Jean- Marc Vallee (C.R.A.Z.Y.).

Other members of the Canadian film community have offered perks including film passes, Master Classes, autographed DVDs, and a dinner and movie experience with two of Canada’s best known filmmakers. Levels of support range from $5 to $5,000, with $50 getting you a personalized seat in the virtual cinema and a chance to test drive it.

The goal is to raise enough to develop a beta site, pay hosting fees and upgrade First Weekend Club’s current website, Adams said. Additional funds are earmarked for marketing and building a larger archive of noteworthy Canadian films.

Source: Times Colonist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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