Jun 27, 2017
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Film academy CEO on how to get Canadians to care about Canadian content

Should the Canadian Screen Awards use that envelope-juggling accountant from PricewaterhouseCoopers who messed up the Oscars?

Say what you will about the gut-wrenching finale, people were certainly talking about the show for days afterward. And the CSAs, which on Sunday night will celebrate the best in Canadian films and TV shows, could use whatever publicity they can get.

Last June, Montreal-born Beth Janson returned from 20 years in the United States – where, among other jobs, she had been executive director of the Tribeca Film Institute – to take over as CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which oversees the CSAs. Her first task? Figuring out how to get Canadians excited about an awards show celebrating movies that almost nobody has seen.

Why come home to take a seemingly thankless job like this?

I felt like I had a unique perspective on what was coming out of Canada. I was just blown away by the quality of the work, and by the unique perspective of it. The technology piece has always been really exceptional on the world stage. I was always amazed that the average Canadian had no idea.

“The technology piece”?

The work that’s being done in Canada in interactive storytelling and gaming.

Ah. Okay, so you’re excited about Canadian content, but how do you persuade regular folks to care about the CSAs when most of them haven’t even heard of the best picture nominees?

That’s obviously the heart of the question I ask myself every single day. The way the Canadian industry is set up right now, we fund people to make work, but we don’t fund people to market work. If people don’t know a film is out there, and you’re not marketing it to them as American companies do, then you won’t get people to see it. It’s not that complicated, actually. So, one of the things I’d like to see the Canadian Academy do is actually market our content to average Canadians.

But never mind marketing; most of these nominated movies haven’t even been in theatres yet.

First of all, half of the films can be seen on iTunes. I would like to have all of the films available somewhere digitally for people to watch, from the time the nominations are announced, to the time of the Screen Awards. You can build momentum around that if people can see it. That’s a bigger problem than I can solve right now.

Not to go down the rabbit hole of film distribution economics, but if you put a film on iTunes, most theatres won’t book it afterward because you’ve sharply reduced its value.

That’s obviously a question that a lot of distributors and theatre owners are talking about, and my opinion is you can have both.

But you’re basically saying, “Well, these movies aren’t going to make any money in theatres anyway, so let’s just go for the biggest audience”?

Or do both. What is the goal here? Is the goal to have people see your film and talk about it and celebrate it and have it as part of their consciousness? Or is it to get people in a seat, in a theatre, to watch it on a big screen? This new world is all about choice, and if you insist, “No, no, no, you have to see it in a theatre”; unless you’re creating an event around that – which I think the Academy can do, actually – good luck! Great. So you lose out on half your audience.

Do you really think Canadians care where their art and/or entertainment comes from?

Well, that’s a very loaded question.

Source: Globe and Mail

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Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Film academy CEO on how to get Canadians to care about Canadian content

Should the Canadian Screen Awards use that envelope-juggling accountant from PricewaterhouseCoopers who messed up the Oscars?

Say what you will about the gut-wrenching finale, people were certainly talking about the show for days afterward. And the CSAs, which on Sunday night will celebrate the best in Canadian films and TV shows, could use whatever publicity they can get.

Last June, Montreal-born Beth Janson returned from 20 years in the United States – where, among other jobs, she had been executive director of the Tribeca Film Institute – to take over as CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which oversees the CSAs. Her first task? Figuring out how to get Canadians excited about an awards show celebrating movies that almost nobody has seen.

Why come home to take a seemingly thankless job like this?

I felt like I had a unique perspective on what was coming out of Canada. I was just blown away by the quality of the work, and by the unique perspective of it. The technology piece has always been really exceptional on the world stage. I was always amazed that the average Canadian had no idea.

“The technology piece”?

The work that’s being done in Canada in interactive storytelling and gaming.

Ah. Okay, so you’re excited about Canadian content, but how do you persuade regular folks to care about the CSAs when most of them haven’t even heard of the best picture nominees?

That’s obviously the heart of the question I ask myself every single day. The way the Canadian industry is set up right now, we fund people to make work, but we don’t fund people to market work. If people don’t know a film is out there, and you’re not marketing it to them as American companies do, then you won’t get people to see it. It’s not that complicated, actually. So, one of the things I’d like to see the Canadian Academy do is actually market our content to average Canadians.

But never mind marketing; most of these nominated movies haven’t even been in theatres yet.

First of all, half of the films can be seen on iTunes. I would like to have all of the films available somewhere digitally for people to watch, from the time the nominations are announced, to the time of the Screen Awards. You can build momentum around that if people can see it. That’s a bigger problem than I can solve right now.

Not to go down the rabbit hole of film distribution economics, but if you put a film on iTunes, most theatres won’t book it afterward because you’ve sharply reduced its value.

That’s obviously a question that a lot of distributors and theatre owners are talking about, and my opinion is you can have both.

But you’re basically saying, “Well, these movies aren’t going to make any money in theatres anyway, so let’s just go for the biggest audience”?

Or do both. What is the goal here? Is the goal to have people see your film and talk about it and celebrate it and have it as part of their consciousness? Or is it to get people in a seat, in a theatre, to watch it on a big screen? This new world is all about choice, and if you insist, “No, no, no, you have to see it in a theatre”; unless you’re creating an event around that – which I think the Academy can do, actually – good luck! Great. So you lose out on half your audience.

Do you really think Canadians care where their art and/or entertainment comes from?

Well, that’s a very loaded question.

Source: Globe and Mail

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>

Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Film academy CEO on how to get Canadians to care about Canadian content

Should the Canadian Screen Awards use that envelope-juggling accountant from PricewaterhouseCoopers who messed up the Oscars?

Say what you will about the gut-wrenching finale, people were certainly talking about the show for days afterward. And the CSAs, which on Sunday night will celebrate the best in Canadian films and TV shows, could use whatever publicity they can get.

Last June, Montreal-born Beth Janson returned from 20 years in the United States – where, among other jobs, she had been executive director of the Tribeca Film Institute – to take over as CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which oversees the CSAs. Her first task? Figuring out how to get Canadians excited about an awards show celebrating movies that almost nobody has seen.

Why come home to take a seemingly thankless job like this?

I felt like I had a unique perspective on what was coming out of Canada. I was just blown away by the quality of the work, and by the unique perspective of it. The technology piece has always been really exceptional on the world stage. I was always amazed that the average Canadian had no idea.

“The technology piece”?

The work that’s being done in Canada in interactive storytelling and gaming.

Ah. Okay, so you’re excited about Canadian content, but how do you persuade regular folks to care about the CSAs when most of them haven’t even heard of the best picture nominees?

That’s obviously the heart of the question I ask myself every single day. The way the Canadian industry is set up right now, we fund people to make work, but we don’t fund people to market work. If people don’t know a film is out there, and you’re not marketing it to them as American companies do, then you won’t get people to see it. It’s not that complicated, actually. So, one of the things I’d like to see the Canadian Academy do is actually market our content to average Canadians.

But never mind marketing; most of these nominated movies haven’t even been in theatres yet.

First of all, half of the films can be seen on iTunes. I would like to have all of the films available somewhere digitally for people to watch, from the time the nominations are announced, to the time of the Screen Awards. You can build momentum around that if people can see it. That’s a bigger problem than I can solve right now.

Not to go down the rabbit hole of film distribution economics, but if you put a film on iTunes, most theatres won’t book it afterward because you’ve sharply reduced its value.

That’s obviously a question that a lot of distributors and theatre owners are talking about, and my opinion is you can have both.

But you’re basically saying, “Well, these movies aren’t going to make any money in theatres anyway, so let’s just go for the biggest audience”?

Or do both. What is the goal here? Is the goal to have people see your film and talk about it and celebrate it and have it as part of their consciousness? Or is it to get people in a seat, in a theatre, to watch it on a big screen? This new world is all about choice, and if you insist, “No, no, no, you have to see it in a theatre”; unless you’re creating an event around that – which I think the Academy can do, actually – good luck! Great. So you lose out on half your audience.

Do you really think Canadians care where their art and/or entertainment comes from?

Well, that’s a very loaded question.

Source: Globe and Mail

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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