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Message from the Chair

Over many years, a clear consensus has developed that a creative, innovative and commercially vibrant screen industry is of immense value to Canadians. Stories depicted on all screens shape and reflect Canada’s contemporary national identities, contribute to Canadians’ understanding of our history and help share our values with the rest of the world. The tangible economic value of the industry is also significant. It is one that encompasses a multitude of sustainable businesses generating over 171,000 jobs in the creative economy, and which produce exportable audiovisual content reaching global audiences. The past year provided ample evidence of our screen industry’s importance, a role which continues to be acknowledged by the Government of Canada. 

In September of 2017, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, announced the Creative Canada Policy Framework, an important first step in the government’s commitment to overhaul Canada’s cultural funding framework. Included in the policy document and confirmed by the subsequent Federal Budget was an increase in the government’s contribution to the CMF, intended to offset the decline in contributions from cable and satellite distributors. 

The CMF enthusiastically welcomed the government's efforts to strengthen its support for the creation of high-quality Canadian content at a time of increasing industry disruption. The government’s new commitments will enable the CMF to stabilize investments in the development, production, promotion and export of Canadian content and sustain jobs in the screen-based sector. 

Throughout the year, the CMF proactively worked with the Minister and her staff at Canadian Heritage to provide information and recommend potential actions aligned with the Creative Canada Policy Framework. 

Staff also collaborated with Global Affairs Canada to highlight the importance of audiovisual content as a viable and strong Canadian export. The CMF shared industry intelligence with department officials and worked with new trade commissioners on CMF initiatives in order to better align promotional efforts in global markets. This resulted in growing opportunities for mid- to long-term initiatives with trade delegations and at promotional events proposed by Canadian missions in Beijing, Dubai, London, Los Angeles, Paris, and Mexico City, to name a few.

To celebrate the success of the Canadian content industry with parliamentarians and government officials, the CMF hosted its second annual Showcase in Ottawa. Upwards of 300 guests attended the event, including several MPs and Senators, on- and off-screen talent behind several Canadian productions, as well as audiovisual industry leaders and senior members of the public service.

Further leveraging its resources and generating market opportunities for Canadian producers, the CMF pursued its strategy to execute codevelopment and coproduction agreements with international partners, which last year helped trigger $1.2M of foreign financing. Six new international matching fund agreements were signed with partners in Colombia, Germany, Luxembourg, Mexico and South Africa, as well as a multinational agreement with partners in Greenland, Norway and Russia to form an Arctic Indigenous Film Fund. Agreements signed last year with partners in Denmark and Israel supported their first round of projects in 2017-2018, while agreements were renewed with partners in Belgium, Ireland and New Zealand. These initiatives were complemented by the CMF’s activities at over 15 international markets in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank the CMF management team and all staff for another successful year. The Board would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our Program Administrator, Telefilm Canada, for their administration of our funding programs with a steady commitment to client service.

I would like to also thank outgoing Board Directors Cheryl Barker and Glenn Wong for their immense service to the CMF. In 2017-2018, we welcomed Lori DeGraw and Michael Schmalz to the Board, and we thank them for their ongoing contributions.    

On behalf of the Corporation, I also wish to express our deepest gratitude to the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors for their continued trust in the CMF, as well as their ongoing and significant investments in Canadian audiovisual production and innovation. Their commitment to the CMF’s mission and vision ensures that Canada’s content industry thrives and is well positioned to continue leading in the global digital economy.

Alain Cousineau
Chair of the Board of Directors

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