Telefilm says sales boomed for Canuck films

A still from the film Incendies, by Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, is shown. Telefilm Canada says the Canuck film industry is growing at home and abroad, and it has the data to prove it. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

MONTREAL - Telefilm Canada says the Canuck film industry is growing at home and abroad, and it has the data to prove it.

The federal agency says domestic and international sales of Telefilm projects doubled in the 2011 calendar year compared to 2010, while domestic box office receipts increased 11.6 per cent to $27.5 million.

Highlights included "Starbuck" ($3.5 million), "Barney's Version" ($3 million), "Incendies" ($2.1 million), "Breakaway" ($1.9 million), "Monsieur Lazhar" ($1.8 million) and "Cafe de Flore" ($1.6 million).

Domestic sales — which include pay TV, DVD and video-on-demand — more than doubled to $34 million from $15 million, thanks to "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Barney's Version," "Incendies," "One Week" and "Splice."

Meanwhile, international sales jumped to $51 million from $22 million, due mainly to "Barney's Version," "Incendies," "Monsieur Lazhar" and "Le Vendeur."

The data is part of Telefilm's Success Index, which measures the commercial, cultural and industrial success of feature films supported by Telefilm.

Overall, the index pegs growth at 23.7 per cent in 2011, compared to 2010.

Sales wins were tempered by fewer hits on the festival and awards circuit (down 20.4 per cent) and a dip in private and foreign financing (down 4.8 per cent).

But the agency notes 2010 was a "truly exceptional year" for films including "Incendies" and "Barney's Version," which were both nominated for Oscars and gained broad international acclaim.

The Index consists of three weighted attributes, including domestic and international box office sales, festival awards and a film's ability to attract private and foreign financing.

Telefilm says 2011's big cultural successes were "Barney's Version," "Incendies," "Le Vendeur" and "Monsieur Lazhar," which was nominated for a best foreign-language film Oscar.