Strategic objectives Key performance indicators Targets 2009-2010 results
Film Greater number of Canadians enjoy distinctive Canadian films Market share of Canadian box office revenue Achieve a market share of at least 5% of the Canadian box office Canadian titles achieved 3.3% of the overall Canadian box office take 2 . This is up from the previous year’s 2.9% and is at its highest point since 2006.
Portfolio diversification Finance a diverse portfolio of projects Diversification by genre, budget, language, region and cultural diversity of content Increase number of genres represented in portfolio; and better distribute commitments across different genres Genre diversity grew in English-language production with no one genre holding more than 38% of commitments. French-language portfolio added two new genres relative to the previous year.
Interactive media Greater number of Canadians’ cultural experiences on the Internet and through digital offline platforms Number of page views and unique visitors for online products, sales revenues for offline products Establish baseline for data for online audiences; determine approach and methodology for measurement; maintain or grow audience to Canadian box office Overall page views and unique visitors are up relative to the previous year due to more projects online in 2009. On a per project basis, page views and unique visitors are about the same as the previous year.
Festivals and awards Canadian cultural products are promoted to audiences in Canada and abroad Prizes earned at major Canadian and international festivals Maintain or increase current levels of awards won Telefilm-supported feature film projects won 107 awards in 2009-2010, a figure that is comparable to last year’s results.

Feature Film
in Canada

In 2009, the total box office receipts in Canada reached $1B, which is up by 9.5% from 2008.

Canadian share of box office is also up over the previous year. In 2009, Canadian movie box office represented 3.3% of the total market (compared to 2.9% last year), and almost 18% of the independent feature film market 3 . Incidentally, the same box office would have resulted in a 3.9% market share only two years ago (2007) when total box office in Canada was $857M. This past year brings the Canadian share to its highest point since 2006—an improvement in a challenging market.

Canadian box office 2009

Feature film has survived such challenges as the introduction and growth of television, and the VCR/DVD home viewing phenomenon. Now, in the digital age of downloading, streaming and video-on-demand, the movie theatre experience again appears to be awash in alternatives. Who would have imagined that Canada’s first billion-dollar box office could be achieved in spite of these challenges?

Market share of Canadian films      
  French-language market English-language market Total
Box office for Canadian films (share of total) 18.5% 0.8% 3.3%
CFFF share of box office for Canadian films 89.2% 92.7% 89.9%
Box office for Canadian films (share of independent films) 54.8% 4.9% 17.9%

Source: MPTAC

French-language films represent about 55% of the Canadian independent market and more than 18% of the total Canadian market (up from 13.8%). English-language films accounted for about 5% of the Canadian independent market and 0.8% of the total Canadian market—down from 1.1% last year.

The top 10 Canadian films have earned more than $24M in aggregate at the box office, up from the 2008 top 10 box office take of $17M.

Top 10 films by box office – Canadian films

Film Box office 2009
($ millions)
De père en flic 10.7
Play Trailer Park Boys 2: Countdown to Liquor Day 2.9
Play Les doigts croches 1.8
Play Dédé à travers les brumes 1.7
Play Polytechnique 1.7
À vos marques... Party! 2 1.4
Play One Week 1.2
Les pieds dans le vide 1.2
5150, rue des Ormes 1.1
Play J’ai tué ma mère 1.0

Source: MPTAC

What are people watching?

When box office sales are analyzed by genre, it is clear that Canadian filmgoers crave variety. When Canadian titles are isolated, however, comedy and drama dominate all other genres. This reflects the vast gulf between a big-budget Hollywood action/adventure movie and a low-budget independent film from Canada. In spite of that, 2009 saw its biggest success outside of the drama/comedy grouping with the comedic action/adventure film De père en flic.

Box office sales, distribution by genre – Canadian titles vs. all titles
  • Share of Canadian titles box office sales
  • Share of all title box office sales
Box office sales, distribution by genre – Canadian titles vs. all titles

Source: MPTAC

Telefilm seeks to expand the genre diversity of its film portfolio

A few genres are consistently successful with Canadian audiences, such as comedy, romantic comedy, horror and action/adventure. To give audiences what they want and to expand their tastes, Telefilm has been striving to diversify the genres that comprise the Canadian production portfolio. A diverse portfolio of projects is more effective at attracting a large cross-section of the public—sometimes even motivating individuals who do not typically go to see movies.

Support for documentaries

The Theatrical Documentary Program continues to support Canadian filmmakers with funding for feature-length documentary projects. In the second year of this unique three-year public-private partnership between Telefilm and the Rogers Group of Funds, the program supported nine new documentary projects in 2009-2010. The year also saw the release of three films produced with the past support of the program: Inside Hana’s Suitcase, L’affaire Coca-Cola and Les dames en bleu.

The out-of-Hollywood experience—independent film

Action/adventure, science fiction and other big-budget genres continue to dominate the mainstream films. But independent films—those projects with more modest budgets—tend to produce drama and comedy scripts more successfully. Given the dollars that are available for film budgets in Canada and most other countries, it is really only independent film by which we can measure our success.

Despite a full complement of big-budget films in theatres in 2009, independent film still managed to grow its box office by over 40%. Some Canadian independent films were able to do more with less, and step up to become box office contenders. A look at the top 20 independent films of the year shows that most budgets reached the $20M to $40M range. However, the second-and third-smallest budgeted films, both Canadian titles, managed to finish in 4 th and 13 th place at the box office. These two films were produced with budgets of $7M or less—in some cases, a tenth of the budgets of their competitors—yet they still managed comparable numbers at the box office.

Top 20 independent films
Rank Film Total 2009
Canadian box office
($ millions)
Estimated budget
($ millions)*
1 District 9 15.6 30
2 Slumdog Millionaire 15.4 15
3 Taken 11.7 25
4 De père en flic 10.7 7
5 Law Abiding Citizen 10.2 53
6 17 Again 10.0 20
7 The Blind Side 8.3 29
8 Coraline 6.9 60
9 Planet 51 4.0 70
10 Earth 3.8 15
11 The Men Who Stare at Goats 3.5 24
12 Ninja Assassin 3.1 40
13 Trailer Park Boys 2: Countdown to Liquor Day 2.9 6.6
14 Fighting 2.8 Not available
15 Brothers 2.6 26
16 The Wrestler 2.5 6
17 Defiance 2.2 32
18 Astro Boy 2.2 65
19 500 Days of Summer 1.9 7.5
20 Milk 1.8 20

* Estimated budgets provided by IMDB, Screen Daily and Playback Magazine

Source: MPTAC

Analysis of the English-language market

In the English-language market, Canadian titles accounted for about 0.8% of the overall box office, down from 1.1% the previous year—a $2M decline.

The challenge for English-language Canadian films continues to be the distribution industry, along with modest marketing budgets. Distribution in Canada is becoming increasingly concentrated, with only a few players left in the industry. Marketing budgets in Canada are only a fraction of what Hollywood-studio films enjoy, yet must effectively cover an enormous territory. Telefilm continues to explore new strategies for overcoming these challenges.

Despite this, Canadian companies have proven to be clever with their low-budget marketing strategies. Social media, YouTube, and other online tools have been used in novel and effective ways this past year. For example, the successful film One Week was marketed almost exclusively online. Marketers tapped into the film’s nationalistic theme by creating strong links with online forums and social networks including Facebook and Twitter. Along with creating an interactive website, the marketing team invited visitors to post personal videos that captured the patriotic buzz of the film.

English-language market highlights

  • Trailer Park Boys 2: Countdown to Liquor Day and One Week both broke the $1M barrier at the box office (Trailer Park Boys 2: Countdown to Liquor Day almost hit $3M, and One Week took in $1.2M). Trailer Park Boys 2 : Countdown to Liquor Day was the 13th most successful independent film of the year, beating out better-known films such as The Wrestler, Milk and Astro Boy.
  • International coproduction Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was released in the last week of 2009. In its first week alone, the film took in almost half a million dollars at the box office. Along with garnering a lot of international media attention, it was also nominated for two Academy Awards.
  • Ontario title One Week had the 7 th highest box office among all Canadian films and received a Genie nomination.
  • Passenger Side has proven to be a huge success in the festival circuit (named one of Canada’s top 10 films at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009) and secured a U.S. distribution deal early in 2010.

Analysis of the French-language market

In 2008, the French-language market had fewer CFFF-supported titles released (12) than most years. So it was encouraging to see more films released in 2009 (17), along with a significant uptick in box office performance. Seven of the top 10 French-language Canadian titles broke the $1M barrier.

In the French-language market, Canadian titles accounted for 18.5% of overall box office and an amazing 55% of independent film box office—an increase of about five market share points, and the best performance since the record-setting year of 2005. In dollar terms, that amounted to almost $7.3M more than the previous year.

In 2009-2010, Telefilm pursued its strategy to help the industry seek out other sources of financing; most notably, in the form of international cooperation. Along with partners Société de développement des entreprises culturelles du Québec (SODEC) and the Centre du Cinéma et de l’audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland, Telefilm helped to launch the Fonds Francophone d’Aide au développement cinématographique in 2009. The Fund facilitates cinematic alliances among Francophone countries in a rapidly evolving international milieu, concentrating on projects that have broad audience appeal.

French-language market highlights
  • De père en flic entered rare territory for a Canadian production, earning double-digit millions, well in excess of its production cost. Since marketing budgets were characteristically small, creative methods were used to promote De père en flic. These included social networking sites and a partnership with that included ticket contests.
  • À vos marques party 2! was a successful sequel in the French-language market. This title took in $1.4M, and reaffirmed the ability of Canadian films to build franchises with brand value.

Gross revenues of CFFF-supported films as at March 31, 2010

Three quarters of gross revenues from English-language projects were earned in foreign markets and 17% of revenues came from Canadian box office receipts. In contrast, more than 40% of gross revenues from French-language projects came from box office receipts, while 38% of revenues came from foreign markets.

Gross revenues – English-language market (2009-2010)
Gross revenues – English-language market (2009-2010)
Gross revenues – French-language market (2009-2010)
Gross revenues – French-language market (2009-2010)

Source: Telefilm database

Even though English-language feature films only earned 0.8% of the overall box office, these films accounted for 65% of Telefilm’s 2009-2010 recoveries for the CFFF.

Net receipts – Canada Feature Film Fund (2009-2010)
Net receipts – Canada Feature Film Fund (2009-2010)

Source: Telefilm database


A Diverse Portfolio of Film Projects

In 2009, Canada’s French and English genre portfolios were diversified on two fronts. Among English-language project commitments, a much larger share of funding was devoted to production of horror/thriller, romantic comedy, and mystery/crime/police. The drama share increased in the English-language portfolio, though well below the dominant levels it once held. Among French-language project commitments in 2009, genre distribution remained similar to 2008 with regard to comedy and drama; however, there was a slight increase in action/adventure commitments.

It was encouraging to see that there were also new genres appearing in the portfolio. The English-language portfolio notched its first western, and the French-language portfolio stepped up from five genres to six with the addition of romantic comedy projects.

Feature film production by genre (2009-2010)

English-language market
English-language market

Source: Telefilm database

French-language market
French-language market

Source: Telefilm database

Why track genres?

Tracking the box office performance of genres is an important step in cultivating future successes at the box office. Typically, the comedy, action/adventure and thriller genres garner the largest global box office takes; but in 2009, the most popular genre with moviegoers was science fiction. Spreading commitment dollars to comedy and other popular genres is a good strategy for growing audiences, and that is why a diverse genre portfolio is critical at Telefilm.

Regional investments

Beyond genres, it is also important to represent all regions and languages of Canada in Canadian stories. If all Canadians are reflected in our films, then all Canadians will identify with the characters and have more reasons to go to the theatre. An inclusive approach also stimulates local economies and achieves a double objective: building audiences and building industry capacity.

Regional investments: productions made in Canada
Regional investments: productions made in Canada

Source: Telefilm database

Total Investments by language
Total Investments by language

Source: Telefilm database

Canadian content on other platforms

Feature film on television

The two most popular Canadian theatrical releases on television in 2009 were Maurice Richard and Bon Cop, Bad Cop, both released several years earlier in theatres. The data clearly shows the dominance of French-language films in this category. English-language productions are much more exposed to competition from Hollywood studio films.

Top 25 Canadian theatrical films aired on television
Title Channel Average minute
audience (000)
1 Maurice Richard SRC Montreal (CBFT) 714.5
2 Bon Cop, Bad Cop SRC Montreal (CBFT) 571.3
3 Interférences TVA Montreal (CFTM) 456.2
4 Les Boys II TVA Montreal (CFTM) 429.2
5 Blizzard YTV 406.9
6 Cake : la vie c'est du gâteau TVA Montreal (CFTM) 329.2
7 Cruising Bar 2 Super Ecran 1 324.2
8 Horloge biologique SRC Montreal (CBFT) 293.1
9 Aurore SRC Montreal (CBFT) 288.3
10 Les Boys I TVA Montreal (CFTM) 276.5
11 Sans elle SRC Montreal (CBFT) 255.0
12 Ç't'à ton tour, Laura Cadieux SRC Montreal (CBFT) 232.9
13 La vie après l'amour TVA Montreal (CFTM) 230.0
14 Cruising Bar Super Ecran 1 228.9
15 La vie secrète des gens heureux TVA Montreal (CFTM) 226.1
16 Le secret de ma mère SRC Montreal (CBFT) 225.8
17 Ma vie en cinémascope SRC Montreal (CBFT) 219.7
18 Mémoires affectives SRC Montreal (CBFT) 219.2
19 La mystérieuse mademoiselle C SRC Montreal (CBFT) 217.8
20 La grande séduction SRC Montreal (CBFT) 214.4
21 Ma tante Aline SRC Montreal (CBFT) 214.3
22 Congorama SRC Montreal (CBFT) 186.6
23 Québec Montréal SRC Montreal (CBFT) 185.9
24 Un dimanche à Kigali SRC Montreal (CBFT) 183.7
25 The Rendering W Network 182.0

Source: BBM Meter Data – 2+, All Canada, 2009

Is that a film in your living room?

Television is an excellent medium for disseminating content to large audiences relatively quickly. Theatrical titles usually appear on broadcast television as the final window in a life cycle that includes DVD and pay per view/video on demand. Canadian film titles can draw large audiences on television; typically, success in theatres will be mirrored in television popularity.


Online Interactive Media and Convergent Properties

Since 2005, Telefilm has been tracking audience levels for the active projects it has supported through the Canada New Media Fund. The final year of the Fund saw an increase in visits to these projects and page views overall—about 3,000 more page views than 2008. Despite this growth, average page views per visit and unique visitors maintained levels just marginally below the previous year. These results indicate that fewer unique visitors are actually spending more time with the projects.

Overview for calendar year 2009

  Page views
Average page
views per visit
Unique visitors
No. of reporting
English-language projects 34,633 4,941 7 2,961 17
French-language projects 26,589 1,408 19 774 9
Total for all projects 61,222 6,349 13 3,735 26

Source: Phase 5

Average per month – Telefilm projects

  Page views per
month (000s)
Per month visits
Unique visitors
per month (000s)
English-language projects 170 24 15
French-language projects 246 13 7
Total for all projects 196 20 12

Source: Phase 5

As it has been in the past, convergent online properties outperform their independent stand-alone counterparts. Last year, page views and visits to convergent online properties were triple that of the stand-alones. However in 2009-2010, the two types of projects balanced slightly, with about a two-to-one ratio for page views in favour of convergent online properties.

Average per month – overall format

  Page views
No. of
Average visits
per project
Convergent Website 4,382 397 15 26
Independent Website 1,861 142 11 13

Source: Phase 5


Awards and
Prizes 2009-2010

Telefilm-supported feature film projects won 107 awards in 2009-2010, a slight decrease from last year’s 119 awards.

Atlantic region

Title Event Prize category
All the Wrong Reasons 2010 Slamdance 1st Annual Script Accessible Screenplay Award
Crackie 2009 Atlantic Film Festival Best Original Score
  2009 Torino International Film Festival Special Jury Award
  2009 Montreal Festival of New Cinema Special Jury Mention
Play Grown up Movie Star 2010 Sundance World Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performance
Play Love and Savagery 2010 Génie Awards* Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Play Trailer Park Boys 2: Countdown to Liquor Day 2009 Atlantic Film Festival Best Sound Design

* 2010 Genies Awards were held on April 12, 2010.

Quebec region

Title Event Prize category
5150, rue des Ormes 2010 Festival Internationnal du Film Fantastique de Gérardmer Audience Award
1981 2010 Jutra Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Hairstyle
Play Antoine 2010 Rendez-vous du cinéma Québécois Pierre et Yolande Perrault Award
  2009 Hot Docs Toronto Lindalee Tracey Award
  2009 Emotions Pictures, Athens First Special Jury Prize
  2009 Dok Leipzig, Germany Goldene Taube
  2009 Docupolis, Barcelona Special Prize for Best Experimental Documentary
  2009 San Diego Asian Film Festival Special Jury Award
Before Tomorrow 2010 Genie Awards Achievement in Costume Design
Cadavres 2010 Jutra Awards Best Make-Up
Play C’est pas moi, je le jure 2009 Zlin, International Film Festival for Children and Youth Miloš Macourek Award Best Feature Film for Youth
  2009 Giffoni Film Festival Jury Citation
Play Dédé à travers les brumes 2010 Jutra Awards Best Actor
Best Art Direction
Best Achievement in Music, Original Score
Best Costume Design
De père en flic 2010 Jutra Awards Billet d’or
  2010 Genie Awards Golden Reel Award
Grande ourse : la clé des possibles 2010 Genie Awards Achievement in Make-up
Achievement in Music – Original Score
Play J’ai tué ma mère 2010 Jutra Awards Best Film
Best Actress
Best Screenplay
  2010 Genie Awards Claude Jutras Award
  2009 Cannes, Directors’ Forthnight Art Cinema Award
SACD Prize
Regards jeunes Prize
  2009 Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur Best Film
Best First Film
Best Leading Actor
  2009 Vancouver International Film Festval Canwest Award for Best Canadian Feature Film
  2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival FIPRESCI Award for Best Actress
Play La Donation 2010 International Film Festival de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Special Jury Prize Signis Award Audience Award
  2009 Locarno International Film Festival Don Quichotte Award
The Environment is the Quality of Life
Youth Jury Prize
  2009 Toronto International Film Festival Special Jury Mention
Play Last Train Home 2010 Jutra Awards Best Documentary
  2010 Whistler Film Festival Best Documentary
2009 Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal Cinémathèque Québécoise Award for Best Film from Quebec / Canada
  2009 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam Best Feature
L’encerclement 2009 Nyon, Visions du réel, festival international de cinéma Grand Prize of the Jury
  2009 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Robert & Frances Flaherty Award (Grand Prize)
  2009 Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie Best Medium or Feature Length Documentary
Play Polytechnique 2010 Jutra Awards Best Direction
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Cinematography
Best Sound
Best Editing
  2010 Genie Awards Best Motion Picture
Achievement in Direction
Original Screenplay
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Achievement in Cinematography
Achievement in Editing
Achivement in Overall Sound
Achivement in Sound Editing
  2009 Namur International Festival of French-speaking Film Best Cinematography
Play The Trotsky 2009 Atlantic Film Festival AFF Audience Award
  2010 Sofia International Film Festival Audience Award
  2009 Tokyo International Film Festival Audience Award
Play The Wild Hunt 2010 Slamdance Audience Sparky Award for Best Narrative Film
  2009 Toronto International Film Festival Best Canadian First Feature Film
Un ange à la mer 2009 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Best Actor
Grand Prize – Crystal Globe
Don Quijote Award

Ontario region

Title Event Prize category
Play A Wake 2010 Female Eye Festival Best of Show
Play Cairo Times 2009 Toronto International Film Festival Best Canadian Feature Film
Inside Hana’s Suitcase 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Play Nurse. Fighter. Boy 2009 Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival Audience’s Award
Jury Citation
2010 Genie Awards Achievement in Music – Original Song
Play Off World 2010 Reel World Festival Best Canadian Feature Film
Play One Week 2010 Genie Awards Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Play Passchendaele 2009 Directors Guild of Canada Awards DGC Team Feature Film
DGC Production Design Feature
Play Pontypool 2009 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival Best Actor
Play The Baby Formula 2010 Actra Awards Best Actress
  2009 Nashville Film Festival GLBT Film Award

Western region

Title Event Prize category
Play 50 Dead Men Walking 2010 Genie Awards Adapted Screenplay
Achievement in Art Direction /
Production Design
Play A Shine of Rainbows 2010 Victoria International Film Festival Best Canadian Feature Film
  2010 Sedona International Film Festival Best International Feature Film
  2009 Coca-Cola Cinemagic International Film & TV Festival For Young People, Belfast Children’s Jury Award for Best Feature Film
  2009 International Young Audience Film Festival, Poland Special Mention, Children’s Jury Award for
Best Feature Film
  2009 Heartland Film Festival Audience Award
Truly Moving Pictures Award
  2009 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 1st Prize, Children’s Jury Award for
Best English-language Feature
  2009 Ibiza International Film Festival Audience Award
Play Black Field 2010 Female Eye Festival Best Canadian Feature
Play Saving Luna 2009 Durban International Film Festival Audience Award
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus 2009 Satellite Awards Best Costume Design

Awards and Prizes – Interactive Media 2009-2010

Title Event Prize category
Kwad9 Canadian New Media Awards Nominee for Best Use of Social Media
Nominee for Hottest New Digital Kid on
the Block – part of the digital hot list
Stitch Media Canadian New Media Awards Nominee for Promising New Company
Frima Studio Inc. Canadian New Media Awards Nominee for Company of the Year
Silverback Media Canadian New Media Awards Nominee for Company of the Year
MovieSet Canadian New Media Awards Nominee for Best Online Video Portal
Who we are Canadian New Media Awards Nominee for Best Online Video Portal
Isuma TV Canadian New Media Awards Nominee for Best in Canadian Culture, Interactive
Avastar Social Canadian New Media Awards Nominee for Best Web-Based Game
Bitchin’ Lifestyle Canadian New Media Awards Nominee for Brand of the Year
Tête à claques Canadian New Media Awards Best Online Comedy Performance Category
Critter Crunch Canadian Videogame and Digital Arts Awards Best Downloadable Game
  IGN Best of E3 Awards Nominee for Best Overall Puzzle Game
Best PS3 Puzzle Game
Nominee for Best PS3
Nominee for Best Downloadable Game
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