Canada's federal government has finally unveiled its new strategy for bolstering our country's creative economy – and, with the support of an American streaming giant, it looks like we could soon see a major boom in the production of Can-Con. Heritage Minister Melanie Joly revealed today during a lunchtime speech that Netflix has committed $500 million towards the creation and distribution of original productions in Canada. This means that, on top of existing funds, at least half-a-billion new dollars will be up for grabs over the next five years among filmmakers, writers, designers and artists. Suffice to say that a lot of that money will end up right here in The 6ix, which has emerged in recent years as one of North America's biggest film and television production centres. Seriously, one needs to ask whether Netflix’s spending in Canada will be for “Canadian” content, or just shot in Toronto, pretend NewYork. — Jean-François Mezei (@jfmezei) September 28, 2017 Joly did make clear in her speech that the vision for Canada's creative industries "will not be tied to arcane technology of the past." Funds allocated through the government's revamped cultural policy will be used to support content creators of all kinds, including musicians, architects and video game designers (of which there are also many in Toronto.) 1/2 We will make sure our creative industries succeed and make the content that we love by using all of the tools we have #CreativeCanada — Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) September 28, 2017 News of the Netflix deal has many local content producers excited today. It is, after all, the first time Netflix has made an investment like this outside of the U.S. – though, according to the CBC, it might be a win on both sides. "Netflix has lobbied hard to avoid facing the kinds of requirements that traditional broadcasters in Canada have had to face for years," writes Catherine Cullen, noting that the government has also been under pressure to tax the streaming service. In the future, Joly says that other foreign content platforms with large Canadian audiences – like Facebook and Google – could be tapped to help finance "the promotion and protection of Canadian stories." "We want them to participate in our goals to support the creation and discovery of Canadian content that showcases our talent, our cultures and our stories," she said today. "I’m pushing for commitments that benefit our industries."
by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO