Get it Out, Get it all Out

October 26, 2011

Canadians are a pretty self-deprecating bunch, especially when it comes to our artists.  The frequency with which Canadian television, film, music, and literature is put down in the media or in everyday conversation is striking.  One of the best reactions a Canadian artist can hope for is “I didn’t know it was Canadian!”  This attitude, which seems ingrained in the Canadian psyche, is unfortunate; not only because great Canadian art is in fact being made and deserves to be supported, but also because Canadians are missing an opportunity to see and celebrate their own stories in these works.  Luckily there are those like the First Weekend Club who are committed to promoting Canadian art – in this case, film.

Funny? Yes. Accurate? No way.

First Weekend Club’s mission is to raise awareness about Canadian film releases in order to generate interest that translates into ticket sales on the first weekend a film is in theatres.  The first weekend is crucial for a film, as it determines whether it will continue to screen beyond the first week.  The goals of First Weekend Club are to assist in the promotion of Canadian film, which generally has less advertising behind it, and to change people’s perceptions about Canadian film.

Great Canadian Film… It’s Out There.

First Weekend Club is now looking to create a Video On Demand streaming service for Canadian film, and they are looking for help funding it.  Their goal is to raise $20,000 to kick things off, and there are currently 36 days left in their campaign.  They have a way to go still, and could use your help if you think this is a worthwhile endeavor.  I’ve contributed what I can, and here’s why…

The High Cost of Living- A great Canadian film.

As a person who has for a long time had an interest in Canadian film, I know that I am very fortunate to live in a city like Toronto.  Venues such as the TIFF Bell Lightbox and NFB Mediatheque, and festivals like TIFF and the yearly Canada’s Top Ten mean that I have access to a rich selection of Canadian film.  Unfortunately, not many markets in Canada can support smaller-budget, smaller-audience films, so streaming video is a cost-effective way to reach people.  The National Film Board’s success in this realm provides a perfect example.  Their website is hugely successful, and while its mandate is not to generate revenue, it clearly demonstrates that there is an interest in, and therefore likely a market for, Canadian film.

Mambo Italiano – Another great Canadian film.

So if you are already a fan of Canadian film, or if you think you could become one, consider donating a few dollars to First Weekend Club’s project. And spread the word! A lot of people giving a little can make all the difference.  Your contribution could allow the world to see more Canadian film, and would provide filmmakers with a new way of getting their films to an eager public who might otherwise never have an opportunity to see them.  Take a look at this list.  Personally, I think they could have done better, but some of you are probably surprised that it is even possible to come up with a list of 45 English Canadian films. Either way, it’s clear that there is a wealth of material out there, and that you can help with that wee little distribution problem by First Weekend Club’s initiative.  You’ll also personally benefit by gaining access to a whole new world of film.  Trust me – you’ll be glad you did!


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