Message from the Co-Chair of the Board and the Chairman of the English-language program
« As we close our 30th year, it is the perfect time to reflect both on our past successes and the opportunities of the future. For over three decades now the “FUND” has been dedicated to supporting the best of Canadian talent and creativity. Working primarily in feature films, we have focused on giving Canadian creators the support and tools they need to succeed. Years before talent incubators were in vogue, the FUND was giving Canadian filmmakers vital support. »
While the environment in which films are made and through which audiences engage with them has certainly changed over the 30 years, our mandate has not – to help Canadians tell their stories. We continue to demand a high level of Canadian creative involvement and control.
We are very proud of the wide range of filmmaking styles, genres and stories we are helping to tell. Filmmaking teams from across the country are tackling challenging subjects with creative story-telling. From micro-budget personal stories to large star driven films, HGF is keen to support a wide gamut of filmmaking in Canada. In total we were able to help 92 of the 289 feature film applications we received in development and production.
Two years ago, the HGF board and staff underwent a process of examination. We wanted to focus our limited resources on those areas and projects where we could make a real impact. Our conclusion was that our role as the primary source of private development dollars was essential. Canadian producers, writers and filmmakers needed that support to properly nurture our stories. Additionally, we wanted to support emerging voices. Talent which was still building a body of work and developing their voice.
When you review the projects that HGF supported this fiscal, you will be able to see that mandate in practice. Of the ten feature films we supported with production financing – seven are films from emerging filmmakers who are engaged in their first or second feature.
We are extremely proud that in 2015-16 five of the ten films we supported with production financing were guided by female filmmakers. Our development decisions are also helping to build a pipeline so that gender parity and diversity in general will continue to be hallmarks of our funding practices.
Throughout our development program, the Shorts to Feature program and industry initiatives such as our new partnership with Women in the Director’s Chair, you will see a spirit of supporting new talent as they find their voice and make their mark.
Scripts by exciting new filmmaker such as Sara St. Onge, Rebecca Addelman, Lindsay Mackay, Stephen Dunn, Molly McGlynn, Danis Goulet and Joey Klein sit comfortably next to the work of filmmakers who have found success on the world stage such as Xavier Dolan, Mina Shum, Don McKellar and Deepa Mehta.
We’d also like to extend our sincerest appreciation to all of the people who have helped guide the fund over the last 30 years. To all our current and past Staff, Readers, Board Members, and Funding partners, we thank-you! We could not have achieved our goals and helped foster as many dreams without your passion and dedication.
We have always focused on creating an organization with a “filmmaker friendly” culture. Alan Bacchus, with his vast knowledge and passion for filmmaking is at the core of that culture and we both thank him for his tireless work, knowledge and insight.
Bell Media’s ongoing financial support and guidance have fostered an environment in which we all can succeed. The leadership of Corrie Coe and Randy Lennox has been instrumental in our ability to nurture talent and we are always extremely proud to see that talent thriving through the many outlets for creativity that Bell Media offers.
We’d particularly like to say a fond farewell to Melanie Friesen who departs the HGF Board this year. Melanie has been a dedicated and passionate voice at the board table for more than half of the Fund’s existence. It is impossible to imagine the organization achieving what it has without her support, passion, intelligence and rigor. She will be missed!
As with every change however, we are excited to welcome a new voice to our discussions. We are extremely happy to be welcoming story-teller Jennifer Podemski to the HGF board. Jennifer’s leadership and creative talents will be a perfect addition to our team!
We hope that you will join us in congratulating all the filmmakers represented in this report and we wish everyone in the Canadian creative industries continued success.