Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Whore Derv Returns! And he's pissed!

Subscribe in a reader


This edition of the Whore Derv of Canada is brought to you by Telefilm Canada, the nation’s organization devoted to financing and enabling the domestic film industry. No, they are not paying me, although they should. I mean rather that this post would not be possible without their continued existence as a state institution. And rather than simply honour an individual of special talent, fame, and appeal, this particular award has been given to an amorphous social group. A mass, you might say.

This award goes to all those fake patriots out there who cheer like mad for Canada during the Olympics, who riot after hockey games, those who wear red and white on Canada Day, who have Canadian Flags tattooed on their body, but who shop at Walmart (where most things are manufactured from abroad), who buy vegetables genetically engineered in Guelph but grown in California, who favour the privatization of Ontario Hydro, and most importantly for the purposes of this award, never go to cinemas to see a Canadian film.

Yes, people, IMAX technology was developed in Canada. Unfortunately, because Hollywood studios have vertically integrated so that they own a large percentage of cinema screens that show the movies, most IMAX films are not Canadian, because such films are expensive to produce and the kind of venture capital necessary to make them are found in places like Los Angeles and New York City. It’s a phenomenon we in the study of communications and in the film industry call “block booking.” That is, Hollywood spends oodles of money producing films, and to ensure they recoup their costs, they book cinemas all over the world with these blockbusters long ahead of time. It’s sort of hit-and-miss as to which films actually blow up, which is why you have disasters such as Kevin Kostner’s Waterworld, or surprise low-budget blockbusters whose revenues are almost purely profit, such as The Blair Witch Project.

Because Canadian cinemas are usually booked long ahead of time with Hollywood Blockbusters, there is relatively little time left to book Canadian films. As such, the kind of promotional campaigns run for big-budget films, which themselves run into the tens of millions on top of the production costs of the film, are basically a waste of money. As a consequence, this mass of Canadians the award goes to rarely hear about Canadian films, except perhaps through newspapers or free weeklies like Now Magazine. Furthermore, because these films aren’t on their radar, they don’t go to see them. Mind you, the situation is improving in the trailer department, especially trailers for DVDs. And I know for a fact some people become interested in films through trailers. I recently rented the film The Messenger, an independent American feature, and it was preceded by a trailer for Trotsky, a Canadian film. Promising, but is it enough? I mean, following the predominant values (deducted from their actions) of this social group, the fact that we need a state institution to support domestic film is alarming at least.

The situation is even stranger because I have a feeling that many of this amorphous social group is not only capable of enjoying, but that they would actually enjoy the excellent films being produced in Canada. Films such as Defendor with Woody Harrelson, or 7 (Les Septs Jours Du Talion).

Therefore, we here at the Invisible Truth offer this award to those who don’t make it a point to go to Canadian films and support the domestic film industry. Congratulations, and thank you for your shallow flag-waving enthusiasm. It has driven most of our film talent (Jim Carrey, Paul Haggis, what’s-his-face from the Austin Powers movies) from the country. Way to clear the room of your precious celebrities!

1 comment:

Craig said...

Don't forget the nonsensical bleat that "Canadians can't make good films", generally repeated by people who've never actually seen one as if it were an accepted and uncontroversial fact.