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The struggle for domestic distribution of Canadian film

The Story


'Why is this picture not being shown?' With meagre funds and a small payout, how do filmmakers survive? "We pray a lot," explains French-Canadian director Pierre Patry in this CBC Television feature. It's 1965 and Canada's feature film industry is suffering through some difficult growing pains. Canadian producer Budge Crawley battles with limited screen availability for his critically acclaimed but seldom seen movies. "We've been brought up on product from abroad and Canadians don't, I don't think they care very much one way or another really," he says. 

Medium: Television
Program: The Sixties
Broadcast Date: Jan. 4, 1965
Narrator: Gerald Pratley
Guests: F. R. Crawley, Pierre Patry
Duration: 11:05
Film credit: Amanita Pestilens and Ginger Coffey: Crawley Films
Trouble Fête: Cooperatio Productions

Did You know?


• Budge Crawley produced Amanita Pestilens, the first Canadian feature film to be shot in both English and French with the same set of actors. The 1963 film, directed by René Bonnière, was also this country's first feature film to be shot in English. The critically acclaimed film explored the perils of suburbia and one man's obsession with his fungi-infested front lawn.

• Crawley established a thriving feature film production company, Crawley Films, which produced industrial films, documentaries, animated movies, television programs, commercials and feature films. In the early 1980s, Crawley Films travelled a downward financial spiral and the company was sold to the now defunct Atkinson Film Art. Crawley died on May 13, 1987, in Toronto.

• Another seminal Canadian film released in this era was Don Owen's tale of teen angst and isolation Nobody Waved Goodbye. This movie was only the second feature film made by the National Film Board of Canada. The 80-minute film was only released in Canada after it received rave reviews after a showing in Manhattan. At the Toronto film festival in 1984, Nobody Waved Goodbye was selected as one of Canada's best films.

• In 1967, the Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC), which was later renamed Telefilm Canada, was established. With the aim of fostering the stumbling Canadian film industry, the federal government allocated a budget of $10 million to the new corporation. But, Canadian filmmakers still had a difficult time getting their movies seen because of American ownership of the theatres.


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