Canadian cultural policy
Cultural policy is an act through which a federal government takes measures to encourage or guard activities in areas distinct as cultural. Culture is a wide phenomenon that is associated with vast concepts that include art, law, morals and other capabilities and habits that man has embraced as a member or as part of the society (Jackson & Lemieux, 1999, p, 1). Communication also referred to as a mass culture falls under the wide philosophy of culture because mass communication is the latest trend in the modern society (Marsh & Harvey, 2006, p, 1). This report will analyze overview of Canadian cultural policies and the country’s film and video cultural policies. More so, the report will outline whether or not the applied film and cultural policies have yielded the needed effects and the alternative measures as recommendations.
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Overview of Canadian cultural policies
Historically, Canadian cultural policies emerged from the overpowering presence of the United States (Jackson & Lemieux, 1999, p, 1). Canada demographically borders United States; thus, explaining the reason for the influence that brought in foreign culture and Canadian second language (Marsh & Harvey, 2006, p, 1). Prior to culture and language influence, Canadian cultural marketplace is also unbalanced because the Canadians are ardent consumers of American language and culture (Foote, 2011, p, 1). The most hit cultural market is mass communication, where products like books and films available and sold in Canada are produced outside the country for foreign markets; thus, the revenues collected from such sales flow outside Canada (Marsh & Harvey, 2006, p, 1). Statistical survey claims that foreign firms account for 46% of domestic book sales, 84% in sound recording industry, 81% magazines edited in English language and 98% of Canadian screen time through movie theatres (Marsh & Harvey, 2006, p, 1). With such inversion from foreign products, Canadian producers have an extremely limited access to their own market (Jackson& Lemieux, 1999, p, 1). This practice of open border democracy has become a big challenge for Canada in terms of developing its own heritage, art and cultural industries.
Canadian film and video policy
In order to curb the aforementioned inversion of the film and production industry, the Canadian government has implemented policies with the aid of agencies that looks forward to protect and enhance its film and production industry (Vallerand, 2013, P, 10). Among the major government agencies is the Department of Canadian Heritage, which oversees the federal audiovisual policy and program activities (Jackson & Lemieux, 1999, p, 1). The heritage department ensures that there is a balanced supply chain from inventor to the citizen with an aim of enhancing availability and accessibility of mass products like films to all Canadians audiences. More so, this department takes positive approaches to technological change in order to gain the presented benefits offered by technological advancement (Vallerand, 2013, P, 10). Additionally, the department develops and expands global markets with an aim of sharing Canadian talent and culture with the entire world.
The other major step utilized by the Canadian film and video industry is establishing the Canada feature film fund that aims at raising over $97 million between 2010 and 2011 respectively (Vallerand, 2013, P, 12). The objective of this funding is to increase the number of Canadian audiences in theatres for Canadian feature films. More so, the program looks forward to support productions in diverse varieties as well as support established corporations and upcoming talent and above all, create audiences for Canadian productions both globally and within Canada.
Prior to the department of Canadian heritage, other government agencies contribute in different areas in support of Canadian film and visual industry. Among these agencies is the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) (Vallerand, 2013, P, 12). This government agency caters for 100% of the production cost and provides mentorship and technical assistance through Filmmaker Support Programs for both the already established and emerging independent filmmakers. Therefore, this agency supports the industry financially and practically by ensuring that the created films are inventive in form and content.
On the other hand, Canadian Audio Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) are two agencies whose major objectives are to certify the eligibility of film production companies as well as taxing them (Vallerand, 2013, P, 13). Canada’s Policy on Audiovisual Treaty Coproduction is another agency that aims at encouraging both foreign and Canadian producers. The reason behind the encouragement is to pool producers’ creativity, technical ability and financial resources in order to allow them acquire domestic status in their respective countries (Vallerand, 2013, P, 14). With the help of this agency, Canada has currently signed 53 such joint treaties. In addition, Canada has produced approximately 700 film and television programs that granted a total budget production of $4.9 billion (Globerman, 1991, p, 1). Additionally, the National Film Board of Canada is an additional agency responsible for producing and distributing social-issue documentaries and other digital content that provide the world with an exclusive Canadian perspective. On another note, Telefilm Canada is an agency that governs Canada Feature Film Fund as well as marketing and promoting the audiovisual industry and the Canadian feature film. Lastly, the Canadian radio television and telecommunications commission (CRTC) aids in supervising and regulating the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems that currently exceed over 2000 broadcasters (Vallerand, 2013, P, 14)
The presence of the aforementioned government and independent agencies in Canada has greatly aided in enhancing the film and video industry in vast ways. Moreover, the policies and regulations that these agencies inflict has ensured that Canada have had the potential to produce and sell its films both within Canada and globally (Jackson & Lemieux, 1999, p, 1). These policies have also ensured foreign content do not invade and dominate the Canadian market. Irrespective of the positive outcomes exhibited by agencies and their policies, the Canadian film and video industry seem to lag behind in terms of popularity in the global film market (Globerman, 1991, p, 1). With the presence and influence of the neighboring United States, one would expect Canadian film industry to be among the renowned film producers. However, this is not the case because the Canadian film industry still exhibits numerous challenges that will need comprehensive review in terms of talent and foreign market invention (Globerman, 1991, p, 1).This could be the needed intervention because Canada posses the required equipments and financial resources (Foote, 2011, p, 1).
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Therefore, Canadian film and video policies are effective and they have positively affected the entire industry. Nevertheless, the concerned parties from the industry should cultivate other means that include collaboration with Hollywood counterparts in order to advance its industry towards the needed limelight (Globerman, 1991, p, 1).
Foote, J. (2011). Historical Perspective: Cultural Policies and Instruments. Compendium, Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe.
Globerman, S. (1991). Foreign Ownership of Feature Film Distribution and the Canadian Film Industry. Simon Fraser University. Canadian Journal of Communication, 16(2).
Jackson, J. & Lemieux, R. (1999). The Arts and Canada’s Cultural Policy. Parliament of Canada, Political and Social Affairs Division.
Marsh, J. & Harvey, J. (2006). Cultural Policy. The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Vallerand, C. (2013). Coalition for Diversity. Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity.
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