The federal government and its agencies must step in and throw Canadian English-language television drama a life-line, says a report released by a coalition of unions representing over 50,000 workers in Canada’s film and television industry.
“It is clear we are at a cultural turning point,” said Peter Murdoch, co- chair of the union coalition. “Television drama is the most powerful cultural medium a nation has to reflect its history, character and values. Our report clearly demonstrates that the current Canadian broadcasting system has all but abandoned this reflection.”
The report, The Crisis in Canadian English-Language Drama, was written with the aid of independent experts, as the unions conducted an in-depth study of funding and viewing of Canadian drama. The report also takes a look at the state of drama around the globe, reviewing successful production and funding models in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia.
“This unique report is not just another round of criticism. It is a thorough review of our industry and in it we offer reasonable funding alternatives to a system which is failing Canadian talent and audiences,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s national executive director.
“Good drama is challenging to finance, however, it is a powerful antidote to the waves of U.S. drama that Canadian viewers are offered daily,” said Pamela Brand, DGC national executive director.
“Canadians time and again have expressed their commitment to telling their own stories and seeing their culture on their TV screens,” said Maureen Parker, WGC executive director.
“With a little will and a strong commitment to Canadian culture, both funding and viewers for indigenous dramatic programming can be found,” said Ross Leslie, NABET 700 CEP business manager.
The Canadian Coalition of Audio-visual Unions (CCAU), representing workers in every aspect of film and television production, began to share resources over a year ago in an effort to find solutions to the growing crisis. It plans to circulate the report’s research and recommendations to government policy makers, producers, broadcasters and the public.
You can download the full report here.