by Kimberly Smith
Imagine ordinary people across Canada being as passionate about drama as they are about hockey. It can happen if we set up 180 small teams of professional movie makers to be community artists in residence across Canada. Each team will mobilize and work with their home communities to create dramatic features or series that involve ordinary citizens in the process – much the same way hockey is coached and nurtured. When community projects are completed, they would go to regional competitions, then to national and the top ten would receive world marketing budgets. Ordinary Canadians will tune in – or log on – to Canadian drama in numbers that will astound industry experts. A democratic revolution in Canadian cinema will blast a wave of participatory creativity around the world.
This renewal requires an investment of 90 million dollars that can come from re-purposing a fraction of Canada’s existing development and production revenues. It would employ at least 3600 professionals from coast to coast and it would result in 180 community driven dramatic features or series pilots. Each project will be geographically and culturally distinct. All productions will not only be 100% Canadian – each one will be owned by the community that makes it. Best of all, each production, no matter what standard of technical quality it is measured by, will be a community accomplishment and the very process of making the movie will stimulate and transform people for the better.
A whole new genre of dramatic film and television will emerge and distinct communities across Canada will be its originators! Canadian film and television festivals will see a radical growth in attendance because each competitor will have a whole community attached to it. The best dramas from every region and locality in Canada will be as avidly followed as hockey teams are now. And the whole thing will be more meaningful and relevant to ordinary citizens than ever.