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from the internets: Quebec producers rallying to re-energize animation industry

A reader sent along a translation of a recent article from La Presse in Quebec.  The original article can be seen here.

In the face of a dwindling industry, studios and producers have joined forces under the banner of the AQA.  Similarly, Nova Scotia saw a group of industry players team up a couple of years back when their industry took a hit from government reinterpretation of tax laws.  These groups have proven effective in tough times, and that seems to be when they come together.  But their usefulness should extend to times of “peace” as well as crisis.

Here’s the translation:

The animation industry in Quebec is in trouble.  To stop its decline, its key players intend to organize an états généraux (forum) next November on their industry.

So far, the project of Alliance Québec Animation (AQA), a group of twenty studios and producers in Quebec, receives financial support from the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) and the Ministry of Culture, Communications and Status of Women, but still awaits the participation of Ottawa and the private sector.

According to Marie-Claude Beauchamp, president of the board of AQA, it is urgent to act. “We can not put the industry on life support far longer than that,” she quips.

After reaching the $ 200 million mark in 1999-2000, the production and emission of animated films from Quebec has dwindled to $20 million in 2009-2010, according to a Deloitte study released in December 2010.

This is also a problem in the rest of Canada, according to Marie-Claude Beauchamp. “The revenue reduction was greater in Quebec, but in Canada there was a decline of nearly 38% last year,” she says.

Six-point discussion
To find solutions to problems that most affects Quebec participants, AQA intends to address six themes in the discussions leading to the forum.  Questions concerning broadcasting and distribution, finance and innovation, amongst others, will lead the Alliance to create proposals for reviving the industry.

“One has to see how we could accumulate the advantages to give new impetus to this industry. To find our autonomy will always be our goal, but to reposition, one must go through aid,” said Marie-Claude Beauchamp.

Among the possible solutions already envisioned, Alliance Québec Animation proposes that government funding is no longer made “per project” but rather “per job” as it does in the video game industry.  A solution that would favor the presence of local content on the nation’s channels is also envisioned by the president of AQA. “Without being forced to impose drastic things, we want to find ways that will help broadcasters to help us,” she says.

To publicize the problems of its industry, Alliance Quebec Animation will launch a web campaign today headlined with (the television cartoon star) Gerard D. Laflaque. It’s one way of achieving an “offensive to governments,” said Marie-Claude Beauchamp.


  1. Mike Valiquette Mike Valiquette Post author | March 6, 2012

    The suggestion also came in that perhaps the problem might be that the industry in Quebec has perhaps become too insular. The “boom” dates include an era where Cinar (now Cookie Jar) was producing a ton of animated programming that was being consumed all over the world. When Cinar tumbled, they were bought up and relaunched, but had to make the move out of Quebec. As I understand it, their new Ontario ownership made them ineligible for certain key provincial funding. That had to represent a very solid chunk of the business being done. Quebec programming doesn’t seem to travel too well outside the province, and while I’m in favour of a strong native identity, they’re also shooting themselves in the foot if they want to grow their industry. Producing shows with a stronger international, or even national appeal would seem to be the solution.

  2. Bill Perkins Bill Perkins March 6, 2012

    I was working in the offices of Animation Magazine (L.A.) When the whole Cinar tumble happened. It was a big story and a couple of days later the editor(Knowing I was Canadian)walked into my office and asked “What is it with you guys, this is day to day business in Hollywood”

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