As a result, it is losing the 18 to 35 demographic. That's according to J. Joly, the founder of CineCoup, a $1 million dollar film accelerator, which recently ended an 11-date tour launch across Canada.
This alternative entertainment funding model is a new way to package, market, and finance feature films. CineCoup is accepting applications over a 10-week period. The opportunity is to disrupt independent feature films, using the social web, in the $1 million to $5 million arena.
"My 12-year-old son has said he doesn’t like movies, although he loves most that he’s ever seen," said Ted Hope, the newly appointed director of the San Francisco Film Society, at the International Film Festival Summit, in Austin, Texas recently. "He doesn’t see cinema as speaking to him—and if that doesn’t change, the audience and community he is part of will be lost to us forever."
Hope speaks of the film festival concept, where independent feature films are often showcased.
CineCoup is asking filmmaker trios to submit a two-minute concept trailer of their feature film until the application deadline in February. You can find how the “social selection” funnel will work, how your team could potentially win $1 million in production financing, and a guaranteed release in Cineplex theatres, on this teaser page.
With CineCoup, Joly thought about the entertainment industry's minimum viable product. He created a new idea based on the "social web" to connect with younger audiences. To be successful in the show business, you need long term equity, and that is an engaged audience, as Hope refers to. The accelerator will operate much like popular TV shows Canadian Idol or America's Got Talent, on a popularity knockout-based concept.
Joly says that there is a lot more private money flowing into the Canadian entertainment industry today. It needs to break away from traditional government funding models in order to compete on a global basis. That is as online video continues to skyrocket in popularit and more people watch things on their smartphones and tablets.
Crowdfunding is still being sorted out in Canada. The Globe and Mail recently reported that former Ontario Premier McGuinty championed the possibilities crowdfunding offers. The Ontario Securities Commission is still contemplating an exemption to the act for crowdfunding. That's in addition to the Canadian Securities Administrators, the nationwide umbrella group for securities, which is still undergoing a large-scale review on the matter.
Still, the Canadian entertainment industry's funding issues appear to go well beyond just crowdfunding:
"How will we compete with the media and motion pictures in a truly digital/borderless market?” asks Devon Richards, the CEO of Hot Buttered Productions, in response to an October post. “Simple—we can't. Until Telefilm, Bravofact and others take the content restrictions off their funding qualifications, we are stuck in the limbo of making CBC-like entertainment. Bravo shows ultra-violent, ultra-sexualized programming, but will not fund Canadian content if it has those things in it. Many members of the Telefilm board are members of the Canada Family Action Coalition, a right-wing Christian organization that infiltrated the funding body after the release of 'Young People Fucking.' There is an 'after-school special' mentality regarding the funding of story-telling in this country, a kind of if it doesn't have an in-your-face moral high ground message, it's not getting funded. We need to grow the hell up."
The CRTC Bell-Astral $3.38 billion merger hearings echoed sentiments that Canada will need to become a global player in the next 15 years or risk losing their entertainment industry. Bell Media would certainly have to prove a lot in the digital space, to ever acquire Astral. It's further clear that story-tellers do need an increasing say in the government business.
CineCoup suddenly finds itself in a unique position. They are proposing the winner of their accelerator, will get a theatrical release in 2014. It oftentimes takes years for filmmakers to put productions together. However, with tech speeding up and not slowing down, it is necessary to create motion pictures quicker than ever before. This is to keep a digitally savvy 18 to 35 audience engaged.