Wayne Clarkson unveiled a new vision for Telefilm Canada – one aiming for a collaborative approach to production with the provinces and other agencies, and that focuses on training new talent – earlier this month in Ottawa. In a speech before a room full of producers at the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) convention on February 3, Clarkson committed Telefilm to work closely with its provincial counterparts. He also stressed the importance of training a new generation of creators; building Canadian audiences for Canadian shows; increasing and sustaining English TV drama; obtaining increased, stable funding; bringing harmony, transparency and good governance and order to film and TV financing; and investing more energy, creative ideas, confidence and money into the new media industry. In an interview with Canadian Communications Reports following his address, Clarkson refrained from criticizing the more commercial approach taken by his predecessor Richard Stursberg. "Telefilm Canada has developed a five-year plan that sets out clear goals and objectives. I am familiar with that report. I endorse that report 100%. Audiences matter – that’s more Canadians seeing more Canadian films and TV programs," he told CCR. "I think the goal of bigger audiences for Canadian creative products is an honourable one." Clarkson, however, appears more focused on developing talent to reach that goal, and one definite switch in direction is his decision to not renew the agreement set up by Stursberg with Creative Artists Agency of Los Angeles to find performers and other talent for Canadian films (CCR, April 8/04). "I think there are limited dollars to spend developing film and TV programs. I don’t take issue with what was done," Clarkson told CCR. "I spoke to Richard about it, and complimented him. My son who is a young filmmaker called me up and thought (the agreement) could be successful. I know the value that it can bring." Clarkson isn’t aiming for the Canadian industry to produce extravagant blockbusters or seat-of-the-pants ultra-low budget productions. The public that Canadian productions should be targeting, he said, isn’t the global mass audience or a small group of cinephiles, but rather somewhere in between. Clarkson’s connection with training, something he fostered as executive director of the Canadian Film Centre, is evident in his approach. "At the end of five years (at Telefilm Canada), there will be some cinematic comfort if I will look back – and one of the ways that I will measure whether I have been successful – is the degree to which young talent across the country have ventured into film, television and new media," he told CCR. He added that he intends to make Telefilm’s national training program in the film and video sector, which is up for review, a priority. He also noted that he learned from his experience at the Ontario Film Development Corporation (OFDC) about how far a few modest dollars can go. "I think we can work in partnership with the provinces and get them to start funds," he said. "It’s a question of sitting down with them and defining programs in which they can set up provincial funds." In his speech he stated, "With modest dollars (less than $10 million) we (OFDC) made the decision to focus on new talent – producers, directors and writers like Patricia (Rozema), Atom (Egoyan), Bruce (McDonald) and Don (McKellar) – and growing companies. We invested in the infrastructure, attracted foreign productions, negotiated co-productions, including interprovincial arrangements with Quebec." He added, "Our support of television (in Ontario) grew over the five years to more than $20 million, and we created a generation of successful filmmakers." Discussing his desire to forge contacts with the provinces, he noted that instead of ratcheting up tax credits "in an all-out bidding war," they should compete as vigorously with each other to increase funding for development and investment in local talent and production. He praised the Quebec provincial ministry, Société de développement des entreprises culturelles, for its role in building Quebec’s cultural industries. "In 2004, the French-language market captured more than 20% of the domestic box office. Yes, we all recognize the linguistic and cultural advantages that Quebec shares. But it’s more than that," he commented in his speech. "It’s the product of a long-term plan and a solid commitment to stable financial support, to building audiences and to encouraging talent." "…I am confident that ‘we’ can fix the problems together, that we can make a difference; that we can change the course of Canadian production history – collectively not individually, but day by day – attacking each identified priority and focusing our national creative expertise and knowledge, and public and private dollars and resources," he said during his address. "It’s the only way we can achieve success. Now, here’s a headline I would like to read on the covers of the trades: ‘Canada’s production community united in success!’…"