On Tuesday, October 18, a film industry development session was held at the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Co-Operative office on King’s Road, St. John’s. The event, “20 20 20: A Dialogue on Newfoundland and Labrador Film, Television and Digital Industries,” was co-hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation (NLFDC), the Film Producers Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL), the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Co-operative (NIFCO), and Memorial University of Newfoundland’s (MUN) Office of Public Engagement, Quick Start Fund. The Harris Centre at MUN also provided invaluable assistance.
“20 20 20” is a reference to the 20 years of film activity through NIFCO, the 20 years of filmmaking since the inception of NLFDC, and the potential for the industry over the next 20 years. The session reviewed the current status of the film industry and explored opportunities and steps necessary to guide the industry in moving forward. The year 2015-16 was a stellar year for film activity in the province, with the value of production just under $50M. Participants were asked to consider the following: is it possible to reach $100M in 20 years? If so, what are the key factors required to see this goal realized?
Participants were invited from all facets of the film sector and included: producers, educators, funders, government representatives, festival organizers etc. Ideas for specific topics were developed in advance and invitees were assigned to specific groups consistent with their level and area of expertise. The session was presented as an opportunity to bring the different segments of the industry together to share ideas and start the dialogue on future planning. The intention of the event and the intention for participants was to look ahead.
The exchange of ideas, shared vision, and joint problem solving that exists in business clusters has been a successful development model elsewhere. In Northern Ontario and Manitoba the film industries are growing because of this kind of collaboration, whereby a group (cluster) of firms, agencies and NGOs work together around a common vision to develop an industry. Perhaps the ocean technology cluster here can be a helpful model. Our scenery is a unique selling point for the province. Promoting NL as a location is a role for the NLFDC. However, we need to encourage more collaboration through an industry cluster or joint effort to develop a brand for the NL film sector that reflects both our creativity as well as our landscape. Participants agreed the industry needs to get together more often to exchange ideas, findings and experiences.