Canuck soft money big draw at co-pro confab

Strategic Partners event to focus on U.S, German producers

TORONTO -- With Wall Street coin drying up, the search for soft money and international options is taking film and TV producers to Canada for co-production financing.

Jan Miller, director of Strategic Partners, the co-production conference aligned with the Atlantic Film Festival, said getting American and European indie producers to Halifax later this month has suddenly turned into an easy sale.

"The last couple years were difficult in pulling together the conference. But this year, we've had more submissions than ever before, and we're really not having to talk people into coming," she said ahead of Strategic Partners' upcoming 13th edition.

This year's focus is on American and German producers, financiers, sales agents, agencies, broadcasters and distributors chasing potential Canadian partners for their local tax credits and other taxpayer subsidies, and co-production and co-venture know-how.

"Internationally, everyone knows they have to think globally in terms of financing and audience, and Canada has been there for a long time," Miller said of Canada's international market reach and intelligence.

Examples: Halifax has two internationally-broadcast TV series currently shooting locally, the Stephen King TV adaptation "Haven" and the Jason Priestley-starrer "Call Me Fitz."

Killer Films' Christine Vachon will provide one of the keynote speeches in Halifax, and projects looking for production coin include Canadian producer Picture Plant's movie adaptation of Marian Engel's novel "Bear," U.S.-based BoomGen Studios' "Redemption," about a young American journalist pursuing an Iranian agent and a government conspiracy in New York City, and Belgium's Eyeworks Film & TV Drama's "End Game," a film about an autistic teenager who fights back at bullies with help from an online-gaming girlfriend.

The Strategic Partners conference is set to run from Sept. 16 to 19.