CFC launches Hollywood initiative

Talent incubator looking to recruit Canadian ex-pats for cause

TORONTO -- Norman Jewison's Canadian Film Center is looking to open doors in Hollywood for its 1300 alumnae.

The CFC North-South Marketplace program, launched Tuesday in Los Angeles, aims to help Canadian talent get their phone calls returned and their projects financed stateside.

The cross-border initiative comes as Canuck talent increasingly looks outside their borders for financing and cost-conscious U.S. networks field more TV series pitches from Canadian producers after the success of CBS' "Flashpoint," a homegrown cop drama.

"That (co-production) model is built on real currency here because it brings down the cost of production. We can potentially be part of four more 'Flashpoints,' " CFC executive director Slawko Klymkiw said while touring studio lots.

Also with an eye to knocking Canadian scripts into shape for Hollywood pitches, the CFC earlier this year pacted with NBC Universal to sort through ideas from Canadian TV producers and present the best for possible prime time development.

Klymkiw added the CFC is also looking to recruit Canadian ex-pats in Los Angeles, New York City and London to encourage and sustain a Canadian industry back home.

Ivan Reitman, Kiefer Sutherland and Eugene Levy are among a slew of Canuck talent in Los Angeles that have returned to Toronto to help the CFC launch a range of talent labs.

The Canadian industry has tried before to shake the bushes in Hollywood for homegrown talent.

The federal government in 2004 hired CAA to help attach talent, financing and distribution to homegrown films so they could better compete against Hollywood movies at the local multiplex.