Netflix Puts Out Call for Canadian Film, TV Pitches

The Umbrella Academy - Production Stills - 002 - Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Netflix

"Diverse and underrepresented stories told authentically are important to us," the streamer said ahead of a 'Canada Virtual Pitch Day' planned for September.

Netflix is giving emerging Canadian storytellers an opportunity to see their projects developed into film and TV originals for the American streaming giant.

"Netflix is proud to help bring Canadian stories to the world. We are continuing our search to discover amazing stories from both seasoned storytellers and undiscovered talent all over Canada. Diverse and underrepresented stories told authentically are important to us," the U.S. streamer wrote on its company blog Thursday.

Until Aug. 5, Netflix will accept English-language pitch proposals from Canadian creators for series or films across varied genres, including factual and animated series and indie film and TV series. A shortlist of content producers will then present their ideas to Netflix execs in September as part of a planned Canada Virtual Pitch Day.

Netflix has already done a pitch call in Quebec with French-language producers, from which it commissioned Jusqu'au Declin (The Decline), an action thriller directed by Patrice Laliberté that is the first Quebec film to be produced as a Netflix original film. Netflix has also gone to a virtual format for its next series of content pitch sessions with Canadian producers to ensure safety amid the pandemic and reach as many production communities as it can coast to coast.

Casting a net for Canadian content ideas also follows a 2017 deal between the federal government and Netflix that required the online video giant to spend at least $400 million on Canadian film and TV investment over five years, as it established Canadian production hubs in Toronto and Vancouver.

Netflix's Canadian expenditures includes local shoots for The Umbrella Academy, V-Wars, the horror series October Faction, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Another Life. In September 2019, Netflix reported it met its Canadian spending commitment three years ahead of schedule and would continue to invest heavily in originals north of the border, while also commissioning or licensing local movies and TV series for its global network.

More recently, Netflix and other Hollywood studios and streamers shut down all location shooting in Canada to help contain spread of the novel coronavirus. Production centers in Vancouver and Toronto have since been given a greenlight to get back into operations, but Los Angeles producers are having to navigate a closed U.S.-Canada border and local safety protocols before they fully return across the border.