Strategic Partners set sights on France


TORONTO -- France will be the focus of the upcoming Strategic Partners co-production market in Halifax, organizers said Wednesday, following on the success of such award-winning Canada-France collaborations as Denys Arcand's "Les Invasions barbares" and Sylvain Chomet's "Les Triplettes de Belleville."

Strategic Partners, the co-production market at the Atlantic Film Festival in Nova Scotia, pointed to a dramatic rise in official movie, TV and animation co-productions between Canada and France in explaining its national market focus this year.

"Focusing our attention on France in addition to our core countries -- the U.K. and the U.S. -- bringing their best to Canada while we present our best to them, is the perfect way to celebrate our 10 years of investment in international co-production," Strategic Partners director Jan Miller said.

The Halifax co-production market, which matches films with international partners, is typically a stopping-over point each September for American and European producers on route from the Toronto International Film Festival to New York's IFP market.

Miller said that exit surveys from last year's Strategic Partners revealed that Canadian producers (outside French-speaking Quebec) cite the U.K. and France as their two preferred international co-production partners.

Other recent Canadian-French co-productions include Shuibo Wang's "They Chose China," a portrait of 21 American POWs from the Korean war who chose to stay in Korea (from the National Film Board of Canada and ARTE France), and the animated "Franklin" (from Nelvana Ltd. and Neurones France).

The 10th annual Strategic Partners market will take place Sept. 14-16 in Halifax. The call for applications will open in May and close July 9.