When It Comes to Canadian Documentaries, Audiences Really Can See It All

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Audiences eager to watch Canadian docs can find them just a click away through See It All. The Telefilm Canada initiative partners with streamers, broadcasters, and SVOD providers to make Canadian content more accessible nationwide. The See It All campaign responds to concerns from Canadian filmmakers who struggle to connect their films with audiences outside the festival circuit or the­atrical windows. Whether on NFB.ca, Crave, Cineplex, CBC Gem, Tënk, AppleTV, or other platforms, See It All maximizes the discoverability of Canadian films.

“For the last six years, Telefilm Canada has been doing audience research to better understand where Canadians are consuming content,” says Francesca Accinelli, vice president of promotion, communication, and international relations at Telefilm Canada. “We’ve made it our mis­sion to make Canadian content much more discoverable.”

Accinelli says the See It All campaign is a mix of creating exposure and feeding the appetite. It streamlines the decision-making process for viewers by showing them what Canadian films are available on which platform. For example, docs like Watermark (2013) and You Are Here: A Come From Away Story (2018) are just a click away on Crave alongside Canuck dramas like Blood Quantum (2019) and Window Horses (2016). Cineplex offers a playlist dedicated to Canadian docs including the Tragically Hip hit Long Time Running (2017), Rob Stewart’s Sharkwater (2006), and the timely anti-conglomerate follow-up The New Corporation (2020).

Docs in the Canuck catalogue have helped Canadians weather the events of a troubling year, offering both an escape and a window. “Documentaries in particular had such an incredible growth during the pandemic,” observes Accinelli. “More people are trying to seek out content that shows them different angles of the truth because we’re living in a social media-dominated and potentially skewed-perception environment.”

See It All curates weekly recommendations. These picks come from Telefilm staff members who shepherded projects through production or steered them through the circuit. Other recommendations tap into new releases, events, or topical issues. “Particularly around festival screen­ings, we can remind people of the previous documentaries that were profiled at, say, TIFF, and use that as a point of entry to drive people to where they can consume the films,” explains Accinelli. Audiences taken by the films of Alanis Obomsawin during TIFF’s major retrospective of her work can be directed to the NFB, where they can watch films like Hi-Ho Mistahey! (2013) and Trick or Treaty? (2014)—for free.

“The NFB has been leading the charge in documentary, virtual and augmented reality, and new ways to educate people around important stories, so we started working with them four years ago because their platform is so robust,” adds Accinelli. The robust selection of docs at NFB.ca gives the See It All partnership a catalogue of options to further curate playlists around events like Remembrance Day or the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in which non-fiction programming lets Canadians see history reflected on screen.

See It All further helps reflect an accurate, balanced, and inclusive Canada by spotlighting the diverse creators behind Canadian stories. “When we were first focused on gender parity, we did interviews, back­grounders, or videos profiling the incredible women who were creat­ing content,” says Accinelli. “It’s really shifted and we’ve done it with Indigenous creators. More often than not, the films selected at festivals recently have been representative of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour creators and communities.” See It All connects audiences to an archive of stories they may have missed, like the docs by Beans (2020) director Tracey Deer available on Encore+ or Baljit Sangra’s Because We Are Girls (2019), a runaway hit on Prime Video and NFB.ca.

Now audiences can continue the conversation with Telefilm’s Maple Popcorn and Sortez le popcorn podcasts that engage Canadian filmmak­ers in conversations about their work and experiences. The podcasts let listeners hear from A-list talent like Denis Villeneuve as well as emerging talents like Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Thyrone Tommy. “You’re bring­ing more people in to discover the people behind the content, which is really important,” notes Accinelli. And the films are now just a click away when they catch someone’s interest.

Connect with Canadian movies at Telefilm.ca/SeeItAll

 

This article was sponsored by Telefilm Canada.

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

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