There is more and more discontent in the film distribution sector in Quebec. The community denounces the agreement signed with the former director of Seville Films, Patrick Roy, who will lead a new company financed from public funds.
“We do not understand the urgency of financing another distribution company when the sector is already well served by the players who are currently in business”, says Chantale Pagé, President of the Association of Independent Film Distributors of Quebec (RDIFQ), during an interview with Le Journal.
Without drums or trumpets, the announcement was made Friday afternoon just before the election was called. Patrick Roy, former president of Seville, who resigned in June, has confirmed the establishment of a new distribution company. government, in particular by Investissement Québec (IQ) and the Cultural Business Development Corporation (SODEC).
Last Friday, it was impossible to know the financial details of the partnership. “The terms of the agreement will be unveiled at the closing, in the coming weeks,” said Mathieu St-Amand, spokesperson for Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.
However, the other distributors see it as favoritism on the part of the CAQ government towards a single player. “We must avoid unfair competition and ensure that the rules are fair for everyone,” asks Mr. Pagé.
The latter leads the Maison 4:3 distributor and reminds us that the other players do not benefit from the same largesse from the state. “We do not have access to business start-up financing, each of the distributors (…) we are financed by the SODEC bank, we put our houses as collateral,” she says.
The distributors expressed their questions and concerns by sending a letter to the Minister of Culture, Nathalie Roy, but without obtaining any answers. Several well-known players are signatories, including Christian Larouche of Crystal Films, Tim Ringuette of Entract Films and Louis Dussault of K-Films Amérique.
“We've been asking questions for a month and don't have an answer. The government does not have to support a private company,” assures Ms. Pagé.
Distributors are also concerned about the fate of the catalog of films which still belong to Films Sevilla, owned by Eone/Hasbro. , the American company specializing in the production of toys.
“Who answers for this catalog. Who owns it? The government does not wonder how to save it. We think it is still in American hands, but we have no answer. It makes us angry,” assures Ms. Pagé.
In this catalogue, there are several titles well known to Quebecers, such as Mommy by Xavier Dolan, 1987 by Ricardo Trogi, Incendies by Denis Villeneuve and big hits like Louis Cyr.
Seville Films announced in June that they were ceasing film distribution in Quebec, sending shock waves through the Quebec film industry. However, their latest film, Fault Lines, is still shown in theaters.
“To be able to be shown, you need a distributor’s license. To obtain the permit, you must meet two criteria: you must have an office in Quebec and the decision-making power must be here. But who is at the head of Seville Films? Who is the leader? asks the distributor.