Canada opts for e-cinema ghetto for regions

By Patrick von Sychowski | January 16, 2008 11:20 pm PST

The National Film Board of Canada has launched digital distribution of movies to remote areas of the country, but opted for a lower end e-cinema system over full fledged digital cinema. This means that only local and art house films will be able to screen, rather than also showing US and Canadian mainstream films. This article highlights that it intends to spread French-Canadian language films and documentaries wider:

E-cinema screenings begin Thursday in the New Brunswick communities of Moncton, Kedgwick, Bouctouche, Caraquet and Edmundston. Francophones in those towns will be able to catch a number of acclaimed NFB offerings, including “Le Temps des Madelinots,” a Quebec documentary from Richard Lavoie that’s been a box office success in the province.

“We’re doing this in New Brunswick because there’s a very strong francophone community there with strong roots and connections to francophone culture that’s outside Quebec, so they don’t often have access to Quebec cinema,” Tom Perlmutter of the National Film Board said in an interview Tuesday.

To their credit, they are calling it “e-cinema” rather than digital cinema. In doing so they are following the path set out by the Australian Film Commission’s (AFC) Regional Digital Screen Network (RDSN), which opted for lower end equipment, rather than following the lead of the UK Film Council’s Digital Screen Network (DSN), which is DCI-grade but has minimum quotas for the amount of specialized content that these must show. Canada and Australia are effectively setting up digital content ghettos, which will be restricted in term of what they can show, as well as creating a secondary technology and quality tier.

Patrick von Sychowski
Follow me