Quebec's film industry turns to the Internet to survive during COVID-19 pandemic

For 10 months, Quebecers, along with much of the rest of the world, have been binging their share of movies and TV shows as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many entertainment options. But the pandemic has left the province's film industry struggling to survive.

Documentarian Catherine Beauchamp was working on her latest project – a documentary following Quebec filmmakers as they toured the world showing their work – when the pandemic forced everything shut.

“For the industry, I think it was really tought,” she said.

To get their work out, many filmmakers put their work online, but that came with its own challenges.

“It's hard to find Quebec cinema online. Which platform is it playing on?” said Maison 4:3 president Chantale Page. “So that website, Aime Ton Cinema, that was the start of everyone working together; the distributor, the producer and the theatre. We built a committee to ask the government to get money to help during that period.”

With many American blockbusters having their releases postponed, Beauchamp said there was a realization that there was a hole to be filled.

“I realized the public really loves movies from Quebec because there was no American movies around in the theatres when they re-opened,” she said. “I realized it's good to know that we have great movies and content and directors. That's the best thing to come out from this pandemic.”

As many viewers have adapted to watching films on their TV screens, movie theatres will have to adapt once the pandemic is over. Cinema Guzzo owner Vince Guzzo said in 2021 he'll offer more movies frm online sources, banking on the idea that audiences will still want to see blockbusters on the big screen.

“Will both platforms co-exist? They will and that's where this dynamic pricing comes in, so if you have a movie that's a Netflix movie that they want to show 30 days later on their platform, well then I'l sell it at a lower price because my exclusivity is shorter.”

“Ultimately, the best comparison is a kitchen. We all have homes and kitchens, but we all want to go to restaurants. Why? Because of the experience, because of the food. Same thing with movies. You can't get the same experience at home as in a theatre.”

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