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Maple Pictures - Canada's Tree?


Went to an advanced screening of Hostel last night (don't bother - scary and inventive as white paint on drywall). The tickets were given out through Maple Pictures, a Toronto based distribution house that describes itself thusly: "a genre-savy independent film company making a mark on the industry through its grassroots acquisition, production and distribution of diverse and distinctive filmed entertainment."

Diverse and distinctive? Really? The last 3 Maple screenings that I attended had these movies on tap: Saw 2, In The Mix, and now Hostel. Their upcoming release is A Good Woman (featured at the 2004 TIFF but never under general release). So far, the company has "diversified" into only two genres - romatic comedies and gore/horror. How dull.

I have to wonder about Canadian filmmakers. Where are their distribution deals? Other than Cronenberg, Agoyan, and Mehta, it seems that practically all other Canadian filmmakers get limited runs, some only in festivals. Why aren't companies like Maple Pictures working harder to distribute Canadian films?

I understand that those who distribute films are out to make money, not give a free ride. But with their home base here in Toronto, can't Maple swing a deal for local films to be presented in more theatres within the city? Or maybe their "grassroots" speeches are only that - empty but attractive words in an attempt to give themselves an indie-cred.

The problem could be that, like many countries, we won't support our local product, preferring instead the usual Hollywood bombast so companies like Maple Pictures are only giving us what we want. But is it good for us? There has to be something more attactive out there than lame rom-coms and uninventive gorefests; surely some provocative suspense or drama films are being produced by Canadians?

After the bland slice-and-dice images presented in Hostel, I have to think that any film could peak my interest more than Mr.Roth's banal movies. If I were only give the opportunity to see them, I might even give Canadian films a chance...


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