April 29, 1999

COGECO Program Development Fund to support Feature Film Development

Reacting to industry demand for increased financial support for feature films in Canada, the Board of Directors of the Cogeco Program Development Fund approved an innovative funding initiative to support the development of feature films by supporting the companies which create them.

Development funding is available for production companies with a slate of at least 3 feature films in development. Funding is in the form of interest-free advances to a maximum of $35,000. The advances may be used for any phase of development for any of the projects under development. Fifty per cent of the advance must be reimbursed on the first day of principal photography of any one of the projects submitted and the balance of the advance reimbursed on the first day of principal photography of any other project submitted.

Eligible applicants must be Canadian independent producers who have produced within the past 5 years, at least three theatrically released or broadcast feature films, movies-of-the-week, or mini-series. At least one of these must have been theatrically released.

Approximately $200,000 has been allocated to this new program this year. It is expected therefore, that 5 or 6 production companies will be awarded feature film development financing.

"The high quality and international appeal of Canadian films is very impressive. Cogeco would like to be associated with these productions and play a role in ensuring that producers and writers have the resources to develop them to the fullest extent possible before plunging into production", stated Maurice Myrand, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cogeco Program Development fund. "The Cogeco Program Development Fund is a new resource for feature film producers which will hopefully help to make this possible".

Deadline for application for feature film development funding is July 1, 1999.

The Cogeco Program Development Fund has invested over $1 million in the development of dramatic television series in the past 7 years. Cogeco Cable Inc., a subsidiary of COGECO Inc., contributed $5 million to an endowment fund for this program and it is the revenues generated by this endowment and repayment of loans which are used to provide development advances for dramatic series and movies-of-the-week and now for feature films as well.

Last year the Cogeco Program Development fund also launched a new program to provide production financing for movies-of-the-week, mini-series and pilots for dramatic series. Approximately one million dollars is being contributed annually to this fund by Cogeco Cable Inc. as part of its Broadcast Distribution Undertaking (BDU) requirements. Seven movies-of-the-week and one pilot have received equity funding through this program in its first 6 months of operation.

The Cogeco Program Development Fund continues to respond to industry needs with unique and timely new funding programs. It is a private, not-for-profit corporation administered by a 6-member independent Board of Directors. The Administration of the Cogeco Fund is undertaken on behalf of COGECO Inc. by the Independent Production Fund.

For further information:
Andra Sheffer, Executive Director


T: 416-977-8966
F: 416-977-0694

Claire Dion. Associate Director


T: 514-737-9969
F: 514-737-9008