In an earlier post I had written about the new Canadian doc Up the Yangtze and the film’s potential for overcoming the nationalist/neoliberal debate in the Canadian culturesphere. Well that film was entirely shot in China about a Chinese family, and made mostly by Canucks. That makes it Canadian enough for the bureaucratic culture-meters north of Hollywood.
Now take Juno, a film nominated for several Oscars (with one win) and winning accolades wherever it is screened. The film was shot in Canada, stars Canadian talent and was made by a Canadian director. With the upcoming Genie awards (Canada’s answer to the Oscars) the film was seen to be a sweeper. Think again.
Etan Vlessing reports on Reuters today that because Juno was financed primarily by an LA-based company, it is not Canadian enough to make it into the Genies. However, Cronenberg's new film, Eastern Promises, is. Vlessing writes:
Because L.A.-based Mandate Pictures developed and financed “Juno” and Fox Searchlight released the comedy, the Genies considers the film American and thus ineligible for competition.
Canada's film awards really falls down the rabbit hole into Wonderland when you consider that “Eastern Promises,” a British film about a Russian mob family in London, and directed by hired-gun Canadian David Cronenberg, will contend for best Canadian film at the Genies.
In a country known for cries of cultural imperialism accusations against our neighbours to the South, this kind of policing seems to just add more aphoristic fodder to the bizarre mess known as Canada’s film industry.
Maybe the film's director, Jason Reitman, should have named his cuddly teen pregnancy flick “Genie.”