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Netflix in Canada agrees first-look deal with Montreal prodco Attraction

Richard Speer and Danielle Woodrow

Netflix in Canada has struck a first-look deal with Montreal-based production company Attraction, marking the first time it has signed such a deal in the Canadian market.

The streaming giant said the pact will include French-language film projects, which Attraction will develop and produce.

Attraction, led by president Richard Speer, has produced more than 7,500 hours of content across film and television since it launched in 2002, including dramedy series Le temps d’un été (One Summer), crime drama feature Mafia Inc, fantasy feature L’arracheuse de temps (The Time Snatcher) and the Quebecois version of Amazon format LOL: Last One Laughing.

While Netflix has multiple agreements with production companies in the US, it has not until this point engaged Canadian prodcos in first-look deals.

The announcement comes two years after Netflix appointed Tara Woodbury and Danielle Woodrow to lead its first Canadian office, based in Toronto.

Projects greenlit by the Canadian team include Tall Pines, a limited thriller from Canadian comedian, actor and screenwriter Mae Martin, produced by Sphere Media and Objective Fiction. It also co-commissioned an as-yet untitled comedy series set in the Canadian Arctic with pubcaster CBC and indigenous broadcaster Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, in addition to a stand-up comedy special from Montreal-based comic Mathieu Dufour.

The announcement also comes less than a week before the start of a pivotal regulatory hearing on how best to modernise Canada’s Broadcasting Act for a digital age.

The hearing will see dozens of companies and organisations from across the Canadian screen sector – including local broadcasters, global streaming services, trade associations and guilds – appear before Canada’s TV regulator, the CRTC, to discuss how they believe a new regulatory framework should be implemented.

The new framework will include the regulation of streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Paramount+, but the degree to which they are regulated is yet to be determined. Netflix, like many of the other streaming services operating in Canada, contends that it already contributes substantially to the local marketplace, and that far-reaching regulatory obligations are not required to ensure its continued investment in the country.

“We are big fans of Attraction’s creative vision and have been impressed by their work with so many talented Québecois filmmakers,” said Danielle Woodrow, director of content for Canada at Netflix.

“We look forward to collaborating with this talented team to tell stories that will delight audiences for years to come.”

Speer added: “Attraction is excited to announce this groundbreaking partnership with Netflix, a first in the Canadian market. This deal not only elevates Quebec content to the global stage but also demonstrates Netflix’s commitment to promoting our local Francophone talent to audiences around the world.”

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