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Quebec calling

The time is right for Québécois content to go global, according to cultural agency SODEC, which is showcasing six of the Canadian province’s top production companies as part of C21’s Content LA On Demand.


Quebec cultural agency SODEC’s mission is to support the creative industries in the French-speaking province, to help them gain audiences and business opportunities across Canada and the rest of the world.


Support comes in the form of financial and equity investment and production tax credits, in addition to supporting every stage of a project from conception to exhibition. The Montreal-based agency also runs initiatives that offer non-financial support for training, networking and to encourage creative and financial partnerships.


Louise Lantagne, SODEC

“Quebec’s unique position as a generator of French-language media in North America makes our productions both distinctive and highly exportable, bridging European and American cultures,” says SODEC’s CEO and president Louise Lantagne.


“The pandemic has us all pivoting wildly as it accelerates trends that were already underway, such as with the current streaming platforms and day-and-date releasing. SODEC plays a key role in determining government policy and adapting our programmes to enable our clientele to best take advantage of the opportunities these shifts offer and to continue to shine in an international market that is growing more and more competitive.”


This year, SODEC is collaborating for the first time with the Consulate General of Canada and the Quebec Government Office in LA for the third Canadian Creative Accelerator (CCA), an initiative that offers six Québécois producers the opportunity to showcase their flagship productions to partners or buyers interested in their formats for the US, particularly the LA market.


“This initiative, together with our participation in C21’s Content LA On Demand, represents another opportunity to showcase the quality and potential of Quebec productions that reflect the keen interest our province’s creative content has been increasingly garnering on the international stage,” Lantagne says.

“But over the last two years, particularly in Quebec, the budget per hour for television series has become very low because commercial revenues for broadcasters have fallen locally. [Revenues] are now largely going to the platforms, echoing a global problem.”


“We are delighted to introduce the six chosen production companies – all experienced producers whose catalogues feature fiction series that have had considerable success in Quebec and internationally.”

The first company to feature in the CCA this year is A Media, which is showcasing two series: Conversations With My Parents (Discussion avec mes parents) and Les mecs.


Conversations With My Parents is a comedy series for Radio-Canada that centres on the lives and relationships of a family living in Quebec. It has received multiple awards in the province and a fourth season of the show is currently in production. It was also recently licensed in Germany.

Les mecs, meanwhile, is an adult comedy about male behaviour, gender relationships and intergenerational expectations. Also airing on Radio-Canada, it is written by Jacques Davidts, who penned cult series Les Parents.


Next up is DUO Productions, the company behind some of the most successful French-language dramas in Canada, according to Lantagne. Helmed by Anne Boyer and Michel d’Astous, who both produce and co-write the company’s projects, DUO has produced nearly 500 hours of primetime content. Its titles include For Sarah (Pour Sarah), a TVA series that has been adapted in France for TF1 while a US adaptation is set to air on Fox; TVA show Heure Bleue, which has been picked up by Globosat in Brazil; and Un Sur 2, a Radio-Canada series that has been adapted for TVN in Poland.


For the CCA, DUO is showcasing three productions: Captives, a 6×60’ psychological thriller that will be broadcast on AddikTV this fall; Son of Mine (Mon Fils), a dramatic 6×46’ miniseries available on streamer Club Illico; and After (Après), a six-parter starring Karine Vanasse that is currently airing on Ici Extra.


The third company participating in the CCA is Pixcom, an indie whose catalogue spans the scripted, factual, variety, kids and magazine genres. The prodco has a host of series under its belt that have travelled internationally, including Amber Alert, Victor Lessard, White Night (Nuit Blanche), The Wall (La Faille) and Monster (Le Monstre).

For the CCA, Pixcom is showcasing the format for Audrey’s Back, a dramedy created by Guillaume Lambert (Adulthood) and Florence Longpré (Can You Hear Me?). The series premieres on Club Illico this fall.

Elsewhere, prodco KOTV will be showcasing 6×60’ miniseries Manuel de la Vie Sauvage, which is adapted from the novel of the same name, in addition to Perfect Storm (L’œil du Cyclone) and Pillow Talk (Entre Deux Draps).


KOTV is behind programmes including drama Plan B, which has been licensed for local adaptation in France by Gaumont, in Germany by Gaumont Germanyand in the Belgian region of Flanders by Fobic Films.


Meanwhile, Zone3, which has more than 300 awards to its name, including an Oscar for best foreign-language film, is promoting the format for teen drama series Entitled (Les Petits Rois). Launching on Radio-Canada/ this spring, the series is produced by a young team of writers, directors and producers and features several non-heteronormative characters from diverse backgrounds.


Zone3 produces more than 300 hours of television programming yearly and has already sold formats in Europe, including scripted series Like Me! in France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.


The sixth and final prodco to feature in the CCA is Encore, an entertainment company focused on scripted comedy and drama series, live comedy specials, live plays and artist management. Among its best-known titles, several series have already found buyers in the US, including Les Beaux Malaises, which was sold to Netflix, and True North (Les Pays d’en Haut), which was picked up by Walter Presents.


Encore will present Dark Soul (Bête Noire), a series presented by C21 during its Hot Properties strand at Content London, which deals with the collateral damage and aftermath of a mass shooting. The company is also presenting drama series The Candidate (La Candidate).


“While we have a small domestic market, we punch above our weight on the international stage. Our industry has matured under our home-grown creative talents, due to a highly supportive domestic audience and also by servicing major productions. The timing is right, and we see new opportunities with the streamers for Quebec stories to continue their success on a broader scale,” Lantagne says.


For information on more programming presented under the umbrella of SODEC, including Encore International’s Bête Noire, click here.

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