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C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

HG Distribution

Programming Profile

HGagnon: all about distribution

15-06-2020

Henry Gagnon, CEO at HGagnon Distribution, talks us through his C21 Digital Screenings playlist and explains why his company is different from other Quebecois distributors.

 

Montreal-based HGagnon Distribution prides itself on only distributing third-party programming and not producing any of its own to compete with that supplied by its content partners.

 

“I’m one of the very rare independent distributors in Canada, meaning I’m not producing. I don’t think there are any others in French-Canada, they are all either associated with a production company or part of one,” says CEO Henry Gagnon.

 

“We represent more than 106 producers but we make nothing ourselves. I wake up each morning thinking about the next buyer and I go to bed in the evening thinking about the next buyer for tomorrow, so I don’t develop or produce. I’m pretty much all about hunting buyers for the readymade content we represent.”

 

Gagnon
Henry Gagnon,
HGagnon Distribution

It’s not only this focus on distribution that marks the company out but also its strategy of picking up French-Canadian shortform scripted and unscripted content, often from the internet, for international distribution with subtitles or dubbing.

 

On the company’s C21 Digital Screenings playlist this week is a dozen titles, a list topped by family sci-fi drama 422 (13×30’) from Blachfilms. The Tele Quebec drama follows five youngsters who discover a secret passage to a mysterious world hiding a priceless treasure.

 

Another 13-part scripted series on the list is Public Writer from Babel Films, about a writer living in a poor neighbourhood of Montreal. “The show started as a web series, and is now in its third season. It has been winning awards like crazy all over the world,” says Gagnon.

 

422
422

Shortform dramedy is also on the slate, with UGO Media’s The Florists (6×8’), about an aspiring comedian who brings unconventional sales techniques when he goes to work at his uncle’s florist shop, and St Laurent TV’s award-winning Home Turf (8×12’), about an African teenager in a Canadian foster home.

 

Dramas Dogs Day (8×8’) and Fluffy Marky (33×7’) are also in the mix, from St Laurent TV and Blachfilms respectively. The former is about how a Montreal heatwave impacts the local community and the latter is about the relationship between a high school bully and the class nerd, and can be aired as 4×48’.

 

The Florists
The Florists

The Arena (6×8’) is another web drama, this time a story from NITROFilms about a young mother who challenges her ex to a rap battle. “It has less boxing than Rocky but more oestrogen than 8 Mile,” explains Gagnon.

 

On the factual front, Adventure Guides Worldwide (40×60’) is a travel series from Balestra Productions that explores not only the outdoor experience but also the character of the guides who work off the beaten track, while The Science Behind Art (8×15’) is a documentary from Eurêka! Productions in which a journalist looks at the numbers behind dance, architecture, music and other arts.

 

The Science Behind Art
The Science Behind Art

The Unknown Champions (52×24’) is a long-running docuseries from prodco Quiet Motion that reveals unique competitions from around the world, such as wingsuit flying and snake hunting. “I’m presenting the show to buyers as a way to fill the gaps left by the Olympics being cancelled,” Gagnon adds.

 

For buyers looking for eco-themed content, the company has Earth: Seen From the Heart, a 90-minute documentary from La Terre Vue du Coeur Inc in which presenters Hubert Reeves and Frédéric Lenoir are joined by scientists, writers and artists to sound a warning that biodiversity is under threat.

 

2 Minutes to Understand
2 Minutes to Understand

Interstitial content is also on offer, with 2 Minutes to Understand (223×2’), a series of bite-size animated explanations of interesting things, with 167 of the episodes aimed at children. “Short clips like these are totally in demand right now. Many networks around the world use them as short fillers and these were originally made for Bell Media,” says Gagnon.

 

HGagnon’s plan to acquire French-Canadian content to shop around the world seems to be paying off. “Our biggest markets are in Europe. Italy, Germany has been a good country for the past six years, even France,” Gagnon adds with a laugh. “The French think our accent is cute; it’s like how the Texan accent sounds to Welsh people, so we have to subtitle our shows into English to sell them in France.”



More programming profiles

  • 11-11-2021

    Henry Gagnon, CEO of Quebec’s HG Distribution, talks us through the teen-friendly shows his company is focusing on via its presence on C21’s Digital Screenings this week.

     

    Quebec-based HG Distribution has a programme catalogue focused on the three key areas of docuseries, children’s shows and web series. For its playlist on C21’s Digital Screenings, the distributor has selected three titles from its scripted slate, catering to the increased demand for drama the company has experienced in recent months.

     

    “The drama part is growing a lot,” says CEO Henry Gagnon. “Does it have something to do with cinemas being closed for the last year-and-a-half, when we’ve all been looking for entertaining content? Most of the world has now finished watching the Netflix catalogue, so everybody’s looking outside of that and trying to find some new stuff.”
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  • 02-09-2020

    Canadian distributor HG Distribution has scoured the globe to bring a new slate of content to showcase this week via the C21 Digital Screenings.

     

    Quebec-based HG Distribution traditionally only distributes programming that was produced in Canada, specifically from the Francophone province, but has recently widened its net to include content from outside the country.

     

    “We have focused for many years on distributing Canadian content, but more and more of the producers we work with have built coproduction deals all over the world, which has brought us many referrals,” CEO Henry Gagnon explains.

     

    “So now we have content from Vietnam, Italy, Poland, France, Germany – from all over the world. The majority of our content is still Canadian, but we’re picking up more and more international content to distribute internationally.”

     

    In line with this, three of the shows on HG Distribution’s playlist in C21’s Digital Screenings this week are from outside Canada. The first, Monta in the Odd Galaxy (10×30’/40×7.5’), is a children’s action comedy series from Vintata Animation Studio in Vietnam, in which Monta has to gather his friends to travel to odd planets and fix the oddest problems.
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