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... PEOPLE ::



actor / filmmaker


Toronto Film Studios - He’s young, speaks with the comfort and cadence of one accustomed to endless routine questions, and has a milky gaze that is remarkable for its ability to both charm and disarm. Jacob Tierney (TWIST – Genie nomination) is one of Canada’s gifted young actors, and promising film directors, whose feet and artistic vision are firmly rooted in his native country as he travels the globe peddling his projects. 


We step from a sound stage onto the lot of Toronto Film Studios, where Tierney pulls on his favourite cigarettes as he shares his views on the state of Canada's film industry. Having lived a culturally diverse film existence which includes the juggernaut corporation America, its struggling cousin English Canada, and the inimitable Francophone Quebec, he has a uniqe viewpoint.  


His opinions are strong, numerous and delivered rapid-fire, often in broken sentences. What better way to illustrate his passion and intensity than through direct quotes? Read on, as Jacob Tierney, Genie nominated director / actor / writer, shares his perspective on the state of film in Canada.  


on why canadian cinema is in the shadow of big brother south of us ::


“There is a bit of a culture in Canadian movies, especially English Canadian movies, that is way too reliant on a system that doesn’t really work – the Telefilm system. I’ve seen it happen with a lot of high profile movies where they go through the steps and they get their movie made, and they go to the Toronto Film Festival and they still don’t get a sale, and they don’t understand why. That’s a big problem.”


“Unfortunately, the problem is largely with the films. We have got to make better movies. We talk all the time about the crisis in the Canadian film industry. The problem is content a lot of the time. We have the talent and we’re creative enough. Canadian music, Canadian literature, Canadian theatre… all are among the best in the world. Canadian cinema? Not. Just not. The disconnect is in a lot of different places."


living next to the twitching elephant ::


“Another thing we suffer from is putting massive expectations on our own industry. We’re a country with a small population and we forget that because we think of ourselves as big and important and we speak the dominant language of the world, with roughly the same accent as those people who run the empire next door. But we’re dealing with, like everybody else, a massive amount of American money that we just can’t compete with. So, if we can’t compete with them in terms of P & A, in terms of exposure, we’re never going to afford the TV time for advertising, we’re never going to get a Canadian movie on the cover of Vanity Fair. Things like that just aren’t going to happen, so we need to force feed it.”


“I really think we have to legislate theatres to play Canadian content. It worked so well for Canadian music – it’s affirmative action and it works.”


“I really think we have to legislate theatres to play Canadian content. It worked so well for Canadian music – it’s affirmative action and it works.”

Jacob Tierney


on why quebec films find an audience ::


"We have to create our own culture. The reason Quebec is doing so well right now (with respect to cinema) is because of legislation put in place by Rene Levesque in the 70s and 80s which mandated culture. The terrible truth about Rene Levesque's Canada is that he was right about everything, I think. Our Trudeau notion of ‘we are one’ does not work. We are a very regionally fragmented country and we can see that reflected in our art in an enormous way




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