Very few of the major activities in Canadian life escape the influences of our southern neighbour and the making of Canadian feature films is no exception. Because of the proximity of the United States and its economic and social influences on Canada, the Canadian cinema very quickly fell victim to the monopolistic outreach of the vertically integrated American film system and was effectively consigned to the fringes of its own market. The consequences of this takeover were both economic and cultural: economic in that Canadian films are national commodities which can be manufactured and sold for a profit; and cultural in that our films can be vehicles for creative expression, disseminators of information and the mirrors of our national values and imagination. With the establishment of the Canadian Film Development Corporation in 1967, a Crown funding agency, the government intended to gain back for Canadians the film industry which had been in the past sorely neglected and carelessly traded away.
Despite fifteen years of activity by the CFDC, however, the Canadian feature film industry continues to suffer hardship. The aim of this thesis is thus to trace, analyse and evaluate the efforts of the CFDC in the corporation's approach to the development of the Canadian industry. This study concludes that many of the problems of the Canadian industry and the failures of the CFDC are bound up within the historical and structural realities of the Canadian film marketplace. It also suggests that the implications of those realities have been exacerbated by internal tensions among Canadians, opposing views of nationalism, and by the confused public objectives of successive Canadian governments.