Montreal, July 23, 2009 – Telefilm Canada, CFC (Canadian Film Centre) and Just For Laughs are proud to announce the creation of Canada’s first advanced training program to develop theatrical feature-length comedies: The Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab, a CFC Film program presented in collaboration with Just For Laughs.

Revealed today at a Just For Laughs Comedy Conference industry luncheon, the program will commence in November 2009 with the goal of developing five successful original feature comedies for Canadian and international audiences.  The submission deadline for the Features Comedy Lab is September 18, 2009.

The Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab is a high-level, professional development program, pairing accomplished Canadian feature film producers and their writer and/or director teams and their theatrical comedy scripts, with the best comedy minds in the world.

Together, these teams will work on their scripts to further develop and package five viable English-language theatrical feature comedies by 2010. It is expected that these films will begin production by 2011-2012. The Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab seeks to advance the comedy genre in Canada and generate comedies that achieve commercial and critical success.

Telefilm Canada is the driving and financial force behind the new initiative. Part of the agency’s mandate is to identify film-industry gaps and how to bridge them.

“While Canada has made some great comedies, such as Strange Brew, Porky’s and Bon Cop Bad Cop, for a country that is recognized globally for its sense of humour, we have not fully exploited our potential to make funny and commercially successful feature films,” said Sheila de La Varende, Director of National & International Business Development for the Federal cultural investment agency. “This is a gap in how we tell our stories to each other and the world and the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab was created to fill this gap.”

The three-year program is funded through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Feature Film Fund with a budget of just over $1 million.  Telefilm selected the CFC to deliver this training program based on its track record of excellence and the strength of its proposal.

“CFC struck a brilliant collaboration with Just For Laughs, leaders in the field of comedy, to bring world-class mentors to the program,” said De La Varende.  “With the outstanding support and expertise of our respective organizations we can expect to see great things on screen in a few years.”

“Canadians have always been trendsetters in comedy, from Meatballs to Trailer Park Boys, and we are home to an abundance of talent – we are the world’s favourite cultural import,” said Slawko Klymkiw, Executive Director, CFC.  “The CFC is constantly identifying opportunities for talent and industry to succeed here at home and globally. This ground-breaking program addresses a critical need in our marketplace and we are pleased to be collaborating with Telefilm Canada and Just For Laughs to bring it to Canadian filmmakers. Those individuals who are selected will work hands-on with the best mentors in the industry, including comedy veteran Eugene Levy, with the goal of moving these projects into production.”

“Being in the business of making people laugh, we know how intimately comedy and movies are intertwined,” said JFL COO Bruce Hills. “Many of the greatest stars, screenwriters and directors – from Jim Carrey to Robin Williams to Woody Allen to Mike Meyers to Will Ferrell to Judd Apatow – have emerged from the world of stand-up and comedic films are now enjoying unprecedented success. CFC and Telefilm Canada understand this and it is core to what we do. We are thrilled to be offering this great new initiative in association with them. Transcending stand-up, Telefilm Canada, JFL and CFC will help train and develop new, young comedy writers, directors and producers. It represents the future of funny onscreen.”

This new three-month program will bring together five producers and their writer and/or director teams from across Canada with their feature comedy scripts to engage in workshops, master classes and intimate one-on-one sessions with leading industry professionals to strengthen the scripts and increase their packaging appeal for investment.  Consisting of two modules held at the CFC in Toronto in November 2009 and February 2010, this immersive experience will also combine the modules with a development period of 2 ½ months to address project-specific feedback and notes from some of Canada’s and the world’s greatest comedic talents.

Guest mentors joining Eugene Levy at the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab will be announced as they are confirmed.

Full criteria and application details are available online at

About Telefilm : Developing and promoting the Canadian audiovisual industry
Telefilm Canada is a federal cultural agency dedicated to developing and promoting the Canadian audiovisual industry. Telefilm provides financial support to the private sector to create distinctively Canadian productions that appeal to domestic and international audiences. The Corporation also administers the funding programs of the Canadian Feature Film Fund, the Canadian Television Fund and the Canada New Media Fund. For more information about Telefilm, see the full webcast of our first annual general meeting, held on April 8, 2009, available at

About CFC
CFC is Canada’s largest institution for advanced training in film, television and new media. A charitable not-for-profit organization, CFC is committed to promoting and investing in Canada’s diverse talent; providing exhibition, financial, and distribution opportunities for top creative content leaders from coast to coast. CFC makes a significant cultural and economic contribution to Canada by launching the country’s most creative ideas and voices in film, television and new media to the world. For more information please visit:

About Just For Laughs
Just For Laughs is active in many areas of entertainment production including festivals, television, theatre and touring. Its inaugural Montreal Festival 27 years ago is now the world’s largest and most prestigious comedy event welcoming over 2 million people each summer. The company has expanded with festivals in Nantes (France), Toronto and with the newest city added to the list, Chicago, with TBS presents a Very Funny Festival: Just For Laughs which debuted this summer. The company also successfully tours across the globe bringing some of the Festivals’ best talent to Canada, the U.S., Bermuda and Asia and has personal management offices in Los Angeles, Paris, London and Montreal. Just For Laughs television shows are seen in over 140 countries and on over 100 airlines around the world and have been seen on ABC, Fox, MTV, Showtime, HBO, BBC America, CBC, The Comedy Network, BBC1, TF1, and RTL.


For media inquiries, please contact
Tamara MacKeigan, Communications Manager,
CFC,  416.986.0612,
Barry Patterson, Director, Communications,
CFC, 416.805.7566,