Friends of Canadian Broadcasting spotlights ‘our stories’

Who: Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

What: “Tell Our Stories,” a series of five short (five minutes) films created by Canadian documentary filmmakers. The five documentarians were selected from respondents to a January contest inviting filmmakers to send a short synopsis of a unique Canadian story.

When & Where: The films will appear on a dedicated website,, beginning March 16. A combination of paid and organic social will drive people to the site.

Why: Because the advocacy group believes that Canadian stories are being overshadowed by those from other countries, particularly as foreign streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ grow in popularity.

Revenues for internet-based video services grew 43.8% to $4.3 billion between 2017 and 2018, according to the CRTC’s most recent Communications Monitoring Report, compared to a 4.2% decline for private conventional TV stations.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting executive director Daniel Bernhard says the country is entering a key period, with Canadian media outlets struggling to survive and increasingly losing their share of voice to foreign voices.

“There’s a legitimate question to be asked about who will tell Canadian stories when they’re gone,” says Bernhard. “We want to make sure that Canadians remember that just because Netflix has good TV, doesn’t mean there are no Canadian stories worth telling.”

How: The five films include a profile of a Vancouver street basketball player; a story about an Inuit group called the Ahiarmiut who were forcibly relocated by the Canadian government between 1949 and 1959; and a traditional live music gathering at the Summerside, PEI Legion.

And we quote: “Right now, foreign online broadcasters are flooding our screens, crowding out our stories. Canada’s own media, where our stories should be front and centre, are on the brink. Our professional storytellers, who are among the best in the world, are mostly producing stories about New York, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. We are becoming spectators of other people’s culture, and losing our own.”—Daniel Bernhard, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting executive director.

Chris Powell