Steve Levitan could be called “Variety Magazine's” most loyal customer. When he was thirteen, Levitan knew he wanted to get into the film business and eagerly devoured every edition of the magazine. 45 years later, and with no subscription lapses, Levitan has produced four feature films, more than 675 episodes of TV drama, and five TV movies that enjoyed international success.
In the mid-70’s as the film industry began to grow in Canada and he found himself puzzled about how to finance multi-million dollar projects, Levitan decided to go into law.
“In those days being a lawyer in the entertainment industry was more like being a producer,” he said. “It’s an industry for obsessed people. You bet on pathological optimism in order to get each project done. “
After becoming one of Canada’s most reputable entertainment lawyers, Levitan decided to pursue film and television production full-time in 1988. He joined Sunrise Films Ltd., one of the country’s most successful production companies at that time.
In 1993, Levitan joined with Paul Bronfman, President of the Comweb group, to found Protocol Entertainment Inc. In 2005, Levitan took over sole ownership and control of the company. Protocol’s objective, from its beginnings, was to devote itself to excellence in the development, financing and production of series, movies, mini-series, and feature films for the North American and international markets.
Protocol’s productions range from the critically acclaimed, international hit childrens' series: Goosebumps, Animorphs, Dear America and The Saddle Club to the one-hour series: Code Name Eternity, Police Academy, the innovative half-hour dramas Kaya and Train 48, and Spenser for Hire MOWs. Its feature films include Pocahontas and Puck Hogs.
Part of Levitan’s business model is that if he can’t figure out how to fund a project without Telefilm Canada or the CTF (now the CMF), he isn’t interested.
“Fear is a problem in our industry, it stifles creativity. But it’s not the filmmakers’ fear that is most dangerous , it’s the gatekeepers’ fear,” says Levitan. “It is always a miracle from God when you get a green light for a project. It is always a lot of hard work. That hasn’t changed and it isn’t related to the up or down cycles in the industry. These days it’s the financing of a project that borders on insanity.”