ON THE EVE OF A CELEBRATION ARE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS GATHERING FOR A WAKE?
Toronto, April 23, 2012 - As audiences prepare to celebrate all things documentary on the eve of Hot Docs, North Americaâ€™s largest documentary festival, filmmakers are sounding the alarm about the state of their industry. The recent budgetâ€™s sweeping cuts to Telefilm Canada, the National Film Board of Canada and the CBC, threaten the very core of the Canadian documentary tradition and the existence of a vital cultural expression. The DOCUMENTARY ORGANIZATION OF CANADA (DOC) wonders: â€śAre we witnessing the disappearance of a genre?â€ť
â€śCanadian documentary wins awards. It creates jobs. Documentary funding puts far more into the economy than it takes out. Yet, just as Canadians are celebrating our documentary work both at home and abroad, cuts are decimating the documentary industry in the country that created it,â€ť said Katie McKenna, Interim Chair of DOC.
The Canadian documentary production industry has confronted many challenges in the last four years as a result of the termination of the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund and broadcasters pulling back from their commitment to documentary. Still reeling from approximately 1500 full-time equivalent jobs lost in the past two years, the recent budget cuts kick the collective community when it is already down.
â€˘ Telefilm Canadaâ€™s cuts include $500,000 in production financing from a total budget of $1 million for the financing of theatrical documentaries.
â€˘ The National Film Board of Canada is facing a $6.68 million cut from its annual budget. Producersâ€™ positions have been cut in the regions and they are reducing a small but critical program, Filmmakers Assistance Program, by 30%.
â€˘ The CBC will lose 10% of its budget â€” $115 million over three years with the in-house documentary chopping 18 positions from its unit.
These short-sighted cuts occur while Canadian documentaries continue to garner worldwide attention and great acclaim on the world stage. Three Canadian docs screened in Competition at this yearâ€™s Sundance Film Festival: Yung Chang's China Heavyweight, James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot's Indie Game: The Movie, and Jennifer Baichwal's Payback. In addition, just last week the Tribeca Film Festival opened its World Documentary Competition with Nisha Pahujaâ€™s The World Before Her. The critical role played by these agencies is evidenced by the fact that Payback is an NFB production while China Heavyweight and The World Before Her both received funding from the Telefilm Theatrical Documentary program.
2012 Doc SummitThis is the climate in which filmmakers, producers, broadcasters, policy makers are gathering for the Doc Summit, the annual half-day town hall forum intended to address current obstacles in the documentary industry. Moderated by Rudy Buttignol, President and CEO, Knowledge Network, the 2012 Doc Summit will take place Friday, May 4, on the last day of the Hot Docs Industry conference. Doc Summit is open to all Hot Docs Industry pass holders.
Through its work at the Summit, DOC aims to identify solutions to overcome the systemâ€™s current structural difficulties.
Anna Maria Muccilli, A.M. Public Relations(416) 969-9930 x email@example.com
AdĂ¨le Charlebois, DOC (416) 599-3844 ext 2 firstname.lastname@example.org
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