Advocacy

DOC is the only advocate for the independent documentary community in Canada.

We work hard to protect, promote and strengthen the art and business of documentary. We champion issues directly affecting the production and dissemination of documentaries including funding, government policy, copyright, and broadcasting.

We are there to respond to our members’ concerns, and their issues drive our advocacy efforts.

Here’s a sample of the advocacy work we do.

As the regulatory tribunal overseeing broadcasting in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) plays a critical role in shaping our media landscape. When broadcasters are seeking a broadcast licence renewal, DOC is there. When a channel is being purchased by a big conglomerate group, DOC is there. When policy matters are being debated pertaining to getting Canadian content on the air, DOC is there.

 

DOC regularly intervenes at CRTC proceedings and brings forward issues that are specific to documentary filmmakers and producers.

 

CMF

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) is a key funder of Canadian documentaries. DOC closely monitors the CMF’s policies, speaking up whenever a change threatens to harm independent documentary production, such as a reduction in funding or an increase in the amount of in-house and affiliate production broadcasters are entitled to do. At the time of the CMF’s creation in 2009, DOC mobilized documentary makers across the country and was instrumental in securing the POV Fund for the English language market.

Copyright issues are top of mind for documentarians. It is the basis on which artists are compensated for their work. Furthermore, issues of piracy are a grave concern for all filmmakers, documentary makers included. But documentary makers are in a unique position: they claim copyright to their work of course, but also require access to the work of other creators to produce their documentaries. DOC has championed a balanced approach to copyright by championing Fair Dealing for documentary makers.

We know that documentary professionals invest a great deal of time, energy and insight into their work—so why are they constantly struggling to find sources of funding? That’s why DOC is committed to securing as much guaranteed funding as possible by presenting a collective front to funders and government organizations. Current funding sources are underserving the market and aren’t sufficient to meet the needs of Canada’s documentary community. DOC actively advocates to secure proper documentary funding.

Canadians love their documentaries and DOC believes they should have access to them on their airwaves! DOC supports broadcasters that commission, exhibit and promote Canadian independent documentaries but these broadcasters are on the verge of extinction. Vertical integration has consolidated media ownership and our media landscape is dominated by a small number of large corporate groups whose interest lies more with the bottom line than meeting the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.

 

Documentary is a Canadian art form, and it is the best way for Canadian ideas to be expressed and shared. As such, we strongly promote the view that public broadcasters should play an active role in supporting the production and dissemination of documentaries.

Occasionally, DOC is a called upon to speak up on international issues regarding documentary filmmakers and human rights. When Syrian filmmaker Orwa Nyrabia, founder of the Arab documentary film festival Dox Box, went missing in 2012, DOC urged the Canadian government to intervene. DOC also advocated for filmmakers’ and DOC members’ rights when they were curtailed during the G20 protests in Toronto. DOC believes in free speech, the circulation of ideas in documentaries, and the ability of documentary producers to work freely and without threat of harm. We vigorously defend these ideals in Canada and abroad whenever they are at risk.