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Posted: Apr 13, 2012 CANADA DOCS "BESIEGED" BY CUTS
Source: C21 Media
Making documentaries in Canada is becoming “almost impossible” following government cuts to the CBC, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and Telefilm Canada, according to the country’s largest group of non-fiction producers.
Reflecting on the across-the-board 10% cuts to the three groups, Lisa Fitzgibbons, head of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), said the “already dismal landscape” of doc financing is turning even darker.
“It’s challenging any prior knowledge we had about how to make documentaries for broadcasters,” she told C21.
Documentary is among the genres hit hardest by the sweeping cuts. Telefilm Canada has been forced to halve its support of a programme that backs theatrical docs, while CBC has ended a key internal fund that led to high-profile historical projects including the acclaimed Canada: A People’s History and the more recent Love, Hate and Propaganda.
At the NFB, three notable producers, Yves Ma, Anne-Marie Rocher and Katherine Baulu, are among 73 staff to have lost their jobs.
Ma produced the 2010 doc Force of Nature, a biography of Canuck environmentalist and CBC personality David Suzuki, which won the People’s Choice Award at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Baulu’s credits include the acclaimed 2009 copyright thinkpiece RiP: A Remix Manifesto and the forthcoming Fruithunters from Montreal’s Eyesteelfilm.
The NFB, which is known primarily for docs and animation, has also cut 30% from its Filmmakers Assistance Program, which provides technical services such as audio mixing and video editing to rookie directors. It has also done away with a C$170,000 (US$170,000) fund that supported training and professional development at festivals including Hot Docs.
Fitzgibbons predicts that doc makers, in particular those who make some of the most interesting, passion projects, will continue to drop out of the already-troubled sector, which according to DOC has lost 1,500 documentarians over the past two years.
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