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Docmakers at odds with CMF

Something must be done to save Canadian documentary film. That's the warning of a Quebec group which says the newly minted Canada Media Fund will make it almost impossible for documentary filmmakers to get support for their work.
June 22, 2009

Something must be done to save Canadian documentary film.

That’s the warning of a Quebec group which says the newly minted Canada Media Fund will make it almost impossible for documentary filmmakers to get support for their work.

‘When [Heritage] minister Moore launched the CMF all documentary filmmakers felt that we were being banished,’ says the spokesman for the sauvonsledocumentaire.ca campaign, Jean Roy. The campaign, meant to increase the public`s awareness of the importance of documentary film, is backed by Quebec’s directors’ association, the ARRQ; the AQTIS, as well as Radio-Canada’s largest union, the Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada.

‘It’s like Moore was saying that it’s not an important genre in Canada, and that makes us afraid. Documentary is an important independent voice.’

The group’s main worry is that under the new CMF, there will no longer be a designated envelope for documentary film. The group is also concerned that the new – as yet unestablished – guidelines, which Moore has said will favor popular content, will sideline documentary projects.

They want Moore to earmark a percentage of CMF for documentary and want a national policy on documentary.

‘I don’t think most people are aware of what’s happening. I think the public understands there are cuts at Radio-Canada, but what is happening in documentary film is less obvious,’ he says.

Roy says his organization is not a lobby group and will focus its efforts on getting public support for its cause.

‘We want to let people know that without documentary they are losing their window on the world.’

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