NFB to reduce scope of Filmmaker Assistance Program, cut jobs

In order to trim CDN$6.68 million from its annual operating budget, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will reduce the scope of its Filmmaker Assistance Program, reduce funds earmarked for production, close its cinemas in Montreal and Toronto, and cut 73 full and part-time jobs.
April 4, 2012

In the wake of the Canadian federal government’s budget, released last Thursday and which called for cuts to the budgets of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the CBC and Telefilm Canada, the NFB has unveiled several measures that will be implemented over the course of the year, including job cuts, cinema closures, and the reduction of the scope of the Filmmaker Assistance Program (FAP) and the Aide au cinéma indépendant du Canada (ACIC) program.

The NFB says the reduction will not affect productions already accepted.

Furthermore, the Film Board has eliminated the “festivals and events” component of its Grants and Contributions program.

The NFB says that funds earmarked for production will be reduced “slightly,” by approximately 1% of its global budget.

Administrative services in the regions will be consolidated resulting in some job losses in regional offices. New work processes will be introduced in all divisions, the NFB says, particularly in the management of language services, rights management services, and general administration.

The NFB will also close its viewing stations and cinemas in Toronto’s Médiatheque and the Cinérobothèque in Montreal, and the NFB office on St. Denis Street in Montreal will also be shuttered.

The money being trimmed from the NFB’s annual budget amounts to a 10% reduction in its parliamentary allocation.

“This has not been an easy task,” said Tom Perlmutter, government film commissioner and chair of the NFB. “We have had to make tough choices. We needed to ensure the long-term viability of the NFB by maintaining our ability to innovate in the creation and distribution of works that cannot be done elsewhere, continuing to serve the public in ways that add to the rich cultural fabric of our country, and sustaining our global leadership in the digital sphere. I think we have succeeded in doing that.

“Nonetheless, there will be an impact such as the loss of the viewing stations and the cinemas; the reduction in scope of our aid to independent filmmakers; and the cuts to festivals and events,” he added. “Most of all, it is painful to lose colleagues who have contributed so much to the current success of the NFB.”

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.