Telefilm Canada reducing theatrical doc support following budget cuts

The Canadian federal agency is cutting its production financing allotment for theatrical documentaries in half, from CDN$1 million to $500,000, in the wake of cost savings imposed by the federal government that will add up to $10.6 million over three years.
April 12, 2012

Canadian federal audiovisual agency Telefilm Canada is chopping its production support funds for theatrical documentary in half – from CDN$1 million to $500,000 – following federal government austerity measures requiring the shaving of $10.6 million from the agency’s coffers over three years.

The cuts to the Theatrical Documentary Program are part of a plan to reduce costs by $2.7 million for 2012. Other cuts will come from development financing, which will see a drop of $700,000, and promotion and training programs, which will see a $500,000 reduction.

In a statement, Telefilm said it was “currently in promising discussions with potential partners to make up the difference in funding for the Theatrical Documentary Program.” The statement also cited the recently unveiled, $5 million private donation fund, intended to support the production, distribution and promotion of Canadian features.

Since 2007, the Telefilm Canada/Rogers Group of Funds’ Theatrical Documentary Program has supported scores of Canadian documentaries, including Lixin Fan’s Last Train Home, Neil Diamond’s Reel Injun, and La nuit, ells dansent from Isabelle Lavigne and St├ęphane Thibault.

The agency says it will also cut 30 full-time positions, beginning with 16 in the first year of the planned reductions.

The federal government’s recent budget has had similar impacts on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), with the CBC stating earlier this week that it will air six fewer series in the year ahead, adding up to roughly 175 less original programming hours, and the NFB reducing the scope of its Filmmaker Assistance Program among other cuts.


About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.