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 Stéphane 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.