Telefilm Canada has moved to reassure filmmakers that supporting Canadian docs remains important to it, with the organization’s exec director Carolle Brabant (pictured) telling realscreen that the “hard decisions” forced upon it by the government will reach beyond the non-fiction realm.
Brabant’s comments come after a raft of leading Canadian documentarians yesterday hit out at the cuts being made at the CBC, the NFB and Telefilm, and the likely knock-on effects for feature doc filmmakers.
Telefilm is cutting half of the $1 million sum it contributes to the Theatrical Documentary Program (TDP), a move producer Daniel Cross said amounted to the organization “once again not supporting documentary cinema.”
The NFB declined to comment on the filmmakers’ piece and the CBC did not respond to requests for comment. However, in a statement sent to realscreen, Babant said the success of homegrown documentaries remained important to the organization.
“I was at Sundance this year, and was enthused by the warm reception for our country’s three docs in competition,” she said, referring to the Telefilm-backed titles Payback, China Heavyweight and Indie Game: The Movie.
“Unfortunately, we have to make hard decisions that not only touch documentary filmmakers… but also screenwriters, training schools and our employees.”
She added that the organization had made “made significant administrative changes – cuts to staff, professional services, travel, etc” in a bid to “mitigate the impacts” on its clients.
But with a government requirement that Telefilm achieve total cost savings of $10.6 million – a 10% reduction in both its administrative and program budgets – over a three-year period, “it goes without saying that there will be impacts.”
Brabant also reiterated that Telefilm is currently in “promising discussions” to make up the difference in funding for the TDP from other parties. “As soon as we have something concrete to announce, we will let the industry know,” she said.