NFB joins Telefilm, Rogers to restore Theatrical Doc Program budget to $1.5m

Following funding cuts earlier this year that saw Telefilm slash its contribution to the Theatrical Documentary Program by half, the NFB has joined Telefilm and the Rogers Group of Funds to restore the program's budget.
August 7, 2012

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has partnered with Telefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds for the Theatrical Documentary Program (TDP), restoring the program’s budget to CAD$1.5 million (US$1.5 million) per year.

Each partner will contribute $500,000 towards the fund, which aims to boost audiences and support and production of theatrical documentaries with the potential for commercial success.

“As Canada’s public producer and distributor, the NFB is participating in the Theatrical Documentary Program in order to contribute its resources and expertise to supporting Canadian filmmakers in their crucial work of producing films that reflect Canadian social and cultural realities,” said government film commissioner and NFB chairman Tom Perlmutter in a statement.

“Our new partnership is very promising, and it will surely contribute to the success of Canadian documentaries. As the largest producer and distributor of documentaries in Canada, the National Film Board of Canada is an ideal partner,” added Rogers Group of Funds exec director Robin Mirsky-Daniels in her own statement.

Earlier this year, Canadian documentary funding underwent drastic cuts, with Telefilm slashing its allotment to the TDP in half, from $1 million to $500,000, following a $10.6 million federal budget chop from the agency’s government allocation over the next three years.

At the time, Telefilm exec director Carolle Brabant told realscreen that supporting homegrown documentaries remained important to the organization, and reiterated an earlier agency statement that it was in “promising discussions with potential partners to make up the difference in funding” for the TDP.

“Bravo to the National Film Board, Telefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds for investing in long-form documentary filmmaking, which is arguably Canada’s national art form,” said Director’s Guild of Canada president and filmmaker Sturla Gunnarson, in response to today’s news.

Canadian doc makers, including Gunnarson, had earlier hit back at Telefilm’s decision to slash its funds for theatrical documentary production, warning that the move was “the wrong message to send.”

Since 2005, the TDP has supported 44 productions, including Isabelle Lavigne and St├ęphane Thibault’s La nuit, ells dansent, and Yung Chang’s China Heavyweight.

The program deadline and guidelines will be released in the week of August 20.

(story from Playback Daily)

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