NFB restructures its Creation and Innovation division, cuts five jobs

The government organization will bring its digital and interactive studios under its English and French program umbrella to ?establish a national vision? for its programming.
December 9, 2019

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has revealed a restructure to its Creation and Innovation division that has resulted in job cuts at the government-funded organization.

Five roles within the public film and digital media producer and distributor were impacted, including two executive directors, one chief digital officer, one director of operation and one administrator. The names of the staff members were not revealed due to an internal policy, according to a spokesperson from the NFB.

The restructure moves its digital and interactive studios under the English and French programs, bringing all 11 of its studios under the two programs. The Montreal interactive studio has moved under the French Program umbrella and the Vancouver digital studio under the English Program; both studios were previously listed under the Interactive and Digital Program, according to the NFB website.

According to a statement from Claude Joli-Coeur (pictured), the government film commissioner and chairperson of the NFB, the restructure will allow for “more consistency and coherence in programming while better reflecting the country’s linguistic duality.”

The move is designed to simplify and strengthen decision-making for executive producers, who will report to the director general, Creation and Innovation, and “establish a national vision” for its programming slate. The director general role is currently vacant after the previous director, René Bourdages, joined the executive leadership team at Telefilm Canada. It will be filled in the next few months, according to the NFB.

The NFB has faced a number of staff cuts over the last decade. The deepest was in 2012, when 73 jobs were lost following a 10% slash in its parliamentary subsidy over three years, and 16 jobs were cut in 2016 to preserve production funds, largely impacting its educational workshops.

Joli-Coeur is set to embark on a nation-wide tour, beginning in January, for a national consultation on the NFB’s 2020-2023 strategic plan. It will run from Jan. 13 to March 2, beginning in Winnipeg, and will allow industry members and creators to highlight key issues and priorities.

The NFB has received criticism from some sections of the industry over the past year. A group of more than 250 filmmakers criticized Joli-Coeur’s three-year reappointment in June, according to a report from The Globe and Mail. The group released a statement arguing that the NFB is “in crisis” over steep cuts in its spending on external production costs. Joli-Coeur denied the allegations.

According to its 2017-18 report, the NFB spent more than CA$31.9 million on audiovisual production in the fiscal year. The organization underspent its planned CA$43.2 million budget for 2017-18, noting plans to carry forward CA$7 million in financial resources for its planned relocation and a “revision in the distribution of the costs of technical services and digital platforms” as reasons for the discrepancy.

From Playback Daily. Written by Kelly Townsend.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.