FEDERAL CHANGES PUT CANADIAN FILM FUNDING DECISIONS IN HANDS OF A FEW BUREAUCRATS, LEADING PRODUCERS SAY

The move to focus on gender and racial equality when distributing money could actually wrestle control of the allocation of funds away from the industry, they say

Sophie Nélisse and Antoine Olivier Pilon star in the Yan England film 1:54. “We should not judge a program based on who benefits from it,” said Denise Robert, who produced films including The Barbarian Invasions and 1:54. PHOTO BY COURTESY OF LES FILMS SÉVILLE

OTTAWA — Some of Canada’s biggest film producers are warning against proposed changes to a key federal funding program, saying a new politically correct focus on gender and racial equality could hamper the commercial viability of Canadian cinema.

Their concerns centre around a decision earlier this year by Telefilm Canada, a Crown corporation that finances Canadian films, to review a stream of funding known as Fast Track, which distributes money to Canadian movie producers based on past success generating box office returns or winning prestigious film awards.

The Crown corporation suspended the Fast Track stream amid COVID-19, then launched a “transparent and inclusive” industry consultation that would completely reorient Telefilm’s mandate “through a lens of diversity and inclusion in order to abolish systemic racism.”

The National Post spoke with six film producers who raised concerns over the consultation process, saying the move appears well intentioned from a distance, but could actually wrestle control of the allocation of funds away from the industry in favour of a small group of bureaucrats. Fast Track has for 20 years served as a crucial source of capital for some of Canada’s most successful and award-winning films, the producers said, from Room to The Barbarian Invasions to Eastern PromisesREAD MORE



 

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