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“Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?”
Yes, the quote is really on the 20. You might need a magnifying glass to read it, but it’s definitely there. Somebody in big government gets it. Somebody sees the correlation between support and the arts. That governmental somebody just needs to shovel a few truckloads of Roy’s quote back into our cultural industry.
Canada almost single-handedly invented and defined the genre of documentary filmmaking. We are known throughout the world for our documentary skills and films. However, being a documentarian in Canada is definitely not the road to riches. For most documentary makers, it’s a meager existence that seems to run on vapours born out of a love of craft and storytelling. So, when the government cries poverty and orders cuts from Canadian institutions such as the National Film Board, Telefilm and the CBC, it’s the documentary arms that bleed first and heaviest from the fiscal knife.
The recent slashing aside, the Canadian documentary industry has been ailing for years because of the lessened commitments to the genre by some private and public broadcasters, coupled with the termination of the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund. Recent figures from the Documentary Organization of Canada send a chilling message:
• Canadian indie documentary production has declined 30 per cent since 2008
• 1,500 documentary-related jobs have vanished in the last two years
As a cinematographer who has shot numerous documentaries in her day, it pains me to see this great Canadian heritage and art form stunted. The federal government needs to seriously rethink its doc support before we begin losing what has taken filmmakers generations to build and nurture.