An A-list of Canadian film directors has come out in vociferous support of the funding agency Telefilm Canada because they believe the federal government is targeting it for what they consider a hostile takeover.
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly, the film directors say it has come to their attention that the government proposes to merge Telefilm with the Canada Media Fund (which funds television and digital.) They then oppose the idea at length.
The letter is signed by 51 film professionals including such artists as Denys Arcand, David Cronenberg, Xavier Dolan, Atom Egoyan, Deepa Mehta, Sarah Polley and Denis Villeneuve.
The Liberal government is currently undertaking a review of its cultural policy led by Joly and intended to modernize regulations and supports to help Canadian cultural industries adapt to the digital era and make them more internationally competitive. Public consultations for the review have tossed around many ideas, but there has been no sustained debate about the idea of merging Telefilm, which lends government money to feature filmmakers, and the much larger Canada Media Fund (CMF), which supports television and digital productions with a mix of federal money and levies placed on the cable and satellite companies.