Telefilm has struck a deal that will see its program to fund Canadian feature documentaries restored to $1.5 million.
The program, which had helped produce Canadian long-form documentaries for movie cinemas, was reduced to $500,000 earlier this year after the federal government chopped Telefilm’s budget by $10.6 million over three years.
Now the federal film funding agency has teamed up with the National Film Board of Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds to continue the program, with a budget of $1.5 million. Each of the partners will donate $500,000 to the fund.
The theatrical documentary program at Telefilm was considered a major success after supporting documentaries that have become award-winners and festival favourites, such as Reel Injun (Reel Indian), Last Train Home, Le Coeur d'Auschwitz, La nuit, elles dansent and Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould.
The Rogers Group of Funds was already a co-funder of the program.
The newcomer is the NFB, which also faces a $6.68 million funding cut over three years. The NFB is the largest producer and distributor of documentaries in Canada and has a long history of telling Canadian stories.
"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,” NFB chair Tom Perlmutter said in a statement.
Sturla Gunnarsson, who made the David Suzuki film Force of Nature, welcomed the announcement, saying long-form documentary filmmaking is “arguably Canada’s national art form.”