Twitter versus TIFF chief Piers Handling: Too many Canadian films?

piers-handling.jpgTIFF chief Piers Handling recently said he didn't think the Canadian film industry could support producing so many films. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

By Christine Estima, citizen contributor

christine-bio-52.jpgThis past Thursday, the day TIFF officially launched, this article was printed in the Toronto Star concerning a revealing interview with TIFF chief Piers Handling. Handling said too many Canadians films were submitted to the festival, and the domestic industry and audience cannot properly support them. Perhaps the juiciest and most controversial quotes from Handling included, "We shouldn't be making 250 feature films in this country. I don't think it can sustain. Where are those films going? I mean, are they just home movie productions done on credit cards? For what audience?"

"I'm happy that people are making films and all that kind of stuff, but what kind of resources have been taken away from filmmakers who perhaps needed those resources, that could have used those resources? Are there significant filmmakers with things to say?"

Since the article hit the stands, Twitter has been buzzing with people both outraged and supportive of Handling's comments, using the most provocative 140 characters possible to voice their responses.

Leslie Ann Coles, the executive director of the Female Eye Film Festival (@FemaleEyeFilmFe) tweeted, "Re: Handling's comments - I think it's essential that we continue to support & produce as many Canadian productions as possible."

Actor and playwright Mike McPhaden (@mcphadenmike) tweeted, "Only a small percentage of films are any good. Doesn't this means our odds of getting it right are better than ever?"  

Diane Foy, director of Skylar Entertainment (@skylarentertain) ardently tweeted: "Handling prob just wanted people talking about him. Canadian film directors will now want to prove him wrong." Foy later tweeted: "Handling = creativity crusher! I feel like a scolded child 4 dreaming 2b an artist after reading his comments."

Nathaniel Moore, assistant editor of Broken Pencil magazine (@NathanielGMoore) suggested, "So canadian filmmakers should be serving popcorn at tiff and not contributing to the culture? that is cleary marky mark's job."

Declared freelance music critic Caitlin Hotchkiss (@criseyde): "LAME. The Canadian movie industry creates jobs & fosters creativity! How are these bad things?"

Toronto blogger and vlogger Sean Ward (@seanward) responded with, "This article is baloney: http://t.co/3yoKtOY - taking resources away from other filmmakers? Who says who is entitled??"
However, not everyone was in disagreement, as some tweeters found Handling's comments to be the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Toronto blogger Fragile Heart (who prefers to remain anonymous @fragileheart), supported Handling with, "If we want Canadian Films to excel, I agree with Piers Handling. We need tougher competition!"

While editor-in-chief of The Gate W. Andrew Powell (@TheGATE) tweeted his support with, "Handling deserves a lot of credit, he's dead on. Canada is sadly overloaded with films that go nowhere."

What are your thoughts on this divisive issue? Tweet your best 140 characters with the hashtag #CBCTIFF and let's keep the debate going!

You can follow Christine throughout #TIFF10 on Twitter at @ChristineEstima
(This survey is not scientific. It is based on readers' responses.)