Thursday, July 26, 2007

DGC Enters The Fray...

Directors Guild of Canada blasts CTF Task Force Report

Toronto, July 26, 2007 - The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) filed comments today with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in response to the CRTC Canadian Television Fund (CTF) Task Force Report released June 29, 2007. In its submission, the DGC strongly urged the regulator to reconsider a number of the Task Force’s recommendations that will have extremely damaging effects on the Canadian production sector, and by extension the Canadian broadcasting system.

I was happy to receive an email mid-afternoon from the Director's Guild of Canada. In the email was a press release (headline above) condemning the CTF Task Force Report, and an attachment containing the letter they submitted on behalf of its members (a day early I might add....kudos for that).

You can read the entire 16 page letter HERE, but I'd like to highlight the conclusion of the letter in particular...

As noted, our key concern – outweighing all the rest – is the proposal to allow 8 point production to receive CTF funding. There is no evidence that there will be any more "audience success" with future 8 point productions than with 10 point productions. The reality is that the 8 point proposal will simply allow a B-list U.S. actor, writer or director to be employed to theoretically enhance the prospects of a U.S. pre-sale. This has nothing to do with Canadian audiences or good public policy in this country.

In terms of "measurement," however, DGC recalls the first major speech of Chair Konrad von Finckenstein at the CFTPA in February of this year. There, he indicated the following:

"First, I would like to share with you my approach to regulation. In my view the work of a regulator, such as the CRTC, should be guided by the following four principles: transparency, fairness, predictability, and timeliness."

The Chair also stated that: "The broadcasting system – as envisioned in the Broadcasting Act – is an instrument for protecting and nurturing Canadian identity. And so we’re going to have to find ways, in this ever more borderless world, to carve out a special place within the broadcasting system for Canadian voices, points of view and ways of expressing ourselves. I consider this the principal challenge facing me, the challenge that will define my tenure as Chairman."

In order for transparency to be achieved in this proceeding, it is critical that interested parties be given the opportunity to comment on the submissions of the other parties. The CTF is far too important to the Canadian broadcasting system to conduct this public proceeding otherwise.

As for carving out "a special place within the broadcasting system for Canadian voices, points of view and ways of expressing ourselves," this objective will not be achieved by allowing scarce funds imbued with a public trust to be used for projects which eliminate a Canadian director, writer or significant actor.

Nicely stated. I hope Finckenstein will remember what he said not all that long ago, and doesn't pull an Alberto Gonzales.

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