National Film Board of Canada Sees Job Cuts, Cinema Closures

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NFB chairman Tom Perlmutter outlined plans to absorb a 10 percent cut to the organization's taxpayer subsidy over three years.

TORONTO – How much is a dozen Oscars on the mantle worth to the Canadian government?

A $6.68 million chop to the annual taxpayer subsidy for the National Film Board of Canada over three years is evidently the measure of Ottawa's appreciation, resulting in job and production cuts.

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The publicly-funded organization had two films in the best animated short category at the 2012 Academy Awards: Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby’s Wild Life and Patrick Doyon’s Sunday.

Despite that track record, the NFB said last week’s announcement of a 10 percent cut in its annual Parliamentary appropriation over three years will mean a shrinkage in production, a closure of cinema screens and reduced support for indie producers.

“… There will be an impact such as the loss of the viewing stations and the cinemas, the reduction in scope of our aid to independent filmmakers, and the cuts to festivals and events,” Tom Perlmutter, the NFB chairman and the government’s film commissioner, reported Wednesday.

The Canadian publicly-funded filmmaker has received, in all, 72 Academy Award nominations in its 73-year history.

Now the NFB will need to cut 73 full and part-time positions and close cinemas in Toronto and Montreal to absorb the latest cuts from a frugal federal government in Ottawa.

At the same time, Perlmutter insisted the NFB won’t soon take itself out the yearly running for Academy Awards nominations.

“The NFB will continue to produce and co-produce innovative works that could not be made without its participation and expertise,” he said.

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