Sep 24, 2021
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‘A black day’ in Ottawa as funding cut forces film training centre to close doors

The Canadian Screen Training Centre in Ottawa is closing its doors April 1, a victim of arts funding cuts by the Conservative government.

The centre, founded in 1981, has been a leader in training people in film and video production. Its other program, the popular Summer Institute of Film and Television (SIFT), which brought famous Canadian directors, producers and screenwriters to town, is also shutting down.

The centre was told about two years ago that the $205,000 it received annually from the Department of Canadian Heritage would end April 1, 2009.

Despite a 40-per-cent shortfall in operating revenue, the centre relied on its surplus to operate the office and provide training to people in the film and television business. Meanwhile, the centre lobbied federal and provincial governments for more funding, without success.

Executive director Tom Shoebridge said Tuesday he could no longer keep the centre open without government funding.

“Training is the R&D (research and development) of the entertainment and communications field. You have to train people,” said Shoebridge.

“What makes me sad and angry is that they are investing in training in almost every other area … to upgrade people. And this is an industry that is changing day by day and they don’t have the foresight to see that is important.”

Roch Brunette, head of the Ottawa-Gatineau Film and Television Development Corporation, said it’s “unfortunate” the centre is closing.

“I have a hard time believing there’s no one or no way we can keep it going even if they take a break for a year and bring back the institute. This is a black day for film (production) in Ottawa,” he said.

He said the centre was an excellent breeding ground for professionals working in the industry.

He said last year’s Genie Awards in Ottawa was organized with the help of Shoebridge and the centre’s former director, Max Berdowski.

“For us, we’re losing a partner in the (local) film industry,” he said.

The Canadian Screen Training Centre also has offices in Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg. In those cases, the provincial governments involved are giving them enough funding to continue operating.

Shoebridge said the centre in Ottawa trained about 200 people every year, mostly professionals in the film and television industry who wanted to upgrade their skills. The centre had an executive director, an office assistant, and a part-time staff of up to 75 people when the centre’s programs were in high gear.

Shoebridge also founded SIFT as a vehicle to bring some of the best-known film professionals here every year to teach courses. Directors Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), Norman Jewison (Moonstruck), Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) and Sarah Polley (Away From Her) have taught at the institute.

Planning was under way for the 30th anniversary of the institute, but that has been cancelled. Jon Cassar, an executive producer of the hit TV series 24, who worked in Ottawa before going to Hollywood, had been planning to bring the cast members of his new TV pilot to town in May as part of the celebrations.

“It’s been a tough time and very emotional for me. I look back proudly on all the people we’ve helped and whose careers we launched,” said Shoebridge.

Source: The Ottawa Citizen

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Front Page, Industry News

‘A black day’ in Ottawa as funding cut forces film training centre to close doors

The Canadian Screen Training Centre in Ottawa is closing its doors April 1, a victim of arts funding cuts by the Conservative government.

The centre, founded in 1981, has been a leader in training people in film and video production. Its other program, the popular Summer Institute of Film and Television (SIFT), which brought famous Canadian directors, producers and screenwriters to town, is also shutting down.

The centre was told about two years ago that the $205,000 it received annually from the Department of Canadian Heritage would end April 1, 2009.

Despite a 40-per-cent shortfall in operating revenue, the centre relied on its surplus to operate the office and provide training to people in the film and television business. Meanwhile, the centre lobbied federal and provincial governments for more funding, without success.

Executive director Tom Shoebridge said Tuesday he could no longer keep the centre open without government funding.

“Training is the R&D (research and development) of the entertainment and communications field. You have to train people,” said Shoebridge.

“What makes me sad and angry is that they are investing in training in almost every other area … to upgrade people. And this is an industry that is changing day by day and they don’t have the foresight to see that is important.”

Roch Brunette, head of the Ottawa-Gatineau Film and Television Development Corporation, said it’s “unfortunate” the centre is closing.

“I have a hard time believing there’s no one or no way we can keep it going even if they take a break for a year and bring back the institute. This is a black day for film (production) in Ottawa,” he said.

He said the centre was an excellent breeding ground for professionals working in the industry.

He said last year’s Genie Awards in Ottawa was organized with the help of Shoebridge and the centre’s former director, Max Berdowski.

“For us, we’re losing a partner in the (local) film industry,” he said.

The Canadian Screen Training Centre also has offices in Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg. In those cases, the provincial governments involved are giving them enough funding to continue operating.

Shoebridge said the centre in Ottawa trained about 200 people every year, mostly professionals in the film and television industry who wanted to upgrade their skills. The centre had an executive director, an office assistant, and a part-time staff of up to 75 people when the centre’s programs were in high gear.

Shoebridge also founded SIFT as a vehicle to bring some of the best-known film professionals here every year to teach courses. Directors Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), Norman Jewison (Moonstruck), Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) and Sarah Polley (Away From Her) have taught at the institute.

Planning was under way for the 30th anniversary of the institute, but that has been cancelled. Jon Cassar, an executive producer of the hit TV series 24, who worked in Ottawa before going to Hollywood, had been planning to bring the cast members of his new TV pilot to town in May as part of the celebrations.

“It’s been a tough time and very emotional for me. I look back proudly on all the people we’ve helped and whose careers we launched,” said Shoebridge.

Source: The Ottawa Citizen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

‘A black day’ in Ottawa as funding cut forces film training centre to close doors

The Canadian Screen Training Centre in Ottawa is closing its doors April 1, a victim of arts funding cuts by the Conservative government.

The centre, founded in 1981, has been a leader in training people in film and video production. Its other program, the popular Summer Institute of Film and Television (SIFT), which brought famous Canadian directors, producers and screenwriters to town, is also shutting down.

The centre was told about two years ago that the $205,000 it received annually from the Department of Canadian Heritage would end April 1, 2009.

Despite a 40-per-cent shortfall in operating revenue, the centre relied on its surplus to operate the office and provide training to people in the film and television business. Meanwhile, the centre lobbied federal and provincial governments for more funding, without success.

Executive director Tom Shoebridge said Tuesday he could no longer keep the centre open without government funding.

“Training is the R&D (research and development) of the entertainment and communications field. You have to train people,” said Shoebridge.

“What makes me sad and angry is that they are investing in training in almost every other area … to upgrade people. And this is an industry that is changing day by day and they don’t have the foresight to see that is important.”

Roch Brunette, head of the Ottawa-Gatineau Film and Television Development Corporation, said it’s “unfortunate” the centre is closing.

“I have a hard time believing there’s no one or no way we can keep it going even if they take a break for a year and bring back the institute. This is a black day for film (production) in Ottawa,” he said.

He said the centre was an excellent breeding ground for professionals working in the industry.

He said last year’s Genie Awards in Ottawa was organized with the help of Shoebridge and the centre’s former director, Max Berdowski.

“For us, we’re losing a partner in the (local) film industry,” he said.

The Canadian Screen Training Centre also has offices in Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg. In those cases, the provincial governments involved are giving them enough funding to continue operating.

Shoebridge said the centre in Ottawa trained about 200 people every year, mostly professionals in the film and television industry who wanted to upgrade their skills. The centre had an executive director, an office assistant, and a part-time staff of up to 75 people when the centre’s programs were in high gear.

Shoebridge also founded SIFT as a vehicle to bring some of the best-known film professionals here every year to teach courses. Directors Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), Norman Jewison (Moonstruck), Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) and Sarah Polley (Away From Her) have taught at the institute.

Planning was under way for the 30th anniversary of the institute, but that has been cancelled. Jon Cassar, an executive producer of the hit TV series 24, who worked in Ottawa before going to Hollywood, had been planning to bring the cast members of his new TV pilot to town in May as part of the celebrations.

“It’s been a tough time and very emotional for me. I look back proudly on all the people we’ve helped and whose careers we launched,” said Shoebridge.

Source: The Ottawa Citizen

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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