An interesting observation on our trip to New York

We recently premiered our first film. In case you haven’t already heard, it’s a 3D stop motion animated short called Skeleton Girl (you can read more about it at www.skeleton-girl.com). It was a great honour to kick off our film-making adventures by premiering it at New York’s funky and intimate Be Film The Underground Film Festival, the first short film festival in the world to have a stereoscopic 3D category. Be Film’s Program Director is the lovely, charming, hugely knowledgeable (especially about all things 3D-related) Mr. Dimitris Athos. Mr. Athos also programs the 3D category at the Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg, Texas, where Skeleton Girl screened in April following the New York world premiere. Anyhow, my point of this blog was to write about an observation I made while in New York in April that had me pondering things.

When the credits roll at the end of Skeleton Girl, you’ll see the big logos of Bravo! FACT, the Government of Alberta, and the National Film Board. After the screening in New York, more than one resident American came up to me and commented on how fortunate we were as Canadians to have access to funding like that provided by the aforementioned bodies; in the U.S., they don’t.

I need to point out that my partner in crime, Leo Wieser, has been trying to sell me on the benefits of us moving to the U.S., specifically L.A., for as long as I can remember.  Wasn’t it funny and ironic, that here we were in New York, being told by some Americans working in the film industry, to stay in Canada because we could access more funding.

Meanwhile, us Canadians (at least those working in the arts), seem to be constantly complaining that arts funding is under attack. Another irony is that our company name – Bleeding Art Industries – was chosen as a reflection at the time (circa 1980′s) when funding was being cut, and artists were “bleeding” for their art.

So, here we are in 2012. We received almost all of the funding we applied for (except one grant which was for individual artists; we were told that we were ineligible for consideration because of the association with Bleeding Art Industries). I’m grateful that I had access to this funding, and that we were successful in receiving it. So, have we as Canadians just gotten used to this being the norm? That in a country such as ours, this kind of funding is expected, so when it’s cut back, there’s a huge hue and cry? Are we doing it right, and places like the U.S. aren’t? Do we get more complacent when the funding isn’t there? Would we become more innovative with how we make films and raise the money for them, if we didn’t have access to these funds?

I don’t have the answer here, and I realize I’m lumping together funding from government bodies (meaning we as the taxpayer are paying that) and from a private corporation (Bell Media for Bravo! FACT). I found it interesting and surprising to get the comments I got, and it had me thinking. If I didn’t have access to those funds, would we still have made the movie? And how? If you have thoughts or experience as a filmmaker either in Canada or the U.S., I’d love to hear from you. -Becky

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