New Media BC Appeals to Save New Media Fund

This morning we were forwarded an open letter to the New Media BC community by NMBC president Kenton Low, who also posted it in the comments of our recent post, Goodbye Telefilm New Media Fund. We broke the story first less than two weeks ago when we asked “What’s happening at Telefilm?” with regards to heel dragging and unresponsiveness from the crown corporation.

Low’s letter, reposted in it’s entirety:

As you may know, there is wide speculation that the federal government may not renew the $14.5 million Canada New Media Fund (CNMF) when it’s current contract expires on March 31, 2009. You may have read about this issue on the front page of Saturday’s Globe and Mail.

The annual $14 million CNMF, administered by Telefilm, supports new media and Internet-based content creation and marketing activities. The loss of this fund has far-reaching implications for New Media BC’s membership and the BC Digital Media industry as a whole.

The government has already announced the following program cuts, some of which will have a detrimental impact on our industry:

– Trade Routes, $9 million

– The A-V Preservation Trust, $300,000

– The Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund, $1.5 million

– The National Training Schools Program, $2.5 million

– PromArt, $4.7 million

New Media BC and the Canadian Interactive Alliance (CIAIC), are committed to remain at the forefront of this issue. For the past two years we have been calling for an increase to this fund, which has been very effective in supporting emerging companies and higher risk projects. Many critical and market successes – in BC and around the world – would not have been possible without the support of the CNMF.

We have already engaged key policy makers at the provincial and federal levels, in an effort to gather more information regarding the potential cuts, and also to gain information regarding program and funding that could ultimately replace the CNMF.

It is of the utmost importance that the Canadian government supports domestic creators of Digital Media content so that our exciting industry may continue to flourish in a province rich with innovation, new ideas, and intellectual property. New Media BC and the CIAIC will continue work on your behalf to ensure our collective concerns are heard.

It seems certain that there will be a federal election this fall. To this end we are planning a number of activities and a call to action to ensure that together we make the strongest possible case to become an important part of the economic and cultural agendas for all Canadian political parties.

Please stay tuned for further details.

Yours truly,

Kenton Low

President, New Media BC

The fiscal priorities of our Conservative government have leaned away from supporting tech and new media, while at the same time subsidizing the auto industry, creating prison industry contracts, pandering to , and funding Canada’s continued presence in Afghanistan. Obviously New Media BC has cause for concern as their existence depends on federal funding, but all Canadians should be cognizant of what their government’s priorities are.

As Low mentions, the Canadian Federal Election is on and scheduled for October 14. While you unfortunately won’t be able to vote for Obama, you can question your local candidates on their position towards supporting the new media and tech industries.