Published Sep 27, 2017Back in May, the future of Canadian music video funding program MuchFACT was in doubt after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled to cut its funding requirements. Now, it has been confirmed that the Bell Media-funded program has been axed entirely and is no more.
First founded in 1984, MuchFACT has awarded more than $100 million in funding to nearly 9,000 Canadian projects over the years. These included videos by the likes of the Tragically Hip, Arcade Fire, Carly Rae Jepsen, Broken Social Scene, Celine Dion, Nelly Furtado, Basia Bulat and many others.
However, the entire program was put on life support earlier this year when the CRTC ruled that Bell Media no longer was required to fund the project — a decision that has since led Bell to effectively kill MuchFACT.
"The traditional viewing of a music video is … certainly not what it was," Bell Media president Randy Lennox told the CBC this week, suggesting that online video streaming services should be the ones to fund visual projects. "This is not on us...This is on the people who are playing music [videos] today who have not reached into their pockets."
Also citing funding for discontinued scripted project program BravoFACT, Lennox continued: "We don't owe anyone an explanation for this after giving $131 million. I think after making hundreds, thousands of music videos and paying for them... I think we're pretty good guys."
Musicians and filmmakers circulated an open letter to Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly last week asking for a dedicated visual fund. The letter included signatures from A Tribe Called Red, Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew, K-os and more.
"There isn't another option," Peter Hadfield — a cinematographer who has worked on more than a dozen MuchFACT-funded projects for artists such as Wintersleep and Feist — told CBC. "Part of me is quite angry, part of me is quite sad, part of me is confused, and I don't know what to do anymore."
Crediting MuchFACT with helping launch her career, director and film editor Nadia Tan said, "It's heartbreaking for future up-and-coming filmmakers who potentially could have gotten their start and developed their own skills and launched their own careers.
"Without MuchFACT, the Canadian arts scene is going to be stifled."