Interview with Tina Vanderheyden,
Canadian Film Centre
Tina, perhaps first you could talk about how the CFC uses the arts endowment fund and what it has allowed the CFC to accomplish within your mission.
The CFC uses the Ontario Arts Foundation endowment fund to sustain and grow its investment in Canada’s next generation of emerging creative talent. Since 1988, the CFC has prepared 1,500 directors, writers, producers, editors, showrunners and actors for highly successful careers in film, television and new media. The CFC’s intensive, production-oriented training experience requires a fulltime commitment from its students, reducing their potential for employment during enrolment. Thanks to investment from the public and private sectors, the CFC is able to keep tuition fees affordable. In addition, the CFC uses 100% of the annual dividend from its OAF endowment fund to provide students who demonstrate financial need with scholarships covering up to 100% of their tuitions. Providing access to Canada’s best, new and diverse creative voices is the CFC’s raison d’être. The CFC applauds the OAF for being a great partner in this endeavour.
How have you successfully navigated multiple levels of government to secure funding?
The CFC works very hard to develop and maintain strong relationships with the three orders of government. This requires an ability to demonstrate relevance to the arts and cultural industries sector and the economy. The federal, provincial and municipal jurisdictions have their own sets of priorities, and the CFC delivers outcomes that respond to and build capacity for each. For example, the CFC can point to the key creative, executive and entrepreneurial roles its 1,500 alumni and 80 alumni production companies play in Canada’s cultural industries ($85 billion in GDP – 7.4% of total GDP), Ontario (23,000 jobs), and Toronto ($1.1 billion total spending). The CFC can point to its diverse talent—filmmakers such as Clement Virgo, Sarah Polley, Yung Chang, Jennifer Kawaja and Charles Officer—and how their stories speak to audiences across the country and around the world. The CFC has developed 275 projects and won 80 major international awards.
Please talk about key initiatives and the next challenges for the CFC, how you plan to meet them and perhaps how the OAF can assist you?
The CFC is at a watershed moment as it approaches 25 years of operating excellence. On the training side, the CFC is re-invigorating established courses in film, television, and new media, infusing the learning experience with curricula and technology to keep the CFC at the leading edge of an ever-changing media landscape. The CFC has expanded its program scope to include documentarians, screen actors, showrunners and film composers. It has launched new initiatives for promotion and investment in its talent, both north and south of the border and overseas. To house all of these activities, the CFC has invested over $9 million in upgrades and renovations to its spectacularly beautiful heritage campus in North Toronto. In 2012, the CFC will build the Actors Conservatory, a 6,000 sq. ft. facility dedicated to screen actor training and community engagement. To meet these challenges, the CFC must continue to maintain strong partnerships in the public and private sectors and seek new relationships. The OAF has already shared its expertise, and it is hoped that the Ontario Arts Foundation can participate in other ways as the CFC realizes its vision: to launch Canada’s most creative ideas and voices in film, television and new media to the world.