UPDATE: Bell has issued a statement and says they have not yet made any final decisions regarding the fund. Click here to read their release in full.
A few nights ago, we sat in a packed TIFF Lightbox screening room watching the best Canadian music videos of the year. That night, director Martin C. Pariseau won the $15,000 prize for Kaytranada’s “Lite Spots.” Like most music videos in Canada, that clip – award winning – was partly funded by MuchFACT. At least half of the top nominated Prism Prize videos were funded by MuchFACT. It makes sense – the fund pumps $2 million into the industry every year.
Well, some bad news, then – the CRTC has just effectively ended it, at Bell’s behest. It’s not quite a nail in the coffin, but the lid has definitely started sliding on.
We are crying 😥- Say it ain't so @MuchFACT – https://t.co/zS9hU5Z9Cp
— Prism Prize (@PrismPrize) May 17, 2017
The details can get a little fuzzy, and bureaucratic, but we’ll let FYI’s report do the talking:
As part of Bell Media’s TV renewal approval, the CRTC approved the deletion of required contributions to MuchFACT by Much and sister station Gusto (formerly M3).
As well, Bell Media-owned MTV Canada is no longer required to allocate $50,000 annually to independent production companies for concept and script development.
The catch is, of course, that until now, MuchFACT had been entirely funded by, y’know, Much. They have made incredible contributions to Canadian music; invaluable, if not for the fact that their contributions are valued at an estimated $100 million. And if it’s truly gone, Canadian music videos will never be the same.
Katy Maravala is a freelance line producer who, in addition to producing videos for The Weeknd, Coleman Hell, July Talk, and the Arkells, has also coordinated for non-MuchFACT videos the likes of Drake and Rihanna.
“The timing couldn’t be worse,” Maravala says. “Especially in the age of YouTube, where music videos have become the most watched form of content online.”
She points out, rightfully, that MuchFACT has kickstarted the careers of the countries best directors, producers, and artists.
“Peter Huang and SonReal’s breakout “Everywhere We Go,” which went viral and catapulted both the careers of the director and artist beyond Canada, was funded entirely by MuchFact,” she added. “It’s a sad day for creators and artists.”
Director Amanda Fotes, whose worked on MuchFACT funded videos for The Dirty Nil, Tokyo Police Club and Greys, is just happy to have had MuchFACT at all.
“Yes, I am bummed about MuchFACT. It really sucks to lose an institution like that,” she wrote on Twitter. “I am, however, so thankful to have directly benefited from a program we were lucky to have for the time it was allowed to exist.
“I was given a chance to create things that otherwise wouldn’t have been made,” she continued. “MuchFACT took chances on artists and directors regardless of prior work in a way i don’t see happen in other grant systems and I think that is so cool.”
We also got in touch with director Jeremy Shaulin-Rioux, who was on his way to LA to work on a (non-MuchFACT) music video. Rioux is best known for his work on Pup’s incredible string of videos, from the Finn Wolfhard-starring “Guilt Trip” and “Sleep in the Heat” to the video game tribute filled “DVP.”
“I know whenever I talked to people from the USA and Europe, they were really jealous of it,” says Shualin-Rioux. “I’m hoping that something else comes up to keep up the ‘this idea seems cool & this song is good – go make something cool and let us air it’ feeling that made [MuchFACT] unique.”
“I just looked up Fucked Up – Queen of Hearts’ to say who else but MuchFACT would have funded this,” he continues. “But it looks like it wasn’t a MuchFACT anyways, so fuck it, we’ll all be fine!”