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Toronto musicians, video directors worried about MuchFACT fund cuts

Bell Media got the green light from CRTC to stop funding two programs that renowned artists like Celine Dion and the Tragically Hip have benefited from.

Film director Chandler Levack has received grants from the two programs facing funding cuts, and says it’s going to be hard for music makers and video producers to survive without the funding.

Eduardo Lima / Metro Order this photo

Film director Chandler Levack has received grants from the two programs facing funding cuts, and says it’s going to be hard for music makers and video producers to survive without the funding.

Toronto musicians and music video makers are singing dirges for MuchFACT.

Earlier this week a CRTC decision effectively killed funding for MuchFACT and BravoFACT, two main programs that have been providing money to emerging musicians and video directors.  

“Such a shame,” said Chandler Levack, a Toronto video producer and filmmaker who also works as a digital editor for Toronto International Film Festival. Since breaking into the video content industry in 2012, she’s relied on MuchFACT funding for the production of two short films and a handful of music videos.

“It’s the only resource available for emerging talent,” she said. “I wouldn’t be a filmmaker if I hadn’t had their support.”

As a division of Bell Media’s MuchMusic program, MuchFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) has provided millions of dollars every year in grants and loans to music content creators and independent film producers. Renowned names in Canadian entertainment have benefited from the program over the years, including Celine Dion, the Tragically Hip, Barenaked Ladies and Broken Social Scene.

But in its latest round of license renewals, Bell Media asked that the condition to fund these programs be removed, and CRTC granted the request last Monday.

In a statement to Metro, Bell Media’s VP of Communications Scott Henderson said the new move gives the company “flexibility” in moving forward.

“We are currently reviewing both programs and no decisions have been made regarding their future at this time,” he wrote, adding they continue to accept grant applications from up-and-coming video and film producers.

CRTC did not return Metro’s request for a comment on the issue.

Jared Raab, another Toronto producer and cinematographer, said the CRTC decision is a “death warrant” for video and music creators.

“Who will step up to keep Canadian music videos alive?” he asked. “If we care about our artists, Canadian music, and nurturing new talents, we must do something.”

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