Member Post: Funding And Support by The Man

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A couple of days ago a New Zealand actress posed in a photo with a hand written ‘I’m with Stupid’ note that pointed to the bloke posing next to her. He was the Prime Minister. This woman’s mother is a well-known NZ filmmaker and the national newspaper decided to slander her as a hypocrite as some of her films have received funding from the government and leader that she is helping to shame. What a load of crock. It’s like the State of California giving you a nice grant to finish off that feature – but God forbid if you speak out against Uncle Brown’s support of fracking as a way to ‘curb’ climate change! But I digress. This is not about politics (or the horrors of fracking). Instead it is my sad attempt to introduce the idea of government funding for filmmaking. NZ is one of the lucky countries to have a film commission and an on-air television funding board. These government bodies help with not only funding emerging and established filmmakers but also foster talent growth and support. There are schemes for shorts, features, development, post and even outreach/marketing for certain films. Is it perfect? Of course not. Are they always fair? It’s the government. And they don’t always care when there are budget cuts (see the tragic demise of the UK Film Council who made The King’s Speech.

My point is that at least it’s something and in a world where no one really ever makes money in the arts, it’s great to have some of that state funding go into creativity. I know the US does not have this but there are many independent organizations and foundations that do the same and my hope is that we continue to apply and utilize these so that they in turn grow and encourage more artists. Artists with a freedom of expression, even if that expression is shaming the very hand that feeds you.