I think many people in the Canadian film industry felt a little snookered today. A week ago, Telefilm announced a new initiative to solve its chronic failure to find Canadian audiences for Canadian films.
While I cast a jaundiced eye on the proceedings, others felt they had some worthwhile ideas to contribute and that maybe our Cinematic Overlords were finally open to what those outside their cloistered circle had to offer.
Many chose to pitch in at Will Dixon's #wantCancon Twitter hash tag, creating one of the richest film community discussions to come along in some time. Will even aggregated the submissions in his blog, assured by representatives of Telefilm and the CMF that that audience was listening.
And then today, prior to the promised nation wide canvas for strategies and prescriptions for what ails the industry, Telefilm released their own plan for the future. To be fair, it's thin on detail and could be construed as a rough blueprint in need of re-drafting once the comments are in.
But, to anyone familiar with the way government bureaucracies work, the message is clear. "Here's where we've staked out the reservation. Now do you guys want to learn to fish, hunt muskrats or just give up and cash the welfare cheques?"
This document had to have been down at the print shop at the same time as Telefilm issued their initial "We need to talk" missive. So much for truly wanting to know what you pullers of cable, script typists and thespians might wish to contribute.
I thought about firing off some kind of righteous rant, but words failed. I can't tell you how much I want to be wrong about these people, how much I'd like to be just bitter and twisted and way off the mark.
Unfortunately, they just keep proving that I'm not.
So rather than rant (which I reserve the right to do once I've thought all this through) I felt it might be helpful to remind you of some truisms I've taken to heart over the last years of bureaucratic mismanagement and incompetence.
If we can't get the government out of our business, maybe I can encourage you to exit theirs.
The following are courtesy of a wonderful new website called "Quote Vadis". Perhaps you'll find it as helpful on those days when your own words fail.