Grana exits Film NB

Executive director Sam Grana has vacated his post at Film nb, leaving many concerned producers in his wake....

Executive director Sam Grana has vacated his post at Film nb, leaving many concerned producers in his wake.

Mary-Anne Kinley, manager of communications at Economic Development Tourism and Culture New Brunswick, confirms that Grana voluntarily resigned as executive director at Film nb on Aug. 14 and will return to production.

Grana, a writer, producer and actor, was appointed to his position with Film nb in March 1997. Film nb has been engaged in carving out a 40% tax credit in the region, attracting new productions to shoot locally, and providing seed money to local producers. To date, large-scale guest productions in the province include the Alliance/Atlantic Mediaworks mow This Matter of Marriage and Barna-Alper/Altantic Mediaworks’ tv movie The Sue Rodriguez Story.

The feeling among many in the local production community is bitter, with claims including that the local producer was simply attached on projects filmed in New Brunswick in order to fill the provincial funding guidelines.

‘Maybe we shouldn’t be putting our equity money into productions that aren’t so beneficial for New Brunswick in the long run,’ says Bruce Dennis, a producer with Fredericton’s Cinefile Productions.

‘The point was and still is that we should be developing our own entrepreneurs if we are going to develop an industry that lasts.’

The status quo in New Brunswick is leaving others saying the embryonic production industry is flailing. No one is laying blame for the chaos solely on Grana. According to Barry Cameron, vp of the local producers association, Film nb was in trouble long before Grana was appointed.

The history goes that in 1995, Dennis, then policy analyst for the Department of Municipalities, Culture and Housing, along with a committee of locals active in the provincial film community, drafted policies, tax-credit legislation and goals and objectives for Film nb.

The committee came up with two main goals: to attract and develop guest productions by having an attractive tax credit with as little red tape as possible, and to develop a healthy indigenous industry (which they achieved with a 40% tax credit) and a recommendation to establish a board of directors.

The board never materialized and Cameron says ‘the reason for the disintegration is that the government mismanaged Film nb by allowing it to exist with no board of directors to provide accountability and credibility, and not having anybody working there who knows anything about the film industry.’

Kinley hopes to fill Grana’s position as soon as possible and says the plan is to give Film nb more of a presence within the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Culture by having the agency work more closely with investors. In addition, she says they will be setting up a board of directors.