Cancellations ‘a disaster,’ says doc group

CBC's cancellation of both The Lens and Wild Docs is 'a disaster for independent documentary filmmakers,' according to John Christou, the co-chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada.

CBC’s cancellation of both The Lens and Wild Docs is ‘a disaster for independent documentary filmmakers,’ according to John Christou, the co-chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada.

‘In the last 12 months, documentary filmmakers have been dealt a succession of blows,’ says Christou, citing the closure of both of the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund and CTV’s doc unit, and ‘the cloud of uncertainty’ that surrounds the Canada Media Fund.

The Ceeb has said it will roll the shows into its newly expanded The Passionate Eye, now set to air seven nights a week on Newsworld. The Lens ran for just over three years, focusing on smaller and POV documentaries.

The CFTPA also called the cancellation of The Lens ‘a very disturbing signal.’

‘Canceling this outlet… will further reduce the diversity of voices and stories told to Canadian audiences,’ said president and CEO Norm Bolen in a statement.

CBC spokesperson Jeff Keay has said that, despite its financial pressures, the network remains committed to documentaries. He says the cancellations will result in layoffs of perhaps two or three people, perhaps by the end of the year, though the details remain foggy.