CMF boss fails to impress in Quebec

'We really didn't learn much,' says APFTQ head after Louis Roquet reaches out to producers

MONTREAL — The president of the Canada Media Fund was meant to reach out to the French-language production community this week, but many observers were unimpressed after Louis Roquet’s presentation on Tuesday.

‘We were expecting a bit more. We really didn’t learn much,’ the head of Quebec’s producers association, the APFTQ, Claire Samson told Playback Daily after the pricey luncheon. Members of the Academy paid roughly $86 per head to attend the affair, billed as an update on the new fund. (What do you think? Email us!)

Louis Roquet

In keeping with Heritage Minister James Moore’s objective to direct funds towards multi-platform projects, Roquet spent much of his time talking about changing consumer habits. ‘Today, consumers surf the web while they are watching their favorite TV show. They send text messages to their friends and play a video game while they are listening to their iPods and walking down the street,’ he told the 300-plus crowd.

He also noted, as was previously announced, that the bulk of the $350 million fund — $323 million — will be directed through CMF’s ‘convergent stream,’ which supports TV shows and related digital content (video games, podcasts, etc.). The remainder of the cash will go toward the ‘experimental stream,’ which is meant to spur research and development of interactive content and software applications.

‘All I heard today was platitudes. It was a summary of everything we already knew. They want us to be innovative, but they should work at being a bit innovative themselves,’ quipped one independent producer, who said he regretted attending.

While Samson agrees with Moore’s cross-platform objectives, she hopes the scramble to come up with web and video game applications won’t erode content quality. ‘I could put a camera in my office and stream it on the web. It would be a bit funny perhaps, but I don’t know how it would contribute to Quebec culture,’ she said.

She remains concerned that the CMF supports in-house productions and that, by allowing broadcasters to shift money between genres, dollars once allocated to documentary production could go elsewhere. ‘Documentary is at risk of disappearing,’ says Samson

Roquet added that the CMF will conduct consultations on the 2011/12 guidelines in the coming months.