Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of February 14th

Whistler Film Festival and FE&A


Whistler Film Festival and FE&A

We were grateful to receive news that the 2013 FE&A program will be investing $90,000 to augment Whistler Film Festival (WFF) programming.

We are, however, disappointed and astonished in the 28 per cent variance ($35,000) in funding over 2012 from our 2013 request for a renewed investment of $125,000. We appreciate that there were a large number of requests and priorities to address, and believe that several positive decisions were made. However, there appears to be varying standards for the 'process'.

WFF appears to be the only group to receive such a large variance in year-over-year funding (GranFondo 25 per cent, Crankworx 20 per cent and Wanderlust 10 per cent).

What remains unclear is how we can be expected to build on the tremendous success we delivered in 2012, and achieve the same level of results. In 2012, our five-day festival generated over $5.1 million in economic impact (which equates to a 44-time return on our 2012 FE&A investment) for the Province of B.C., of which over $2.8 million occurred in Whistler, and a 52 per cent increase in media coverage valued at over $6.7 million.

As a Whistler based charitable organization, and the only one in the FE&A's Tier A/B level, this kind of outcome not only affects our programming capacity and ability to deliver anticipated results, it has a direct impact on our ability to attract other levels of corporate and public funding.

In addition, as we are in the throws of a major capital campaign to renovate the Rainbow Theatre, a municipal asset, in time for our 2013 festival, it is challenging to address how to deal with this funding gap, and again maintain the level of results that we achieved and the confidence of our funders.

We understand that the FE&A Oversight Committee is a Committee of council that has been mandated to provide advice and recommendations on the program, and that council fully endorsed all of the recommendations from the FE&A Oversight Committee before they were presented on February 5.

We have requested rationale for this decision and how it pertains to the variances that did, or did not occur, among the applicant groups, and how this decision helps "build Whistler as a centre for arts and culture as well as for sports and recreation."

It is our hope that the FE&A Committee and council will reconsider this decision in the spirit of "economic partnership."

WFF's sustained success will enable us to continue to work towards being one of the top film festivals in the world, establishing Whistler as an entertainment centre for Canada, and creating a state of the art theatre to expand our programming and profile year round, all of which will benefit Whistler.

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