National Film Board of Canada announces restructuring and layoffs

MONTREAL — The National Film Board of Canada has laid off five staff members as a result of changes to its organizational structure.

The film board says it's cut two executive directors, one chief digital officer, one director of operation and one administrator.

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The layoffs come as the NFB announces it has restructured its Creation and Innovation division in an effort to strengthen its English and French Programs.

The organization says all of its 11 NFB studios will be brought together under the umbrella of the English and French Programs.

The film board says the changes are meant to emphasize each studio's unique character, develop and share their local expertise, and establish a national vision and programming framework, among other things.

The NFB says the move will also allow for "direct and unmediated collaboration" between the executive producers and the director general of Creation and Innovation.

That director general position is currently vacant but the NFB says it will be filled in the next few months.

"This restructuring will build more bridges between our teams, allowing for more consistency and coherence in programming while better reflecting the country's linguistic duality," Claude Joli-Coeur, the NFB's government film commissioner and chairperson, said Thursday in a statement.

In July the NFB announced it had postponed the release of its next strategic plan amid an ongoing dispute between Joli-Coeur and a group of directors about the institution's spending priorities.

A group of more than 250 freelance directors known as ONF/NFB Creation had raised concerns about the film board's budget expenditures and workplace culture.

The group alleged the film board's production funding has decreased since 2002, and that spending on non-filmmaker salaries and institutional, legal and human resources services has increased.

ONF/NFB Creation went public with its concerns in June after Joli-Coeur was reappointed government film commissioner and chair of the NFB for another three years.

The NFB subsequently said it planned to consult further with stakeholders on the issues raised.

Joli-Coeur also denied the expenditure claims.

And on Thursday, the NFB said a national consultation tour will take place January to March 2020 so creators and collaborators can discuss the issues and priorities that will inform the NFB 2020-2023 strategic plan.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2019.

© Virden Empire-Advance

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