VIFF 2009: Minister Kevin Krueger says arts give people "sparkle"

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      In spite of the provincial funding cuts that have affected arts and film organizations, at the Vancouver International Film Festival's closing gala on October 16, Kevin Krueger, the minister of tourism, arts and culture, praised the arts for helping to give people “sparkle”.

      Krueger has avoided questions about cuts to arts funding. He has declined interviews with the Straight's arts reporter Jessica Werb and news reporter Carlito Pablo. Pablo wrote an article about B.C.’s failure to match film tax credits that were increased in Ontario and Quebec; B.C.’s film industry is losing productions as a result of increased competition from those provinces.

      Krueger also cut off and walked away from an interview about provincial arts funding with Straight editor Charlie Smith at the Vancouver Convention Centre on October 2.

      Even though the VIFF had its $70,000 gaming grant application cancelled, VIFF board of directors chair Michael Francis, had nothing but praise for the minister when introducing him at the closing gala screening at the Granville 7 cinemas.

      “I just want to say something about the last while in arts funding and the difficulties that some of the groups have had, and the realistic problems that have existed as a result of the economic downturn,” Francis said. “Kevin Krueger has had to make some really tough decisions. He’s been a very, very good partner to us throughout this time. We’ve had a good flow of communication, and it’s going to be a pleasure to have a tough-minded guy like the minister in our court as the economy starts to improve.”

      Upon taking the podium, Krueger, speaking on behalf of Premier Gordon Campbell and the provincial government, congratulated everyone on a “fantastic festival” and called it an “outstanding event”.

      He also spoke of the benefits that arts and film have. “Film is a vehicle, of course, for innovation, and often asks us to think about important issues in new ways,” he said. “We all know that vibrant arts and cultural communities play a key role in the creation of a happy society, and during the current worldwide economic turmoil, I’ve had some excellent input from British Columbian arts and culture groups who make the point and the argument very clearly that arts and culture are vital to delivery of health care in that they keep people healthy by giving people sparkle and a standard of life that we wouldn’t have otherwise.”

      He later reiterated this point by stating, “We all know that arts and cultural communities are key to everything that’s good in a healthy society.”

      He also talked about the benefits of the arts to youth. “There are inspirational things going on all around this province and all through the vibrant city where children—young people—are approached on the streets, and drawn into arts and cultural organizations and actually get a chance to learn how to make films and participate in the arts.”

      Cuts to multiyear gaming grants were reversed on September 2, but organizations without multiyear contracts weren’t so lucky.

      In addition to numerous arts organizations affected by the cuts, film organizations and festivals that had their gaming grants denied include Out on Screen, which runs the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Queer History Project, and the Out in Schools program (which is designed to address homophobia and bullying in schools); Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society; and the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival.



      Carolyn Knight

      Oct 21, 2009 at 7:43pm

      Sparkle sounds so jaunty.
      A salient point was made here in Victoria yesterday as the assembled cultural workers took the time to stand on the steps of the legislature and decry these cuts, that though arts may play a part in the leisure time of people, we arts producing people are not making these cultural sparkle projects in our leisure time; we work, contribute, feed families, pay taxes. Thanks to Theatre SKAM's Matthew Payne for reminding the assembled and the sequestered MLA's inside The Big House that arts are not fripperies.
      Despite how Mr. Krueger characterizes what we do.
      It's more than sparkle, Sir.

      0 0Rating: 0

      Amour de Cosmos

      Oct 22, 2009 at 10:15pm

      Well I guess if the Vancouver International Film Festival director, this guy Michael Francis, says they don't need government money and are happy with how things are going — giving high praise to this Krueger guy after he cut 70,000 $ from their income, the Feds shouldn't be giving money to them either, they'll be even happier once Telefilm and Heritage Canada cuts them. Looks like they don't need it, they have plenty of sparkle to live on.

      0 0Rating: 0