News from Hollywood North

UBC FILM STUDENTS' vision persists While the 18th annual Persistence of Vision UBC Student Film Festival –showcasing 13 short student-film productions (–is set to screen at the Granville 7 on April 27 and 28 (7 p.m. on Friday [$7] and Saturday [$10]), students and alumni are trying to galvanize support to save the UBC film-production program from being axed altogether.

The UBC Alumni Campaign has announced that it will hold a news conference on May 1 at VanCity Theatre (1181 Seymour) at 1 p.m. A panel of speakers, including current students and alumni, will express their concerns about the future of the program. The conference will be followed at 2 p.m. by a screening of short films by UBC alumni.

This column reported on this issue on March 29, but UBC dean of arts Nancy Gallini , who has met with the BFAs and MFAs, has not yet responded to the alumni group's request for a meeting with her, according to group organizer Amy Belling . "Ideally, we would like the dean to commit to reopening the program in 2008 because we know the program is closed for winter 2007," Belling said.

Alumni from the program include directors Bruce Sweeney (Last Wedding), Mina Shum (Double Happiness), and Lynne Stopkewich (Kissed).

CHANGES afoot at KNOWLEDGE NETWORK Knowledge Network has been broadcasting since 1981, but it has never held its own broadcasting licence. (The Open Learning Agency, which Knowledge Network has partnered with since 1987, holds the licence.) The Knowledge Network Corporation Act, which went through its first sitting at the House on April 16, will enable the network to apply for a broadcast licence from the CRTC.

"It's a very, very positive outcome after a number of years of consultation and discussion," said board chair Ron Burnett in a phone interview. Burnett also pointed out that "it's a Crown corporation that's been formed by the legislation, which gives it a certain degree of autonomy."

As the Internet proved to be the most effective means for distance learning, the Open Learning Agency is being integrated into the Kamloops-based Thompson Rivers University. Accordingly, Knowledge Network will also be adapting to technological change. "The next phase will be to develop a full strategic plan to take Knowledge into the next phase of its growth," said Burnett, "and that will include a digital conversion for the network so that it will be able to operate using digital technologies, which will effectively really give it a good base to work from."

Burnett pledged that the network's values will remain the same. "It's still the mandate of the Knowledge Network to provide educational broadcasting to the province, to show British Columbians as much about themselves as they possibly can. And to be involved with the development of the independent sector, to partner with a variety of different filmmakers in the province, but always keeping in mind that it has an educational mandate."

Concurrently, Rudy Buttignol , who has 30 years of industry experience (as a programmer, producer, editor, director, and writer) was appointed new interim president and CEO of Knowledge Network, replacing Bill Harlan.

Knowledge Network has 1.5 million weekly viewers and has the ninth-largest prime-time audience out of over 200 channels available in B.C.

NEW TV EXEC APPOINTED AT CBC VANCOUVER After a month-long search, Mary Quinn was appointed to the newly created position of executive in charge of development and production for TV Arts & Entertainment at CBC Vancouver on April 23.

Quinn previously worked at Vancouver's Brightlight Pictures for five years and also worked in the U.K. television industry for six years.

Marcela Kadanka , senior director of English television Arts & Entertainment, said on the line from Toronto that the position was created because "one of the things we've really wanted to do is work with talent and producers that we haven't worked with before. And Vancouver is a natural location with a very dynamic community for us to explore further and deepen our relationship with." She also pointed out that "one of our challenges will be not to overburden her with work because”¦we want to balance her work between production and development."

Kadanka said that Quinn will probably focus primarily on drama and comedy.