The NFB on Parliament Hill



    GATINEAU, QC, Feb. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Unionized employees at the National
Film Board (NFB) have their eye on federal MPs. And these elected officials
won't be able to miss their message, which will be visible on five giant
billboards around Parliament Hill in Ottawa. CUPE, which represents 260 NFB
employees, is continuing its campaign for increased Film Board funding - a
campaign launched last week with two on-line videos that can be viewed on
YouTube and at www.cupe.ca and www.scfp.qc.ca. Entitled At the NFB, the
economic crisis is 15 years old, this initiative focuses on the Film Board's
unique and indispensable role in the development of homegrown cinema and
talent.
    "Federal MPs have the responsibility of giving us the resources to
fulfill our mission," said Serge Gaspard Gaudreau, president of one of the
unions at the NFB. "These billboards are a direct means of communicating with
elected MPs and their staff. They'll have no choice but to think about us, and
that will have an impact when they consider the budgetary allocations." The
billboards will be visible for a period of four weeks. Unionized Film Board
employees have also created an e-mail tool enabling citizens to question their
MPs about NFB funding.
    For the past 15 years, the Film Board has, after repeated cutbacks, seen
its budget slashed by 17%. These cuts have considerably undermined the NFB's
capacities to create and produce original films. Over the same period, this
federal organization's employees saw their ranks melt away like snow in the
sun, dropping from 723 employees to only 356 in 2007.

    Roger Frappier's turn

    After the testimonials of Benoît Pilon and Alanis Obomsawin, CUPE will
post a video presenting Roger Frappier's point of view on the importance of
the NFB. In this vignette, the producer of La Grande séduction, The Decline of
the American Empire and Un zoo la nuit points out that it was at the NFB that
he learned his trade. For Roger Frappier, the Film Board represents the
cinematographic memory of our people and the memory of documentary film and
the art of animation. In his view, the NFB is a space offering essential
freedom, where creation without commercial pressures is permitted. Roger
Frappier concludes that the NFB can become the great institution it once was,
provided there is a clear political vision to make this a reality.
    It should be noted that in the next few weeks, four other personal
testimonials presented in video vignettes will be posted by CUPE.

    Since it was founded in 1939, the NFB has created more than 13,000 films,
won over 5,000 awards, received more than 90 Genies, received over 70 Oscar
nominations and garnered 12 Oscars.
    The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is proud to have the NFB's
260 employees and technicians among its members. With 7,000 members in the
communications sector in Québec, CUPE-Québec is also present in a number of
other sectors, including health and social services, education, urban
transport, air transport, crown corporations and public agencies in Québec,
hydroelectricity and municipalities. With more than 105,000 members,
CUPE-Québec is the largest QFL-affiliate.
    This press release and other information are available on the web site at
scfp.qc.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Serge Gaspard Gaudreau, union office, (514)
283-4865; Alexandre Boulerice, (514) 384-9681, ext. 270, cell. (514) 668-7148;
SOURCE: CUPE-QUEBEC (QFL)


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