Monique Simard: Lecture on Future Funding of Interactive Storytelling & Transmedia
While innovative technologies evolve at unprecedented pace, how can funding schemes adapt to our fast changing media environment and encourage innovative content creation? This was one of the key questions of a lecture held at the Film Centre South in Malmö on Saturday by Monique Simard, Managing Director of Québec's Cultural Investment Fund SODEC. The session was hosted by BoostHBG and also featured a roundtable discussion attended by representatives of Film i Skåne, the European Documentary Network and GIFF Nordic Film Market / Nostradamus.
Today's audiences for innovative factual content can be found on many different platforms and media. Content creation has long gone beyond the push-model of traditional media and involves building and engaging audiences found on different digital outlets. Monique Simard knows just how important it is to be an active part of this process, also in terms of funding, in order to have an impact on audiences throughout the entire lifecycle of a production:
"Today, transmedia producers and interactive content creators need a different kind of support that takes into account the different ways of telling stories and building audiences on multiple platforms. In terms of financing promising projects, we need to allocate funding much earlier in the development phase. This especially applies to the outreach and promotion phase which - in traditional schemes - only starts in the last phase of a production. Today, however, the projects need attention right from the start when trying to have an impact on their audiences. That's why we think it's key to support innovative projects early on in the process."
Simard further highlighted the fundamental changes that led to a decline in public money for funds due to lower ratings in the TV sector and a similar phenomenon observable in sales of cinema tickets. This is not a Canadian or American trend, it's happening all over the world. Audiences are wandering away from cinema and TV to other platforms, so less money comes in from their side. On the other hand, these so-called 'other platforms' are mostly web-based services provided by ISP's (Internet Service Providers) who are currently not consistently involved to compensate for the loss, despite offering the content through their infrastructure.
In a roundtable session following the lecture, representatives from BoostHBG, Film i Skåne and EDN discussed the implications of the aforementioned issues for film funds and public support in Nordic countries as well as on the European/international level. This specific topic may become one of the aspects of a more comprehensive EDN-led research on creative documentary financing, which had been announced earlier this year.
Monique Simard is Managing Director of Québec's Cultural Investment Fund, SODEC. Previously, Simard had been Director General of the French-speaking part of Canada's National Film Board, where she came to have a great importance for the development of an innovative, community-changing film narration on many platforms. Between 1998 and 2008 she produced documentaries on social issues and global development. Simard is passionate about solidarity and has a parallel career in human rights and trade unions.
BoostHBG runs Sweden's only fund dedicated to transmedia storytelling and virtual reality with contributions from the Skåne Region and the City of Helsingborg.
Film i Skåne is a regional film fund for the southern part of Sweden.
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