Despite attempts by the Campaign Life Coalition and REAL Women Canada to convince the federal government to cut Out on Screen’s (OOS) funding, Vancouver’s queer film festival has received confirmation from the Department of Canadian Heritage that its funding is intact.
OOS executive director Drew Dennis says the festival, which will run Aug 16-26 this year, will receive $23,000 from Ottawa -the same level of funding that it has received for the past two years. “It’s very reassuring,” Dennis says. “Canadian Heritage was sympathetic and supportive.”
REAL Women and the Life Coalition mounted their letter-writing campaign against the queer film festival last year. In an article on the conservative website www.lifesite.net, REAL Women vice-president Gwen Landolt says: “The films are used as a political statement against established social mores, a way of showing contempt, of saying, ‘We don’t have to be held to normal standards of behaviour.’ I think the government is trying to show how wide-open they are to all diversity, but surely there is a limit to tolerance.”
A spokesperson for Canadian Heritage says OOS met all the criteria for arts funding. Though Jinette Mineault can’t comment on REAL Women’s campaign specifically, she says “those campaign writers are not part of the assessed criteria.”