Film festival in dire need of funding
The Documentary Edge Film Festival is hanging by a thread.
Returning for its 10th year, the event which celebrates local and international film-makers is suffering from a ‘‘fragile system’’, organiser Dan Shanan says.
A lack of financial support has left the festival scrambling to cover costs.
The results of former Heart of the City boss Alex Swney defrauding more than $2.5 million from the organisation has meant a loss of funding, opening up a significant gap in the festival’s resources.
‘‘It shows how fragile the system is,’’ Shanan says.
‘‘That had a major effect on us because those are major funds we had to support the event.
‘‘The acts of one person can have a damaging effect on all of us.’’
Shanan says the festival is set to continue because of ‘‘ a lot of long hours and a dedicated team’’.
But the problem is a wider issue, he says. ‘‘It’s a vicious cycle. ‘‘The struggle has always been for funding.
‘‘Even sponsorship is not as easy as one might think.
‘‘We are lobbying and talking to the Government on how this needs to change.
‘‘I’ve got letters from mayors and politicians saying how great it is but when it comes to infrastructure and financial support we don’t get it.
‘‘The people that make the decisions need to understand that they need to pour more attention and money into it.’’
The festival is now relying on box office sales, which usually provide about 25 per cent of the budget, to make ends meet.
When Shanan arrived in New Zealand in 2005 the documentary culture in New Zealand ‘‘ was like a desert’’.
The scene has improved in leaps and bounds but there is still some way to go, he says.
‘‘Looking back over the past 10 years you realise what you have achieved and how far you have come.
‘‘We have the opportunity to be the leaders in the region for film and documentaries.
Documentary Edge Film Festival organiser Dan Shanan.