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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

National Film Board lays off 22 people, including two doc makers

MONTREAL - The National Film Board of Canada has laid off 22 people as a result of funding concerns and a focus on new media.

Paul Cowan, who directed "Westray," a documentary about the Nova Scotia mine disaster, and Beverly Shaffer, who won an Academy Award for her 1978 look at a disabled girl, "I'll Find a Way," are among those who will lose their jobs.

They are the last "in-house" filmmakers at the NFB.

The bulk of the layoffs are in Montreal, where the NFB has its headquarters.

They will take effect early next month.

NFB spokeswoman Lily Robert said many of those who are losing their jobs will have the opportunity to be reassigned.

There are 428 people who work at the NFB across the country, she said.

Robert said the NFB has had the same budget, $70 million, since 1995.

"We have to make choices," she said.

Those choices include focusing on new initiatives such as digitization - transferring old films to a digital format - for which the NFB requires new equipment.

© The Canadian Press, 2008



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