Mathieu Lacombe wants all Quebec films to be accessible online

Culture Minister Mathieu Lacombe said he was concerned that so many Quebec films could not be viewed online. He was reacting to an article published Tuesday in The dutyin which it was reported that several flagship works of Quebec cinema are absent from listening platforms, and even rental websites.

“What we are told in the industry, and I completely agree with this, is that at a certain point, works should circulate freely on platforms, because they have been paid for with public funds, as is the case with books,” the minister said during a press scrum at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

With the death of video clubs, the circulation of Quebec films after their theatrical release has become more complex. Access to cinema now depends on subscription platforms. But obviously, not all Quebec films are of interest to these listening services. Certain feature films are also governed by broadcasting agreements, which prevent them from being posted on one of them for a long period.

Other films would need to be restored to be made available online, but this would generate costs deemed too high by their distributor. Consequence: it is practically impossible for average moviegoers to watch a myriad of Quebec films, even though they are largely subsidized by public funds.

“The way we finance films comes from another era. This prevents works from circulating on platforms for questions of rights and ownership. As things currently stand, I think this is a problem,” added Minister Lacombe.

In a few weeks, he will announce the establishment of a project to review the distribution of public funds in the cultural industry. This project follows the exit of the main unions in the sector, the Union of Artists (UDA) in the lead, who deplore the control of a few big players on government aid. The distribution problems of Quebec films will be addressed during this project, Mathieu Lacombe said on Tuesday.

He repeated the same thing a little later in the day during the study of the budgetary appropriations. In a parliamentary committee, the minister recounted having himself been confronted with the accessibility problems of Quebec cinema while trying to listen again At human height, this documentary by Jean-Claude Labrecque which followed Bernard Landry behind the scenes of the 2003 electoral campaign. However, this film, like several others, cannot currently be found online.

With Marie-Michèle Sioui

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