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Author | Photos RAE SPOON "WRITTEN ACROSS THE SKY" Music Video - Dir. Rae Spoon, Maya Bankovic.

How The MuchMusic Countdown Saved My Life

There is special relationship between music and film; people who work in one help elevate and enhance the work of the other.

We’ve done a great job in Canada celebrating the work of our artists by listening to, watching and financing their work, not out of civic obligation but simply out of a desire for more of it. And we want more of it because we caught a glimpse of it in the first place – a great music video can expose us to artists that we can quickly grow to love and support; likewise, an established musician can alert us to a new talent on the film front. It works both ways. And in both cases the feedback is real. The messages from audiences are: “Keep going,” “We like that thing you did,” and “Thank you.”

With the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission making cuts to the Bravo!FACT and MuchFACT programs, the message changes, and it’s their message alone, not the audience’s: “We don’t think people really need nor want any of this anymore.” That’s simply not the case. Audiences within Canada and abroad like the stuff we’re making.

Just take a look at how TIFF is honouring this unity of music and film in its celebration of this country as a whole.

So much about what made me the young music-video-addict-turned-filmmaker in the 1990s was this sense that I could make a life for myself doing beautiful things here, at home, and that my work could be supported here, at home, much in the same way I truly valued the work of my predecessors in Canadian music and music videos here, at home! Their work allowed me the freedom to even imagine a life for myself and, as lofty as it may sound, to imagine a life in the arts that would feel like a contribution, not a burden.

The result of that youthful idealism, and of my past work financed through Bravo!FACT and MuchFACT, is a career I now have as a Canadian cinematographer, shooting projects for the National Film Board, the CBC, and Canadian feature film production companies that take my work to screens around the world.

These things take on a life of their own and – as the cynical but valid fact does often arise, I’ll say it – yes, they do often make real money. My point though is that music videos are not a dead end for musicians and filmmakers, nor are they merely a stepping stone. They are part of the broad spectrum of artwork that keeps artists in this country bold, courageous, and outspoken – all qualities that are desperately needed in these times of fear, distress and emotional fatigue.

So please consider signing and passing on the Director’s Guild of Canada’s petition urging our Minister of Heritage, Mélanie Joy, to help us fight the CRTC on its willingness to slash programs that have done so much to keep Canadian talent thriving. Let’s continue to allow artistically driven Canadians the chance to dream of a life for themselves. You can sign the petition HERE.

Maya Bankovic is a cinematographer based in Toronto whose most recent credits include Workin’ Moms and Below Her Mouth. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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