The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages


Dear friends of DOXA,

We are extremely happy to announce that the Department of Canadian Heritage has reinstated DOXA’s funding for the next two years.

The DOXA staff, and Board of Directors would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages for his immediate and incisive action. We applaud Minister Moore for his commitment to the Arts in Canada.

We would also like to thank our many ardent and passionate supporters -- audience members, filmmakers, distributors, festival colleagues, and people all over the world who champion the art of documentary film. The immediacy of your response was overwhelming, and we are deeply touched by the outpouring of support, messages and testimonials that so clearly and eloquently speak to the critical role that the arts play in Canada.

Please join us in Vancouver May 4-13, 2012 for what promises to be the very best DOXA Documentary Film Festival that we have ever had the pleasure of offering.


DOXA Board and Staff
DOXA Documentary Film Festival


Dear Minister Moore,

In 1998, the Documentary Media Society was founded with a mandate to educate the public in the art of documentary. Canadian Heritage was one of DOXA’s first funding organizations on a national level, which helped launch the first-ever DOXA Documentary Film Festival held in 2000.

With the continued support of Canadian Heritage for over a decade, DOXA grew into an annual six-day festival in 2004, and in 2009 expanded from six days to ten days. In 2011, DOXA offered its largest and most successful festival ever, with an audience attendance of over 10,300, a 20% increase from the previous year. In the previous three years, DOXA has increased its annual attendance by some 120%.

We cite these statistics to demonstrate DOXA’s remarkable success. Since the festival’s inception, growth has been consistent and strong, resources strategically allocated, and long-term planning undertaken with consideration and care. DOXA has grown to become Western Canada’s largest documentary film festival. As a flagship event, DOXA presents an annual 10-day festival in Vancouver, as well as year-round programming in communities outside of Vancouver, including rural communities that are not served by any other film festival in Canada. DOXA also actively participates with a number of other arts and community organizations, co-presenting films with Capilano University, Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Powell Street Festival, Sunshine Coast Film Society, Projecting Change Film Festival, Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Kay Meek Centre, and Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.

In the previous year, through the festival, Motion Pictures Film Series screenings, as well as a variety of other co-presentations, DOXA presented over 100 films at over 70 different screenings, with upwards 12,000 people in attendance. The organization also presented 23 outreach events during the past year, many at the 2011 festival itself. These events, including receptions, public forums and filmmaker lectures, were attended by close to 6,000 people.

This growth and development would not have been possible without the funding support of government organizations like Canadian Heritage. Thus, it was with shock and disappointment that we at DOXA received the news that Canadian Heritage was withdrawing its support for this year’s festival, particularly given that no clear rationale was offered for the withdrawal of this long-standing support, the decision was made without any direct consultation at all between Canadian Heritage and DOXA staff and it comes at a time when the organization is well advanced in the planning process for this year’s festival in May, 2012 and ill-positioned to replace, on short notice, the funding that Canadian Heritage has traditionally provided.

DOXA staff has sought, but to date has failed to obtain, a meeting with your office to seek a clear explanation of the rationale for this decision. After much thought and careful consideration, we are writing this open letter to you, Minister Moore, in order to ask, on behalf of the audiences and artists that we serve, why Canadian Heritage’s support of DOXA has been withdrawn? What Canadian Heritage funding criteria has DOXA been meeting for the past 14 years that it no longer meets? If Canadian Heritage’s funding criteria have suddenly changed, how have they changed?

We feel DOXA’s level of activity reflects not only an urgent need for the programming that DOXA presents to Canadian audiences, but is an indication of DOXA’s role as an important community player across B.C. and Canada that is worthy of support. The level of activity that DOXA has managed to maintain and develop despite ongoing and sustained funding cuts to arts organizations in B.C. (support for the arts in B.C. ranks last in Canada in per-capita funding) speaks to the level of energy and engagement we engender with the cultural landscape in the communities we serve and to our audiences’ appetite for content, discussion, and artistry. As Canadian documentary films and filmmakers continue to attract attention on the international stage, the idea that there are fewer opportunities to see these films in Western Canada, and engage directly with the filmmakers who made them in Canadian festivals, is both short-sighted and illogical.

The power of documentary film to facilitate the examination of ideas and issues is only one small aspect of what the genre currently encompasses. Given the potential impact that documentary film has had, DOXA feels a great deal of responsibility to seek out the very best in contemporary nonfiction cinema. We actively seek out Canadian and international films that offer awareness about perspectives not commonly given a voice by the mainstream media – a voice which Canadians have amply demonstrated that they want.

DOXA has been an engine of economic growth and development. Since 2000, DOXA’s total budget has increased by more than 800%. This growth, based on a diversified funding base, represents an economic stimulus with far-reaching benefits including strong professional and industry development platforms, and economic growth in ancillary areas (i.e., hospitality, small business, etc.,). The loss of Canadian Heritage’s investment will jeopardize the festival’s ability to generate sustained returns on a local and regional level.

We are aware that a number of arts organizations across the country are being similarly affected by funding cuts. The level of attrition created by these cuts, and the potential loss to Canadian artists and audiences is profoundly troubling.

We ask that you meet with us at your earliest possible convenience to discuss your rationale for withdrawing the funding that Canadian Heritage has provided, and that DOXA has relied upon, for the past 14 years and the potential damage that this withdrawn funding is likely to inflict upon an organization that the Canadian public demonstrably supports. We also respectfully ask that you reconsider your decision and reinstate your financial support for DOXA so that we can continue to present relevant, timely works of documentary filmmaking to Canadian audiences.

Yours truly,

Steve Robertson
Chair, Board of Directors

We, the undersigned, request that The Honourable James Moore reinstate Canadian Heritage's financial support for the DOXA Documentary Film Festival.

The DOXA's Open Letter to Canadian Heritage Minister, James Moore petition to The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages was written by Kenji Maeda and is in the category Culture at GoPetition.