AMPIA AWARD WINNER Aaron Sorensen Accuses Film Commissioner of being a fraud and coward.

Joel Schulz June 11, 2014 2

I am accused of being an asshole.

by Joel Schulz – Publisher

I am sharing a private message exchange between Alberta filmmaker and AMPIA award winner, Aaron Sorensen, and myself over the issue of film subsidies and his accusations that Film Commissioner, Luke Azevedo, is a fraud and coward.

Aaron Sorensen: Luke is a coward and a fraud and so is anyone who doesn’t care about their country enough to stop subsidies to American writers and directors. Are you too?

Joel Schulz: No, I am just someone who makes his living from knowing how the film industry works here and do my research thoroughly before I speak lest I be accused of being a revisionist or, laughingly, a coward. If an American director is on set, the CAVCO credit and Alberta credits are drastically reduced. One needs an above the line slate almost 100 percent Canadian to get full credits. If a writer and director from the USA are present, then the rest of the above the line must be Canadian with the exception of Executive Producer. When a $20 million production is in town, of which several are per year, tax credits of 2 or 3 million are common and I wholly support it because it creates jobs, and incredible number of jobs, for IATSE, DGC, and ACTRA members. An investigation of the rolling credits of a US A-List production will bear this out. I am neither a fraud nor a coward, I just have enough management education and over 40 years of experience to know how film and television finance works.

Aaron Sorensen: Joel. We should meet in person. See how your tone is then. I am a storyteller asshole. I take my work seriously. I love Canada and I love Alberta and I have a work to do and assholes like you are not helping me. Take your categories and your credits and your whatever-the-hell you are talking about and go get on the public teat and collect your welfare. I have important work to do. It is called storytelling. You are either here to help the storyteller or you are not. If you are not then go away. If you want to work on American shows go to America. Don’t demand my people pay the Americans to move their shows up here so you can get a job that you otherwise couldn’t get.

That last statement by Aaron shows an individual with little business savvy, one with a fundamental lack of knowledge of how the industry works, and wants, ipso facto, to throw thousands of Albertans out of work. Filmmaking is more than exposing cellulose and sticking tape on your splices. We have cultural, economic, social, and arts issues interdependent upon each other. One cannot just single out one aspect. The issue is too complex. You cannot be much of a story teller is you have to resort to calling me an asshole. You claim to be creative, that comment shows a lack of creativity, especially when you consider you are an AMPIA award alumni for screenplay. As for Luke Azevedo, ask anyone who has worked on the set of Heartland, Hell on Wheels, Passchendaele, Hannah’s Law, Horses of McBride, Bluff, and a list of other productions I could mention ad nauseam whether the Film Commissioner’s Office failed them.

I take my work seriously to Mr. Sorensen and I have no desire to throw thousands of Albertans out of work so you can get exclusive access to subsidies or are these thousands not qualified because they have jobs they otherwise could not get? The producers of $20 million dollar films seem not to think so.


  1. Aaron James Sorensen June 11, 2014 at 12:45 PM - Reply

    Is that cool? Taking a private message and posting it publicly? Probably not what a REAL media person would do but it’s what Joel would do. Anyway, it’s not a bad quote anyway. Interesting this cat thinks he knows business better than I. More savvy he is. Can’t wait to meet him.

    How the “industry works”. You mean how you’re little BS welfare film industry works. The so-called “service industry”. Oh I understand how it works. You give REAL American producers money so that they will relocate their productions here. Local crews work and local production assistants/grant-getters/service-producer get a skim off the grant and a Land Rover.

    Cute that this cat, Joel whoever he is, wants to tell me how to make a film. Last I checked I had two theatrically released films in the last ten years along with a mini-series. I’m not saying any of it was great or that I’m great. I just think I probably am more qualified that Joel who-ever-he-is is on speaking to how a film is made.

    I may not be much of a storyteller, I have no defence of that. Go watch one of my films and you can review it. As far as calling you an asshole I think I was being polite sir. I think a lot of good storytellers had potty mouths worse than mine. I’m wondering what Bukowski would all you right now. Let me think on that a few moments.

    Luke is a true Canadian. A nice guy. But he is a coward and a fraud and he lies to people through his smile. He is not in the service of his country. Only in the service of himself and his close few. He looks good in photo ops. I should cast him in something someday. He can play the “nice guy”.

    I don’t want any subsidies. I am sick of grants all together. If fact. You have converted me Joel. Who-ever-you are. Thank you. You have made me a convert. Give our tax dollars to Americans like the Gayton brothers and AMC and build two new studios and continue on with your little bullshit pretended film industry that would dry up the very day the grants stop. I will go do something else. I will go tell a different story. You can go pay to work on an American one.

    I’m busy. I have story to tell.



  2. Joel Schulz June 11, 2014 at 7:48 PM - Reply

    I must say Aaron that your knowledge of how journalists work is depressingly ill informed. Firstly, you sent me the message on facebook. Even as a private post, no expectation of privacy exists for you. You even failed to put a caveat that you expected the communication to be kept private.

    No journalist in the world would fail to jump at the chance of exposing your rabid hate for Americans and calling those who disagree assholes. Your response to others who disagreed with you on your fb page was both immature and unprofessional. That you did publicly. You, ipso facto, declared open season upon yourself. Was it cool of me, very cool I would say. You, without solicitation, sent me a message calling the Film Commissioner a fraud and me an asshole in response to a public post I made to your comments on film subsidies. That my friend in what I call a gift and I chose to accept it. It is you who needs to understand both mechanics and law surrounding privacy. No non disclosure agreement exists between you and I.

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