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.