TQFF’s statement on the necessity for the film festivals to pay artist fees

TQFF is dedicated to paying artists fees in exchange for screening their work. We recognize that artistic labour is deserving of more than exposure, applause or industry recognition. By paying artists and putting them first, we are supporting the media art ecosystem that we all share in and are responsible to care for.

Paying fees is important to us in an artistic climate where artists are frequently being asked to participate in festivals for free, even while the very same festivals spend a large portion of their budgets on staff salaries. In addition, many filmmakers are paying large entry fees to participate in festivals that will not pay fees to makers who have their films selected. In this hierarchy, fees are filtered to serve the festival and not the artists who draw the audiences.

We stand with the Canadian Artists Representation/Le Front Des Artistes Canadiens (CARFAC) who established and have been upholding a minimum fee schedule for artists since 1968.  We stand with the Independent Media Arts Alliance who also advocate for the payment of artists with a similar minimum fee schedule.

As TQFF grows in financial support and audience, we aim to not only meet the minimum fees that artists are deserving of and legally entitled to, but to pay fees well above these suggested rates.

Queer artists need more access to financial support for their work. As artists and cultural workers ourselves, we understand the barriers that stand in the way of art being made and supported. TQFF sees itself as a no-strings-attached access point to resources: access to a  community screen, access to other artists to foster artistic growth and collaboration, visibility within a larger queer media art community and, as much as we can – financial support to allow artists to make work,  support their day to day, care for themselves in art practice, etc. – artistic labour takes many forms.