On October 1, cinema operators sent Prime Minister François Legault, three of his ministers and Doctor Arruda an indignant letter following the closure of their establishments.
The operators had conscripted dozens of other defenders of culture, some of whom like Monique Jérôme-Forget, Fred Pellerin and Julie Le Breton, have nothing to do with cinemas. Do they and all the other Quebec filmmakers who have signed up therefore remember the indifference, not to say the contempt that cinema operators have always shown towards Quebec films?
They probably signed with their eyes closed without reading the fallacious arguments advanced by the operators. “We have reached a point,” declared Vincent Guzzo, “where we (the government) do anything, anyhow!” “
The operators take up the arguments that decline ad nauseam owners of bars and gymnasiums, restaurant owners, directors of theaters and concert halls. According to all these people, their establishments are not responsible for any outbreaks. What do they base themselves on to make such a statement? If no place is responsible for an infection, how can we explain that we have had 843 cases and more every day since the beginning of October?
WHAT A TRAGEDY ?
The operators’ letter sinks into the sham when they say that the possible final closure of several cinemas would be a “tragedy for the entire Quebec film ecosystem” and that the population will be “the biggest loser”. What are we really going to lose when we know that only 1.5 million people saw Quebec films in theaters last year? Not even the number of aficionados of District 31 in one night?
The operators still write that in the event of such a tragedy (?), “Producers, directors, screenwriters, artists and artisans … will lose their main source of income”. What a crass joke or what a vile deception? Since the creation of Telefilm in 1984, we have produced more than 1000 Quebec feature films. Producers who have received any return on their investment can be counted on one hand. Apart from their starting fees, I would be amazed to learn that a single writer or a single artist received any additional royalty thereafter. No more Denys Arcand than the others. As for the artisans, they have almost always worked on the cheap.
WHO SHOULD COMPENSATE?
The operators finally ask the government to “quickly compensate the losses they incur.” Since several theaters reopened in June and July, most were almost empty. First, because moviegoers don’t want to run the risk of going there until there is a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19 and, second, because there is no films that appeal to them.
One after the other, the major studios have postponed the release of their blockbusters. It is for this reason that Cineworld, the second largest exhibitor in the world, has just closed all its theaters in the United States, Great Britain and Ireland for an indefinite period.
That Vincent Guzzo and his ilk rather claim compensation from the major American studios. They are the only ones responsible for their bad situation. Let them not try to soften us or soften the government by brandishing the Quebec cinema on which they have always looked up and which barely accounts for 8% of their income.