A diverse coalition of British Columbians is demanding change of leadership at Knowledge Network.
An ad hoc group of filmmakers and the public — called Equity Justice — are distressed over a recent funding audit at Knowledge Network, revealing stunning inequities and lack of support for filmmakers from diverse communities. They are now calling for the CEO to be replaced.
The 2022 audit reports that in the past seven years, only 1.7% of Knowledge Network funds supported filmmakers of colour and 0% went to Indigenous film companies. This disparity does not represent the breadth of Indigenous filmmakers and filmmakers of colour in BC nor does it reflect provincial demographics, the group notes.
The Vancouver Asian Film Festival, the Racial Equity Screen Office and the Documentary Organization of Canada initiated the audit and emphasized that this “gross racial inequity in funding” has harmed the careers of many filmmakers. Knowledge Network CEO Rudy Buttignol said he had “major reservations” with the audit as it “doesn’t tell the whole story.”
The group says that under pressure, Knowledge has announced new initiatives to support racialized and indigenous creatives, but the same authorities that created and perpetuated a pattern of inequity over 15 years cannot be the ones to oversee the transformation of the broadcaster. Knowledge needs new visionary leadership grounded in equity, fairness and equal opportunity. Change at this level will make it possible for meaningful, deep and systemic change.
Equity Justice has launched a petition demanding that the Board of Directors select a new leader who can begin the task of rebuilding relationships to represent all British Columbians.
The petition can be found at: https://www.change.org/Knowledge_Network_Needs_A_New_Leader.