NVTV in funding trouble

NVTV were set up in the 90s, originally serving as a training ground for local journalists and technicians wanting to make in-roads to working for Channel 4. Sometime after they metamorphisised into a sort-of public access station, giving an air to community voices in Northern Ireland’s capital as it left the Troubles behind it. Beneath all the gloss of the birthplace of the Titanic and the MTV awards, NVTV gave voice to real Belfast. And if you wanted to make a documentary, you’d get professional mentoring and assistance to write, film and edit. Post-production, the pieces were screened on local television and then made available for free on NVTV’s spaces on Vimeo and Youtube.
During the 90s NVTV were funded by the Arts Council NI, and from 2007 by film and digital body, NI Screen. Last month NVTV and the Arts Council were informed NVTV no longer fit NI Screen’s criteria. The Arts Council had delegated their lottery funding to NI Screen, essentially blocking the station out of the revenue stream.  Without this there is no access for paid staff or volunteers to a central location, editing suite, or the other production costs. An emergency meet with the Arts Council last week for core funding ranked NVTV high with artistic Quality, Financial/Project Management, Preserve Frontline Services in the Arts,Key Components of Artform/Sector(non- duplication of Service/Provision) and in Innovation. However, the Arts Council disagreed with the Moderator’s recommendation that NVTV is digital media and not the arts.

..no funding streams (exist) for any form of activity based around access to and participation in film, new media arts for communities…The central question remains which is –  where do the communities Northern Visions work with fit within the arts, film and digital media – community groups, young people, older people, ethnic minorities, interface groups, local heritage groups, women, people with disabilities, victims of the Troubles, disadvantaged communities?

 – Marilyn Hyndman, NVTV
Meantime, I ask that you drop a note to support the work of NVTV at http://www.northernvisions.org/index/commentsfromsupporters.html I realise many of you have seen my own film, The Invisible Artist, which would not have happened without station staff who kept the project turning. While my disabilities played up, producer Carl Boyle took over the final production in the editing suite. You no doubt found it an educational and representative piece, so please just drop a line and tell them what it meant to you.
If you doubt, or would like to see more, I present a proportionately tiny list of my recommendations:
Charting the tales of those who ran Belfast’s infamous grass-roots community club during the punk and new wave scenes of the 1980s. Vibrant, engaging, refreshing, fascinating.
Valuable narratives, rare interviews and footage across four generations of families and friends at the city’s beloved central market, St. George’s.
Before the machines and the tourists, labourers worked the Belfast dock-side and build up a community. This film reflects on another near forgotten age; those who remember the stories tell them.
Documenting the relationships of two A graffiti artists, one from the Protestant Falls Road and the other, from the Catholic Shankhill. This film examines their friendship and collaborations in one another’s areas as well as at John Lennon Roundabout, Liverpool.
Lough Neagh boat enthusiasts talk about their development of traditional methods of building and sailing their craft.
An expertly informed history of contemporary Belfast comic book and cartooning culture, co-produced by
Yours faithfully,
Andy Luke