The Pulse: Sept. 29, 2023

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  • 13°C: Showers. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. High 13. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Pink: The High Level Bridge will be lit pink for CIBC Run for the Cure. (details)
  • Oct. 10: Eligible Albertans can book influenza and COVID-19 vaccines starting Oct. 10. Appointments will start Oct. 16. (details)
  • $50 million: Local man Nassim Fattouh won $50 million with a Lotto Max ticket he bought at the Mobil gas station at 5019 Calgary Trail. (details)
  • 7pm: The Edmonton Oilers play the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (details)
  • 7pm, Sept. 30: The Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. (details)

Four smiling people in business attire pose in front of a banner reading "ESIO."]

ESIO reveals how it will spend part of rejigged fund

By Colin Gallant

The Edmonton Screen Industries Office is now spreading the word on three new streams of funding as part of its $4-million Strategic Initiatives Fund for capacity-building.

"It's the spark that's starting the engine; it's not the fuel that's going to run the engine," ESIO CEO Tom Viinikka told Taproot the day after unveiling the new fund at CKUA on Sept. 27. "We're trying to buy fishing rods, not fish, and those fishing rods should be able to be used for decades after this."

The three new streams account for $1 million of the $4 million in the fund's portfolio. They are called the Elevation Program, for "a significant step forward in the career of the producer" of a film or TV project; the Early Stage Program, for short films and game concepts by fresh talent; and the Underrepresented Initiatives Program, for non-profits working to improve diversity and equity across screen industries.

The fund began as the Edmonton Screen Media Fund in 2018 and was previously focused on projects expected to result in a return on investment. Council approved the change in name and focus earlier this year. "Our goal is not to make money," Viinikka told Taproot ahead of the vote in February. "It's to make an industry that then makes money."

The ESIO, an arm's-length body established by the City of Edmonton in 2017, has a goal to grow the value of the Edmonton region's screen industries to $300 million in the long term and to $100 million in the medium term. Viinikka estimated their current value at $30 million to $40 million, depending on levels of activity in production.

"Money attracts money," Viinikka said. "That's what the SIF needs to be, it needs to be helping something happen that otherwise wouldn't happen."

That logic applies particularly to the Elevation stream. Applicants can receive up to 10% of a project's total budget, to a maximum of $100,000. The hope is that this spurs investment by additional parties.

Continue reading

Headlines: Sept. 29, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

Two mannequins dressed in colourful fringed leather, with large, stylized buffalo heads covering their entire heads

Weekend agenda: Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023

By Debbi Serafinchon

Several organizations are hosting events in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day this weekend in the metro Edmonton region. Other activities include a rodeo, the reopening of a historic planetarium, new exhibitions at the art gallery, closing night at the EIFF, and a run to fund breast-cancer research.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup and the Food Roundup.

Photo: Light Bison and Water Bison by Cannupa Hanska Luger are part of Second Skin, an exhibit exploring body coverings that opens at the Art Gallery of Alberta this weekend. (Brandon Soder)