Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on December 13, 2021, through video conference via Zoom
Thomas S. Saras
Leila Monteiro Lins
Sandie De Freitas
Kathy L. L. Li
Muhammad Naeem Ul Islam
Agenda of the day:
- Welcome Remarks by the chair.
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- Presentation by Nikolaos Mantas Councillor Scarborough -Agincourt
- Presentation by US Consulate Officer Diane Del Rosario
- President’s Report/Discussions
- New Members/New Business
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
Mohammed Tajdolati chaired the virtual monthly meeting and declared the meeting open. Roberto Hausman moved a motion to approve the agenda. Yuri Natchetoi seconded it. The motion was carried unanimously.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Rue moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting and Roberto Hausman seconded it. Minutes of the previous monthly meeting were unanimously approved.
- Thomas Saras welcomed everyone to the online monthly meeting of December 13, 2021. Mr. Saras reflected on the year that is ending. He highlighted the achievements of the council over the past years and specially during the pandemic when members faced additional challenges. He praised the arduous work and dedication of all members who contributed towards its success and specially mentioned Maria Saras Voutsinas who has tireless worked for the members during the pandemic.
- Saras informed the members that the LJI budget has been increased for the current year and for next year. He encouraged members that have not already done so to apply for funding. He also explained that the Internship Program will also continue, and we are currently waiting for approval. Once we receive the approval, members will be encouraged to apply. He mentioned that NEPMCC has received a number of applications on file and those that are approved will be funded once the program begins.
- Saras informed members on the upcoming events and projects for NEPMCC. Mr. Saras will try to organize meeting with Lieutenant Governor of Quebec to discuss on the issues of ethnic media in Quebec.
- President Thomas Saras thanked all the members who generously donated to NEPMCC. Although the industry and our members are struggling financially, he encouraged everyone that can do so to donate.
- Thomas Saras urged the members to participate in different projects that are available. If there is lack of adequate participation, the funds would go back to its source and in future the allocations of such funds could be limited.
- Members who wish to participate in projects undertaken by NEPMCC (other than the LJI) must be in good standing and abide by all the codes governing the council. They should also pay all membership dues.
- The President is in touch with Federal Government and Provincial Government for funding members of NEPMCC during the ongoing Pandemic. President is scheduled to meet with representatives of both Federal and Provincial Government to request more funds for the struggling ethnic media industry.
- President Thomas Saras mentioned that LJI payments will be made in 2 weeks.
- President Thomas Saras continued to educate members on various projects undertaken by NEPMCC and especially on the LJI. President Thomas Saras informed about the local initiative program The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada. Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire an unemployed journalist or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. The content produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed. He mentioned under this program a publisher can hire qualified journalist or a journalistic student in the final year and get up to a maximum of $30,000 per year. He mentioned that the program has been phenomenally successful. He hoped that the program will continue to receive funds in future. The program also pays for mailing expenses of the copies of the publication to remote communities and provides special prepaid kits to members participating in the program.
- The president also encouraged all the members to apply for an ID or Media Pass of the organization. There are so many benefits; the president said that it is to one’s advantage to have it.
Presentation by Nikolaos Mantas Councillor Scarborough -Agincourt
Councillor Mantas thanked NEPMCC for the invitation. He said he is there to listen to the concerns of the members and relay that to the City Hall. There were several discussions on vaccination ads run by the City of Toronto. Councillor Mantas promised to investigate the concerns of City run ads and convey the message to the respective departments at City Hall. After his brief presentation Councillor Mantas candidly answered all questions raised by the members of NEPMCC
President Thomas Saras, Shaihidul Islam Mintu, Logan, Logendralingam, Hon Joe Volpe, Pooyan Tabatabaei and others participated in the discussions
Presentation by US Consulate Officer Diane Del Rosario
She spoke of various programs run by the department of Foreign Service in US.
She spoke on the “How to Navigate the U.S. Government Grant Application Process Information Session” which will take place on December 17
She was pleased to inform the council that the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Office of Public Affairs, will be conducting an information session on “How to Navigate the U.S. Government Grant Application Process.” The information session will cover how to navigate the U.S. Embassy’s and Consulate’s notice of funding opportunity (NOFO), understanding and fulfilling the NOFO criteria, deadline dates, completing the required grant forms, the importance of budget narratives, and creating solid monitoring and evaluation plans. She mentioned the importance of ethnic media in North America as it does a great job in informing its readership of the available government programs in their native language. After her presentation she answered all questions posed by members of NEPMCC
George Guzmas, Tariq Durrani, Roberto Hausman, Karim Mirshahi, Manan Gupta, and others participated in the discussion.
Mr. Saras discussed meeting in person. He is hopefully that restrictions will be lifted soon so that we can begin meeting at City Hall again. We will continue to stream the meetings live over zoom for the members across Canada.
Maria Saras -Voutsinas updated on the various steps taken by NEPMCC to further the cause of the members. She mentioned that NEPMCC is working with industry partners to bring free newspapers under the Aid to Publishers next year.
Mr. Saras also expressed his hope that we will be able to host an Educational Seminar in 2022.
Karim Mirshahi who is also the Managing Director of BIPOC Film Festival 2021 invited all the members on December 18 and 19 at the Carlton Cinemas.
BIPOC filmmakers face unique social barriers in every aspect of the filmmaking, production, and distribution process. According to a report from McKinsey & Company this March, only approximately 6% of writers, directors, and producers working on films in the United States are black. The report also found that films led by black producers, writers and directors on average receive 40% less funding than other films. While indigenous cinema has seen a significant rise in popularity and success in Canada over the last decade, indigenous people are still vastly underrepresented in every aspect of film production. Additionally, within feature film production there is a stark underrepresentation of indigenous voices. According to a 2013 report on indigenous filmmaking, from 2008-2012 Telefilm Canada funded 310 feature films, only five of which were created by Indigenous filmmakers. Similarly, of 115 feature films supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation between 2008-2012, only one was created by an indigenous filmmaker. These statistics highlight how important it is to support and promote films created by BIPOC individuals, through BIFF we hope to give a new platform to marginalized BIPOC filmmakers to share their creations.
The BIPOC International Film Festival and experience a wide array of acclaimed films and engage in socially relevant discussion around representation in media.
BIPOC International Film Festival (BIFF) is happening on December 18 and 19, at the Carlton Cinemas, downtown Toronto.
Karim Mirshahi invited all his colleagues at the Ethnic media to attend and enjoy the event as a VIP guest and do interviews with the film makers, other VIP guests and dignitaries attending the festival.
Kathy Lin moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Dimitri P seconded it. The motion was carried. The Chair Dr. Tajdolati adjourned the meeting at 8:15 PM. The next monthly meeting will take place on Monday, January 11, 2021, via Zoom.
The above notes from the meeting of December 13,2021 were prepared by Secretary General and Senior VP of the NEPMCC, Neel Nanda.