Funnel looks for new home by Deirdre Kelly (July 28, 1988)

Globe and Mail

The Funnel, Toronto’s experimental film and video house, has suspended operations as a film exhibitor and has closed down its Soho Street location.

Board member Pascal Sharp said yesterday that an unexpected increase in rent forced The Funnel to vacate the premises by July 1. A sign is now on the door of 11 Soho St., advertising the space for lease.

“We’re not ceasing operations, we’re just scaling back,” Sharp said. “Basically, it wasn’t financially viable for us to have the theatre where it is.”

Sharp said that after the board had negotiated its lease, the building was reassessed for taxes. “Our tax bill ended up being a lot more than we had anticipated,” Sharp explained.

The Funnel is at present looking for a new location to house its equipment, now in the basement of the board’s director, Gary McLaren, so as to continue serving the city’s community of experimental film and video makers.

There are no plans to relocate to a new theatre, although The Funnel does hope to continue some of its programming in other venues throughout the city.

Members of the experimental film community expressed some concerns yesterday over The Funnel’s future.

“The Funnel did say they wanted to divest themselves of exhibition, which means then that they are not a public organization (and) are not accessible to members of the community,” said Ross Turnbull, director of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. “If The Funnel is defunct at this point then at the very least the equipment should be made available to the community.”

“They’ve rather closed their doors to the public and I don’t think they’ll be continuing the kind of film exhibition they’ve become known for,” added Cathy Jonasson, head of film and video programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario. “And I think this is a pity, The Funnel is a very important centre that has developed an international name for itself, but in the past few months it just hasn’t been functioning properly.”