Milton Film Festival faces financial crisis, cancels next year’s event


Published April 8, 2024 at 10:41 am

The Milton Film Festival has cancelled next year’s event, scheduled for January, due to a financial crisis.

Organizers made the announcement today, saying they hope the hiatus is temporary, but they are without the financial capacity to continue in a fiscally-responsible manner.

The event has been around fro more than a decade, bringing the best of local, Canadian, and international film to Milton audiences.

“Since it first began in 2014, the Milton Film Festival has operated in the black, covering all expenses through ticket sales and the generous support of sponsorship and granting partners, as well as accumulating a healthy reserve fund,” said a spokesperson for the organization.

“However, in the two years since the return to in-person theatrical screenings following the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance has dropped to about a third of previous levels. This is a situation that is being experienced industry-wide, and many other film festivals, large and small, have been struggling to rebuild audiences and participation.”

There are still some planned stand-alone film screenings at Country Heritage Park in the summer and fall, thanks to a grant from the Town of Milton Community Fund.

In addition to the drop in attendance, organizers said there has been a significant increase in costs at the festival’s venue, the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton, including ticketing fees that have more than doubled since 2020.

During this year’s festival, those fees accounted for nearly a third of the price of every ticket sold. In addition to venue costs, film licensing fees and other festival-related expenses have also gone up substantially.

“The resulting deficit has left the Milton Film Festival with no financial reserves and made it impossible to continue in 2025 without putting the organization at significant financial risk,” said the spokesperson.

“It is hoped that in the coming years, movie audiences will start returning to theatres in greater numbers, and that alternative, stable sources of revenue can be secured to bring the Milton Film Festival back to financial viability.

“To that end, the Milton Film Festival is welcoming pledges of financial support from business and community leaders who support the arts in Milton. These pledges will allow the Festival to plan for the future and continue its legacy as one of the Town’s most significant annual cultural events.”

The Milton Film Festival is also actively recruiting new members to help lead the organization into the future, to support its efforts to be resilient, and to promote the Festival’s reputation as a leading cultural event in Milton.

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