Only two months into a new position as a consultant to the National Film Board of Canada, former film commissioner Tom Perlmutter has left the board’s employ. His former deputy, Ravida Din, the woman he appointed as director-general of English-language production only a year ago, also left Wednesday, acting film commissioner Claude Joli-Coeur confirmed.
“Both of them are not any more employees of the NFB as of yesterday,” Joli-Coeur said Thursday. Asked to explain their departures, he said: “We don’t comment on our management of internal human resources.”
Perlmutter, who had led the NFB into the digital age since he was appointed film commissioner in 2007, had already left that job in December to take up a one-year consulting contract – after he had promoted Din, an NFB producer with whom he allegedly has a romantic relationship.
At the time, Perlmutter, who had championed online and interactive content, explained that he was stepping aside because he wanted time to write books about the relationship between government and cultural institutions. However, his lateral move surprised many in the film community because he was in the midst of an ambitious scheme to make the NFB a global player in new media. Sources who know both parties say they are romantically involved and have speculated that Perlmutter stepped out of the lead role because the NFB’s board of trustees felt he had a conflict of interest in Din’s promotion. They added, however, that Din, a producer on such films as Pink Ribbons, Inc., was a credible candidate for the director-general post she was appointed to in February, 2013.
Neither Perlmutter nor Din could be immediately reached for comment Thursday but both have previously declined to discuss their personal lives with The Globe. Perlmutter has said the decision to take on the consulting role was his own and reflected his desire to step back from day-to-day management to reflect on larger issues.
The federal government, which oversees the Montreal-based NFB and appoints the film commissioner, has yet to post the job, and Joli-Coeur said the process of finding Perlmutter’s successor could take months. Joli-Coeur is also the assistant commissioner and previously filled the top role in an acting capacity in 2006-2007 before Perlmutter was appointed. Din’s replacement will be hired directly by the NFB’s board of trustees; typically directors-general have come from both inside and outside the organization, Joli-Coeur said.