top of page
  • Writer's pictureNick Bohle

Navigating the Funding Landscape: A Guide for Filmmakers in Alberta

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

INTRODUCTION

Embarking on a filmmaking journey is exhilarating, but securing funding for your project can be a challenging endeavour. In Alberta and across Canada, filmmakers have a multitude of avenues to explore, from traditional funding sources to innovative alternatives. Some are geared toward smaller, independent producers and others are more appropriate for larger more established producers. In this guide, we'll delve into the various methods of funding your media project, shedding light on both the tried-and-true and the unconventional approaches.


Before we begin it is important to understand that the successful acquisition of funding is predicated by careful & thorough efforts in these crucial areas:

  • Concept, Development & Writing

  • Business Planning (Actions & Outcomes)

  • Budgeting & Financial Planning

  • Marketing & Promotional Plan

  • Networking, Relationship & Team Building

  • Portfolio & Credibility

Getting funding, whether it is from traditional or alternative funders is not just about having a good idea, it's about demonstrating your ability to deliver a finished product that aligns with the goals of whatever funding body or bodies you choose to approach.


With that, let's get into it.


BARRIERS

One of the biggest challenges for filmmakers in getting their productions made is knowing how and where to access the appropriate funding for their project. It is a stark truth that in order to access most funding you have to have an example of a production you've already produced to demonstrate your ability and competency in completing a production. After all, no savvy investor, business or funder is going to give money to someone without some confidence that the money will lead to a completed production that falls in line with their unique and specific funding goals. This can be a real catch 22 as you need a quality example of your work to access funding but you usually need funding to create a quality production that will give you chance to access funding.


So what do you do? Well, every filmmaker's journey and the circle of people and supporters that surround them is different, which means that every funding journey is unique as well. In order to have your best shot there are some important things to learn and consider, such as:

  • What funding are you ready for?

  • What funding is your team and network ready for?

  • What organizations offer the funding you need?

  • How do you approach the right funder(s) or investor(s)?

  • How do you budget a production?

  • How do you build a team?

  • How do you leverage private funding against grants and licensing deals?

  • How do you create the most compelling pitch package for your chosen funder?

  • What stories and productions do each of the funders support?

  • How do your stories align with the goals of unique funding bodies?

  • Are you after grants? Licensing deals? Distribution deals? Investors? Others?

  • How to use "bridge financing" to support your production ahead of tax credits?

In order to overcome the barriers to funding there is a good deal to know. I find that one of the biggest hurdles is building a professional budget that accurately reflects the production you're aiming to create. The creation of this budget document is a great way to wrap your head around the totality of your project. In order to complete this document you'll need to build and understand your team and their involvement.


How many days do you need them and their gear? How long do you need your talent? How are you going to market your production? What rate are you paying your cast, crew, writers, producers? How are you managing your accounts? How much insurance do you need? Who's building your pitch package and how much do they charge for what you need? Are you accessing union actors and technicians?


So many things need to be considered before approaching your funders and delivering a submission.


For more information and guidance on budgeting, reach out for a budgeting consultation call. You can use the promo code BUDGETEN when contacting us to receive a 10% discount on your consultation.


Now that you understand the importance of budgeting and the have some idea about what you'll need to consider when approaching a funding source let's dive into some of the funding avenues available to Albertans in 2024.



TRADITIONAL FUNDING CHANNELS


TELEFILM CANADA
Telefilm Canada Logo

Telefilm Canada is a stalwart supporter of the Canadian film industry, providing financial assistance through its various funding programs. The Micro-Budget Production Program, for instance, has been instrumental in kickstarting projects like "Sleeping Giant," directed by Andrew Cividino. This program is designed to nurture emerging talent and encourage innovation.


Telefilm Canada plays a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of Canadian cinema. As an aspiring filmmaker in Alberta, understanding the resources available through Telefilm can significantly impact your funding journey.


Telefilm - Micro-Budget Production Program:

One of Telefilm's standout initiatives is the Micro-Budget Production Program. Aimed at emerging talent, this program provides financial support of up to $120,000 for the development and production of a first feature film. The success story of "Sleeping Giant," directed by Andrew Cividino, exemplifies the program's effectiveness in nurturing new voices in Canadian cinema.


Telefilm - Talent to Watch Program:

Formerly known as the First Feature Program, the Talent to Watch Program is designed to support first-time feature film directors. It provides funding of up to $125,000 for production and up to $50,000 for post-production. Successful projects like "Falls Around Her" benefited from this program, showcasing the potential for emerging filmmakers to make their mark.


Telefilm - Canada Feature Film Fund:

For more established filmmakers, the Canada Feature Film Fund is a crucial resource. It supports the production, distribution, and marketing of feature films, including official coproductions. The fund aims to enhance the cultural and industrial potential of Canadian films globally. Notable films like "Monsieur Lazhar" have received support from this fund, demonstrating its impact on promoting Canadian talent on the international stage.


Telefilm - International Promotion:

Telefilm also extends its support beyond funding, assisting filmmakers in promoting their projects on the global stage. Through initiatives like the Canada Pavilion at major film markets, filmmakers gain exposure to international distributors, sales agents, and festival programmers. This exposure can be invaluable for securing additional funding and distribution opportunities.


HOW TO APPROACH TELEFILM

Strategic Planning:

Before approaching Telefilm, meticulously plan your project. Clearly define your vision, target audience, and how your film contributes to the Canadian cinematic landscape. Have your budget and overall plan well mapped out from the creative to the financials and everything in between. The more prepared and clear you are upon approach the better your chances. If you aren't sure about all the facets required for your productions I recommend building a relationship with an experienced producer who understands the journey you're about to embark on.


Application Process:

Familiarize yourself with Telefilm's application process, ensuring that you meet all eligibility criteria. The application typically requires a comprehensive package, including a script, budget, marketing plan, and key creative team bios. You can find more information, templates and resources at: www.telefilm.ca.


Pitching:

Develop a compelling pitch that succinctly communicates your project's uniqueness. Practice your pitch repeatedly to effectively and eloquently convey the passion and vision behind your film.


Networking:

Attend Telefilm-sponsored events and industry gatherings to build connections with professionals in the field. Networking can open doors to valuable insights and potential collaborations.


Cautionary Note:

While Telefilm is a vital resource, it's essential to manage expectations. Competition for funding is fierce, and not every project will receive support. Be prepared for constructive feedback and view each application as an opportunity to refine and strengthen your project.


Telefilm Canada stands as a cornerstone in the funding journey for Canadian filmmakers. By leveraging the programs and resources available, filmmakers in Alberta can elevate their projects and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of Canadian cinema.



CANADA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS
Canada Council for the Arts - Logo

For independent media producers in Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) represents a significant funding opportunity to support the creation and promotion of artistic works, including film and media projects. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to approach and secure funding from the Canada Council for the Arts:


1. Understand the Canada Council for the Arts:

The Canada Council for the Arts is a federal agency that provides funding and support to artists and arts organizations across the country. Its goal is to foster the creation and dissemination of artistic works, contributing to the vibrancy of Canada's cultural landscape.


2. Eligibility and Criteria:

Before applying, thoroughly review the eligibility criteria and guidelines outlined by the Canada Council for the Arts. You must be approved for an applicant profile by submitting in a film or media related field to the CCA ahead of applying for any grant funding. Ensure that your project aligns with their objectives and falls within the supported disciplines, which may include media arts, film, or interdisciplinary projects.


3. Explore Relevant Grant Programs:

The Canada Council for the Arts offers various grant programs that independent media producers can explore. For example:


Explore and Create Program:

This program supports the research, creation, and production of new works. It encourages innovation and the development of unique artistic voices.


Arts Abroad Program:

If your project involves international collaboration or dissemination, this program provides funding for activities that enhance the presence of Canadian artists abroad.


4. Develop a Strong Project Proposal:

Craft a compelling project proposal that clearly outlines the goals, objectives, and artistic merit of your media project. Clearly articulate the impact of your work and how it contributes to the broader artistic and cultural landscape.


5. Budgeting and Financial Planning:

Prepare a detailed budget that aligns with the scope of your project. Clearly outline how the funding from the Canada Council for the Arts will be utilized, ensuring that it adheres to their financial guidelines. This stuff is not fun for most people but it is vital to the success of your submission.


6. Emphasize Artistic Merit and Innovation:

The Canada Council for the Arts values projects that demonstrate artistic excellence and innovation. Emphasize the unique aspects of your media project, whether it's the storytelling approach, technical innovation, or a fresh perspective within the media arts.


7. Demonstrate Community Engagement:

Showcase any community engagement or collaboration that your project involves. Highlighting the broader impact on communities, audiences, or underrepresented voices can strengthen your application.


8. Leverage Past Achievements:

If you have a track record of successful projects or awards, leverage this in your application. Provide evidence of your competence and the impact of your previous work.


9. Engage with Program Officers:

Consider reaching out to program officers at the Canada Council for the Arts for guidance. They can provide valuable insights into the application process, offer clarification on guidelines, and help ensure that your proposal aligns with the Council's expectations.


10. Adhere to Application Deadlines:

Pay close attention to application deadlines. Missing deadlines can result in your application being ineligible for consideration. Plan your timeline accordingly to allow for thorough preparation.


11. Be Open to Feedback:

If your application is not successful, consider seeking feedback from the Canada Council for the Arts. Understanding the reasons for non-selection can help you refine future applications and improve your chances in subsequent rounds.


ONE EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL PROJECT THROUGH THE CCA

The Canada Council for the Arts has supported numerous media projects that have gone on to achieve critical acclaim, contributing to the rich tapestry of Canadian artistic expression. Projects like "Waterlife," an interactive documentary, received funding and garnered attention for its innovative approach to storytelling and environmental themes.


Cautionary Considerations:

Competition for funding from the Canada Council for the Arts can be fierce. It's crucial to carefully follow the guidelines, present a compelling case for your project, and be aware that not all applications will be successful.


In conclusion, the Canada Council for the Arts serves as a valuable resource for independent media producers seeking funding to realize their artistic visions. By aligning your project with the Council's objectives, crafting a strong proposal, and demonstrating the artistic merit of your work, you can enhance your chances of securing funding and contributing to the flourishing landscape of Canadian media arts.



HOT DOCS: TED ROGERS FUND
Hot Docs - logo
1. Development Grants:

Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund provides development grants to Canadian documentary filmmakers to help them advance their projects from concept to production-ready stage. These grants can cover up to 100% of the development costs of your documentary.


2. Production Grants:

For filmmakers with projects in the production stage, the fund offers production grants to assist with the financing needed to bring the documentary to completion. These grants typically cover up to 50% of your production budget.


3. Cross-platform and Interactive Projects:

The fund supports cross-platform and interactive documentary projects, recognizing the evolving landscape of documentary storytelling across various media platforms.


TIPS FOR ACCESSING HOT DOCS FUNDING

1. Align with Hot Docs' Mission:

Familiarize yourself with Hot Docs' mission and the types of documentaries they champion. Ensure your project aligns with their commitment to impactful, engaging, and culturally relevant documentary storytelling.


2. Thoroughly Review Guidelines:

Before applying, carefully review the guidelines and eligibility criteria outlined by Hot Docs for each funding category. Ensure your project meets the specified requirements.


3. Craft a Compelling Proposal:

Develop a compelling and well-articulated proposal that clearly communicates the significance of your documentary. Highlight the unique aspects of your project, its potential impact, and why it is well-suited for support from the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund.


4. Demonstrate Market Potential:

Showcase the market potential of your documentary. Outline your distribution strategy, target audience, and any key partnerships or interest from broadcasters, distributors, or streaming platforms.


5. Emphasize Canadian Content:

Since the focus is on Canadian documentaries, emphasize how your project contributes to Canadian storytelling and culture. Highlight elements that make your documentary distinctly Canadian.


6. Provide a Clear Budget:

Clearly outline the budget for your project, detailing how the funds from Hot Docs will be allocated. Ensure transparency and demonstrate fiscal responsibility in your financial planning.


7. Highlight Your Team's Expertise:

Showcase the expertise and track record of your filmmaking team. Emphasize past successes, awards, or recognitions that demonstrate your team's ability to deliver a high-quality documentary.


8. Prepare a Strong Work Sample:

If applicable, include a compelling work sample that provides a glimpse into the visual and storytelling style of your documentary. This can significantly strengthen your application.


9. Engage with Hot Docs Community:

Participate in Hot Docs events, workshops, and networking opportunities. Building connections within the Hot Docs community can provide valuable insights and potentially strengthen your application.


10. Be Strategic with Timeline:

Align your project timeline with the Hot Docs funding cycle. Plan your application submission based on the fund's deadlines, and ensure your project's production or development schedule aligns with their timelines.


EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS SUPPORTED BY HOT DOCS

Previous projects supported by the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund include documentaries like "Highway of Tears" and "The Magnitude of All Things." These projects highlight the fund's commitment to supporting impactful and socially relevant documentaries.


In conclusion, accessing funding through Hot Docs, particularly the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund, requires a combination of a compelling project, a well-prepared application, and alignment with Hot Docs' values. By carefully following their guidelines and showcasing the unique aspects of your documentary, you can increase your chances of securing support for your project.


PROVINCIAL FUNDING BODIES


Alberta Media Fund is a crucial resource for filmmakers in the province. Projects like "Fargo," which showcase the picturesque Alberta landscapes, received support from this fund. Ensure your project aligns with the cultural and economic objectives of Alberta to maximize your chances of success.


For filmmakers in Alberta, tapping into provincial funding avenues is pivotal for turning creative visions into cinematic reality. Here's an in-depth look at multiple funding channels available and strategies to increase your chances of securing provincial funding.



ALBERTA MEDIA FUND

Alberta Government - logo

The Alberta Media Fund is a vital organization for filmmakers in the province, offering several funding programs:


Screen-Based Production Grant:

This program supports film and television productions with significant financial assistance. Funding is allocated based on eligible Alberta expenditures, contributing to the economic growth of the province.


Project Development Fund:

For those in the early stages of their projects, this fund provides support for scriptwriting, research, and other development activities.


Industry Initiatives Fund:

Supporting industry growth, this fund assists with training, marketing, and events that contribute to the development of Alberta's screen-based media industry.


Post-Production, Digital Media, and Film Festival Fund:

This fund aids in post-production activities, digital media projects, and film festival participation, fostering a holistic approach to filmmaking.


ALBERTA PRODUCTION GRANT

The Alberta Production Grant is a refundable tax credit designed to attract productions to the province. It offers a significant financial incentive for qualifying productions that meet specific criteria. Understanding the intricacies of this grant can significantly impact your project's budget and feasibility.


Strategies to Increase Chances of Securing Provincial Funding:

Align with Alberta's Objectives:

Ensure that your project aligns with the cultural, economic, and industry objectives of Alberta. Emphasize elements that showcase the province's unique identity, landscapes, and talent.


Professional Development:

Demonstrate a commitment to professional development by participating in training programs, workshops, or industry events. Showcase how these experiences will enhance your skills and contribute to the growth of Alberta's media sector.


Collaboration and Partnerships:

Highlight any collaborations or partnerships with local talent, crews, or businesses. Emphasize the positive impact your project will have on the local economy and job creation within the province.


Detailed Budget and Production Plan:

Present a comprehensive and realistic budget that reflects the specific needs of your project. A well-thought-out production plan demonstrates your understanding of the logistical and financial aspects of filmmaking. I recommend using the budget templates available at www.telefilm.ca or at www.hotdocs.ca (for documentaries).


Community Engagement:

Showcase how your project will engage and benefit local communities. Whether through employment opportunities, cultural representation, or community outreach, emphasize the positive impact on Alberta's diverse communities.



ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS

Alberta Foundations for the Arts - logo

The Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) is a vital resource for filmmakers in the province, offering various grant programs and support for artistic endeavours. Here's a detailed guide on how filmmakers can leverage the opportunities provided by the AFA:


1. Overview of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts:

The Alberta Foundation for the Arts is a government agency dedicated to supporting and promoting the arts in the province of Alberta. It provides funding and resources for artists and arts organizations across various disciplines, including film and media.


2. Eligibility Criteria:

Before applying for grants or support, familiarize yourself with the AFA's eligibility criteria. Ensure that your project aligns with their objectives and that you meet the specific requirements outlined for filmmakers.


3. Grant Programs for Filmmakers:

The AFA offers grant programs that filmmakers can explore.


PROJECT GRANTS

These grants support the development and creation of new artistic works, making them relevant for filmmakers working on independent projects. Ensure your film project aligns with the criteria outlined in the Project Grants program.


INDIVIDUAL ARTIST PROJECT GRANT

This grant is specifically designed to support individual artists, including filmmakers, in the creation of new work. It covers various stages of project development, from research to production.


4. Application Process:

Understand the application process for the specific grant program you are interested in. Prepare a comprehensive application that includes details about your project, its artistic merit, budget, and how it aligns with the goals of the AFA.


5. Artistic Merit and Innovation:

Emphasize the artistic merit and innovation of your film project in your application. Clearly articulate how your work contributes to the cultural landscape of Alberta and showcases unique perspectives or approaches within the filmmaking realm.


6. Budget Planning:

Develop a detailed budget that aligns with the scope of your project. Clearly outline how the AFA funds will be utilized, providing a transparent overview of your financial needs for the filmmaking process.


7. Timeline and Milestones:

Present a realistic timeline for your project, outlining key milestones and deadlines. Demonstrating a well-structured plan for project development can enhance the credibility of your application.


8. Community Engagement:

If your film project involves community engagement or collaboration, highlight these aspects in your application. Showcase how your work contributes to the cultural vitality of Alberta and engages with local communities.


9. Reporting and Accountability:

Be aware of the reporting requirements associated with AFA grants. Understand the expectations for project reporting and financial accountability. Fulfilling these obligations will strengthen your relationship with the AFA and enhance your credibility for future applications.


10. Networking and Outreach:

Participate in AFA-sponsored events, workshops, and networking opportunities. Building connections with fellow artists and industry professionals can provide valuable insights, support, and potential collaborations.


EXAMPLES OF AFA SUPPORTED FILM PROJECTS

The AFA has supported a diverse range of film projects, from documentaries exploring Alberta's rich cultural heritage to narrative films highlighting contemporary issues. Projects like "The Grizzlies," a film set in the Arctic about a lacrosse team that transforms a community, received support from the AFA, showcasing the foundation's commitment to fostering impactful storytelling.


Cautionary Considerations:

While the AFA provides valuable support, the application process can be competitive. Ensure that your application is well-prepared, adheres to guidelines, and clearly communicates the artistic and cultural significance of your film project.


In conclusion, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts serves as a cornerstone for filmmakers in the province, providing crucial funding and support for artistic endeavours. By aligning your film project with the AFA's objectives, presenting a compelling application, and contributing to the cultural fabric of Alberta, you can unlock opportunities and contribute to the vibrant arts community in the province.


RESOURCES FOR FILMMAKERS


Alberta Film Commission:

The Alberta Film Commission is a valuable resource for filmmakers seeking information on funding programs, tax incentives, and industry support. Their website provides comprehensive guides and contact information for further assistance.


Alberta Creates:

Alberta Creates is an organization dedicated to supporting Alberta's cultural industries, including film and television. Their website offers resources, updates on funding programs, and information on industry events.


Networking Events:

Attend industry events, film festivals, and networking functions in Alberta. Building relationships with local professionals and industry stakeholders can open doors to valuable insights and potential collaborations.


In conclusion, Alberta provides a robust support system for filmmakers through various funding avenues. By strategically positioning your project to align with provincial objectives and leveraging available resources, you can enhance your chances of securing funding and contribute to the flourishing Alberta film industry.


BROADCASTERS & STREAMING PLATFORMS


You may be able to approach major broadcasters like CBC, CTV & more for potential funding and distribution opportunities. Streaming platforms such as Netflix, which collaborated with the Alberta government for productions like "Hold the Dark," are actively seeking diverse and original content. Be aware that these platforms all have different funding "windows" (opportunities to pitch) which are either set at specific times or are rolling throughout the year. Do your research to identify each unique platforms' intake procedures.


Approaching broadcasters and streaming platforms is a pivotal step for filmmakers seeking financial support and distribution opportunities. In Canada, broadcasters and streamers operate within a framework that mandates the creation and promotion of Canadian content. Here's a detailed guide on how to navigate these channels and tap into their funding envelopes:


UNDERSTANDING GOVERNMENT-MANDATED FUNDING ENVELOPES

Broadcasters and streaming platforms operating in Canada benefit from regulatory frameworks that require them to contribute to the production and promotion of Canadian content. These entities, often referred to as "Canadian broadcasters," are obligated to allocate a portion of their revenue to the creation and showcasing of homegrown content.


1. Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC):

The CRTC plays a crucial role in regulating and overseeing the Canadian broadcasting industry. It mandates that broadcasters invest a certain percentage of their revenues into Canadian programming. As a filmmaker, this is a key aspect to leverage when approaching broadcasters for funding.


2. Telefilm Canada and Canadian Media Fund (CMF):

Telefilm Canada and CMF work hand-in-hand to administer funding programs that support Canadian content creation. Both traditional broadcasters and newer digital platforms contribute to these funds, which are then distributed to eligible projects. These funds aim to foster diversity, innovation, and the development of Canadian talent.


WHO HAS THE FUNDING ENVELOPES

In Canada, several broadcasters receive funding for their programming through various mechanisms, including government funding envelopes. These broadcasters play a crucial role in promoting Canadian content and contributing to the country's cultural landscape. Here is a list of some prominent Canadian broadcasters that receive funding for their envelopes from the Canadian government directly and indirectly:


1. CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation):

As Canada's national public broadcaster, CBC receives funding from the government to fulfill its mandate of providing Canadian news, information, and entertainment across various platforms.


2. CTV (Bell Media):

CTV, owned by Bell Media, is a major private broadcaster in Canada. While it operates as a commercial network, it may benefit from government initiatives to support Canadian content production.


3. Global TV (Corus Entertainment):

Global TV, owned by Corus Entertainment, is another significant private broadcaster in Canada. It may receive government funding through various programs to support Canadian programming.


4. Télé-Québec:

Télé-Québec is a public television network in Quebec that receives funding from both the federal and provincial governments to produce and broadcast French-language content.


5. TVA:

TVA is a private French-language television network in Quebec that may benefit from government funding to support the creation of Canadian content.


6. OMNI Television (Rogers Media):

OMNI Television, owned by Rogers Media, is a multicultural television network in Canada. It may receive funding to support the production of content that reflects the diversity of Canadian communities.


7. APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network):

APTN is a national Indigenous television network that receives funding from the Canadian government to produce and broadcast content that reflects the cultures and perspectives of Indigenous peoples.


8. Vision TV:

Vision TV is a multicultural and multi-faith television network that may receive government funding to support programming that represents diverse cultural and religious communities in Canada.


9. Super Channel:

Super Channel is a Canadian premium television network that may participate in funding programs to support the production and acquisition of Canadian content.


10. WildBrain (formerly DHX Media):

WildBrain is a children's content company that owns and produces content for various platforms, including television and digital. They may benefit from funding initiatives supporting Canadian children's programming.


11. Crave (Bell Media):

Crave, a streaming service owned by Bell Media, may receive support for the creation and acquisition of Canadian content, including original series and films.


12. Netflix:

While Netflix is not a traditional broadcaster, it has invested in Canadian content and may benefit from co-production agreements and funding initiatives. This involvement aligns with Canada's regulatory framework for streaming services.


13. Amazon Prime Video:

Similar to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video has invested in Canadian content production and may participate in funding programs designed to promote the creation of original Canadian programming.


14. Canadian Media Fund (CMF):

The Canadian Media Fund (CMF) plays a pivotal role in the Canadian media landscape by providing financial support through its funding envelopes. One key aspect of the CMF is its commitment to fostering diversity and innovation in content creation. The funding envelopes administered by the CMF aim to support a wide range of projects that reflect the cultural richness and diverse perspectives of Canada, contributing to the vibrancy of the nation's media industry.


These broadcasters and streamers may directly or indirectly access funding through different programs, including the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) initiatives, and other federal and provincial funding envelopes aimed at promoting and sustaining Canadian content production. It's important to note that the funding landscape may evolve, and broadcasters may adapt their strategies based on changing regulations and industry dynamics.


APPROACHING BROADCASTERS & STREAMERS

Research and Targeting:

Before approaching any broadcaster or streaming platform, conduct thorough research. Understand their programming, target audience, and the types of content they are interested in. Tailor your pitch to align with their preferences and demographics.


Identify Funding Envelopes:

Recognize that broadcasters and streamers have specific funding envelopes designated for Canadian content. Emphasize how your project aligns with their commitment to supporting and promoting homegrown talent.


Craft a Compelling Pitch:

Develop a compelling pitch that not only showcases the uniqueness of your project but also aligns with the broadcaster's or streamer's brand and content strategy. This should be both a material pitch with documentation and imagery as well as a spoken pitch. Clearly articulate how your project contributes to the diversity and cultural richness of Canadian content.



TELUS ORIGINALS
Telus Originals - Logo

Telus Originals is a significant player in the Canadian media landscape, offering funding and support for original content creation across various platforms. Usually their funding is a bit easier to access and is geared toward emerging to established Canadian producers. Here's a detailed guide on how filmmakers can access funding through Telus Originals programming:


1. Understand Telus Originals:

Telus Originals is the content arm of Telus, a major telecommunications company in Canada. Telus Originals invests in original, Canadian-produced content for various platforms, including television, streaming services, and online platforms.


2. Explore Different Content Categories:

Telus Originals supports a diverse range of content, including documentaries, dramas, comedies, and digital series. Familiarize yourself with the specific content categories that Telus Originals is currently interested in, as this information may evolve over time.


3. Research Previous Telus Originals Projects:

Gain insights by researching and watching previous projects funded by Telus Originals. Understand the types of content they have supported in the past, the quality of production, and the themes that resonate with their audience.


4. Stay Updated on Calls for Submissions:

Telus Originals periodically issues calls for submissions or proposals for specific content categories. Stay vigilant and regularly check their official website, social media channels, and industry publications for announcements and submission guidelines.


5. Develop a Strong Pitch:

Craft a compelling pitch that clearly articulates your project's concept, target audience, and unique selling points. Highlight how your project aligns with Telus Originals' brand and content strategy. Telus has a specific pitch template that you must use when pitching to them. You can find this template on the Telus Originals pitch website each year when their window opens under the submission guidelines in early autumn.


6. Emphasize Diversity and Inclusivity:

Telus Originals values content that reflects Canada's diversity and multiculturalism. If your project explores unique perspectives or features underrepresented voices, emphasize these elements in your pitch.


7. Demonstrate a Digital-First Approach:

Given the evolving landscape of content consumption, emphasize how your project caters to digital audiences. Whether it's a web series, interactive content, or social media integration, showcase your understanding of digital platforms.


8. Budget Responsibly:

Develop a realistic budget that aligns with the scope of your project. Clearly outline how the funding from Telus Originals will be utilized, demonstrating financial responsibility and efficiency.


9. Leverage Telus' Community Initiatives:

Telus is known for its community-focused initiatives. If your project has a community engagement component, such as educational outreach or partnerships with local organizations, highlight these aspects in your pitch.


10. Consider Co-Productions and Partnerships:

Telus Originals often collaborates with production companies, independent filmmakers, and industry partners. If applicable, explore co-production opportunities or partnerships that align with Telus Originals' goals.


11. Consult Industry Professionals:

Seek advice from industry professionals or filmmakers who have successfully secured funding from Telus Originals. Networking at industry events and connecting with individuals who have experience with the funding process can provide valuable insights.


EXAMPLES OF TELUS ORIGINALS PRODUCTIONS


Telus Originals has supported a variety of projects, including the acclaimed documentary series "This is High School," which provided an intimate look into the lives of high school students. This series exemplifies Telus Originals' commitment to diverse and authentic storytelling.


Cautionary Considerations:

Funding from Telus Originals is competitive, and not all projects will be selected. Ensure your pitch is polished, aligns with Telus Originals' vision, and clearly communicates the potential of your project.


In conclusion, securing funding through Telus Originals requires a strategic and well-prepared approach. By staying informed about their content priorities, developing a strong pitch, and emphasizing the unique aspects of your project, you can increase your chances of accessing funding and contributing to the diverse landscape of Canadian media content.



STORYHIVE

Storyhive - Logo

STORYHIVE is a branch of Telus that funds the production of media works in Alberta and BC from beginner & emerging filmmakers. Their programs foster the development and distribution of web series, documentaries, films, and community focused programming. They have a rolling submission/intake procedure that highlights the production of specific genres and formats through their "editions" intake programs.


Applications happen at different times throughout the year and range from $10,000 to up to $100,000 in unique cases. The application process is much easier than some of the more professional avenues and acts as a gateway into the world of media production for young and inexperienced filmmakers who are entering the world of media production.


STORYHIVE is very community focused and requires their successful candidates to produce media that is reflective of the communities in which they live.


If you're looking for an entry point to into the world of media production this is a great first step. I've personally secured funding through STORYHIVE on multiple occasions and it has been a very educational and inspiring process each time. Some productions I've received STORYHIVE funding for include but are not limited to: "Back From the Dead" by DEAD ARMY (Official Music Video), "Send Help" Faris Hytiaa's Debut Comedy Special.


In conclusion, STORYHIVE is a powerful step for any emerging filmmaker to take advantage of. It's a great way to learn about the process of producing your own work and helps to build your networks and teams all at once.

UNDERSTAND PLATFORM-SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS

Different platforms may have specific requirements and formats. Be aware of these details and tailor your proposal accordingly. For instance, while traditional broadcasters may have primetime slots to fill, streaming platforms may be more flexible with content duration and format.


Highlight Cultural Relevance:

Emphasize how your project reflects and contributes to Canadian culture. Showcase elements that resonate with the local audience and contribute to the national identity.


EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL APPROACHES

CBC and "Anne with an E":

CBC, a prominent Canadian broadcaster, has a rich history of supporting Canadian content. The critically acclaimed series "Anne with an E" received funding and support from CBC, showcasing the success of collaborations between filmmakers and traditional broadcasters.


Netflix and "Alias Grace":

Netflix, a major player in the streaming industry, collaborated with the Canadian government and Ontario Media Development Corporation to fund the adaptation of Margaret Atwood's "Alias Grace." This project highlights the potential for partnerships between streaming platforms and governmental funding bodies.


Cautionary Considerations:

While broadcasters and streamers provide significant opportunities, it's essential to be mindful of the competitive landscape. Funding decisions are influenced by a variety of factors, including the perceived marketability of your project, its alignment with the platform's brand, and overall industry trends.


In conclusion, approaching broadcasters and streaming platforms in Canada requires a strategic and well-researched approach. By understanding the funding mechanisms mandated by the government, aligning with the platforms' objectives, and crafting a compelling pitch, filmmakers in Alberta can unlock opportunities for funding and distribution that contribute to the vibrant landscape of Canadian content.


ALTERNATIVES FUNDING STRATEGIES


CROWDFUNDING

Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become go-to options for filmmakers seeking direct support from their audience. Take inspiration from the success of "Iron Sky: The Coming Race," which raised over $700,000 through crowdfunding, demonstrating the power of grassroots support.


Crowdfunding has emerged as a powerful tool for filmmakers to bring their projects to life while directly engaging with their audience. Here's an in-depth guide on how to secure crowdfunding for your film:


1. Choose the Right Platform:

Selecting the appropriate crowdfunding platform is crucial. Popular options like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Seed&Spark cater to creative projects and offer various features. Assess each platform's fees, reach, and tools to determine the best fit for your campaign.


2. Craft a Compelling Pitch:

Your campaign pitch is the heart of your crowdfunding effort. Clearly articulate your project's vision, why it matters, and what makes it unique. Utilize visuals such as concept art, trailers, or behind-the-scenes footage to enhance your message.


3. Set Realistic Funding Goals:

Be strategic when setting your funding target. Consider the scope of your project, production costs, and the funds needed to deliver rewards to backers. A transparent and realistic goal instills confidence in potential backers.


4. Engage Your Audience:

Start building your audience well before launching your campaign. Use social media, email newsletters, and other platforms to connect with potential backers. Engage them with teasers, updates, and exclusive content to create a sense of community around your project.


5. Offer Appealing Rewards:

Incentivize backers with compelling and tiered rewards. Offer a range of options, from digital downloads and exclusive content to personalized experiences like set visits or credits in the film. Tailor rewards to cater to various supporter levels.


6. Tell Your Story:

Humanize your campaign by sharing your personal journey, the challenges you've overcome, and your passion for the project. Connect with potential backers emotionally, making them feel invested not just in the film but in your journey as a filmmaker.


7. Leverage Video Content:

Create a captivating campaign video that encapsulates the essence of your project. A well-produced video allows backers to see your vision in action and adds a personal touch to your campaign.


8. Establish a Timeline:

Clearly outline your project's timeline, from crowdfunding to completion. Provide backers with a realistic schedule, including production milestones, to build trust and demonstrate your commitment to the project.


9. Regularly Update Backers:

Keep backers in the loop with regular updates. Share progress, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and any challenges you've encountered. Transparent communication builds trust and keeps backers excited about their contribution.


10. Leverage Your Network:

Mobilize your personal and professional networks. Ask friends, family, colleagues, and industry connections to support and share your campaign. The initial momentum from your network can attract a broader audience.


11. Collaborate and Cross-Promote:

Explore collaborations with other creators or projects. Cross-promotion can expand your reach and introduce your campaign to new audiences. Participate in crowdfunding communities and forums to connect with fellow creators.


EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS

"Veronica Mars" Movie (Kickstarter):

The team behind the "Veronica Mars" TV series successfully used Kickstarter to fund a movie adaptation, raising over $5.7 million. The campaign leveraged the show's dedicated fan base and offered exclusive rewards like a digital copy of the script and a private screening.


Kung Fury" (Kickstarter):

The creators of the short film "Kung Fury" raised over $630,000 on Kickstarter to turn their project into a feature-length film. They offered backers a range of rewards, from digital downloads to personalized voicemail messages from the film's characters.


Cautionary Considerations:

While crowdfunding offers immense potential, it's essential to approach it with realism. Not all campaigns reach their funding goals, and success requires diligent planning, promotion, and ongoing engagement with backers.


In conclusion, crowdfunding is not just about raising funds; it's about building a community around your project. By telling a compelling story, engaging your audience, and offering enticing rewards, you can turn backers into dedicated supporters who champion your film from concept to completion.


PRIVATE INVESTORS & FILM TAX CREDITS

Building relationships with private investors can provide a substantial financial boost. Additionally, Canadian film tax credits, including the Alberta Production Grant, can be advantageous in attracting investors by offering them potential tax incentives.


Securing private investors for your film project involves building relationships, demonstrating value, aligning with the investors unique goals and mission and instilling confidence in potential backers. Here's a comprehensive guide on approaching private investors:


1. Develop a Comprehensive Business Plan:

Treat your film project as a business venture. Create a detailed business plan that includes a synopsis, budget breakdown, revenue projections, and a clear explanation of how the investor will see a return on their investment, whether financial or otherwise.


2. Identify and Target Potential Investors:

Research and identify potential investors who align with your project's vision. Look for individuals who have an interest in the film industry or a passion for the themes explored in your project. Attend networking events and industry functions to build connections.


3. Craft a Compelling Pitch:

Your pitch should be concise, compelling, and tailored to the investor's interests. Clearly outline the unique aspects of your project, its market potential, and the specific benefits of investing. Use visuals, such as concept art or a teaser, to enhance your presentation.


4. Offer Investor Incentives:

Provide incentives that make the investment attractive. This could include a share of the film's profits, executive producer credits, or exclusive opportunities such as set visits or premiere invitations.


5. Demonstrate Your Team's Competence:

Investors are not just investing in the project; they are investing in the people behind it. Highlight the skills, experience, and track record of your team, emphasizing their ability to bring the project to fruition successfully.


6. Legal and Financial Transparency:

Ensure transparency in legal and financial matters. Have clear agreements outlining the terms of the investment, the expected returns, and the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Consult with legal professionals to create solid investment contracts.


LEVERAGE FILM TAX CREDITS: A WIN-WIN FOR INVESTORS

In Canada, film tax credits can serve as a powerful incentive for private investors. Here's a closer look at the Canadian tax credits available:


1. Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC):

The CPTC is a federal tax credit that supports eligible Canadian productions. It offers a tax credit of up to 25% of qualified labor expenditures, providing a significant financial incentive for investors.


2. Provincial Film Tax Credits:

Many provinces in Canada offer additional tax credits to support film and television production. For instance, Alberta provides the Alberta Film and Television Tax Credit, which can further enhance the overall tax benefits for investors.


TIPS FOR LEVERAGING TAX CREDITS

1. Understand Eligibility Criteria:

Familiarize yourself with the eligibility criteria for federal and provincial tax credits. Ensure that your project meets the necessary requirements to qualify for these incentives.


2. Educate Investors:

Clearly explain the potential tax benefits to investors. Work with tax professionals to provide accurate estimates of the credits they could receive based on their investment.


3. Collaborate with a Production Services Company:

Engage with a production services company that specializes in navigating tax credits. They can help ensure that your project maximizes its eligibility and that investors can efficiently claim the available tax incentives.


4. Incorporate Tax Credits into Your Financial Model:

When presenting your financial plan to investors, incorporate the anticipated tax credits into the overall budget. This demonstrates an additional layer of financial viability and attractiveness for potential backers.


Cautionary Considerations:

While tax credits provide substantial incentives, it's essential to adhere to all guidelines and regulations. Failure to meet eligibility criteria or compliance issues can jeopardize the availability of these benefits.


In conclusion, approaching private investors involves a combination of a compelling pitch, a transparent business plan, and leveraging available incentives like film tax credits. By carefully presenting your project's potential and aligning it with the financial benefits for investors, you can secure private funding and bring your cinematic vision to life.


A FINAL WORD ON ACCESSING FUNDING CHANNELS

In conclusion, funding your film project in Alberta and Canada often requires a strategic blend of traditional and alternative approaches. By tapping into the diverse funding sources available and navigating the industry with perseverance and creativity, your filmmaking dreams can become a reality.


Be sure to reach out to your local and provincial film societies, clubs and non-profits. Organizations like CSIF (Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers), FAVA, LIFS, AMAAS and IMAA will also have resources and initiatives that can assist in your quest to secure funding. Some even have bursaries and small funding opportunities to assist with a variety of industry related activities like travel, project support, gear rentals and more.


Don't forget that the entertainment & media business, like any truly collaborative venture, is built on the backs of good people doing good work - together. Building lasting, authentic and reciprocal relationships with your teams and with the correspondents at the various funding bodies you are accessing is paramount to the success and longevity of your career.


Remember, every success story, from "Room" to "Incendies," started with a visionary idea and a strategic funding plan. Good luck on your ever evolving filmmaking journey and if you have any further questions feel free to reach out right here at www.hatchapproductions.com.


RESOURCES




467 views0 comments
bottom of page