Grants have never been fun or exciting, but as anyone following their creative pursuits will know, they are most critical.
In college, I was told that if I were to stay in the arts to make a career out of it that I would end up learning to write grants.
That prediction was accurate.
The success of a film, album, or start-up company can hinder on the funding from a grant organization(s).
It’s of great importance that one educate themselves on what opportunities are available to them.
I have often wondered how many great pieces of art went unmade for the simple reason of being unaware to the abundance of grant funding waiting to be spent on your next art project.
The team here at Bedtracks has had a long history in grant writing and research of different funding bodies.
We hope to impart some of the knowledge we have picked up over the years and to help you find the funding you need to make your vision become a reality.
I mean, it’s in our best interest that you make your film. We’re a one-stop-shop post-audio company, after all!
Don’t let your idea go undeveloped. The money is out there, and the government wants you to have it. All you need to do is ask.
Make a weekly appointment with yourself or a member of your team to check deadlines and schedule 15 min a week to Google for new funding opportunities.
They come up all the time and deadlines are so easy to miss if you don’t stay on top of them.
Keep a spreadsheet of all the different grants for which you’re potentially eligible.
We recommend using Google drive for the convenience of being able to share it with all your team members.
Bedtracks uses a template that looks something like this.
Remember to read guidelines carefully and email questions to your the grant officer if there is anything you or your team does not understand. That’s what they do.
Define how your project is in line with the mandate/guidelines of the grant organization.
Read, read and re-read. Concise, clarity is the name of the game.
It’s so easy to miss grammatical errors or worse, financial.
A misplaced zero or decimal point can easily get an application thrown out.
We recommend that each team member proofread the application before submitting.
5 Grants For Micro-Budget Filmmaking In Canada
1. Telefilm Canada Micro-Budget Production Program
This grant is distributed by Canadian Film Centre and is an excellent place to start for budding filmmakers. One of the eligibility requirements is that you’re brand new to the filmmaking game.
- Producer/director has never made a full-length film before (75 min or more). You must have at least made a short film before at a running time of 30 min or less.
- To be eligible to apply, Telefilm must first receive a recommendation from one of the selected partners (see this page for a list of designated partners)
- Key members of the recommended project’s creative team (producer, writer, and director) must be recent alumni from one of the partner’s production programs or active members of the partner’s film cooperative
- As per Telefilm's guidelines, the project must be "fictional or documentary audiovisual projects produced in English, French, or an Aboriginal language that are either: feature length films of 75 minutes or more; or, any other type of narrative-based audiovisual content made in a format specifically designed for online audiences. These types of projects can be comprised of one or more segments which, in total, must be more than 10 minutes in length."
All projects must be distributed on one or more digital platforms.
The maximum budget must not be higher than $250,000.00
Telefilm’s funding will be in the form of a non-repayable financial contribution that may cover up to 100% of the project’s financing. The maximum contribution amount is set at $127,500 for feature films and narrative-based web projects of 75 minutes and more in total length.
The application process is two-fold.
Prospective creative teams, with their project, must apply to one of the designated partners for this program. (See link above for list of partners)
Telefilm will then issue a letter of invitation to the selected projects which will advance to the application stage
Applications are currently closed, but be sure to bookmark the page and check back often!
Since 1995, BravoFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) has distributed millions of dollars in awards to Canadians for the production of short form scripted projects. Many of the resulting works have been honoured with awards around the world.
*See BravoFACTUAL for funding regarding longer format documentaries* (link)
- Awards are available for Canadian producers and directors who seek to create entertaining and engaging short-form content (up to 10 min excluding title and credits), both scripted (BravoFACT) and documentary (BravoFACTUAL), for Bell Media.
- A director or producer attached to an undelivered BravoFACT or BravoFACTUAL project may not apply. Please note, applicants may only receive one grant at a time.
- A director or producer who has completed and delivered three or more BravoFACT scripted narrative projects may only apply as a mentor on subsequent applications. However, he/she may apply for a BravoFACTUAL short documentary award.
A maximum request of $50,000 is allowed per application. A jury will decide how much funding your project will receive.
An application can be downloaded on this page (link). All application and supporting documents sent to BFApplications@bellmedia.ca
The deadline has passed for this year but check back on their site regularly for a new date. (link)
3. Cable Development Fund
The Rogers Cable Network Fund supports the production of first-play cable network programming for the ever-expanding television platform. Meaning more choices for Canadians (including drama, educational, non-scripted, and performing arts), and increased support for independent producers in this country.
See the funding guidelines for full eligibility requirements (link)
Here is an overview of what is required to apply:
- Broadcast length of 30 min
- Must have a guaranteed broadcast commitment with a first play in prime time on a Canadian cable channel
- Must have a minimum of 6 out of 10 Canadian content points with the CRTC
A cash equity investment of up to 20% of the lesser of the total production budget or final cost, to a maximum of $500,000 per project.
Applications are accepted by email only. To obtain an application contact executive producer, Robin Mirsky at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 4th, 2017
4. Documentary Fund
The Documentary Fund is another grant administered by the Rogers Group Of Funds. Here is what Rogers has to say about the Documentary Fund.
“To secure documentary filmmakers the opportunity to make their art, the Fund will provide financing to original, high-quality, provocative and/or controversial documentaries which are licensed for prime time national broadcast. The Rogers Documentary Fund will inject up to $2 million a year into documentary filmmaking in Canada.”
- Be a Canadian individual or company, but not a broadcaster.
- No limit on overall budget
- The delivery of your program cannot take place BEFORE the deadline of the application
Here is a link to the guidelines for more information.
The Rogers Documentary Fund will provide non-recoupable advances to a maximum of $75,000 to successful applicants.
Applications must be submitted by email on or before the deadline to the email address: RogersGroupofFunds@rci.rogers.com
You can get your application form by contacting Robin Mirsky at
The deadline just passed, but there are two deadlines per year so check back regularly for a new deadline!
5. Canada Media Fund
The English POV program falls under the Convergent stream and allows funding for documentary films in the english market.
Funded projects must be produced for distribution on two platforms, one being Television.
To be an applicant:
a) Is a for-profit (i.e., a taxable Canadian corporation, within the meaning of Canada’s Income Tax Act production company.
b) Is Canadian-controlled as determined in sections 26 to 28 of the Investment Canada Act.
c) Has its head office in Canada.
1) A Television Component made available by:
- One or more CRTC-licensed traditional, scheduled broadcasters and/or
- One or more CRTC-licensed video-on-demand (VOD) services and
2) Any or all of the following:
- One or more Digital Media Components (defined under section 3.2 DM); ENGLISH POV PROGRAM GUIDELINES 2017-2018 | AVRIL 2017 11
- The Television Component made available to Canadians by one or more CRTC-licensed video-on-demand services;
- The Television Component made available to Canadians by a Canadian entity via non-simulcast digital distribution.
Get familiar with the guidelines. Here is a link.
For the Television Component, the CMF’s Maximum Contribution is the lesser of 49% of the Component’s Eligible Costs or $400,000.
As of April 2017, all CMF programs are administered via Dialogue.
To fill out and submit your application you must create an account.
If you have an eTelefilm account, you can follow the instructions to authenticate your new account on ‘Dialogue.'
Review the guidelines and reference documents carefully. Make sure you qualify!
We hope some of these grants are news to you and that were able to add some line items to your new grant document.
As most of you probably know, there are many more film funding organizations in Canada.
For this article, I made the focus on micro-budget/beginning filmmakers. Explore all opportunities!
Do you have any go-to grants that I didn’t mention here? Please let me know what they are in the comments.
The world wants you to make your next film. Bring it to life and don’t leave the money on the table. It’s yours to take; you just need to ask.
Thank you for reading.