This program offers support for project development, recognizing that time and resources are critical to the creation of strong content for TV and web series, short and feature length films. Many Indigenous creators undertake extensive protocols and community-engagement work during this phase, and ISO support is intended to support these practices, in addition to other development costs. We encourage ISO applicants to this program to access this funding for key supports needed to develop the project idea such as cultural and community engagement work, learning from experts, mentors, or knowledge keepers or other professional development in relation to the project.
Who Can Apply
For Indigenous on-screen content creators and Indigenous-owned production companies.
TV and web series, short and feature length films
Applications must be completed in the ISO portal iso-bea.smapply.io and submitted on August 16, 2023 at 5pm PST. The portal will close at the deadline and applications will not be accepted after that time.
- Funding notifications can be expected 3-4 months following the deadline;
- Administrative follow ups may be conducted via email for additional information on the application if required;
- Please note, applicants may receive less than the request amount.
The spirit and intent of ISO funding is to support Indigenous storytelling and screen-based projects that are controlled by Indigenous people, who have decision-making authority and creative control.
For the purposes of ISO programs, “Indigenous” is defined as status and non-status First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada. All applicants must be residents of Canada and have spent 8 months out of the last year living in Canada.
Please consult the Building Trust and Accountability: Report on Eligibility in the Indigenous Screen Sector which informs the ISO in regards to Indigenous identity, relationality, and access to funding programs. We also encourage applicants to consult the ISO’s working document on identity: ISO Policies and Processes for Eligibility in Relation to Indigenous Identity.
- Applicants must be able to accept a direct deposit in the name of the applicant;
- 100% of the copyright of the project must be owned and controlled, or optioned by the applicant;
- Applicants cannot receive funding from other ISO programs for the same project activities or initiative. For example, funding for trainees cannot be included in another application to ISO Funding Programs;
- In the case of Co-writing/writing teams, the Indigenous writers must have the final decision making power;
- Applicants cannot have more than 1 project or slate (2) in Development with ISO support at the same time (including Individual owners in other funded projects);
- Applicants can apply in a subsequent fiscal year if they successfully complete the development phase of their proposed project;
- Must be in good standing with ISO.
Individuals (includes Sole Proprietors)
- Are a First Nations, Inuit or Métis person residing in Canada and who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada who has resided in Canada for at least eight months over the last one-year period;
- Work in screen-based content, including TV, film, web, gaming, apps, and XR (VR, AR);
- The project is under the financial and creative control of Indigenous persons; two of the key members of the creative team (director, screenwriter, showrunner/producer) must be Indigenous.
- Is not in a state of bankruptcy within the meaning of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada).
Individual Applicants (this includes sole proprietors):
Please be advised the Canada Revenue Agency considers this funding as taxable income. Please keep all expense receipts related to these funds to offset your tax obligations. If you are incorporated as a sole proprietor, you must apply under your business name for the funding to be deposited to your business bank account. The funding will not be deposited to an account in any name other than the applicant name.
- Indigenous-controlled (minimum 51% ownership by person/s who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis);
- The project is under the financial and creative control of Indigenous persons; two of the key members of the creative team (director, screenwriter, showrunner/producer) must be Indigenous;
- Registered as a corporation with its head office in Canada;
- Letters of Incorporation, a shareholder registry, and bios for each owner of the company to be provided as well as their individual percentage of ownership.
- Main activity of the company is the production or support of screen-based content, including TV, film, web, digital narrative content, and XR (VR, AR).
- Is not insolvent or bankrupt, or in the course of the reorganization of its business within the meaning of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada);
First Nation, Inuit or Métis Collective or Ad Hoc Group
- Indigenous-controlled (minimum 51% membership and leadership by person/s who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis);
- The project is under the financial and creative control of Indigenous persons; Two of the key members of the creative team (director, screenwriter, showrunner/producer) must be Indigenous;
- Bios for each collective/group member must be provided as well as their individual percentage of ownership of and role in the project;
- Main activity of the Collective or Group is the production or support of screen-based content, including TV, film, web, digital content, and XR (VR, AR).
First Nation, community or band office, Inuit community or Métis settlement:
- Must currently be recognized as an Indigenous nation or community within Canada;
- The project is under the financial and creative control of Indigenous persons; Two of the key members of the creative team (director, screenwriter, showrunner, producer) must be Indigenous;
- Must demonstrate capacity for undertaking a screen-based project and have secured individuals working in production or support of screen-based content, including digital narrative content, gaming, apps and XR (VR, AR).
- Costs associated with the Development phase of screen-based content including research and script/project development for new works, and cultural and community engagement work;
- Accessibility costs during Development including necessary equipment;
- Fees for Indigenous project creator(s);
- Fees and honorariums for guests, Elders, translation and language support and community engagement;
- Legal fees such as licensing of existing IP (optioning; requires proof that the option is available to you);
- Translating existing Intellectual Property (IP) into new screen-based works;
- Engagement with industry experts, consultants, mentors or for project-related professional development;
- Fees for story editors, mentors, advisors, and contractors engaged for development work;
- Trainee and mentorship positions during Development (except if applying to ISO/Netflix Partnership program);
- Fees for the creation of pitch decks, storyboards, schematics, production bibles and proof of concept videos;
- Fees for Indigenous project creator(s).
- Articles of incorporation, and/or relevant ownership agreements, individual percentages of ownership;
- Bios and CVs for the applicant, company owners, key creatives and collaborators in the project; ;
- Chain of Title and current IP agreement/contract to develop the project’s IP in the name of the applicant (except for inter-provincial or international treaty co-productions);
- Project description: Logline, synopsis, previous project work, outcomes and intended impact;
- A Development Schedule and list of collaborators involved;
- Budget with ISO costs separated forDevelopment activities (Please use the Template provided to list ISO funding related expenses).
- Confirmation letters or contracts for confirmed funding sources, when applicable;
- Support materials including: Links or uploads to work in progress, or related to the project ie. draft scripts, a story outline, character sketches/ lookbook, demo reels;
- A Community Engagement Plan (max 2 pages);
and Letter(s) of Support for projects that intend to film in, collaborate with Indigenous communities or include collectively-held cultural knowledge;;
- For training costs: Applicants must submit a training plan, including bios/CVs for trainees. If trainees are unconfirmed, a detailed recruitment plan must be submitted. Outcomes for trainees must be explained and impact should be clearly articulated;
Applicants may not propose more than 2 trainees during Development.
Please note, details and specifics about these application requirements can be found in ISO Apply in the application under “Task Instructions”.
This program will be assessed by a peer review process made up of Indigenous industry professionals representing different nations and regions of Canada with relevant expertise and experiences.
The evaluation criteria will differ for emerging applicants and applications within the ultra low total budget level, recognizing the different needs and ideal pathways for projects in those categories.
The following priorities may be considered as part of the assessment process:
- Regional representation;
- Representation of diverse Indigenous perspectives and intersections including women, non-binary and 2SLGBQTIAP+ people;
- Emerging voices;
- Representation of Indigenous languages.
- The background and experience of the key creative team (or potential, in the case of emerging applicants).
The scoring criteria will be based on the:
- Vision, clarity and strength of the development project idea;
- Storytelling and creative content;
- Process used within the development phase and the viability of the project and readiness, including its leads, scope, timeline, budget and community engagement;
- Impact, including the advancement of the applicant’s career within Indigenous storytelling and possible enrichment of the cultural life of relational community(ies) or contribution to the Indigenous Screen Sector.
If applicants wish to access the application in the portal, they must contact firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 business days of the program’s closure. The ISO will provide a downloaded copy if requested. Otherwise, all in-progress applications will be deleted 10 business days after the program has been officially closed.
The ISO provides up to $500.00 CAD in additional funding to cover accessibility costs incurred during the stages of applying for, completing a project, and writing a final report. Requests for support are encouraged at least two weeks prior to the application deadline.
If you have barriers to access including but not limited to language, internet or physical barriers, please contact the ISO to discuss accommodations and support at email@example.com.
All applicants to ISO programs must confirm they have read the General Funding Guidelines prior to submitting an application.
An initial review for eligibility and missing documentation will be conducted by the ISO Story Fund Coordinator and Program Manager. The ISO will reach out if any of this information is needed and applicants will be given a short period (maximum 10 business days) to submit anything outstanding.
*Ineligible or incomplete applications can be withdrawn at any time in the process. Applicants will be notified by the ISO when the application is withdrawn.
If at any time, an Applicant, as required by the Criteria or as requested by the ISO, provides false information or omits or misrepresents material information in connection with an application, including with respect to Indigenous identity, such provision of false information, omission or misrepresentation will be considered an event of default and the ISO may exercise the following contractual rights:
- termination of any contracts, including any remedies thereunder;
- denial of eligibility for existing and future funding;
- repayment of any funds already advanced; and
- civil and potential criminal prosecution, in the case of fraud.
These measures may be imposed not only on the Applicant but also on related, associated and affiliated companies and individuals that are parties to the application. Any Applicant receiving approval for funding will be required to sign a legally enforceable agreement, which includes provisions concerning misrepresentations, defaults, and related matters.
A final report will be required within three months following the completion of the project. Applicants with overdue final reports will not be eligible for ISO funding until the report is submitted and approved.
Final reports can be accessed via the ISO Apply portal.
In the event that a project, which had initially found success or viability, becomes unfeasible, the applicant must promptly inform the ISO Program Manager. Given the unique evaluation process of this program, project substitution using the originally allocated funds is not permitted by the ISO. This non-compliance would lead to the forfeiture of funds.
Upon receiving notification from the applicant, the ISO will initiate measures to facilitate the timely return of allocated funds. Failure to inform the ISO or return the funds promptly may result in the applicant being considered in default.
Recipients must acknowledge ISO support with textual reference and/or logo in the credit sequence, or appropriate placement in the completed work (where applicable). ISO logos are available for download on the ISO website.
When sharing information about your participation in the proposed activity, please also tag the ISO on any social media posts related to this funding:
- Instagram – indigenousscreen
- Twitter – screen_office
- Facebook – ISO.BEA
Questions are encouraged at least two weeks prior to the application closing date and may be directed at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When should I apply for this program funding?
- Applicants should apply to this program once they have any initial research, permissions, an overview and synopsis and writers in place to continue or complete the Development stage of a project.
- What is the demand for this program?
- There is a high demand in the Development program and it can be competitive. We encourage you to start your application early to ensure your eligibility and that you have adequate time or resources to make a complete application.
- What is the maximum amount of funding I can request in this program?
- Individuals/Sole Proprietors, Collectives and Groups: $20,000 for one (1) project; Companies: $40,000 for a slate of two (2) projects; OR, Up to $25,000 per project if it has confirmed funding from CMF or TELEFILM or a public broadcaster. *A reminder that the ISO can allocate less than the requested amount to successful projects.
- What happens to my in-progress application if the program closes before I submit?
- Please refer to the “Program Closure” section of the guidelines. If you wish to access the application after the program has closed, please contact email@example.com within 10 business days of the program’s closure
- What if I or my company already has received previous ISO funding for the same project?
- If the main applicant(s)/company currently has an ISO supported Development application for the same project that has not yet been reported on, the applicant will be required to first submit a Final report on the previous application.
- I am applying with a new project and have not completed a past project supported in Development from the ISO. Can I apply again to this program?
- Applicants will be required to first submit a Final report on the previous application in order to be eligible to apply again.
- I’m not sure my project is a good fit for this program.
- Reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org.