This program offers support to Indigenous screen-based creators in the Production phase of their project. Indigenous creators applying to this program are undertaking work in the Production of screen-based content, including TV and web series, short and feature length films. We encourage ISO applicants to this program to access this funding for activities during the production phase to ensure a strong project, including fees for key creatives, producers, crew members, technical expertise, cultural advisors/knowledge carriers, community liaisons, and/or legal advice.
Who Can Apply
For Indigenous screen-based creators.
TV and web series, short and feature length films
Applications must be completed in the ISO portal and submitted on September 27, 2023 at 5pm PST on the deadline date. The portal will close on the deadline and applications will not be accepted after that time.
Funding notifications can be expected 3-4 months following the deadline. Please expect delays for holiday closure in December.
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.
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.
This funding supports Productions:
- Intended for theatrical release, television broadcast or VOD streaming services in Canada within 24 months of completion
(*exceptions allowed for projects under $250,000 total budget);
- Where principal photography has not been completed (and ideally before it has commenced) before application deadline;
- In all Genres, with the exception of talk shows, live sports events, game shows, shows with cash awards, reality television, music videos and advertising.
For projects with a budget of $250,000 or less, a robust festival and online release strategy will be required, however, applicants are encouraged to still pursue broadcast or distribution opportunities.
Applicants to this program must be one of the following:
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;
- Working in screen-based content, including TV, film, and web, gaming, apps, and XR (VR, AR);
- Can deposit a cheque in the name of the applicant;
- The project is under the financial and creative control of the applicant; two of the three key members of the creative team (director, screenwriter, showrunner/creative producer) must be Indigenous.
- Is not in a state of bankruptcy within the meaning of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada).
Individual Applicants :
Please be advised the Canada Revenue Agency considers this funding as taxable income. Please keep all expense receipts related to this funding 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 corporate or business bank account. Funds will not be deposited to an account in any name other than the applicant name.
If you are an emerging filmmaker, during the application process you must have a minimum of one (1) previous credit in the key role you hold in the project: director, writer, or producer and be able to demonstrate your ability to accomplish this project.
- Indigenous-controlled (minimum 51% ownership by person/s who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis, and who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada who have resided in Canada for at least eight months over the last one-year period);
- The project is under the financial and creative control of Indigenous persons; two of the three key members of the creative team (director, screenwriter, showrunner/creative producer) must be Indigenous.
- Registered as a corporation with its head office in Canada; complete incorporation documents must be uploaded to ISO Apply;
Bios for each owner of the company and their individual percentage of ownership must be provided;
- 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);
Can deposit the cheque in the name of the applicant/the name of the company listed on the application.
First Nation, Inuit or Métis Collective or Ad Hoc Group
- Indigenous-led (if two members, both must be Indigenous, if more than two, the majority of the collective/group must be persons who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis), by citizens or permanent residents of Canada who have resided in Canada for at least eight months over the last one-year period;
- The project is under the financial and creative control of Indigenous persons; Two of the key members of the creative team (director, screenwriter, showrunner/creative 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/group is the production or support of screen-based content, including TV, film, web, digital narrative content, and XR (VR, AR);
First Nation, Inuit or Métis Band Office or Registered community or Settlement
- Must currently be recognized as an Indigenous nation/established community;
- The project is under the financial and creative control of Indigenous persons; Two of the three key members of the creative team (director, screenwriter, showrunner/creative producer) must be Indigenous (and who is/are citizens or permanent residents of Canada who have resided in Canada for at least eight months over the last one-year period;
- Must demonstrate capacity for undertaking a screen-based project, community interest, and support;
- Can accept a direct deposit in the name of the applicant.
- 100% of the copyright of the project must be owned, controlled, or optioned by the applicant; Production companies 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 for the same roles on a project;
- Upon completion, projects are either: a) certified by the Canadian Audio-visual Certification Office (CAVCO) as a “Canadian film or video production” with a minimum of 6 out of 10 points; or b) recognized as an audiovisual treaty coproduction by the Minister of Canadian Heritage (refer to Telefilm’s guidelines on Audiovisual Treaty Coproductions);
- In the case of Co-writing or directing teams, the Indigenous creatives must have the final decision making power;
- *If the main applicant/project leads or the company currently has 2 (two) ISO Production Program supported projects that are not yet complete or reported on, in order to be eligible the applicant will be required to submit an interim report and proof of a percentage of confirmed financing from a national funder or broadcaster;
- Projects must not have completed principal photography by the application deadline;
- Must be in good standing with ISO.
Individuals, Sole Proprietors, Collectives or Community groups
$75,000 maximum for a project.
$250,000 maximum for a project with a budget under $2 million – not including ISO contribution.
$500,000 for a project with a budget over $2 million – not including ISO contribution.
Web Series, Animated shorts (under 40 minutes)
$150,000 maximum for a project.
Short Films (under 40 minutes)
$75,000 maximum for one project
*Applicants may receive less than the request amount as determined by the assessment committee.
*Projects that receive $250,000 and over from ISO will have a partial hold-back of 3% of ISO total funding, pending the completion of the project and an up to date cost report and schedule of ISO revenue and expenditures.
*A maximum 10% of the budget can be allocated for each of producer fees and overheads.
ELIGIBLE EXPENSES include, but not limited to:
- Fees for Production ‘above and below the line’, mentors, trainees, advisors, and contractors engaged for consultation;
- Hiring of key creatives, cast, crew, technical expertise, publicists, cultural advisors/knowledge carriers, community liaisons, or specialized talent.
- Continuation of cultural and community engagement work;
- Engagement with experts, consultants, mentors, or knowledge keepers or other professional development in relation to the project;
- All costs associated with the production phase of screen-based content including equipment rentals, studio rentals, production office, on-set costs and fees;
- Translation and language support;
- Accessibility costs during production and post production;
- Fees and honorariums for community engagement;
- Travel costs (must include detail in Production Schedule and budget notes);
- Technology costs; some equipment purchases (must include detail in budget notes);
- Digital Media component expenses (must include detail in budget notes)Trainee and mentorship positions during production (except if applying to ISO/Netflix Partnership program);
- Production of promotional materials;
- Contingency related costs (cap 10% of total budget).
Ineligible expenses include, but not limited to:
- Re-takes or pick-ups do not count as principal photography.
- Production costs that have already been incurred.
- Cash prizes and awards.
- Articles of incorporation, and/or relevant ownership agreements, individual percentages of ownership;
- Bios and CVs for all owners, and their key roles in the project; Bios and CV’s for the Key Creatives listed in the application;
- Letters and or license agreements from all confirmed funding;
- A Community Engagement Plan (max 2 pages);
and Letter(s) of Support for projects that intend to film in, collaborate with Indigenous communities or significantly include collectively-held cultural knowledge; Ie. this could be for Indigenous language inclusion, historical accuracy, cultural nuances outside of the storyteller’s experience.)
- For training costs: Applicants must submit a detailed 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;
- Support material including combination of the following:
- Documentaries – links to production teaser, lookbook/pitch deck/visual treatment, demo reel/previous work of Key Creatives
- Narrative Fiction – links to a production teaser, lookbook/pitch deck or bible, and demo reel or previous work of Key Creatives;
- A Chain of Title And current IP agreement/contract to Produce the project in the name of the applicant (except for inter-provincial or international treaty co-productions);
- A detailed production schedule;
- A completed script and a Story Outline, or shooting script and an Outline for documentaries;
- A final Production budget, including a financial structure with confirmed/unconfirmed funding listed (Productions with budgets under $250,000.00 must use the ISO budget template provided to list ISO funding related expenses, with budget notes);
- A festival and online release strategy and/or broadcast/theatrical release plan.
The ISO reserves the right to request additional information regarding the proposed Production Application.
The assessment will be based on the following criteria:
- This program will be assessed through a peer review process made up of Indigenous individuals representing different nations, a range of industry practices, and regions of Canada.
- The following priorities will be considered as part of the assessment process including ISO’s strategic goals and funding availability:
- Regional representation;
- Representation of diverse Indigenous perspectives and intersections including women, non-binary and 2SLGBQTIAP+;
- 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:
- Creative vision, clarity and strength of the project idea including the script and treatment;
- Process used within the production and the viability of the project and readiness to proceed to production, including its leads, scope, timeline, budget and community engagement;
- Impact, including the advancement of the applicant’s career in Indigenous storytelling and the enrichment of the cultural life of your community and contribution to the Indigenous screen sector.
The Production Program has a deadline of September 27, 2023 at 11:59pm PST, at which time the ISO will:
- Close the program in ISO Apply;
- Update the website, and announce the closure on social media.
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 acknowledges that within the screen industry, numerous individuals require assistance beyond the conventional support offered by typical funding bodies. Consequently, the ISO will provide monetary support of up to $500.00 CAD on a case-by-case basis to address accessibility expenses during the application stages.
These expenses include but are not limited to;
- application writing and support
- video or audio recording
- equipment rentals
- professional fees
- language interpretation/translation fees
- final report submission support
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 Program Coordinator and Program Manager. The ISO will reach out if additional information is needed and applicants will be given a short period (maximum 10 days) to submit any outstanding documents.
*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.
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 and may be directed at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Is there accessibility support in completing this program application?
- Yes, the ISO provides up to $500.00 CAD in additional funding to cover accessibility costs incurred during the stages of applying for funding. Requests for application support are encouraged at least two weeks prior to the application due date. 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.
- What is the demand for this program?
- There is a high demand in the Production 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?
- $75,000 maximum for a project - Individuals, Sole Proprietors, Collectives or Community groups; $250,000 maximum for a project with a budget under $2 million (not including ISO contribution) or $500,000 for a project with a budget over $2 million (not including ISO contribution) - Companies; $150,000 maximum for a project - Web Series, Animated shorts (under 40 minutes); $75,000 maximum for one project - Short Films (under 40 minutes).
- What if I or my company already has 2 projects in Production that were supported by the ISO? A: If the main applicant(s)
- If the main applicant(s)/company currently has 2 (two) ISO Production Program supported projects that are not yet complete or reported on, the applicant will be required to submit an interim report and proof of a percentage of confirmed financing for the new project from a national funder or broadcaster.
- The project I am applying with has already been funded in a previous round of ISO Production funding. Can I apply to this program?
- Unfortunately, applications to this program that have already received previous ISO production phase funding will not be eligible in this program.
- What happens to my in-progress application if the program closes before I submit?
- Please refer to the “Program Closure” section of the guidelines
- I’m not sure my project is a good fit for this program.
- Reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org.