Toronto_ The Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) has secured a historic funding allocation for the Indigenous screen sector in the 2021 Canadian federal budget.

The ISO is excited to share that Budget 2021 announced $40.1 million over three years to support the ISO. This funding will support screen-based content made by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

“It is only the beginning of an exciting period of continued momentum for the growing Indigenous screen sector,” said Jesse Wente, Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office.

“Indigenous communities must be able to tell their own stories and be fairly represented in the collective narratives. Indigenous youth must be able to see their realities, aspirations and challenges reflected in television and audiovisual productions. This funding confirms our commitment as a government to support the Indigenous Screen Office in their mission,” said Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault.

This funding will help the ISO begin to develop and implement our Story Fund plan, which will support all aspects of content creation, on all platforms, from development to production to distribution.

“We also plan to continue our support for sector development initiatives with a focus on training and workforce development,” said Kerry Swanson, managing director of the ISO.

With this newly announced funding, the Indigenous Screen Office becomes the largest Indigenous-led, non-profit organization operating as an independent screen fund in Canada.

“We have demonstrated our ability to meet the needs of Indigenous screen creators by delivering over $7 million in COVID-19 support,” said Wente.

The Indigenous Screen Office will continue to support innovation, emerging technologies and language revitalization, while identifying other needs of the Indigenous screen sector.

“We would like to thank all of the Indigenous community members and creators who have advocated for narrative sovereignty over decades and made the ISO possible,” said Swanson.

“We would also like to sincerely thank our founding funding partners who have supported the ISO’s operations over the last three years: Canada Media Fund, APTN, Telefilm, Canadian Media Producers Association and CBC,” said Wente.

The ISO’s current annual funding has been provided by our partners CMF, Telefilm, APTN, CBC and CMPA (approximately $450,000), plus the Netflix three-year program of $450k per year. The ISO also delivered approximately $7 million in Covid relief funding in 2020, leveraging $5 million in federal funding to secure additional funding from multiple partners.

“This funding will help create the path to Indigenous narrative sovereignty for the Indigenous screen community. And we are excited to build upon the foundation that has already been laid out,” added Wente.