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Short Form Digital Series Scripted (Fiction and Non-fiction)

Grants to Canada Independent Production
Companies and Producers for Online Video Series

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Bell Fund

Deadline Date:

10/19/20 7:00 PM EST


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Grants to Canada independent production companies and independent producers for original online scripted fiction and non-fiction digital video series. Funding is intended to support the production of scripted fiction (comedy, drama, and children’s and youth programming, excluding animated series) and scripted non-fiction (i.e. documentary and lifestyle/factual programming). Only series will be supported, with a maximum length of 15 minutes per episode and a minimum of 6 episodes.

To qualify as a short-form digital series, the programming cannot be broadcast before 12 months after its initial launch on a digital platform. It is expected that the number of episodes be appropriate for the genre, budget, distribution platform and the level of funding requested. Content should have the potential for commercial success, and while there is no requirement to do so, the content may also act as a talent incubator for Canadian-licensed broadcaster channels or digital platforms. 

Applicants are required to submit the Discoverability Plan with the application, and they will be evaluated together. Eligible costs include standard digital video production costs, but not the costs of implementing the Discoverability Plan. . 

For definitions and additional information, see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182880

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Funding is available as a non-repayable grant of 75% of the costs of production up to a maximum of $150,000.
- The Producer may be eligible to receive up to $50,000 towards the implementation of the Discoverability Plan based on an approved budget.

Term of Contract:

Principal photography cannot have begun prior to the application deadline. The programming cannot be broadcast before 12 months after its initial launch on a digital platform.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants:

Canadian Production Company
a. Is a for profit company carrying on business in Canada and a resident of Canada for the purposes of the Income Tax Act - owned and controlled by Canadians as determined in sections 26-28 of Investment Canada Act
b. Is incorporated in Canada
c. Has a Canadian business address as its head office
d. The CRTC defines an independent production company as a production company in which a television licensee owns or controls, directly or indirectly, less than 30% of the equity. This definition will apply to broadcaster-affiliated companies as well.

Independent Producer:
a. Whose primary business is developing, producing and distributing professional content including (but not limited to) linear video, interactive digital media, and social media content, and has sufficient experience to undertake the project
b. Must be able to demonstrate a sound financial position and the required expertise within the team to successfully produce the program. A less experienced producer is encouraged to ensure that other members of the team are more experienced either as individual talent (i.e. screenwriter, director) or as a co-producing or executive producing company. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Bell Fund in advance of the deadline to obtain assistance in determining the experience level of their team.
c. Is directly responsible for the financial and creative control of the production
d. Is the central decision maker
e. Rights must be owned, optioned or controlled (including the underlying rights to the program) sufficient to produce and exploit the program throughout the world
f. Retain a reasonable share of the financial backend

Producer must have one of the following:
(i) A license agreement (commitment letter may be sufficient) with a CRTC licensed, Canadian broadcaster-owned, digital platform or hybrid VOD service.
(ii) A license agreement with a digital platform accessible to Canadians (Canadian or foreign-owned).
(iii) An agreement with an eligible Canadian distributor with a commitment to make the program available on a digital platform within 12 months of completion. Where there is no eligible distributor or license agreement available, AND your channel/platform is not already listed as an acceptable online service pursuant to CAVCO, Producer must seek approval for its channel/distribution platform from the Bell Fund prior to application.

For information about ineligible content, see:

Pre-Application Information:

The deadlines are June 15, 2020 and October 19, 2020, 7:00 PM EST.

It is the intent that funding decisions are made by the Board of Directors six to ten weeks after the deadline for application.

Please note: At the time of application, the Producer must provide evidence that at least 10% of the budget is financed in cash by a third party.


Guidelines (or see link is Supporting Documents for PDF version):

How to Apply:

Application Components:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register and apply online:

(416) 977-8154

Bell Fund
2 Carlton St., Suite 1709
Toronto, Ontario M%B 1J3

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

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