Theatrical Documentary Program

This program supports Canadian production companies looking to finance feature-length documentary projects in production and post-production.

Who can apply

Canadian production companies in search of financing for their feature-length documentary projects in production and post-production.

Objectives and Guiding Principles

The guiding principles of the Theatrical Documentary Program are:

  • To support theatrical documentary films that will speak to Canadian and international audiences, and that will bring both cultural impact and audience engagement. Telefilm seeks to fund theatrical documentaries that will be available to audiences through theatrical, festival community releases and that will build and contribute to our Canadian cultural legacy.
  • To support filmmakers with a strong sensibility and perspective who will bring original voices and approaches and will advance cinematic expression.
  • To support emerging and established filmmakers in advancing their artistic career through ambitious and impactful films.
  • To support greater equity and representation in storytelling, that reflects gender parity and diversity from various communities including Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, Gender-diverse identities and expressions, as well as People with Disabilities, from all regions of the country.
  • To support Indigenous content that is produced by creators who are Indigenous and/or have engaged in meaningful research, collaboration, and cooperation with Indigenous communities impacted by their projects.
  • To support creative teams who are from underrepresented communities or who have engaged in meaningful research, collaboration, and cooperation with underrepresented communities, where films are dealing with the experiences of those communities.
  • To give voice to creative teams from Official Language Minority Communities and those situated outside the main production centres of Toronto and Montreal.
  • To support content creation that helps advance sustainable production practices and that encourages environmentally responsible community engagement plans.

Telefilm acknowledges that terminology is subject to change and evolving language will be part of the ongoing and inclusive dialogue with the industry.

Eligibility Requirements 

Please consult the Guidelines for specific eligibility requirements.

All applicants must meet a list of criteria, including the following:

  • be a Canadian controlled corporation
  • have its head office in Canada and carry out its activities in Canada
  • operate as an audiovisual production company
  • producers and other key members of the production team must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents (unless the project is an audiovisual treaty coproduction)

Broadcaster-affiliated production companies are eligible to apply with projects in the English market only

 All projects must meet the following criteria:

  • be a feature length (at least 75 minutes long) documentary film  and be produced or completed primarily in English, French, an Indigenous language or, for artistic imperatives, in another language
  • be aimed primarily at the Canadian theatrical market while maximizing distribution on alternative platforms
  • be budgeted at no less than $400,000 (except postproduction applications which have no minimum budget requirement)
  • be under the ownership of the Canadian applicant(s)
  • have its copyright owned by Canadians (unless the project is an audiovisual treaty coproduction)
  • be under the financial, creative and distribution control of the eligible applicant(s)
  • be solely directed by Canadian citizens or permanent residents (unless the project is an audiovisual treaty coproduction)
  • a firm commitment from an eligible Canadian distribution company for a theatrical release in Canada within one year of delivery
  • Indigenous stream: Telefilm will set aside funding for projects by Canadian filmmakers from Indigenous communities.  Applicant companies applying for funding under this Stream will have to show that:
    • at least 51% of the project’s copyright is held by a production company majority-owned and controlled by Indigenous persons (or 100% if there is only one applicant company);
    • the project is under the financial, creative and distribution control of Indigenous persons; and
    • two-thirds of the key members of the creative team (producer(s), director(s) or screenwriter(s)) are Indigenous.

Evaluation and Decision-Making

If you are planning to submit an application to this Program, please consult the Guidelines and the Essential Information Guide for details

Advisory committees composed of external and internal experts will evaluate the projects based on the evaluation criteria described below and submit their recommendations to Telefilm. Each advisory committee will use an evaluation grid to score and rank eligible projects.

Indigenous Stream projects will be assessed by an advisory committee having Indigenous representation.

Evaluation criteria:

    • Creative Elements including the originality, quality and production-readiness of the script and the director’s vision for the film
    • Track record of the Key Creative Personnel (Producer(s), Director(s) and Screenwriter(s))
    • Project Viability including the financial feasibility and creative viability of the project
    • Theatrical Potential, Cultural Impact and Audience Reach Potential including the promotional strategy, the track record/experience of the attached distribution team, the capacity to be discoverable by and accessible to the intended audience and the potential for cultural resonance

The decision-making process will also take into account Telefilm’s objective to foster a diversity of voices in the industry, ensuring Telefilm funds a balanced portfolio of productions reflecting a variety of genres, budgets and company sizes, regions across the country, and different viewpoints.  Gender parity will continue to be a priority across all programs in particular within communities where women are still underrepresented. Telefilm may prioritize projects whose key creative personnel (i.e. director(s) and/or screenwriter(s) and/or producer(s)) are members of communities supported through its Inclusion Initiatives: Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, Gender-diverse identities and expressions, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, Persons with disabilities and members of Official Language Minority Communities. That prioritization will also consider the intersectionality of identities as a way to better reflect a large spectrum of lived experiences.

For more information, see the Guidelines, and the Essential Information Guide below.

Latest updates

December 15, 2021

New version of the Guidelines

A new version of the Guidelines is now online

December 15, 2021

New version of the Essential Information Guide

A new version of the Essential Information Guide is now online

December 15, 2021

New version of the Required Documents List

A new version of the List of Required Documents  is now online

Key Dates for Fiscal 2022-2023

Opening date
February 7, 2022, 8 am EST

Indigenous Stream

All budget levels
Regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Nunavut, Western

Closing date
February 21, 11 pm EST

Indigenous Stream

All budget levels
Regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Nunavut, Western

Note IT support is only available until 5 pm EST

Opening date
March 21, 2022, 8 am EST

For all projects (excluding the Indigenous Stream)

All budget levels
Regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Nunavut, Western

Closing date
April 4, 2022, 11 pm EST

For all projects (excluding the Indigenous Stream)

All budget levels
Regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Nunavut, Western

Note IT support is only available until 5 pm EST

Questions?

Telefilm’s team is here to help you.  The contact information for the Telefilm team member for your language market or region is below.  Who you should contact depends on your question:

  • Eligibility and how to apply: Coordination team
  • Evaluation and Decision-making:  Feature Film Executive (English market) / Distribution and Marketing Analyst (French market)
  • Indigenous projects:  Lead, Indigenous Initiatives
  • Equity and Inclusion:  Lead, Inclusion Initiatives (English market) / Advisor, Inclusion Initiatives (French market)
  • Contracting and Drawdowns:  The analyst assigned to your file (signed projects) or the Deputy Director (prior to decision)

Coordination Team

Atlantic & Quebec

Raluca Tuturman

Phone : 438 469-1190
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Carmela Sciortino

Phone : 438-469-1257
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

SHARMILI MUKHERJEE

Phone : 438-469-1132
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

LAÏLA MEZIRA

Phone : 438-469-1220
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

MARIE TWEDDELL-OUELLET

Phone : 438-469-1268
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Ontario, Nunavut & West

MARJAN ALIZADEH

Phone : 647-475-4912
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

AMANDA LAUKYS

Phone : 647-475-4880
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Lucie Meynial

Phone : 647-475-4870
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Randall Jason Fox

Phone : 778-309-1772
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Farran Clements

Phone : 647-475-4861
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Feature Film Executives

Atlantic

LORI MCCURDY

Phone : 902-334-1365
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Quebec

PEGGY LAINIS (ENGLISH MARKET)

Phone : 438-469-1197
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

ANITA DAMIANI (FRENCH MARKET, ALL REGIONS)

Phone : 438-469-1155
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Ontario & Nunavut

MELISSA AMER

Phone : 647-475-4858
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Western

LAUREN DAVIS

Phone : 778-309-1764
Toll free : 1-800-567-0890

Equity and Inclusion

ENGLISH MARKET

AYESHA HUSAIN

Phone : 647-475-4914
Toll free : 1-800-463-4607

FRENCH MARKET

HAGER NAMLY

Phone : 438-469-1178
Toll free : 1-800-463-4607

Indigenous Liaison

ENGLISH AND FRENCH MARKETS

ADRIANA CHARTRAND

Phone : 647-475-4911
Toll free : 1-800-463-4607