Skip Navigation Links

Indigenous Funding

Welcome | Aaniin | ᑕᑕᐊᐧᐤ | Atelihai | Shé:kon | Tan’si 

From the beginning of cinema, the stories of Indigenous peoples have often been told by non-Indigenous filmmakers. As a step toward more accurate representation, one of Telefilm Canada’s key priorities is to support Indigenous creators in bringing their bold visions to the screen. 

Telefilm is proud to play a role in amplifying the voices of Indigenous creators.  

As a result of this investment, Indigenous talent have become the driving force behind some of Telefilm’s most successful films, garnering acclaim and recognition at national and international film festivals, and receiving worldwide distribution. 

To remain relevant and receptive to the needs of Indigenous storytellers, Telefilm engages the Indigenous film & television industry through discussions, outreach, consultations, and opportunities for feedback. 

Telefilm is committed to ongoing engagement with a variety of stakeholders including Indigenous filmmakers, community members, industry professionals and organizations, through a variety of means, overseen by the Lead, Indigenous Initiatives & Content Analyst. 

Telefilm consults with, and is a funder of, the Indigenous Screen Office, a national advocacy and screen funding body representing Canadian Indigenous peoples. 

The Indigenous Funding available at Telefilm is meant to foster Indigenous narrative sovereignty by:

  • Supporting content made, owned, and controlled by Indigenous storytellers 
  • Helping to build capacity for Indigenous filmmakers within an industry that has historically excluded them 

Telefilm supports Indigenous creators through its dedicated Indigenous Funding streams, and through its regional and national streams.  

Indigenous filmmakers are not required to submit through the Indigenous-specific funding streams and may submit to any stream to which they are eligible. 

Funding divisions

The Indigenous Funding available at Telefilm divided between three programs.

The Development Stream

Supports Indigenous applicants to cover costs associated with developing a feature film.

The Production Stream

Supports Indigenous applicants to produce a feature film, from pre-production to final cut. Production Stream eligible costs include pre-production costs (eg. location scouting), production costs (eg. cast and crew), and post-production costs (eg. VFX).

The Talent To Watch Stream

Supports emerging Indigenous applicants to produce their first, micro-budget feature from pre-production to final cut.

There are two ways to apply for the Talent to Watch Program: 

  • The Industry Partner Stream: Filmmakers submit their projects to an Industry Partner. The Industry Partner recommends chosen submitted projects for funding to Telefilm. There is an Indigenous Component, which means that there are Industry Partners that only recommend Indigenous films.
  • Filmmaker Apply-Direct Stream: Open to emerging filmmakers, who are (and who’s members of the key creative team are):
    • Indigenous 
    • Black 
    • People of Colour 
    • Women, Gender-diverse 
    • 2LGBTQIA+ individuals 
    • Persons with disabilities 
    • Members of Official Language Minority Communities 

Before You Apply

Each funding program has: 

  • A set of Guidelines 
  • An Essential Information Guide 
  • A list of required application materials 

All documents are updated annually. Please carefully read the documents for the stream you are applying to. Make sure that you are reading the most recent version from the current calendar year. 

Applying to Telefilm 

Applying to a public funder such as Telefilm can be intimidating, even for those familiar with the process. To best support Indigenous and underrepresented filmmakers, it is essential that public funders make the application process as clear and accessible as possible. 

How do I apply to Telefilm? 

All applications to Telefilm are submitted through the online application portal, Dialogue. An account must be created to submit through Dialogue. The Dialogue account must be created by the Lead Applicant. The Lead Applicant must be an incorporated production company (and must meet all other eligibility requirements for the stream to which they’re applying). 

You will find more details and instructions on our How to Apply page. 

How does Telefilm evaluate the projects? 

Applications to the Indigenous Funding streams are evaluated by an advisory committee of external Indigenous members. Due to the volume of applications that must be processed and evaluated, decisions typically take 4-5 months. 

Each successful application and project team will be paired with a Business Affairs analyst, the Lead for Indigenous Initiatives and the regional feature film executive for their region. They will provide guidance, give creative feedback, and assist with getting the team to contract. 

What does ‘getting to contract’ mean? 

When Telefilm approves a project, there are a few more steps to having the contract signed and the funding released to the project team.  

The film team must confirm the rest of their project’s financing structure and meet other conditions before they can sign a contract with Telefilm committing the production funds. 

Typically, teams will have approximately two months after receiving a positive decision to get to contract.