Submission deadlines and funding opportunities

    Posted on: Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Do you have big filmmaking plans for the new year? These opportunities could help.

Funding opportunities

– Here’s a neat one: Teams of three with a film trailer and $150 can sign up for CineCoup’s film accelerator program, wherein they’ll learn how to promote the heck out of their film, improve the script and the idea, and start building a following for the film on social media channels. After 17 weeks, one team will win up to $1 million in funding and their film will be released in Cineplex Odeon theatres. Not bad! You can read about it in this article from the Globe and Mail called “Is social media the answer for Canada’s indie filmmakers?”

– The CFC’s Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Producer’s Lab and Writer’s Lab are now taking applications.

Calls for submissions

The Nickel Film Festival’s early bird deadline is December 14th.

The Island Media Arts Festival is a swiftly-growing film festival in Charlottetown, PEI, and they’re accepting submissions until February 15th.

The Yorkton Film Festival, home of the Golden Sheaf Awards, has extended their early bird deadline for Atlantic Canadian films. If you’d like to get your film in to them, send them an email at

– Telefilm Canada always has a ground round-up of calls for submissions from international film festivals. Check it out here.

Other good stuff

– TIFF is hiring an editor!

The Reel Challenge will put $7,500 in your pocket if you make the best 60-second short celebrating the people behind the scenes in Canadian film.

– In case you’re wondering what to watch next, an impressive group of film buffs chose their top 10 Canadian films of all time. All are listed here.

– If you’d rather watch shorts, the National Screen Institute’s Online Short Film Festival is now under way. Cruise on over to the NSI’s website to watch some great short films for free, including Eva Madden’s short, “What Remains,” which screened at the 2010 St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.

Reality TV may not be eating my brain

    Posted on: Thursday, October 18th, 2012

I have a confession.

I watch America’s Next Top Model.

And usually, I’m pretty ashamed to admit it.

But lately, I’ve been thinking a bit differently about reality TV, arguably one of the guiltiest pleasures of our time.

This is mostly because I heard Shannon Nering extolling its virtues (they exist!) on The Current, on CBC Radio One.

Shannon is a producer of The Real Housewives of Vancouver, and the author of the book and the blog called Reality Jane. She’s hilarious and articulate and insightful and, thanks to her, I’m able to see the artistic merit of reality television.

We managed to secure Shannon to speak at the festival. She’ll be at the Masonic Hall today at noon, ready to blow your mind. Come on down.

The Celluloid Ceiling is Canadian, too.

    Posted on: Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Each year, Dr. Martha Lauzen releases the Celluloid Ceiling Report, an annual look at how many of Hollywood’s top-grossing films are written or directed women, and how many female characters these films tend to have.

The numbers are usually pretty brutal.

Tomorrow, at the Masonic Hall, at 9am, Rina Fraticelli from Women in View, a Toront-based non profit that advocates for fair representation of women and visible minorities in film and television, will release the first annual Women in View on Film report.

The report looks at how many Canadian feature films were directed or written by women and/or visible minorities.

“The numbers are not good,” says Fraticelli.

You can listen to her interview with Chris O’Neill Yates on CBC WAM here.

What do you think? Should we even care? Should we have a quota system? Does looking at stats like these reveal a deep insecurity that maybe women really aren’t as good as men at stuff like, oh, making massively lucrative and successful films?

You can have your say during a panel discussion that will follow the release of the report. Rina Fraticelli, Jordan Canning, Barbara Doran, Kay Armitage, Susan Alexander, and a representative from Telefilm will be there, hashing it out.

To register, email

Get money for your film or television project.

    Posted on: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

It might be easier than you think.

There’s this thing called branded content. It’s a fusion of… actually, I’l let it speak for itself. Watch this:

That’s a short film written and directed by Roman Polanski. It’s also a Prada ad.

This is branded content. From product placement to Polanski-directed film/commercials, branded content is becoming an increasingly viable and attractive way for people to get some private dollars behind their film and television and transmedia projects.

Just check out this new television series, Hidden Talent, in the UK. Look up at the top of the page — it’s “inspired by American Express.”

Come out and learn how to work branded content, and branded content-derived dollars, into your next project. John Hall, of Gone in 30 Entertainment will be giving an information session about branded content and branded entertainment on Saturday, October 20th, at NIFCO at 1:30 pm. Email to reserve a spot.

(Okay, I am writing this blog post from NIFCO, where I am also live tweeting Anita Ondine’s Transmedia workshop and she just started talking about the importance of branded content and how key it is going to be for funding ground-breaking transmedia-type projects.)

Pitch it. Part two.

    Posted on: Monday, October 15th, 2012

So, you’ve read Elsa Morena’s handy-dandy run-down on pitching. Your brain is exploding with awesomeness. And from that awesomeness, you’ve managed to squeeze out at least one solid, focused, explainable-with-one-sentence-and-totally-easily-expandable-into-a-wonderfully-fleshed-out-and-coherent-project idea.

It’s pitchin’ time.

On Wednesday, October 17th, at the Masonic Hall, from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m., the SJIWFF Film Forum is hosting a one-on-one pitch event.

Even if you’re not quite ready for full-on pitching, just use this opportunity as a way to meet some local heavies and get some feedback on your project. Seriously, it’s NBD.

Here’s who you can talk to and what they’re looking for:

Participating broadcasters include:

SHAW MEDIA Susan Alexander – Production Executive, Original Drama Content
Susan will take any pitches for ½ hour comedies and 1 hour dramatic series that could air on Showcase or Global. We don’t do feature films or children’s programming.

BEST BOY ENTERTAINMENT – Ed Martin Jr., VP Operations at Best Boy Entertainment
Ed is primarily looking for film pitches, especially related to genre films. Open to TV pitches (dramatic or factual), as well.

POPE PRODUCTIONS – Paul Pope, President / Producer Pope Production
Paul is interested in half-hour series or features. He is not interested in docs, game shows, reality or lifestyle shows.

CBC NL – Denise Wilson, Managing Director Newfoundland and Labrador

CBC – Jennifer Burkitt, Interactive Content at Kids CBC

CORUS Entertainment – Margot Daley Production Executive, Original Programming: Lifestyle, Reality & Factual Entertainment

SHAW MEDIA – Nancy Franklin – Production Executive Lifestyle Original Content on Food, HGTV and Slice

NATIONAL FILM BOARD – Annette Clarke, Atlantic Producer
The National Film Board of Canada is a public producer and distributor creating interactive stories, social-issue documentaries, auteur animation and alternative dramas that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. It works in collaboration with emerging and established filmmakers, digital media creators and co-producers across Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world.

To set up an appointment to talk to any of these people, email the mighty Elsa Morena at