Kellie Ann Benz lists Canadian short film funding sources for 2013

In our third year of updating this funding list, we note an extraordinary amount of Canadian films getting made and programmed into festivals around the world. This is thrilling.

Here then is our annual update of the abundance of opportunities for Canadians seeking funding and/or prizes for their shorts. Get money, get it made, show it off.



  • What you get: Up to $50,000 for a 7:30 minute short
  • When it is: Last deadline for 2013 is December 3. Annual deadline dates posted in January
  • Who they’ve funded: One of the most robust short film funders in the country, TIFF seems to particularly like bravoFact films
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Canada, you have your cast set in stone, and you meet their criteria and you can shoot within a year
  • Get application details


New this year

  • What you get: Up to $50,000
  • When is it: October 31 and February 21
  • Who they’ve funded: Established in September 2013, the fund is set up to support short documentaries
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Canada, make documentaries and you meet their criteria
  • Get application details

Canada Council

  • What you get: Production grants; established and mid-career artists grant amounts range from $3,000 to $60,000 in increments of $1,000; emerging artists grant amounts range from $3,000 to $20,000 in increments of $1,000
  • When it is: Deadlines March 1 and October 1 annually
  • Who they’ve funded: Massively long list, mostly experimental, always non-commercial
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Canada, you meet their criteria and you have a really long time to wait to hear about funding decisions
  • Get application details

Harold Greenburg Fund – Shorts to Features Program

  • What you get: $30,000 ($10,000 non-recoupable grant and $10,000 license fee both from Movie Network & Movie Central) – up from the previous $20,000 – also note, more funding is available to compliment the program if you’re from Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, BC or the Yukon
  • When it is: check their website for 2013 deadline
  • Who they fund: They announced a relaunch of this program this summer but no word on where, if at all, their first funded projects are (were). They recently announced three shorts going into production and my little birds tell me it’s a sound program with great support. Let’s hope that results in some award-winning fare
  • Why you should submit here: You’re a little bit established with shorts but you want to move into features and need the money and industry support
  • Get application details 


  • What you get: Depends what you want and what you’ve done. They’ll support at every level from development to finishing funds
  • When it is: No specific deadlines
  • Who they’ve funded: Who haven’t they funded? In animation, the NFB reigns supreme around the world. Two of the 2012 Oscar®-nominated animated shorts were NFB films
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Canada and you make animated movies. Or, you live in Canada, have a track record for artist achievement and want to try some cool experimental stuff
  • Get application details


BC Council for the Arts

  • What you get: Up to $10,000 or up to $25,000 for production and/or post production
  • When it is: May 31, 2014
  • Who they’ve funded: A who’s who of BC filmmakers of both features and shorts
  • Why you should submit here: You live in BC, you qualify, you have a strong artistic track record and you’re looking to make something not entirely meant for commercial distribution
  • Get application details


  • What you get: $15,000 cash award plus in-kind production services of up to $100,000
  • When it is: September deadline, shortlisted for public pitch, winner announced at Whistler Film Festival
  • Who they’ve funded: Marshall Axani (Light of the Family Burnham), Steven Deneault (The Gray Matter), Kelly Ruth-Mercier (Move Out Clean – my favorite film of 2011), Mark Ratzlaff’s terrific (and multi-award winning Beauty Mark). Though around for less than 10 years, this program has delivered a consistent quality of award-winning shorts, and backed the filmmakers ambitious enough to get their films to the right festivals and markets
  • Why you should submit here: You live in BC. You’ve got a few shorts under your belt, you can pitch in front of a live audience, you’ve got a good team ready to shoot and you have a very cinematic story, a short master that belongs on their roster
  • Get application details

Cineworks (Vancouver) Production Fund

  • What you get: Equipment, facilities and services
  • When it is: no deadline posted
  • Who they’ve funded: See this list
  • Why you should submit: You live in Vancouver, you make films, you like to be a part of a collective, you prefer to have access to facilities without any micro-managing in your filmmaking process
  • Get application details

Crazy 8s (Vancouver)

  • What you get: $1,000 cash, full community support in production and post, gala screening on the condition that you deliver – shoot to delivery – in eight days.
  • When it is: Register by November 4
  • Who they’ve funded: Bit of a who’s who of BC indie feature filmmakers including Cam Labine (Ctrl Alt Del), Katrin Bowen (Amazon Falls), Peter Stebbings (Defendor), Carl Bessai (Mothers & Daughters), Dylan Akio Smith (The Cabin Movie) and yours truly (Stupid Chainsaw Tricks). This year the whole shebang is under the management of long-time Celluloid Social Club producer Paul Armstrong. Not well known for a solid curatorial eye but he does bring a community together
  • Why you should submit here: You want local glory, a fast-paced process and aren’t looking for any festival or marketplace success
  • Get application details


Alberta Foundation for the Arts

  • What you get: up to $15,000
  • When it is: February 1 and September 1 deadlines annually
  • Who they’ve funded: Albertans, is my guess, but they don’t have a list
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Alberta
  • Get application details


Saskatchewan Film Pool

  • What you get: free equipment
  • When it is: April 15
  • Who they’ve funded: Members only
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Saskatchewan, you’re a member of this co-op and you need free equipment
  • Get application details


Winnipeg Film Group – Production Fund

  • What you get: $1,000 to $2,000
  • When it is: October 14, April 10
  • Who they’ve funded: Anyone who’s made a film in Winnipeg
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Winnipeg, you meet their criteria, you are a member
  • Get application details


City of Ottawa

  • What you get: Established professionals, up to $5,500; emerging up to $4,000
  • When it is: January deadlines
  • Who they’ve funded: Ottawa filmmakers
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Ottawa and you’re learning or established
  • Get application details

Independent Film Co-op of Ottawa

  • What you get: Mini grant up to $1,250 plus $625 in-house services, $625 in film stock and other hard costs or Frank Cole Award for $2,500
  • When it is: Deadlines: January 30 for both
  • Who they’ve funded: Members
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Ottawa, you’re a member of this co-op and you don’t need much money to complete your film
  • Get application details

Ontario Arts Council

  • What you get: Emerging artists up to $10,000; mid-level or established artists up to $40,000
  • When it is: So many. It’s best to check on your specific grant program
  • Who they’ve funded: Ontario filmmakers of all ilks
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Ontario
  • Get application details

Octavia Films

  • What you get: $300 to $1,000 for any stage of productions
  • When is it: August 15 deadline, September 1 results announcement
  • Who they’ve funded: First two recipients
  • Why you should submit here: Their requirements state ‘new generation’ women ages 18-30 only need apply. So read the fine print carefully if they’re only interested in working with newbies. Apply with a friend
  • Get application details


Quebec film has a unique advantage; they have a population of residents whose dialect of French is only spoken in their province. Their films have thus developed a special global following for tapping into that one-of-a-kind world. Much can be learned from the success of Quebec film. They have successfully embraced their uniqueness to attract attention. English Canada still has yet to embrace their uniqueness and still struggles to differentiate itself from other English language films around the world.


New funding this year

  • What is it: Write your short course. A competition offering a mentoring
  • Deadline: November 25
  • Get application details


NIFCO – Picture Start

  • What you get: 30-50% of budget, up to $20,000, plus story editing, training, community and industry support
  • When it is: Deadline is in July/August
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Newfoundand and you’ve made a film. Telefilm Canada is a partner so this program is a true opportunity for local filmmakers to get their foot in the national funding door
  • Get application details

NIFCO – First Time Filmmaker

  • What you get: Everything except the idea
  • When it is: Doesn’t appear to be a deadline
  • Who they’ve funded: First-time filmmakers
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Newfoundland and you’ve never made a film before
  • Get application details


NWT Arts Council

  • What you get: It’s project dependent (individual projects that advance an artist)
  • When it is: Deadline to apply is February 28 annually
  • Who they’ve funded: Probably everyone working in film in the NWT. See the list
  • Why you should submit here: You’ve lived in NWT for two years and have a film project that will enhance your skills
  • Get application details


Nunavut Film Development Corporation

  • What you get: $25,000 in cash and support
  • What they fund: Up to 10 min shorts
  • Why you should submit: You’re living in Nunavut, you’re a filmmaker with a great idea and you’ve got something to say
  • Get application details

MARKET –  distributors/buyers/sales agents

Telefilm Canada – Not Short On Talent

  • What it is: A curated program of Canadian shorts expressly chosen for showcase at Cannes Marketplace and Clermont-Ferrand Market Place
  • When to submit: follow @PrendscaCourt@ShortsReport or @NSICanada for updates
  • Programmer: Danny Lennon
  • More info

BC Film – Market Fund for Clermont-Ferrand

  • What it is: First in the country to send short film producers to the biggest short film market in the world
  • Deadline: December
  • Who is it for: BC short film producers
  • What you get: $1,000 in reimbursed travel costs
  • More info (nothing is currently listed for Clermont-Ferrand but check back)

Ouat Media – short film distributor

Ouat has been around for years and they curate the channel they own – Movieola Canada’s Short Film Channel. They buy films from around the world but lean towards Canadian films and have excellent relationships with buyers like Air Canada and foreign broadcasters. They prefer to find their films at festivals but if you’d like to get to them before they get to you, contact them here.


AFCOOP – Film 5

  • What you get: $7,500 in cash and over $25,000 in services to complete a five-minute film
  • What it costs: Tuition is $200 per team member for the first and second phase of the program
  • When it is: Deadline is September 9
  • Who they’ve funded: Thom Fitzgerald (Hanging Garden), Andrea Dorfman (There’s a Flower in My Pedal), Jay Dahl (Backjumping)
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Nova Scotia and you’re awesome
  • Get application details

NSI Drama Prize

  • What you get: $10,000 in cash and approximately $20,000 in services to produce a quality short film (under 10 minutes) under the guidance and mentorship of senior industry professionals
  • When it is: Check website for submission deadlines
  • Who they’ve funded: Pretty long list of alumni
  • Why you should submit here: You live in Canada and are still learning your craft
  • Get application details

Yukon Film Society


NSI Online Short Film Festival

  • What is it: A year round online short film festival run by NSI showing new Canadian films every week. Submissions are accepted four times a year and awards are presented four times a year
  • Who chooses: An independent jury selects award winners in three categories including best female director which has the highest prize money of $2,000
  • What can you win: up to $4,000 (four times a year). See award information for more details
  • Deadline: look for calls four times a year in winter, spring, summer and fall

CBC Short Film Face Off

  • What is it: CBC Short Film Face Off is a nationally televised, four-part series that shortlists the best in Canadian short films, puts them in front of a voting audience and opens the top three winners to a national vote
  • Who chooses: Starts with CBC’s regional producers issuing a call for submissions, provinces send selections; six are chosen for broadcast; three are shortlisted; the winner is chosen by an online public vote
  • What can you win: $40,000 towards your next production
  • Deadlines: look for calls for entries in January follow @CBCShortFilm or @ShortsReport for updates

We try to be as thorough as possible with this list but undoubtedly we’ve missed someone or something super important. If you know of other useful funding sources, please add details in the comments section.


  1. Lisa

    thank you for this amazing resource!!

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  3. Carmen Forsberg

    This is great Kelly! You should do one for features as well!! super summary.

  4. Hey Folks… the Information for the British Columbia Arts Council (not the Council for the Arts) is INCORRECT… November 15 is for Visual Artists. Media artists wanting to make media projects apply May 31 for Project Assistance for Media Artists – up to $10,000 or up to $25,000 for production and/or post production….

    • Perfect. Thank you for the clarification and the corrections Walter. Nice to know Bc film artists they have plenty more time and a lot more money to ask for.

  5. Penny – that is awesome! Glad to hear you’re out there in Ottawa supporting the locals. Thanks for adding your grants to this list.

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  7. SAW Video Media Art Centre (Ottawa)

    SAW Video offers a variety of grants to video artists in all stages of their careers. Each grant provides a combination of equipment access, material costs, membership fees and workshop subsidies. Each year, we awarded 15 or more grants to media artists in Ottawa-Gatineau.

  8. Thank you Department of Film – U or R – those are awesome additions to this list. Mo’ money mo’ movies!

  9. Oh, and the Saskatchewan Filmpool also has cash grants to a maximum of $2500, in addition to the equipment/facility grants that you’ve already cited.

  10. Great resource! Here’s an addition: Saskatchewan filmmakers can also apply for grants from the Saskatchewan Arts Board – the first publicly funded arts council in North America

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