NSI Features First

Presented by the National Screen Institute in association with Telefilm Canada

Application deadline

The next call for applications opens on July 15, 2015 with a deadline of September 11. Please note these dates are subject to change.

2015 selected projects

  • Choo Chew by producer Mark Cutforth and writer Lee Hoverd (ON)
  • Hidden Star by producer Greg Jeffs and writer Colette Jeffs (AB)
  • Little Kings by producer Harry Cherniak and writer Dusty Mancinelli (ON)
  • The Danish Ambassador’s Wife by producer Shauna MacDonald and writer Andrea Stewart (ON)

What is NSI Features First?

Read our NSI Features First course guidelines for full information.

NSI Features First is a development training launch pad for producer/writer teams looking to produce their first or second feature film with strong commercial appeal. It is NOT necessary to have a director attached to the project. Each team will be paired with executive producer mentors and story editors to help with the final development and packaging of their feature film project.

Each team will receive a cash award to put towards additional story editing and development costs.

Past training opportunities have included Judith Weston and Robert McKee workshops, Produced By and AFM conferences in Los Angeles, attendance at festivals such as the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, the Screenwriters Festival in the UK, and TIFF, and Michael Hauge pitch coaching.

Success stories

The course gets results: 18 feature films have been produced since the course launched 17 years ago.

  • Two 4 One – writer/director: Maureen Bradley
  • The Dark Stranger – writer/director Chris Trebilcock; producer Glen Wood
  • Bang Bang Baby – writer/director: Jeffrey St. Jules
  • I Declare War – writer/director: Jason Lapeyre
  • Every Emotion Costs – writer/director: Darlene Naponse; producer Joseph Mansourian
  • Foodland – writer/director: Adam Smoluk
  • Love and Other Dilemmas – producer: Clare Hodge; director: Larry Di Stefano; writer: Deborah Peraya
  • Fetching Cody – producer: Carolyn Allain; writer/director: David Ray
  • 7 Times Lucky – producer: Liz Jarvis; writer/director: Gary Yates
  • On the Corner – producer: Wendy Hyman; writer/director: Nathaniel Geary
  • Goldirocks – producer: Lisa Hayes; writer/director: Paula Tiberius
  • Flower and Garnet – producer: Trish Dolman; director/writer: Keith Behrman
  • Leaving Metropolis – producers: Ken Mead and Paul Stiles; director/writer: Brad Fraser
  • Inertia – producer: Brendon Sawatzky; director/writer: Sean Garrity
  • Turning Paige – producer: Carolyn McMaster; director/co-writer: Robert Cuffley; writer: Jason Long
  • My Father’s Angel – producer: David Bouck, co-executive producer: Trevor Hodgson; director: Davor Marjonovic; writer: Frank Borg
  • Violet – producer: Mary Sexton; director/writer: Rosemary House
  • The Bend – writer/director: Jennifer Kierans (developed in part through NSI Features First)

How much does it cost?

  • $100 application fee per team.
  • $1,500 tuition fee per team member if your team is selected.

When does it take place?

The course is 10 months long and begins with training sessions in late January or mid-February 2014 in Toronto. Teams that are accepted into phase two attend a second week-long training session in late March/early April 2014 (either in Toronto or Vancouver). You’ll be working from home for the remainder of the course.

Jim Murphy Filmmakers Bursary

In memory of Jim Murphy, NSI along with his friends and colleagues established the $3,000 Jim Murphy Filmmakers Bursary which is presented annually to an NSI Features First team.

Who are the NSI Features First faculty?

Shelly Quade and Melissa Kajpust.