WIFT-AT Telefilm Talent to Watch Program

Recommendation Phase Application

Deadline: April 6, 2023 11:59 p.m. AT

Telefilm Guidelines

Telefilm Essential Info Guide

General Information: WIFT-AT is pleased to announce the guidelines for the Industry Partner Stream of Telefilm Canada’s Talent to Watch program for 2023. Talent to Watch supports emerging filmmakers looking to finance the production stage of their first feature film project. As an Industry Partner, WIFT-AT can nominate one production in the Main component, and one production in the Indigenous component.

Filmmakers have until April 6, 2023, 11:59 pm AT, to submit their application to WIFT-AT. After that, a peer jury will make decisions and provide the chosen filmmaker(s) with a recommendation letter to accompany their application. The filmmaker(s) will have until May 1 to apply to Telefilm directly (instructions will be provided!).

Teams recommended by WIFT-AT will then re-apply to Telefilm to be considered in the national competition. Successful candidates from the national competition will receive $250,000 for fictional features and $150,000 for documentary features in funding from Telefilm and a mentorship program to support the film’s production offered through the National Screen Institute.

FULL WIFT-AT members in the Atlantic region may apply to the Talent to Watch Program. There are also some national organizations based in other provinces that you may be eligible to apply to. You can view the complete list on the Telefilm website.

There are two streams that do not need a recommendation from WIFT-AT through which filmmakers can apply directly to Telefilm: the Stream for Underrepresented Filmmakers and the Festival Selection Stream. Please visit the Telefilm website for more information about qualifying for those streams.

Visit the Telefilm Site

Team Eligibility

The key members (producer, writer, and director) of the creative teams of all eligible projects must

  • be current FULL WIFT-AT members.
  • be Canadian citizens, within the definition of the Citizenship Act, or permanent residents within the definition of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
  • be residents of the Atlantic Region for at least six months of the last calendar year);
  • be emerging talent, i.e., they must have previously produced, directed, and/or written at least a short film (30 minutes or less), web productions, television, commercials, music videos, or equivalent experience in the screen-based industry.

Furthermore, they cannot have previously held the same key position on a feature film (75 minutes or longer)

Note that producers who have previously produced one feature film that has received funding under this Program (formerly known as the “Micro-Budget Production Program”) are also considered emerging talent. Additionally, Telefilm will show flexibility in the eligibility evaluation of key creatives who have previously produced, written, or directed a feature film project of micro-budget scope* funded outside of this Program and had a limited release.

*Examples of this type of project: self-financed films or films produced within a festival incubator or school program.

To be eligible, a project must: 

a) be primarily produced in English, French, an Indigenous language or, for artistic imperatives, in another language. 

b) be intended to be fictional, or documentary audiovisual projects. 

c) be a feature length film of 75 minutes or more. 

d) with respect to Canadian content certification, upon completion be either: certified by the Canadian Audio-visual Certification Office (CAVCO) as a “Canadian film or video production” with a minimum of 8 out of 10 points under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada); or recognized as a treaty coproduction by the Minister of Canadian Heritage (refer to Telefilm’s guidelines on Audiovisual Coproductions). 

e) have a total budget ranging between $150,000 and $500,000. 

f) conform to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Code of Ethics and to all other programming standards endorsed by the CAB or the CRTC, and not contain any element that is an offence under the Criminal Code, is libellous or in any other way unlawful.

Please fill out this application form. Submit the following required materials to tara@wift-at.com separately in one pdf by April 6, 2023.

Your application must contain the following:

1) Completed Screenplay suitable for a feature film

2) Presentation Video• A downloadable pitch video of a maximum of 5 minutes that will:
a) state the project’s working title.
b) identify the genre, the type, and the length of the project.
c) identify the key creative team involved in the project and their individual track records (including samples of past work if applicable or relevant).
d) provide a brief synopsis of the story from beginning to end.
e) outline the creative team’s vision/visual treatment of the material.
f) outline any other relevant information that sets the project apart (e.g., personal connection to the story material, confirmed appearance by an established actor, successful crowdfunding campaign, relationship with VFX professionals or animators).
g) identify the target audience.
h) include a 1-minute segment of the director’s previous short films.

Note: The video must NOT include footage from other projects that are not the team’s own work. Include the link in a Word document.

3) Project Synopsis (max 750 words)

4) Director Vision (max three pages)

5) Promotion and Distribution Plan (max two pages)
This document must identify the project’s audience (age, sex, sensibility, culture, etc.). It must also identify how the team will find and access this audience and why they will connect with the project.

6) Track Record for Producer, Writer, and Director (see template)

7) Production Schedule (from pre-production to release)The schedule should indicate how the team plans to start principal photography within 18 months of being selected by Telefilm at the national level.

8) Budget Top Sheet (see template)

9) Financing Structure
Telefilm provides a non-repayable contribution of $250,000 for fictional films and $150,000 for documentaries. Other potential sources of funding might include the Content Creator Fund, Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Fund, Arts Nova Scotia, Canada Council, or online fundraising. The total financing for the project cannot exceed $500,000.

10) Community Engagement Plan
This document is an opportunity for the filmmaking team to demonstrate a plan for how they will responsibly engage with any underrepresented communities. What is the project’s community impact?

11) Sustainability Plan
Describe your production’s environmental impact and the steps you will take to lessen it.

Projects submitted to WIFT-AT will be evaluated by a peer jury of regional filmmakers and film professionals.

Jury members will be asked to consider the following criteria when making their decision:
Creative Potential—the quality, originality, and innovativeness of the creative content;
Participant Suitability—the track record of the creative team
Project Feasibility—the feasibility of the production and the production readiness of the project
Cultural Impact and Audience Reach Potential—the applicant’s promotional strategy to make the film available to its target audience.

All questions and submissions can be emailed to Tara Thornetara@wift-at.com