The Bell Fund is a not-for-profit organization certified by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Since 1997, the Bell Fund has received over $200 million in financial contributions from Bell TV to provide support for Canadian content producers that are connecting communities in Canada and around the world through media.
The Bell Fund recently launched three programs which offer grants of up to $250,000 to support Canadian media producers in the creation of visual programming.
Some examples of previous Bell Fund Projects include: Animalogic, a documentary series airing weekly episodes about unique animals; Bit Playas, a comedy series about two best friends living in downtown Toronto; BUY or DIY, a lifestyle series where two hosts compete on home improvement challenges; and The Runner, a drama series about navigating through the hardships of working for a criminal enterprise in Toronto.
The Bell Fund for Canadian Media Content Creators
The Bell Fund supports the development and production of strong, market-driven Canadian content in the genres of documentary series, comedy, lifestyle, and drama.
- Up to 40% of project costs to a maximum of $250,000 in grants for drama and comedy and $150,000 for lifestyle and documentary.
- Up to 75% to a maximum of $150,000 in grants for short-form digital series (+$50,000 can be requested for Audience Development Plan).
- Up to 75% to a maximum of $150,000 in grants for slate development.
- For-profit Canadian-owned or controlled companies with Canadian-based head offices.
- Minimum of 10% third party financing must be confirmed in writing for short-form digital series and slate dev.
- For TV Programs, funding contribution is subject to the Broadcaster committing to a fair-market licence fee as part of the financing.
- TV Program: Comedy and Drama – Lifestyle – Documentary Series
– Funding is for 30–60-minute formats, and no less than 6 episodes for a comedy, lifestyle, documentary series (minimum 3 episodes for ‘blue chip’ documentary series with budgets in excess of $500,000/hour) and 4 episodes for a drama series.
- Short-Form Digital Series: Premium, original, digital video series for online distribution, specifically the production of fiction (drama, comedy, and children’s and youth programming) and non-fiction (documentary and lifestyle/factual).
– Animated series are not eligible.
- Slate Development: To help independent production companies build and diversify their development slate. Most genres and types of programming are supported with the exception of feature films and MOWs.
Upcoming Intake Deadlines
- For TV Programs, the deadline to apply is April 19, 2021.
- For Short Form Digital Series, the first application intake deadline is April 26, 2021 and the second intake deadline is September 27, 2021.
- For Slate Development, the application deadline is November 29, 2021.
Government Funding Supports Canadian Media & Culture
A similar program that provides funding for the creation of strong Canadian content is the Canada Media Fund (CMF) which supports, upholds, and promotes Canada’s television and digital media industries. In the past year alone, CMF has distributed more than $55 million to Canadian media projects, with an additional $120 million in Emergency Support Funding for digital media businesses impacted by COVID-19.
These various grant and loan programs exist to preserve and endorse the importance of Canadian media and culture because Canadian communities are so often influenced by mainstream American media, that it can be harder to find content made in Canada.
The value in upholding Canadian culture in media lies in keeping our entertainment industry thriving while creating and sustaining jobs and developing innovative content, therefore advancing as a federal and global provider of unique media programming.
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