• This program is currently closed.



Type of Program:



Talent to Watch program supports the production, digital distribution and promotion of a first feature-length film or other format of narrative-based audiovisual content made specifically for online distribution. To apply to this Program through the Selective Stream, Telefilm must first receive a recommendation from a designated industry partner.

The Talent to Watch Program – Funding of First Feature Films and Web Projects from Emerging Filmmakers aims to support emerging filmmakers, accelerate their career development, and to allow them to develop an expertise in digital marketing and promotion of audiovisual projects.

Comments on Funding:

Funding will be in the form of a non-repayable financial contribution that may cover up to 100% of the project’s financing, and:

  • up to $150,000 for feature films;
  • up to $125,000 for narrative-based projects of over 75 minutes.

Funding for web series that are under 75 minutes in total length will be prorated based on the total number of minutes of the project, each full 10-minute segment giving access to $15,000 for a maximum contribution of $105,000.

Telefilm’s financial contribution must be used to cover direct expenses relating to the production, postproduction, distribution and promotion of the project, with a minimum of 8% of Telefilm’s contribution being reserved for the promotion of the project.
The average budget for feature film projects is between $ 150,000 and $ 250,000, but, generally, it must not exceed $ 250,000.

When It Ends:



Not Applicable


Eligibility criteria for the creative teams:

  • be emerging content creators who are recent alumni of a partner educational institution, active members of partner cooperatives or recent participants of partner film festival incubator initiative, or
  • be emerging content creators who have directed a short film that was selected at a recognized film festival.
  • key members of the creative teams (the producer, writer and director of a project) of all submitted projects must be emerging talent: they must have previously produced, directed and/or written at least one short film (a film of 30 minutes or less) but cannot have previously held the same key position in a feature length film (a film of 75 minutes or more);
  • key members must be Canadian citizens, within the definition of the Citizenship Act, or permanent residents within the definition of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • If the recommendation is made by a partner for the Main component, the partner must also confirm that the director of the recommended project is a recent alumni (students who have graduated in the last five years calculated from the date of recommendation to Telefilm under this Program. Telefilm reserves the right to accept, under certain conditions, projects involving graduates who have graduated more than 5 years ago.) from one of the partner’s production programs, an active member (people who have participated in workshops, programs and/or other training initiatives offered by the cooperative in the last three years calculated from the date of recommendation to Telefilm under this Program) of the partner’s film cooperative or, in the case of a film festival partner, has participated in an incubator offered by that festival.
  • If the recommendation is made by a partner for the Indigenous component, the partner must also confirm that the key members of the project’s creative team are self-declared Indigenous people.
  • If the recommendation is made by a partner for the OLMC component, the partner must confirm, in addition to the criteria applicable to the Main component, that:
  • the project will be written and produced in English in Quebec; or
  • the project will be written and produced in French outside of Quebec. The partner must be able to demonstrate to Telefilm that it has the resources and the capacity to carry out the evaluation of the recommended project in French.

Creative teams whose projects have been determined eligible by Telefilm will be asked to incorporate a company which will then apply to Telefilm. This corporation must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • operate as a film production company; 
  • own 100% of the rights of the project;
  • be under Canadian control as determined under sections 26 to 28 of the Investment Canada Act;
  • be entirely owned and controlled by the key creative team of the project;
  • the Canadian creative personnel must obtain a minimum of 8 out of 10 points as calculated under the Income Tax Regulations.

Web series will not be eligible under this Program starting next fiscal, 2021-2022.

Applications Steps:


Designated partners must submit their recommendation of creation teams and projects to Telefilm through Dialogue by the deadline specified on Telefilm’s website.


As part of the recommendation process, the creative teams must submit the supporting documents to Telefilm using a file storage service (ex. OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.).


Creative teams whose projects have been determined eligible by Telefilm will be asked to incorporate a company which will then apply to Telefilm via Dialogue. 

Documentation Needed:

The applicant must submit:

  1. 1
    a completed screenplay;
  2. 2
    Presentation video: a downloadable pitch video of a maximum of 5 minutes that will:
  • state the project’s working title, identify the genre, the type, and the length of the project;
  • identify the key creative team involved in the project and their individual track records (including samples of past work if applicable or relevant);
  • provide a brief synopsis of the story from beginning to end;
  • outline the creative team’s vision/visual treatment of the material;
  • 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);
  • identify the target audience;
  • include 1-minute segment of the director’s previous short films;
  • NOT include footage from other projects that are not the team’s own work.
  1. 3
    Supporting material in pdf format: 
  • Synopsis of the project, maximum of 750 words, which includes the main story developments, and tells the basic story from beginning to end; 
  • Director’s vision (up to three pages in length);
  • A promotion and distribution plan (up to two pages in length) which identifies the project’s audience (age, sex, sensibility, culture, etc.). It must also identify how the team will find and access this audience and why will they connect with the project;
  • Creative team Filmography (producer, writer and director): submit a filmography using the template available on the Website, which will indicate training, education, experience, accolades, outline past projects and history of team collaboration; 
  • A production schedule (from pre-production to digital release) that will ensure completion of the project within 24 months of the receipt of Telefilm’s invitation to apply, as described below; 
  • The budget top sheet for the project (see template available on Telefilm’s website);
  • Up to one page detailing any other information that sets this project apart (e.g.: personal connection to the story material, successful crowdfunding campaign, confirmed cameo or role by a well-established actor, established fan base on social media); 
  •  Letter of support from the designated industry partner: a brief letter outlining why this team was chosen to represent the designated industry partner;
  • Projects submitted under the Indigenous component and all other projects with Indigenous content shall address the issue of how the team sought to engage the various Indigenous communities that will be impacted by the project. Suitable means of achieving this may include the following, as applicable: letters of support from the community, letters of support from Indigenous advisors, contracts between the communities and the creative team for the project, community engagement plans, etc. 
  1. 4
    a link to previous work.

Other Things to Note:

The Talent Fund-supported Talent to Watch Program is the formerly Micro-Budget Production Program.

Support under this Program is provided through three separate streams: the Selective Stream (projects chosen among those recommended by designated industry partners for each component of the Program), the Festival Selection Stream and the Fast Track Stream.


About the author 


Maurice (Moe) Muise learned the ins-and-outs of government while an employee of the Government of Canada in Ottawa for 10 years. His current focus is helping small businesses in Ontario to identify and maximize government grants to grow their business.
Click here to learn more about Moe's background and how he can help your business.


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