Caught Up in Red Tape, pt. 2

I apologize for the delay in articles – the summer is certainly a time of schmoozing, festivals and award galas.  Here in Alberta we celebrated film & television production with the Digital Alberta Awards, the 100th Birthday of IATSE Local 212 in Calgary and hobnobbed at the Banff World Media Festival.   And that’s only a selection!

As per my last post – I want to continue to highlight challenges encountered by Canadian filmmakers.   There were two announcements made by the Honourable Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit during the 100th Birthday Gala; the first being that our funding streams would be simplified to make Alberta more attractive to co-productions and location-based productions. (“Stage set to help Alberta filmmakers”, by Katie Schneider – published 12 Jun 2011).  The second announcement was a sum of “$2.8 million for the Alberta Multimedia Development Fund, which grants filmmakers cash for their projects”.

However our local filmmakers still have a hard time accessing these funds.  Another common roadblock when submitted your application for approval – is “content” disputes.  This happened recently with a proven filmmaker who applied to Telefilm to help fund his next feature film.  With the money from this grant all he needed to move ahead with production, he was understandably upset when he received the response indicating the application was rejected due to content issues.

These applications are very time-consuming and frustrating, mainly due to the reporting needs of government agencies.  Budgets, typed out explanations of 2000-4000 characters and supporting documents are all submitted in triplicate.  All this paperwork needs to match up to set criteria of key words and values.  I’m not saying that there is a way to ensure a successful application – but in order to guarantee your highest probability for success – you need to stay in close contact with the funding agency you are applying to.

For example some agencies and organizations have tutorials on an on-going basis to explain how to apply and what to emphasize when putting together your application.  All funding programs have point people set to answer questions and smooth the application process.  I cannot recommend enough to take advantage of these resources, and do not be afraid to call whenever you have a question or want to tweak those paragraphs.

Resources to check out:

Canada Feature Film Fund – Development, Production and Marketing Programs

Grants to Film and Video Artists: Research/Creation Grants, Production Grants  and   Scriptwriting Grants