Short Form Digital Series

By mmuise

The Short-Form Digital Series Program is a selective program that supports Canadian, independent producer/creators by funding premium, original series for online distribution, specifically the production of fiction (drama, comedy, and children’s and youth programming) and non-fiction (documentary and lifestyle/factual programming).

Comments on Funding:

Funding is available as a non-repayable grant of 75% of the costs of production up to a maximum of $150,000.
If series is Board approved for financing, an additional amount, up to a maximum of $45,000, can be requested for the cost of implementing the Audience Development Plan.

(EXLUDED-> to remove: At least 10% of the budget must be financed in cash by a third party.)

Deadline: Applications are closed. Stay tuned for future intake announcements.

The applicant must:

  • be a for-profit company (a taxable Canadian corporation within the meaning of Canada’s Income Tax Act) carrying on business in Canada, with a Canadian business address, owned and controlled by Canadians, whose business is the production of film, video or live programs for distribution.
  • be incorporated, if the application is successful (incorporation is not required at the time of application).
  • produce a content that:
    a) is compliant with all standards and policies applicable to broadcasting and to intellectual property laws and will not infringe upon any public or private rights and will not otherwise contravene any civil and criminal laws in effect in Canada, b) is closed captioned and have described video,
    c) achieve a minimum of 6 out of 10 Canadian certification points under CRTC or be certified, by Telefilm, as an official Canadian treaty co-production or be certified as per the CRTC’s requirements as a co-venture;
  • produce series with a minimum episode length of 5 minutes and a maximum length of 20 minutes per episode and a minimum of 6 episodes;
  • meet the following conditions:
    a) the platform must be acceptable to bell fund and the appropriate agreement must be in place;
    b) the request for production financing from bell fund must not exceed 75% of the series budget;
    c) principal photography must not start prior to the bell fund deadline;
    d) at time of application all rights and underlying rights are owned, optioned or controlled sufficiently to produce and exploit the program throughout the world;
    e) first-time applicants must attend an application clinic;
    f) applicants applying for a series that received slate development financing must complete and deliver the development prior to applying;
    g) all associated documents (including all sources of confirmed financing) must be signed and dated by appropriate parties.
Application Steps:

Applicants must:

1. attend an application clinic, if they are first time applicants, 2. go to online application portal: and create an account,

3. submit the application;

4. complete the 'Bell Fund’s Online Self-Identification Questionnaire' within 7 days of receipt of the email invitation.

Documentation Needed:

Applicants must submit:
1. The application form;
2. The Audience Development Preliminary Plan;
3. The Digital Platform Pre-Approval Form;
4. Project details form;
5. Proof that Copyright of Project is owned, optioned or controlled by applicant (producer);
6. Licence Agreement or meaningful commitment letter from a digital platform owned, controlled and operated by a Canadian, licensed programming undertaking including operating as a Hybrid VOD service (CraveTV, Club Illico);
7.Licence agreement or meaningful commitment letter from a digital platform that features Entertainment Programming and is accessible to Canadians;
8. Proof of other financing, if applicable;
9. List of pending applications to other funders, if applicable; 10. The budget;
11.Transactions by All Parties;
12. Content (series treatment + 1- 2 scripts for Fiction/series treatment + 1 episodic outline for nonfiction);
13. Production Schedule;
14.Credits of Applicant Company; 15. Key Personnel List + CVs; 16. Self Identification Form;
17. Co-Production Agreement, if applicable;
18. Service Agreement, if applicable;
19. Additional documents, if applicable;
20. Additional Letters of Support (eg. letter of support from mentor, if applicable).

Other Things to Note:

This is a new program for the Ontario database, but was present and moved from the Atlantic Canada database.
Guidelines –February 2023

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