Supporting and developing the Indigenous screen-based industry in Canada

Toronto, January 23, 2017 - The Canada Media Fund (CMF) released today the results of a multi-stakeholder engagement process with the objective of developing a strategy to better support the Indigenous screen-based sector in Canada. The process, undertaken over the past several months, involved Indigenous writers, directors, and producers, along with broadcasters, funders and training organizations. Click here to access the full-length report. Click here to access the report’s principal recommendations.

As part of this engagement process, Marcia Nickerson the consultant on the project, conducted numerous phone interviews and in-person focus groups with Indigenous storytellers, creators and producers to determine the successes, challenges and gaps in the industry. In addition, focus groups were convened with representatives of Canadian broadcasting companies, distributors, funding agencies and training institutions to discuss issues and options for working together to better support the Indigenous screen-based industry, including film, television and digital media production. The work was also supported by a review of relevant literature.

“We are committed to addressing the issues faced by the Indigenous creative community in screen-based media in Canada. The objective of this multi-stakeholder engagement is to gather ideas and solutions on how we can all work collaboratively and consider a different approach in support of a successful Indigenous audiovisual industry,” stated Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the CMF. “The result of this process is the development of an overarching strategy, the purpose of which is to ensure a vibrant, independent Indigenous screen-based industry in Canada.”

Objectives of this strategy include achieving equity for Indigenous creators and producers in the industry; ensuring Indigenous Canadians are in charge of telling stories about Indigenous people, as custodians of Indigenous narrative; meeting federal broadcast objectives and United Nations commitments; increasing awareness of Indigenous realities; and empowering Indigenous people to engage in and self-determine their own cultural reproduction, dialogues and processes.

The engagement process reiterated that Indigenous screen-based storytellers face a number of systemic barriers in getting their stories made and seen, including an uneven playing field; fragmented and inadequate funding; difficulty in accessing distribution; barriers to production, such as funding, capacity, diversity of Indigenous languages, cost of travel to rural, remote and northern locations; lack of Indigenous representation in decision-making positions; and lack of professional development and capacity building.

The strategy includes interim measures that a number of players can begin to implement in the short term, as well as possible solutions that will take longer to implement. Some recommendations are geared towards specific entities, while others are action items that could be addressed with multiple partners.

The highest priority that emerged from this work is the development of an Indigenous Screen Office modelled on the Screen Australia Indigenous office. Discussions have begun amongst several of the participants in this work to determine the possibility of a collaborative effort to consider how best to make this a reality.

About the Canada Media Fund
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit


For more information, please contact:

André Ferreira
Communications Manager
Canada Media Fund
[email protected]