$364M for the CMF’s 2021-2022 Programs

The Canada Media Fund recently launched its new programs guidelines for 2021–2022. The CMF will invest $364M in Canadian television and digital media production. After an incredibly difficult and challenging year, what can the screen industry look forward to in this new set of programs? Flexibility, continuity, and the transversal integration of the challenges related to inclusion and diversity issues will be the order of the day. Canada Media Fund VP of Programs and Business Development Nathalie Clermont provides an update on the highlights.

1- Nathalie Clermont, the CMF has just announced the guidelines for the 2021–2022 funding programs. How have the guidelines been influenced by what happened in 2020, easily the most unusual and challenging year ever for the industry?

It’s true that 2020 brought an endless stream of headaches for everyone in the industry served by the CMF, in both television and digital media. And unfortunately, it seems that we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Throughout it all, the industry demonstrated its tremendous resilience and creativity in fulfilling its mission of producing quality content for audiences on all platforms. Thanks to COVID-19 emergency funding from the Canadian government, the CMF was able to continue supporting the industry in a number of ways during this extraordinary time. But things are still not back to normal, and content creators really need continuity to overcome the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the structural changes that may follow in its wake in the near future.

2- What are the major realignments for 2021–2022?

Two main approaches have guided our thinking for the year. First, we wanted to continue providing maximum predictability and flexibility to the industry while the pandemic is still with us. And after extensive consultations with racialized communities, we’re announcing a number of measures and programs that will give producers from these communities the opportunity to benefit from increased CMF support that’s more in line with their situation and needs.

Nathalie Clermont
Nathalie Clermont, VP of Programs and Business Development for the CMF

3- In what concrete ways have CMF commitments to inclusion and diversity influenced screen industry funding programs for 2021–2022?

Most of the changes made this year are designed to encourage all industry stakeholders to increase their support and partnerships with racialized communities by modifying their behaviour and opening their horizons to better support members of these communities in the creation of content and to offer them their rightful place in the industry.

The CMF began this process in 2020–2021 after conducting consultations with racialized communities that led to the development of our diversity and inclusion strategy. This translates into a 4-step approach for the 2021–2022 programs:

• First, the CMF is introducing a new Performance Envelope Factor that rewards Broadcasters that licence projects from production companies that are owned/controlled by Indigenous peoples of Canada, Black people and people of colour. For 2021-2022, the CMF will define individuals in these communities as members of a “Diverse Community”.

• Second, it is launching a new $10.5M Pilot Program for Racialized Communities. The program will exclusively support production companies that are owned/controlled by Black people and people of colour.

• Third, the CMF will update the evaluation grid points in the majority of selective Convergent and Experimental Stream Programs to award additional points to projects from production companies that are owned/controlled by members of a “Diverse Community.”

• Finally, it will also carve out a minimum of 25% of the Conceptualization Program, Predevelopment Program and Early-Stage Development Program for production companies that are owned/controlled by members of a “Diverse Community.”

I encourage everyone to read the program guidelines and the Summary of Changes document for full details.

4- Actually, aside from the inclusion challenges, relatively little has changed in the programs. Why the steady approach?

In addition to the ongoing pandemic, the industry is currently facing many challenges as well as significant changes anticipated going forward, especially with the revision of the Broadcasting Act (C-10) and fallout from the audience disruption factor caused by recent technological developments.

Once again, the industry has a real need for stability to better navigate through this transformation period and to emerge better positioned to meet future needs. That’s why we’re consulting with all sectors of the industry to restructure the CMF wherever necessary to meet the industry’s evolving needs for sustainable growth. The transformation process that we’re beginning for 2021-2022 will accelerate in 2022–2023 and beyond.

5- Do you have any tips for anyone getting ready to apply for funding in the new year?

Tip No. 1 is to read the guidelines carefully. I know that seems obvious but not everyone does it! If you have any questions about the eligibility of your project or the application process (Dialogue system, documents to be submitted, and so on), please contact a CMF/Telefilm Canada program administrator. They’ll be happy to help you and answer any questions. That alone can save you a lot of time and trouble. And don’t hesitate to make the call. That’s what they’re there for. Call 438-469-1200 to get the ball rolling.

Gaëlle Essoo
Gaëlle Essoo works for the Canada Media Fund as the Lead Editor for the Now & Next editorial platform, and as the French market liaison for the organization's Growth & Inclusion team. Prior to joining the CMF, she worked as a producer for international news channel France 24 where she focused on programs dedicated to women’s rights across the world. She also worked as a press counselor for the Embassy of France in Canada.
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