Telefilm’s Talent to Watch Program

Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch Program: AFCOOP Recommendation Phase Application

DEADLINE: April 4th, 2018 at Midnight

General Information

AFCOOP is now accepting applications for another instalment of the Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch Program (formerly known as the Micro-Budget Program). The Talent to Watch Program is a production opportunity for first-time feature filmmakers, with an emphasis on digital and online distribution models.

The Telefilm Talent to Watch Program will provide financing for the development, production, digital distribution and promotion of a feature-length film or a narrative-based web series made specifically for online distribution. Once completed, the projects must be made available to the public through one or more digital platforms (e.g. web portals, video portals such as YouTube or Netflix, video on demand, mobile platforms/devices, etc.).

Although there is no maximum or minimum budget amounts, this program is intended for micro-budget productions, meaning those with budgets between $125,000 and $250,000. Telefilm will support eight to ten projects per year through a non-repayable financial contribution of up to $125,000 for feature films and narrative-based web projects of 75 minutes and more in total length. The contribution amount for narrative-based web projects under 75 minutes will be prorated based on the total number of minutes of the project, each full 10-minute segment providing access to $15,000 up to a maximum contribution of $105,000.

Telefilm’s financial contribution must be used to cover direct expenses relating to the development, production, post-production, distribution and promotion of the project.

All applicants must budget to hire a digital marketing expert that will help applicants elaborate and put in place a promotion and digital marketing strategy for their project. Further, at least 15% of Telefilm’s total contribution amount (excluding the amount reserved for the hiring of the digital marketing expert) must be used for promotion and distribution expenses.

AFCOOP is eligible to recommend two feature films and one narrative web-based project for both the Main Component and the Indigenous Component.

AFCOOP invites current AFCOOP members, recent FILM 5 grads (2011 and onwards) or others who have been closely affiliated with the co-op (taken part in a training program, volunteered on a committee, etc.) seeking recommendation from AFCOOP to forward a complete Recommendation Phase Application to AFCOOP on or before April 4th, 2018 at midnight for review by an AFCOOP assembled peer jury.


All the key members (producer, writer and director) must be 18 years or older and Canadian citizens, within the definition of the Citizenship Act, or permanent residents within the definition of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Emerging – All the key members (producer, writer and director) of the project must be emerging talent i.e. they must already have produced, directed and/or written at least one short film (i.e. 30 minutes or less) but cannot have previously held the same key position on a feature length film (i.e. 75 minutes or more). For example, if you have previously directed a feature film you are eligible to apply as a producer or writer (and visa versa). Additionally, producers who have previously produced one feature film that has received funding under this Program (formerly known as the Micro-Budget Production Program) will also be considered as emerging talent.

AFCOOP Member / Alumni – The writers and directors of all recommended projects must be either current AFCOOP members (Full, Associate or Lifetime), recent graduates of the FILM 5 program (2011 and onwards) or others who have been closely affiliated with the co-op (taken part in a training program, volunteered on a committee etc.). Note that producers do not need to meet the AFCOOP Member / Alumni requirements. Please confirm your eligibility with AFCOOP prior to submitting your application (contact Martha Cooley at

Indigenous Component:

For the Indigenous Component it is not necessary that filmmakers be current members of AFCOOP or closely affiliated with the co-op, however teams must still meet the emerging criteria specified above. More information on Indigenous self-identity, review Telefilm’s guidelines on their website here.  For more information or to ask questions about the Indigenous component contact Bretten Hannam:

To Submit

Please complete the online application form and required materials that are listed below by April 4th, 2018 at Midnight

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applications to AFCOOP must include:

1) Feature Length Script (or a script for one episode of a narrative-based web project);

2) Video Pitch of maximum 5 minutes that will:

  • state the project’s working title;
  • identify the key creative team involved in the project and their individual track records (including samples of past work if applicable or relevant);
  • identify the genre, the type, and the length of the project;
  • provide a synopsis of the story;
  • outline the creative team’s vision/visual treatment of the material;
  • outline any other relevant information that sets the project apart (e.g.: confirmed appearance by an established actor, successful crowdfunding campaign, relationship with VFX professionals or animators);
  • identify the target audience and present ideas on reaching and engaging the target audience through a digital marketing and social media strategy;

3) One-page visual treatment of the project;

4) Link to previous work;

5) Maximum 200 word synopsis of the project including a description of the creative team’s vision;

6) Promotion and distribution plan including a digital marketing and social media strategy. This plan should:

  • identify the target audience;
  • identify the goals for audience reach and engagement;
  • describe the release strategy;
  • identify the digital platform(s) on which the distribution of the project will be made;
  • describe how the project will be promoted on the chosen platforms;
  • enumerate the distribution and/or promotion partners that will be pursued;
  • identify the digital marketing expert that will assist the creative team (if this information is available at this stage);
  • add any other information deemed important regarding the promotion and distribution plan;

7) Production schedule (from pre-production to digital release) that will ensure the completion of the project within 18 months of the receipt of Telefilm’s invitation to apply;

8) Budget top sheet for the project (see template available on Telefilm’s website);

9) Any other information that sets this project apart (eg: successful crowdfunding campaign, confirmed cameo by a well-known actor, established fan base on social media).


Proposals submitted to AFCOOP will be evaluated by a peer jury of local filmmakers and film professionals. The evaluation of the projects submitted to AFCOOP and Telefilm will take into consideration the following elements:

  • the quality of the track record of the creative team;
  • the quality, originality, and innovativeness of the creative content;
  • the understanding of the marketplace for the project and the innovativeness of the promotion and distribution strategy;
  • the feasibility and level of production readiness of the project.
Main Component:
Martha Cooley –
Indigenous Component:
Bretten Hannam –