FILM 5 is a professional and creative development program for writers, directors and producers culminating in the opportunity to produce a short film. It provides cash and services to produce a short film, mentorship and instruction from industry professionals and relationship building opportunities with the local film community.

To get more information on the program and its application process, we encourage you to attend one of our info sessions.

Application Guidelines

In the application guidelines you’ll find information on participant eligibility, participant ineligibility, the FILM 5 program structure, the program timeline and information on how applications are assessed. The application guidelines document is updated annually. 


Application Form

The FILM 5 Online Application Form 2022/23 must be completed by midnight on Friday September 22, 2023. In order for your application to be considered you must pay the $30 application fee.


The application will require you to include a link to an example of the director’s previous work and it will ask you to upload the following documents:

1. Script (Max 6 pages) 
Script development is a major component of the FILM 5 program. Applicants should not apply with a script they consider to be completely finished. Scripts should be suitable in length for a five minute short and should not propose special effects or technical requirements beyond what is generally available.

Fade in has a free trial version of screenplay formatting software that is easy to use and will make your script look professional.


2. Letter of intent (each letter is one page max.) from each team member

Please explain in your letter what you hope to gain by participating in the program, and how it fits into your overall professional development as a filmmaker. You can also use this space to explain any unclear eligibility criteria or feasibility issues arising from your script that need more explanation.


3. Director’s Treatment (two page max.)

This should be used to discuss the Director’s vision, such as plans for cinematography, sound design, art direction, editing, casting, performance etc. It may be helpful to reference other films and/or to discuss your influences as a filmmaker and artist.


4. Budget in Telefilm format

Use the amended template provided, which separates cash and in kind services. Delete or “hide” lines and categories that do not apply to your project (your budget should not be 30 pages long). It is not necessary to include the deferred rates of crew or other deferrals external to the FILM 5 sponsorships.

5. Filmography and CV for each team member

For any films listed include your role, the length, format and any awards or screenings. Even if you don’t have a large amount of direct film experience, highlight jobs with transferable skills.

Selection Process

Application Assessment

All applications will be assessed for completeness and eligibility. Incomplete applications or applications that are received after the midnight deadline on Friday September 22, 2023 will not be accepted. Applications will be reviewed by a jury made up of FILM 5 alumni and members of the local film community.


Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

Creative potential of project

  • Originality and quality of the script

  • Innovation and clarity of the Director’s vision

  • Enthusiasm and passion for the material

  • Artistic cohesion of the creative team

The team’s suitability to the program

  • FILM 5 is an intermediate-level training program. Teams must be at a stage in their development where they can benefit from the training and mentorship offered by the program.

  • Professional development and creative development are cornerstones of FILM 5. Team members must be committed to developing as filmmakers and artists and serious about pursuing a future in filmmaking.

  • Teams must be committed to revising and improving their projects throughout the process.

  • Team members must be committed to building working relationships amongst themselves, with program administrators, mentors and their film crews.

Project Feasibility

  • Capacity for the full creative potential of the script to be realized within the budgetary and time constraints of the program.

  • Scripts should not propose technical needs beyond what is generally available (i.e. aerial or crane shots, complex special effects).

  • As a training film, scripts should limit the use of challenging themes or situations (i.e. stunts, large amounts of extras, extreme violence or excessive nudity).

  • Scripts must be suitable to the short film format. (i.e. not a music video or a trailer for a feature film).


A note about cultural representation: If a team’s story is set primarily in a community (racial, ethno-cultural, religious, sexual, ability, class etc.) they are not members of, they must provide a statement explaining their connection to the community, their intention in telling the story, and what steps they have taken, and will take, to address the issue of representation.

Writing Tips

General Tips

It’s FILM 5 (all caps, space between ‘FILM’ and ‘5’).

If relevant, include what your personal connection is to the project. It makes a more compelling case for the jury if they know why YOU need to make this film right now!

Proofread or even better, get someone else to read your application! At the very least print it out and read it over before submitting. Typos and spelling errors don’t give a good impression; so make sure you read things over.

Make it consistent! Applications that have a consistent font or style look good.


One page equals one screen minute. While this is not exact science, it’s a good guide. You could also think in terms of how many pages a day you will have to shoot. In general your script should not be longer than 6 pages.

Formatting counts! The more professional your script looks the more favourable an impression it will make.


FILM 5 shoots have a limited shooting time and run according to industry guidelines in terms of breaks and mealtimes. There is only so much you can accomplish in a short time frame. Adding extra challenges to your script, while not impossible, will mean that you have less time to devote to working with your crew and your actors. Some challenges to consider avoiding when you write are: multiple locations, stunts or action sequences, nudity or sexuality, kids, animals, exterior night scenes, and guns. There are examples of FILM 5 films that have included one or more of these challenges, but it often meant that the team had to rewrite their script on the spot because they ran out of time.

Budget Tips

Creative Budgets:

Your budget should reflect your own unique production. Include notes on things that you are getting for free.

For the most accurate budget… get a quote!


If you make it to the production phase of FILM 5, you will receive $10,000 cash to go towards the production of your film. Some teams choose to invest more cash into their film and do so either through personal investment, crowd-sourcing, sponsorship or private investment. You are not expected to hand in a Financing Plan until you are applying to Phase Two of the program however it won’t hurt your Phase One application to include one.


Remember, the total cash in your financing plan (how much money you’re getting) should equal the total cash in your budget (how much money you’re spending).


Your financing must be confirmed before production and part of it must be given to AFCOOP as a deposit before production. 


Also, if you plan to use the ACTRA training agreement, your financing cannot exceed $10,000 cash.

Types of Financing

Personal investment

  • You invest your own money

  • Must discuss personal investment with team and what happens if there are overages


  • Fundraising through an online crowd-sourcing platform like Indie GoGo, KickStarter


  • Public Investment through another grant

  • Sponsorship from a corporation

Private Investment

  • Investment from another body


There are a few federal and provincial sources to check out. For most, you need to apply in advance as they take several months to get back to you. In order to receive the green-light to go ahead with your film, you need to have external funding confirmed.



Do I have to be a member of AFCOOP to apply to FILM 5?

No. The program is open to the public. Once you are in Phase II one member of your team will need to become a Full Member of AFCOOP, but there will be time to do this within the program.

I’m a director, looking for a producer to apply with. Where can I find someone?

Come to one of the FILM 5 info sessions and introduce yourself to other attendees who may be looking for collaborators. Attend other AFCOOP functions like our party during The Atlantic International Film Festival to meet people. Post on AFCOOP’s Facebook wall. 

Can I act in my FILM 5 film?

No. You can’t hold any other role in your production other than producer, director or writer. We feel that having the experience of holding one role is valuable and challenging enough!

Can I be a student and be in FILM 5?

No. You cannot be a full time student while in FILM 5. The time commitment necessary for the program is too great to be paired with full time studies. Part-time students may be considered eligible on a case-by-case basis.

Can I raise extra money outside of what’s provided?

Yes! External funding cannot exceed $10,000 and financing cannot affect ownership. The Creative Team must retain complete creative control and ownership of the project throughout the program. Also, if you plan to use the ACTRA training agreement, your TOTAL financing cannot exceed $10,000 cash (that includes the $8,000 that the program gives you).

What’s the time commitment once you are in the program?

In the Development phase you can expect to spend two weekends and 3-4 weeknights attending workshops and training sessions. All events are held after 6pm or on the weekends to allow for those who work during the day. Workshops are mandatory and failure to attend a required workshop may mean that your team is removed from the program. In the Production phase there are fewer workshops but you can expect to spend a great deal of time with your team prepping for your production. Some participants find it useful to take a week off from their day job directly before production in order to get everything in order.

More Questions? 

Call 902.405.4474 or email