WIFT-AT Now Accepting Applications for Telefilm Canada’s Talent to Watch Program 2020

Women in Film and Television, Atlantic (WIFT-AT) 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.

For more information about the program visit the Telefilm site.

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.).

The intended outcome of this program is to discover and develop the next generation of Canadian filmmakers, and to allow them to establish their voice and sensibility through a first feature, or web series. Ultimately, the goal for these projects will be to gain an audience and critical attention, primarily via digital platforms, but also through film festivals, theatrical release and broadcast.

Telefilm will support projects through a non-repayable financial contribution of up to $150,000 for feature films and $125,000 for narrative-based web projects of 75 minutes and more in total length. Telefilm’s financial contribution must be used to cover direct expenses relating to the development, production, post-production, distribution and promotion of the project.

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

Indigenous stream: Telefilm will set aside funding for projects by Canadian filmmakers from Indigenous communities. These projects will be assessed by an external jury having Indigenous representation. Applicant companies applying for funding under this Stream will have to show that:

  • At least 51 per cent of the project’s copyright is held by a production company whose majority shareholder is Indigenous

  • Two of the three key members of the creative team (producer, director or screenwriter) are Indigenous

Requirements and Eligibility

All application requirements in the Telefilm Canada Guidelines must be met in order to submit to WIFT-AT. Please read these guidelines carefully and pay special attention to the funding details, required elements to submit, the FAQs as well as the main goals of this program.

Please make special note of the revised eligibility requirements: 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 will also be considered as emerging talent.

In order to meet the mandate of WIFT-AT, we require that writers and/or directors be full members of WIFT-AT. Please note this in your application.

Please be sure to confirm your eligibility with WIFT-AT prior to submitting your application (contact Kimberlee McTaggart at kimberlee@wift-at.com).

To Submit:

Applications to WIFT-AT must include:

1) A completed screenplay

2) Presentation video

A downloadable pitch video of a maximum of 5 minutes that will:

  • state the project’s working title;

  • identify the genre, the type, and the length of the project;

  • identify the key creative team involved in the project and their individual track records (including samples of past work if applicable or relevant);

  • provide a brief synopsis of the story from beginning to end;

  • outline the creative team’s vision/visual treatment of the material;

  • outline any other relevant information that sets the project apart (e.g.: personal connection to the story material, confirmed appearance by an established actor, successful crowdfunding campaign, relationship with VFX professionals or animators);

  • identify the target audience;

  • include 1-minute segment of the director’s previous short films;

Note: the video must not include footage from other projects that are not the team’s own


3) Supporting material

The documents listed below must be uploaded in pdf format:

  • Synopsis of the project, maximum of 750 words, which includes the main story developments, and tells the basic story from beginning to end;

  • Director’s vision (up to three pages in length);

  • A promotion and distribution plan (up to two pages in length) which identifies the project’s audience (age, sex, sensibility, culture, etc.). It must also identify how the team will find and access this audience and why will they connect with the project;

  • Creative team Filmography (producer, writer and director). Submit a filmography using the template available on the website, which will indicate training, education, experience, accolades, outline past projects and history of team collaboration;

  • A production schedule (from pre-production to digital release) that will ensure completion of the project within 24 months of the receipt of Telefilm’s invitation to apply, as described below;

  • The budget top sheet for the project (see template available on Telefilm’s website);

  • Up to one page detailing any other information that sets this project apart (e.g.: personal connection to the story material, successful crowdfunding campaign, confirmed cameo or role by a well-established actor, established fan base on social media);

  • Letter of support from the designated industry partner: a brief letter outlining why this team was chosen to represent the designated industry partner;

  • Projects submitted under the Indigenous component and all other projects with Indigenous content shall address the issue of how the team sought to engage the various Indigenous communities that will be impacted by the project. Suitable means of achieving this may include the following, as applicable: letters of support from the community, letters of support from Indigenous advisors, contracts between the communities and the creative team for the project, community engagement plans, etc.

4) A link to previous work

Submissions must be uploaded to this Dropbox folder by Thursday, February 20th at 11:59 p.m. Please submit all your documents as pdfs in one folder, named “Your Name - TCTTW”


Proposals submitted to WIFT-AT will be evaluated by a jury of filmmakers and film professionals. The evaluation of the projects submitted to WIFT-AT 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.


Please click here to upload all required materials as pdf files in one folder to Dropbox by Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Please submit all your documents as pdfs in one folder, named “Your Name - TCTTW” Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. If you have any questions about the Telefilm Canada Talent To Watch program, please contact Kimberlee McTaggart at kimberlee@wift-at.com.

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