Telefilm Canada  has announced the 15 finalists for 2015-2016, representing all regions of the country, in the Micro-Budget Production Program . At the same time, Telefilm announced that the Talent Fund  will subsidize the Program, while Technicolor is offering free digital distribution encoding services to finalists who want it. The official announcements were made at a press conference at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox, in the attendance of finalists and representatives of partner institutions. This is the third annual round of projects in the Micro-Budget Production Program, which supports emerging filmmakers seeking to produce their first feature-length films, with emphasis on the use of digital platforms and developing their potential for distribution and audience engagement. Budgets for these projects must not exceed $250,000.
A program with results
Every year, some 40 educational institutions and film cooperatives associated with the Program recommend projects by promising emerging filmmakers, from all over Canada. In three years, the Program has supported 37 feature-length productions, including this year’s projects.
“In just three years, the Micro-Budget Production Program has already proven it can deliver. It’s discovered inspiring new talent, several of whom have made it on the festival circuit,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “I’m thinking for example of Christian Sparkes, whose film Cast No Shadow won seven awards, including Best Atlantic Film in the Atlantic Film Festival; Julie Lambert, with Un film de chasse de filles, which won three awards at the Quebec City Film Festival; Kyle Thomas, with The Valley Below, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival; and Sonia Bonspille Boileau, whose film Le Dep will be featured at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. I’ve no doubt this third year’s finalists will also amaze us. Thank you to all our partners for their collaboration.”
The Talent Fund
The Talent Fund helps the film industry diversify its funding sources and promote its successes. Under the leadership of an advisory committee of eight business and community leaders, the Fund has raised over $15 million to date from companies, foundations and individuals. The money will be invested over a period of seven years. Sixty percent of the Micro-Budget Production Program will be financed by the Talent Fund.
Hartley T. Richardson, Chair of the Talent Fund Advisory Committee, added: “I firmly believe that our industry’s successes strengthen Canada’s image on the international scene, while fostering job creation and contributing to our country’s financial success. Our efforts are important, because the Talent Fund allows Canadian filmmakers, and especially those of the next generation, to create more Canadian content and captivating stories. The Fund offers all Canadians a terrific opportunity to support and spotlight our homegrown talent.”
Jean Ducharme, Vice President, Operations at Technicolor Montreal, also added: “Technicolor is proud to be associated with Telefilm for its Micro-Budget Production Program. With this partnership, our goal is to support emerging filmmakers by putting our digital distribution expertise at their disposal.”
Telefilm would like to acknowledge the contribution of the promotional partner for the Program, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.
2015-2016 Micro-Budget Production Program Finalists
New Official-Language Minority Communities component
• A, Mitchell Stafiej (director, screenwriter), Daniel Dietzel (producer), Quebec, partner: Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University
• Memory Is Our Homeland, Jonathan Durand (director, screenwriter, producer), Quebec, partner: Institut national de l’image et du son (INIS)
• MIA, Jeremy Guenette (director, screenwriter, producer), Gabriel Lévesque (screenwriter, producer), Manitoba, partner: On Screen Manitoba
• The Edict, Benjamin Ross Hayden (director, screenwriter, producer), Manitoba, partner: Adam Beach Film Institute
• River of Silence, Michael Auger (director, screenwriter, producer), Danette Chalifoux (screenwriter, producer), partner: Bosa Centre for Film & Animation, Capilano University, British Columbia
• Cardinal, Greyson Moore (director, screenwriter), Aidan Shipley (director), Kristy Neville, Marianna Margaret, Justin Elchakieh (producers), Ontario, partner: Ryerson University
• Feuilles mortes, Thierry Bouffard, Steve Landry, Édouard Tremblay (directors, screenwriters), Jean-François Dugal, Éric Denis, Charles Gaudreau (producers), Quebec, partner: Spirafilm
• The Hanging Tree, Marshall Axani (director, screenwriter), Diana Donaldson (producer), British Columbia, partner: Bosa Centre for Film & Animation, Capilano University
• The Land of Rock and Gold, Janine Windolph, Daniel Redenbach (directors, screenwriters, producers), Saskatchewan, partner: University of Regina
• Play Your Gender, Stephanie Clattenburg (director, screenwriter), Sahar Yousefi (screenwriter, producer), Nova Scotia, partner: Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative
• The Space Between, Amy Jo Johnson (director, screenwriter), Jessica Adams (producer), Ontario, partner: Canadian Film Centre
• The Stand Up Man, Aram Collier (director, screenwriter), Tony Lau (producer), Ontario, partner: York University
• The Sun at Midnight, Kirsten Carthew (director, screenwriter), Amos Scott (producer), Northwest Territories, partner: Western Arctic Moving Pictures
• The Train Whistle Does Not Blow, Ashley McKenzie (director, screenwriter), Nelson MacDonald (producer), Nova Scotia, partner: National Screen Institute (NSI)
• Une fille comme moi, Kristina Wagenbauer (director), Geneviève Simard (screenwriter), Quebec, partner: Institut national de l’image et du son (INIS)