Absolutely Canadian funding (formerly RPDF)

Overview

Do you have an idea for a TV program? Are you an independent filmmaker or content creator with an original, regional story to tell that is relevant to a provincial or national audience?

Your local CBC station can provide expert business mentoring and resources, as well as funds. These range from $5-15k to support production of new, one-hour documentary, music, and comedy programs via the Absolutely Canadian program (formerly called Regional Programming Development Fund or RPDF). 

The purpose of the program is to support the creation of non-news, regional/local programming that is entertaining and innovative.
 

How Absolutely Canadian funding works :

Each Regional Centre is always open to program pitches (detailed in the FAQ below).

March through September are best for pitches because they coincide with additional funding deadlines. Out of these pitches we create six programs annually for each centre. Most of these programs are local and independently produced while some are co-productions and some are CBC produced.

Content produced through the Absolutely Canadian Program premiere on local CBC stations July-September, and are also offered on demand through CBC.ca. A 'best of' selection of this content airs nationally on Absolutely Canadian on Saturday afternoons during the Fall and Winter.

While the focus is on creating content for the above slots, Absolutely Canadian funds may also be used for script development, training, and pilots. Individual project allocations typically range from $5,000 - $15,000. Absolutely Canadian functions as a ‘trigger’ for additional funding from other sources.

CBC supports independent producers via mentorship, expert business support and resources in the pursuit of additional funding opportunities and throughout the stages of production.
  

What’s eligible?

Absolutely Canadian funding is intended for the pre-licence or acquisition of one-off television programs. Network series, scripted programs and web-based series are currently not eligible for support with the Absolutely funding, but check under the tab "Genres" for information on who at CBC to contact for these ideas.

Absolutely programs run one broadcast hour. Programs are intended primarily for television; however multi-platform extensions for projects are encouraged. The programs will also be available on demand on CBC.ca.

Absolutely Canadian favours stories that are:

  • Regional – originate in the province of production, created by filmmakers in the province, relevant to audiences in the province.
  • Diverse – diverse voices and points of view are a priority in front of, and behind, the camera.
  • Original – profiling people/stories that have not been highly covered by news and current affairs. Stories that offer unique angles and perspectives on topics of current interest.
  • Contemporary – reflective of Canadian communities today, looking toward a vision of Canada for the future. 
  • Suitable for ‘family primetime’ – most Absolutely Canadian programs air in the ‘family primetime’ timeslot (7-9 pm). Content must be suitable for a general audience.
  • Multi-platform – multi-platform extensions are highly encouraged.
     

FAQ (Required Reading!)

Do you have a question about the Absolutely Canadian program? We've answered the most common queries in our list of Frequently Asked Questions below. If you still can't find the answer you're looking for, please use the contact section.

What program genres can access the Absolutely Canadian program?
Absolutely Canadian supports the development and production of documentary, music programs. While the Program does not support online projects exclusively, online components of the above genres will bolster a project's chances of being funded.

What aspects of development are supported by the Absolutely Canadian program?
Absolutely Canadian supports proposal and script development, talent development, story editing, developmental shooting for documentaries. Producers are expected and encouraged to seek production funds from various sources, including provincial tax credits.

Can independent producers based in Toronto apply to the Absolutely Canadian for development funding?
Yes. Each of the CBC regions has access to the Program. Ontario is divided into two regions: inside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and outside the GTA.

Where do I send my proposal?
Proposals should be submitted to your regional program development office, along with this release form. Your regional programmers work closely with network department heads to ensure projects put into development meet CBC's standards and priorities.

What should I include in my proposal?
Your initial development proposal should include:

  • A clear and concise overview outlining your project. This overview should specify the program genre, format and target demographic. Who is the audience for this?
  • A clear overview of the creative approach you would bring to the project. Be sure to address not just what the show is about, but what it would look like and what makes it unique in terms of approach, format, tone and POV. This overview should be between 2-5 pages.
  • A development plan. What will be accomplished during the development period?
  • A development budget and financing scenario and bios of the key creative team. Full resumes are not needed at this stage, but we do need to see what kind of creative team is being assembled around this project and what kind of experience and expertise they bring.
  • This release form.

Before submitting your proposal, it is strongly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the CBC schedule.

Programs that are innovative, contemporary and relevant, with a clear narrative and storyline and a strong appeal to audiences will have the greatest chance of success. Be sure to consult the genres eligible for Absolutely Canadian in the Genres section of this website.

How are proposals evaluated?
Proposals are evaluated on the basis of their originality of subject or treatment, clarity of approach and focus, audience appeal, credentials of the production team and financial viability. Projects that cannot be supported by this program may be forwarded to network departments with recommendations from local program staff.

What if I've never produced anything for television before?
If you and your team don't have a television track record, then your first step is to partner with a production company that does.

What is the program deadline this year?
The fund is available for submission on a year-round basis, but March through September are best for pitches because they coincide with additional funding deadlines.

When will I know if my proposal is successful?
It generally takes 8-10 weeks to review and respond to your proposal, but staff will respond sooner if possible. If you are planning to apply to other funding agencies with a commitment from CBC, please apply to CBC at least three months in advance of that deadline. Keep in mind that CBC receives hundreds of television proposals from across the country and the Absolutely Canadian process is very competitive.

To find out more, please get in touch with the appropriate contact:

Regional Contacts:

Alberta & British Columbia
Sheila Peacock
Producer, Specials, New Program & Talent Development
Tel: (604) 662-6095
email: sheila.peacock@cbc.ca

Manitoba & Saskatchewan
Iris Yudai
Executive Producer, CBC Manitoba
Tel: (204) 788-3193
email: iris.yudai@cbc.ca

Maritimes & Newfoundland/Labrador
Peter Hall
Executive Producer of Programming, CBC Maritimes
Tel: (902) 420-4364
email: peter.hall@cbc.ca

Nunavut, Northwest Territories & Yukon
Janice Stein

Managing Director
Tel: (867) 920-5444
email: janice.stein@cbc.ca

Ontario (Outside GTA)
Adele Cardamone-Martel
Executive Producer, Non-News & New Program Development
Tel: (613) 288-6403
email: adele.cardamone@cbc.ca

Ontario (Inside GTA)
Havoc Franklin

Director of Local Program Development
Tel: (416) 205-3324
email: havoc.franklin@cbc.ca

Quebec
Carrie Haber
Producer, Television
Tel: (514) 597-4742
email: carrie.haber@cbc.ca

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