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What is the CBC Breaking Barriers Film Fund?

Launched in November 2016, CBC’s Breaking Barriers Film Fund  was created as part of CBC’s commitment to fund high quality productions that reflect, represent and reframe diverse perspectives through character driven stories that are at the center of the Canadian experience.

While the international reputation of English Canadian cinema has developed steadily over the last 20 years, the Breaking Barriers Film Fund offers new opportunities for filmmakers who have historically been at a disadvantage in accessing financing and making their unique voices heard.  To support this initiative, the goals of Breaking Barriers Film Fund are: 

  • To establish CBC as Canada’s leading advocate of diverse cinematic voices

  • To tell stories through the eyes of diverse Canadians

  • To provide meaningful content for CBC and CBC-branded platform

Since the launch of the fund, we have supported seventeen feature films from across Canada. Inaugural projects include Mina Shum’s MEDITATION PARK (TIFF and VIFF selection), ANGELIQUE’S ISLE by Michelle Derosier, and OCTAVIO IS DEAD! by Sook-Yin Lee. Other recent recipients include AUDIENCE OF CHAIRS by Deane Foley, LEVEL 16 by Danishka Esterhazy, RED SNOW by Marie Clements, THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN by Kathleen Hepburn & Elle-Maija Tailfeathers and RUSTIC ORACLE by Sonia Bonspille Boileau.

Breaking Barriers’ selection process focuses on 4 main areas: 

  • Key Creative Team: Strength and Experience

  • Subject Matter/Themes

  • Star/Lead

  • Supporting Roles

Eligible projects must have a final draft screenplay, achieve at least six out of 10 CAVCO points and not already be in production. There are no application deadlines. We encourage applications to be submitted when they are creatively ready.

Why is CBC doing this?

CBC is dedicating financial and creative resources to help underrepresented creators get their unique voices heard. CBC is creating a new model in which CBC makes a significant upfront investment, and which allows Canadians to see those films when and where they want to.

How and when can I apply?

There are no set deadlines. Just make sure your script is in good shape before you apply.

How much can I get?

Applicants have a choice of applying for funding to cover either 10% or 20% of the film’s production budget in exchange for a set package of rights to allow CBC to bring the films to Canadians. CBC's contribution is capped at $1M for projects funded at 20% and $500K for projects funded at 10%.

Should CBC approve a budget change at any point, the level of financing available for the project will be fixed at either 20% or 10% of the new approved budget.

What does CBC expect in exchange for a contribution at the 20% level?

When does CBC get the film?

Following the film's release in festivals, Canadians will be able to view the film on CBC's platforms in Canada on an expedited basis.

For films released theatrically, CBC's rights will begin following a theatrical window to be negotiated between CBC and the distributor.

What rights will CBC have once the film comes to CBC?

For films financed at the 20% level, CBC will have the right to show the film to Canadian audiences on television, on any digital platform (excluding via transactional digital downloads), and on any public or private screen, in Canada for 6 years.

CBC's digital and telecast rights will be exclusive for the first two years and non-exclusive for the remaining 4 years. CBC can sublicence its rights in Canada to attract more audiences.

Does CBC get a credit?

Yes. CBC will receive the following: (i) an animated presentation logo; (ii) a prominent “produced in association with” credit in the film's opening credit sequence; and (iii) a closing credit for CBC, Breaking Barriers Film Fund and CBC executives. In addition, CBC will be prominently credited in all press and publicity.

Does CBC get any international rights?

CBC will have the non-exclusive right, in consultation with the producer or distributor, to bring the film to audiences outside of Canada on CBC-branded platforms in territories where the film has not sold after 2 years.

Does CBC share in any profits?

No. CBC does not share in profits.

What does CBC expect in exchange for a contribution at the 10% level?

When does CBC get the film?

Following the film's release in festivals, Canadians will be able to view the film on CBC's platforms after a 6 month pay television window.

For films released theatrically, a theatrical window will be negotiated between CBC and the distributor.

What rights will CBC have once the film comes to CBC?

For films financed at the 10% level, CBC will have the right to show the film to Canadian audiences on television, on any digital platform (excluding via transactional digital downloads), and on any public or private screen, in Canada for 6 years.

CBC's digital and telecast rights will be exclusive for the first 6 months non-exclusive for the remaining 51/2 years. CBC can sublicence its rights in Canada to attract more audiences.

Does CBC get a credit?

Yes. CBC will receive the following: (i) an animated presentation logo; (ii) a prominent “produced in association with” credit in the film's opening credit sequence; and (iii) a closing credit for CBC, Breaking Barriers Film Fund and CBC executives. In addition, CBC will be prominently credited in all press and publicity.

Does CBC get any international rights?

No. CBC does not get any international rights in the 10% model.

Does CBC share in any profits?

No. CBC does not share in profits.

What should my financial plan look like?

When creating your financial plan, please see our sample document.