Forest City Film Festival at London Public Library in the Wolf Performance Hall

A 2020 Guide to Canadian Funding and Resources from Forest City Film Fest

Alex Leonard Mon Nov 18th

Photo credit: Janice Johnston

In 2019, Forest City Film Festival (FCFF) witness 64 films from international creators in multiple formats. The festival hosts screenings across the city in 4 venues over 5 days.

On top of the top quality talent of films being shown every year, there also amazing workshops, panel discussions, networking events, a launch party, pitch competition, and much more in the months leading up to the festival and following.

With all the buzz of the new year in full swing, the time to create a creative project is now. We hope those of you who are now knee-deep working on a creative project or just getting your toes wet still will consider this list of resource below. There are some upcoming dates and important grants we've listed for your consideration, as well as other valuable assets to the media community in Canada.  

Municipal Level 

London Arts Council

The London Arts Council has been an important player in the growth of the city's cultural and artistic community. If you're looking for a way to find out more information about the Arts Project, it's best that you email them directly. Right now, the London Arts Council has one major public project that you can apply to.

The first one worth noting is the Community Arts Investment Program, which is focused on building art projects in a variety of forms, whether multimedia, film, dance, music, literature, visual arts, or performing arts.  

Feb. 21st, 2020 at 4 pm 
Eligibility considerations:
Only non profit activities, students enrolled full-time in an educational institution are ineligible.
Contact Information: 
London Arts Council  

Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists (ACTRA)

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Televison, and Radio Artists (ACTRA) is the largest organization of cultural workers within Canada, with the Toronto branch accounting for 15,000 of the 22,000 members. For those with a background in acting on screen or providing voice talent, ACTRA has you covered.

Find out about how they Champion Canadian Culture and protect the values of the artist within our industry. For those looking to hire local actresses or actors, ACTRA is also an amazing asset to connect with local talent directly. 

Toronto Indie Production (TIP)

For those with an Indie project in mind, you'll be pleased to know ACTRA is relaunching their TIP program in early 2020 so keep an eye out for that within the Toronto area.


TechAlliance is a great asset for those in a technological field, looking to expand their skillset, or connect with other like minded individuals. Based in London, Ont., but also serving the Sarnia and St. Thomas areas, TechAlliance hosts one of a kind events all year long, such as their monthly Breakfast Club or Biz Clinic Sessions. 
Check out their Events page for an update list of what's going on.  

Provincial Level

Paint Ontario

Paint Ontario is one of the most impressive province wide exhibits that takes place every spring for nearly the past 25 years. From March 28th to April 19th in Grand Bend at the Lambton Heritage Museum, people can come and see an exciting assortment of realism paintings. If you're considering submitting into the exhibit, keep in mind the deadline and contact information below to find out all the details. 

March 9th, 2020 at 6 pm
Contact Information:

Ontario Arts Council (OAC)

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) provides funding for projects and organizations across the province. They've been a major supporter of several large projects and offer an excellent  that can help foster creativity for those who traditionally identify as a minority group. OAC particularly looks to help: 

Ontario Creates (OC)

Ontario Creates (OC) is a great asset for those creating television, film, music, magazines, or books. OC is known for helping create and fund projects in the province, especially for the high end production side of Television and Film. If you're an independent director or producer that has an exciting script and is looking for possibilities for production, such as tax cuts or grants, then OC is probably one of your best bets. Check out the link below for a full breakdown of some of the financial incentives they offer.   

Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)

Have you come across this article, but you're based up North in Ontario and wondering about programs specific for the region? Well have no fear, since there are several programs for those businesses and creative projects in Northern Ontario. The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation's (NOHFC) mandate is to promote and stimulate economic growth in Northern Ontario. You can see the specific boundaries that NOHFC supports by clicking here. There are 6 programs that one can apply to, listed below: 

Ontario Arts Foundation

Perhaps you have too much money that you want to give some of it back? Okay, maybe a bit of a stretch. For whatever reason if someone was looking to set up a scholarship or large donation, the Ontario Arts Foundation provides services for large investments that would be transferred through a name or donor as regular funding for a specific field of topic or research. 

National Level

Telefilm Canada

Parlez-vous français? Non? Well if you did speak French, you would be eligible for a new mega program between Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC), Netflix, Telefilm Canada, and the Canada Media Fund (explained more below). They are launching the first ever Professional Development Program in Film and Television for francophone producers and creators across Canada. There is close to a half million being invested into new projects and they hope to feature more than 50 feature films and series scripts with international potential. 

If you're not French, Telefilm Canada is still a valuable resource to explore for help with financing, funds, co-production, intectual property, festivals, distribution markets, and partnerships. Telefilm has a lot of amazing content to help those that need industry resources. 

CBC Short Docs

Did you know that CBC has a large database of independent short documentaries that are produced by Canadians and anyone is eligible to apply if it's Canadian content? It may sound too good to be true, but that's the reality of the situation. You can submit your documentary to be featured on CBC Gem, CBC Short Docs, and occasionally they will pick the Crème de la crème for national TV. 

You can find more information about the Submission process online below. 

Canada Media Fund (CMF)

The CMF helps to foster, promote, develop, and finance the production of Canadian content for audiovisual media platforms. What's unique about the CMF is that they not only receive government funding, but also are partially financed by Canada's major cable, satellite, and IPTV providers (i.e. Rogers, Bell, and Telus).  Between 2019 and 2020, the CMF is committing $353 Million to help film projects. That's a lot of finances that can bring a project to life! 

So there you have it, a list of resources available and waiting to be tapped into. What are you waiting for? Go out there and create that film project you've been waiting on. 

Listen in to Radio Western on 94.9FM as we follow the engagement and growth of Canadian success stories from musicians, podcasts, live sessions, sports and much more. 
Make sure to keep in touch with Forest City Film Festival as they have just announced the event running Oct. 21 to 25 in 2020. They will be announcing their year round program shortly. 
Connect with the author Alex Leonard on his website for AL Media to find out how he can help you with your application and business growth to creating original media content. Alex specializes in video production, mural painting, presenting, graphic design, and research.