Celebrating 20 years, Bell Fund launches new program and direction

The Bell Fund is launching the first of four pilot programs as it celebrates its twentieth anniversary of investing in the Canadian media production industry.

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TORONTO and MONTRÉAL, Sept. 25, 2017 /CNW/ – The Bell Fund is launching the first of four pilot programs as it celebrates its twentieth anniversary of investing in the Canadian media production industry. The Fund’s first deadline will be November 13, 2017 for its Short-Form Digital Series for non-fiction which covers factual, lifestyle and documentary programming.

“Digital media has significantly transformed the production industry which is why the Bell Fund must continue adapting. Our new programs embrace this reality and will continue to move the industry forward,” said Bell Fund Chair Suzanne Guèvremont, who is also General Manager of Montreal’s NAD (School of Digital Arts, Animation and Design) and Vice Chair of SODEC. “Our 20th anniversary makes this a time to reflect on the great work we’ve invested in and to look forward as we address the  challenging times content creators are facing in a multi-platform world,” added Guèvremont. Since 1997 the Bell Fund has invested over $200 million in 2,000 projects.

The four new pilot programs were created in response to the CRTC’s update of the Policy Framework for Certified Independent Production Funds. To increase the variety of productions that are accessible to all Canadians in our multi-platform universe the Bell Fund is expanding its programming to include a variety of formats and platforms.

Funding content that attracts audiences everywhere
The Short-Form Digital Series Non-Fiction Program will provide a grant up to $150,000 for original documentaries, lifestyle and factual programming that have a maximum length of 15 minutes per episode and a minimum of six episodes. To be eligible a producer now has more platform options, including a CRTC licensed Canadian broadcaster-owned digital platform, hybrid VOD services and digital platforms accessible to Canadians.  “We want to invest in commercially successful content which will attract larger audiences everywhere, in Canada and around the world on broadcast and streaming platforms,” said Nancy Chapelle, Executive Director of the Bell Fund.

After the launch of the Short-Form Digital Series Non-Fiction Program in November the next deadlines are February 1, 2018 for its Development Programs (Slate Development, Webdocs Development) and May 7, 2018 for the second deadline of the Short-Form Digital Series, fiction (comedy, drama). The Bell Fund will continue to support TV series by committing a significant portion of its funding to the launch of a new program, also with the May 7 deadline. These new programs are based on input from extensive industry consultations conducted by the Bell Fund over the past eight months. The Fund will also continue to run its popular professional development program – details will be released later this year.

The Bell Fund is pleased to launch its first pilot program for producers who have always been at the forefront of creating innovative ways to tell reality-based stories. New guidelines and eligibility requirements for November’s Short-Form Digital Non-Fiction deadline are available on the Bell Fund website www.bellfund.ca. Please contact the Bell Fund directly for more information on any of the Fund’s new programs.

About the Bell Fund
The Bell Fund provides grants to Canadian media content makers who create and produce engaging content for audiences in Canada and around the world. Bell Fund investments support content development and production for broadcast and digital platforms that are accessible to all Canadians. For 20 years, since 1997, the Bell Fund has invested over $200 million in 2,000 Canadian digital media projects and television programs. The Bell Fund also supports training, research, professional development and promotion for the Canadian media production industry.

The Bell Fund receives annual contributions of approximately $17 million from Bell TV as part of its broadcast distribution undertaking (BDU) contributions to the industry. The Fund was also awarded a $10 million endowment from Bell TV which supports the Fund’s development programming. The Bell Fund is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, governed by an independent Board of Directors representing various sectors of the television and digital media industry.

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