CBC Breaking Barriers Film Fund - Frequently Asked Questions:


The director of my submitted film had a film in a recognized festival, but isn’t in one of the underrepresented groups listed on the application (but the writer is eligible.) Is that ok?

No. The fund was created to support films with a writer and director who:

1) are both from one of the enumerated underrepresented groups; and

2) have had a prior feature in a recognized festival (as a writer or director, ie. a prior producer credit will not count).


Really? Do you not make any exceptions?

At its discretion, CBC may make exceptions for writers and/or directors with comparable experience in television who do not have feature film experience.

CBC may, very occasionally, make an exception for the writer. As long as the director fits all the criteria, we will consider projects from writers who do not. In these rare cases, priority will be given to projects in which diversity is prominent both on and off screen.


How do you define a feature length film?

70 minutes or longer. It can be either a narrative feature or a documentary.

Neither the writer nor the director of my film has had a film in a recognized festival, but the producer has (and the producer is from one of the listed underrepresented groups). Does my film qualify?

No. This fund has been created to support writers and directors from the enumerated groups who have had a prior feature in a recognized festival. Having a producer who has had a prior film in a festival doesn’t qualify the film for this fund.


I had a prior feature film in a festival but it was in the documentary genre. Do I qualify if my current project is scripted?

Yes! You qualify. So long as your prior film is feature length and was in a recognized festival. The fact that your prior film was a documentary does not matter - so long as the project you are submitting to Breaking Barriers Film Fund is a narrative feature film, not a documentary.


Why does the filmmaker have to have had a film in a recognized festival? You’re shutting out the very groups you say you want to support.

BBFF is not an entry level film fund. Instead it is aimed at supporting creators who already have some experience and recognition. There seems to be little or no targeted funding for creators in this stage of their careers. First time filmmakers are encouraged to investigate other sources of funding set out in our list of funding and production resources at the bottom of these FAQs.  


Which film festivals do you recognize?

International Film Festivals: Annecy Animation Festival, Berlin, Busan, Cairo, Cartagena, Cannes, IDFA, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Mar del Plata, Marrakesh, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Palm Springs, Rio, Rotterdam, San Sebastian, Shanghai, Stockholm, Sundance, Sydney, SXSW, Telluride, Toronto, Venice. *  

Canadian Film Festivals: Black Film Festival Montreal, Fantasia, Female Eye, Hot Docs, imagineNative, Nouveau Cinema, Ottawa Animation Film Festival, ReelAbilities, Reel Asian, ReelWorld, St. John’s Women's Film Festival, Vancouver, Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. *

* Note: We occasionally make exceptions for other significant festivals on a case by case basis.

My film is animated. Is that ok?

Yes! That is ok. Animated films in any scripted genre (drama, comedy, childrens’ & youth) are eligible. Only films in the documentary/unscripted genre are excluded.

Why isn’t LGBT listed as one of the eligible groups?

At the current time, this fund is open to writers and/or directors from the underrepresented groups outlined in the guidelines. If any of the eligibility criteria are to change, the website’s guidelines will reflect the most up-to-date information.


I already shot my film and I just need finishing funds. Can I receive finishing funds?

No. The focus of this fund is to help launch projects which are not already in production. So if your film is already shot, it is not eligible.


Are there any limits on subject matter or potential audience rating when applying for this CBC fund? The film features sexuality / drug use / violence.

No. That being said, the film's suitability for television audiences will be one of the factors that is taken into consideration when the project is reviewed.   




Is there a limit on the number of projects that can be submitted by the same person or company?

There is no limit.


I previously submitted my script for consideration at CBC and never heard back. Do I have to reapply if I want it to be considered for funding under this new fund?

Yes, please resubmit any films you would like to be considered, even if they have been previously rejected by CBC. Projects submitted for this program will be evaluated through a different lens, with funding coming from a different pot of funding.


I’ve submitted my application. When will I hear if my project will be selected for funding?

Upon receipt of the application, it will take about four weeks to fully assess all materials. If you have not heard from us within four weeks of the date you filed your application, please feel free to get in touch by sending us an email to breakingbarriers@cbc.ca.


I don’t really have a project that fits your criteria right now but is there someone I can talk to about funding?

We welcome you to submit your questions by email to breakingbarriers@cbc.ca (as well as by reading these FAQs, including consulting the list of funding and production resources at the bottom).


How can I strengthen my application?

1)         Submit a great original script, with no typos!

2)     Indicate key creative attachments (key crew, lead cast).

3)     Show market interest (other funders, International sales agent, distributor, private investors)

4)         Include a “Look Book” or Director’s Vision that clearly lays out the film’s intended tone and style.



Does the fund support official treaty co-productions? If so, is the 10% or 20% contribution calculated on the global budget or on the Canadian side budget?

Yes! The fund does support official treaty co-productions, as long as they are majority Canadian Co-pros, and either the writer or director is Canadian and fits the BBFF criteria. CBC’s 10% or 20% contribution would be based on the Canadian portion of the budget (consistent with Telefilm's approach).


I don’t have a distributor lined up yet and I don’t want to promise to give CBC rights that my future distributor or other funders might have issues with. I’d rather apply for 20%, but given this uncertainty, I’m not sure if I should be applying for 10% or 20% of the budget.

If there is a chance you will be in a position to offer CBC the rights outlined in the 20% model, feel free to apply for 20%. If your project is selected for funding, we will work with you and your other funders to determine whether the rights offered to CBC at that time fit better into the 20% or 10% model. Please note: Ultimately CBC will decide if we come in at 10% or 20%.


When you say “capped at” $1M or $500K, do you mean the production budget is capped or that CBC’s contribution is capped?

The cap refers to CBC’s contribution. The cap is set at 10% or 20% based on a maximum bottom line of $5,000,000. Films with larger budgets can apply to the fund but, in such case, CBC’s contribution would be maxed out at $500K (if 10%) or $1M (if 20%).


Will CBC be providing a contribution from its CMF envelope as part of the deal?

The contribution is a cash contribution fixed at 10% or 20% of the film's budget. There is no CMF contribution contemplated.


Will CBC pay to have my script polished if the project is approved?

The fund is a production fund intended to move projects directly into production, so CBC will not provide development funding. However, CBC will pay a portion of its contribution on signature of the long form agreement, subject to confirmation of financing and other standard paperwork. Depending on timing, it is possible that these funds may be used towards pre-production expenses including polishing of creative materials.


For information on the various funding bodies and resources available to independent producers in Canada, please follow the links below:

Federal Funding Agencies

Canada Council for the Arts

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

Canada Media Fund

National Film Board of Canada

Telefilm Canada


Provincial Funding Agencies 

Creative BC

Alberta Film

Manitoba Film & Music

Creative Saskatchewan

New Brunswick Film

Newfoundland & Labrador Film Development Corporation (NLFDC)

Film Nova Scotia

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)

Prince Edward Island Film

SODEC (Quebec)

Toronto Arts Council

FIDEC (Quebec Entertainment Investment, Limited Partnership)

Nunavut Film Development Corporation

Yukon Film & Sound Commission


Private Funding

Bell Fund

Harold Greenberg Fund

Shaw Media - Hot Docs Funds

Cogeco Fund

The Rogers Group of Funds

Shaw Rocket Fund