Funding decisions for the Short-Form Digital Series and TV Selective Programs (April 3, 2023 Round)
Bell Fund approves funding of $4.4 million for 11 short-form digital series and 10 TV series.
Montreal and Toronto, July 10, 2023 — The Board of Directors of the Bell Fund has announced its decisions for the latest round of the Short-Form Digital Series Program and the TV Selective Program. Bell Fund has committed over $2 million to the production of 11 short-form series (6 English and 5 French) — including $1.5 million for production and half a million for audience development — and $2.4 million to support the production of 10 TV series (5 English and 5 French). Among the six English-language digital series is Northern Tales. Produced by Yukon-based Shot in the Dark Productions, this children’sseries uses puppets to explore how animals in the Boreal Forest interact witheach other, their environment, northern people and the wider world. This is Bell Fund’s first short-form series with Northwestel Community TV as a distribution platform.
Also in the Children’s and Youth genre is Shaftesbury’s Macy Murdoch, which is set to return to CBC Gem with a second season of time travel, adventures and a new murder for Macy, Billie and Zane to solve.
OUTtv has licensed two scripted series this round. Well Versed (Border2Border Entertainment) follows Mason Flynn, an expert on queer romance and a matchmaker who seems to know it all when it comes to love ... except the answer to why he can't keep a boyfriend. Two Brothers follows the struggles of a set of fraternal twins faced with heartache, death, racism,and homophobia as they try to turn the small town of Severn Bridge into their new home. The series is produced by Meikle Productions, a new applicant to the Fund. Non-fiction includes the heartwarming Finding Diamonds by Farpoint Films from Manitoba — the series follows Ian Bawa and his dog Diamond as they travel across the country to share stories about how pets have helped Canadians overcome tragedy and trauma — and Every Body Curious by Louise Pollard —a fun, illuminating series exploring sex, sexuality and healthy relationships. English TV series season renewals lead the way this round of the TV Selective Program with the fourth season of Drag Heals (from Border2Border Entertainment for OUTtv), and third seasons of Mysteries From Above (from Saloon Media for Blue Ant Media’s Cottage Life) and Gespe'gewa'gi: The Last Land (from Rezolution Pictures for APTN). This speaks to the appeal of stories that range from intimate views at drag artists creating live audience performances to mysteries investigated from the vantage point of drones to the world of Mi’kmaq fisheries in connection to their people, traditions and homeland. Rounding up the English TV series are Allegiance (Lark Productions) and One More Time (Counterfeit Pictures), both set to launch on CBC.
The Fund remains committed to supporting Black, Indigenous, Racialized and underrepresented communities, enabling all producer/creators, emerging and established, to tell their original stories. This commitment is reflected not only in Bell Fund’s financial support for the production and development of audiovisual content by underrepresented voices, but also in the Fund’s collaboration with and sponsorship of organizations and activities that foster equity, diversity and inclusion in the screen-based industries across Canada. This year’s supported initiatives include the ACCT’s Anti-Racism Training, the BSO-Rogers Script Development Program, the Disability Screen Office’s Best Practice Guide for Disability Engagement in the Screen-Based Industries, the DOC Atlantic Breakthrough Program, Fondation Fabienne Colas’ Black Markets, the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the National Screen Institute’s Access BIPOC Producers Program, Reelworld’s Film Festival and Emerging 20 Program, and Whistler Film Festival’s Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship.
The full list of English and French series that received funding under the latest round of the Short-Form Digital Series and TV Selective Programs is available at www.bellfund.ca.