Directing & Co-Producing

You can direct a documentary, animation or interactive/immersive project with us as either a 100% NFB production or within a national or international co-production.

Before reaching out to one of our studios with a project submission, we encourage you to explore the NFB Production section to familiarize yourself with our public- sector programming vision and mandate and the unique profile of our four production sectors.

And please explore the Projects section to familiarize yourself with our current slate and the kinds of projects that fit our frame.

MODELS FOR WORKING WITH THE NFB 

1 – 100% NFB 

You are the director/creator and the NFB is the sole producer on the project. These projects are produced, financed and administered entirely by the NFB.  Project ideas are sometimes initiated internally. Most frequently the idea is brought to us by a director/creator. The NFB retains 100% of the copyright and also holds the distribution rights to the completed project. As a public distributor with a significant audio-visual collection, the NFB ensures the continued visibility and accessibility of these productions for generations to come.

2 – National Co-productions

These productions are produced in partnership with independent Canadian production companies. The NFB is usually involved as a minority co-producer. NFB distribution rights are subject to negotiation based on strategy/goals for the production. The NFB retains copyright in the project equivalent to its production equity stake.

3 – International Co-productions

Generally, these productions involve an independent Canadian production company, an international production company and the NFB (as a minority co-producer). NFB distribution rights are subject to negotiation based on strategy/goals for the production. The NFB retains copyright in the project equivalent to its production equity stake.

Basic Co-production Terms

In general, the NFB’s financial participation will not exceed 49% of the production budget.

The independent producer and NFB producer share decision-making regarding key partners, artistic elements, stakeholders, financing and budget.

Both partners agree on the human and post-production resources to be provided by the NFB, as well as the marketing strategy.

Division of the copyright is established pro rata among the partners according to the contribution of each to the co-production, with the NFB retaining an undivided copyright interest in the production in the same proportion as the NFB’s financial participation in the co-production.

Each partner recoups its investment according to the recoupment schedule, pari passu and pro rata to their financial participation in the co-production, according priority to private investors.

ELIGIBILITY

Anyone who is a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant is eligible to direct a project with us.  Citizenry/residency requirements on international co-productions follow the spirit of the various international coproduction and co-venture agreements established by Telefilm Canada.

If you are currently directing a project at the NFB, you are not eligible to start a new project at the NFB before that project is completed.

PROJECT SUBMISSION PROCESS AND CRITERIA

We accept proposals throughout the year.  Proposals should be submitted by e-mail or regular mail to the contact in the studio nearest you.

We typically get involved in projects at early stages.

General programming criteria:

  • Creative and narrative excellence;
  • Director’s vision;
  • Originality/inventiveness of approach and perspective;
  • A clear understanding of the core audience the project is being made for, how they can be reached and how that relates to choices around form and platform;
  • Social and cultural relevance/resonance;
  • A thoughtful approach to ethics and representation (both on and off screen);
  • Viability – financial, access, approach, etc.

Other considerations we look at to ensure overall programming slate balance:

  • Genre (animation, documentary);
  • Linear vs. immersive/interactive;
  • Subject/theme;
  • Director’s experience level (emerging, mid-career, experienced);
  • Gender equity;
  • Ensuring equitable representation of directors/creators from underrepresented groups;
  • Province/territory/region.

Our resources are modest. Unfortunately we can’t produce or co-produce every good project that gets presented to us, but we continually strive to nourish a creative climate that allows such work to flourish.

WHAT TO SUBMIT

For directors (100% NFB productions)

  • Project synopsis (8 lines max).
  • Overview (1–3 pages) of the story, creative treatment and your point of view. Why do you want to tell this story? What perspective are you bringing to it?
  • An overview of the intended audience: Who are they, where are they most likely to see this work, and why is it relevant to them?
  • Your CV (including a list of previous projects) and samples of or links to previous work.
  • In the case of animation, an art portfolio including sketches of representative artwork.
  • Key project details (anticipated duration, format, genre, platform, etc.) and stage (investigate, development or production).

For co-producers (national and international)

  • Basic information on the production company and brief CVs of the director/creator and key partners already involved or envisaged.
  • Project synopsis (8 lines max).
  • Overview (1–3 pages) of the story, creative treatment and the director/creator’s point of view. Why does the director/creator want to tell this story? What perspective are they bringing to it?
  • In the case of animation, an art portfolio including sketches of representative artwork.
  • An overview of the intended audience: Who are they, where are they most likely to see this work, and why is it relevant to them?
  • Development budget, financing (confirmed and anticipated) and chain of title documentation.
  • Key project details (anticipated duration, format, genre, platform, etc.) and stage (investigate, development or production).

Indigenous projects

We are accepting projects on Indigenous stories and subject matter only if they are directed by Indigenous creators.

STUDIO CONTACT INFORMATION

Send your proposal to the contact in the studio nearest you. Proposals are reviewed by studio teams on a regular basis. If there is interest in your project, we will reach out to you for further discussion. We will get back to you, either way, within 6–8 weeks. If you don’t hear back from us in this timeframe, please feel free to give the studio a nudge.