Telefilm Partner Of Choice

Telefilm’s Talent To Watch 2023 is here!

Cineworks Independent Filmmaking Society is pleased to return as a designated industry partner. Filmmakers applying through the Industry Partner Stream have a chance to receive financing for their projects chosen among those recommended by designated industry partners. As such, Cineworks can nominate two creative teams: one in the Main component and one in the Indigenous component.

The maximum award through the Talent to Watch Program is $250,000 for fiction feature films and $150,000 for feature length documentaries. Emerging filmmakers can apply to the program through three different streams: the Industry Partner Stream, the Festival Selection Stream, and the Filmmaker Apply-Direct Stream (see Talent to Watch website for details).

The goal of the Talent to Watch Program is to support emerging Canadian filmmakers in the creation of their first feature film. Cineworks is proud of the diverse independent filmmaking talents within our membership from which past successful nominees have emerged, such as 2020’s team led by Jason Karman and Kristyn Stilling for their feature film, Golden Delicious, which had a successful world premiere at VIFW 2022.

In support of this goal, we’re excited to offer some workshops that are designed to assist members interested in making a submission. The first one will be an online expert panel co-hosted with our Victoria peers at CineVic on March 15th, at 7pm PST, which will have the participation of successful Talent to Watch recipients’ Jason Karman, Ana de Lara, and Arnold Lim. Here, they will share their experience with prospective entrants for the upcoming competition.


As part of the selection process, Cineworks will create an internal panel to review submissions for potential nomination as part of the Recommendation Stage. Our panel will select up to two projects recommend to Telefilm (one fiction film or theatrical documentary, and one Indigenous project).

In the Application Stage, if the project(s) that are recommended by Cineworks are selected by Telefilm to move forward, then the successful creative team will be required to incorporate a company that will be used to apply directly through the Telefilm Portal.

Key members of a submitted project (Director, Producer, Writer) must be current members of Cineworks, with the Director needing to hold a Production Membership.

All key members must be emerging talent. For an updated definition of what qualifies as emerging talent, please read the Telefilm Guidelines and Essential Information Guide.

Cineworks is committed to upholding the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. We strongly encourage submissions for Talent to Watch from peoples of underrepresented groups and those who have faced systemic barriers at institutions, including cis, trans, two-spirit and non-binary, and BIPOC.

We are pleased to provide support for your project in the form of an in-kind (free) contribution towards Cineworks equipment rental for member projects that are funded by Telefilm that go into production. As such, Cineworks members should include an estimated dollar amount of in-kind equipment rental value from Cineworks within both revenue and expense sections of your proposed budget. Please feel free to contact the Cineworks Facilities and Equipment Manager, Colin Williscroft (, to discuss the particulars of your equipment needs and budget. For projects selected by Telefilm to move forward to the Application Stage, Cineworks will confirm our in-kind contribution in a support letter.

Cineworks is accepting applications until 1 April 10th, 2023. In order to submit your application to Cineworks, send a single link to a folder on cloud storage containing all of the required items to before 11:59pm PT on Sunday, April 10th, 2023.

New this year: Applicants recommended by Cineworks must submit their own applications, along with Cineworks’ Letter of Recommendation, directly to Telefilm via the Dialogue portal by May 1st.

We know that there is a LOT of talent amongst our membership and the wider independent filmmaking community. We regret that we are only able to select a single candidate for each category (one fiction film or theatrical documentary, and one Indigenous project). Each year, we receive a lot of inspiring submissions but, sadly, it is only possible for us to choose one. Even if we aren’t able to select your project, we thank everyone in advance for their hard work and commitment to artistic practice in the realm of independent filmmaking.

Although we can only nominate two projects, we encourage our membership to submit their applications as we believe the experience garnered will be worth it. We have learned from a number of candidates that have been successful in the Talent to Watch competition, that they applied more than once and that the learning opportunity was extremely valuable.

We are really excited to receive and review applications from Cineworks members.

Don’t forget to make sure your membership application is up to date. You can contact Colin ( to update your membership.

Thank you and good luck.