Bell Fund spreads $2.74M over 15 projects, adds fourth deadline

Canadian money

The Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund has issued $2.74 million worth of grants and development money to 15 English- and French-language production companies, including Insight Productions, Nerd Corps Entertainment and Great Pacific Media.

A total of 15 TV, digital and development programs were green-lit for the October edition of this quarter’s cash injection, including John Brunton’s Toronto-based Insight Productions for Big Brother Canada Season 2, with Toronto’s Secret Location receiving a corresponding Digital Media production grant from the Bell Production Fund for a cross-platform venture that implements further fan involvement.

Insight also paired with the Canadian Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) to score production money towards the two-hour 2014 Juno Awards, held this year in Winnipeg, with Secret Location providing a Junos Tribute Project that involves an interactive element where fans will be able to contribute to a collaborative choir and celebrate the latest Canadian Hall Of Fame inductee.

Also on the music side, Antica Productions received funding for Open Source Concerts, a televised video concert series shot by fans. They also received some Bell cash towards an app that allows concertgoers to upload their footage and interact with others via social media at the same show.

Nerd Corps Entertainment, also based out of Toronto, and Vancouver’s Great Pacific Media were both awarded Production and Digital Media grants: Nerd Corps  for its 13-episode Endangered Species and corresponding digital media suite of web games, and Great Pacific for its 17-episode Discovery Channel hit Highway Thru Hell Season 3.

For French-language programming, Montreal’s Zone 3′s Mix 4 received both the Bell Production Fund and Digital Media grants.

The sole Bell Legacy Production Program beneficiary is The Big Comfy Corporation, producer of Treehouse TV’s The Big Comfy Couch. Qualifiers for this grant must have a successful broadcast track record  but are just beginning to dip their toes into the world of enhanced digital media.

TV Development Digital Pilot Program grants were forked over to Shaw’s Food Network/Paperny Entertainment’s Junk Foodies; CorusYTV/Heroic Television’s Space Bacon, Corus YTV/marblemedia’s Acting Up and BITE TV/ iThentic Canada’s Dad Drives.

Bell Fund’s Low Budget Production Program endowments were handed out to OUT TV/MKW Productions’ The Face Of Furry Creek – Season 2; Thunderbird Films’ Some Assembly Required; and SuperChannel/CineCoup Media’s WolfCop, all of which include digital platform enhancements, while the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television (ACCT) received Professional Development funding for the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards, which will be broadcast in March.

In related news, The Bell Fund Board has added a fourth annual deadline for interested applicants. The new early summer deadline of July 15 complements the previously existing Feb. 1, May 1 and Oct. 1 deadlines.

Bell TV injects $14.4 million annually into the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, with the Development Program additionally supplemented by the interest generated through a $10 million endowment from CTV-BCE Benefits and contributions from Aliant.