Brass tacks: How HGF funded film in 2013-14

The film financier's annual report breaks down per-program funding, total projects and its portion of the benefits packages tied to 2013's Bell Media/Astral transaction.
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The Harold Greenberg Fund invested $2,413,670 across 102 English-language projects in 2013-2014, an increase of almost a million dollars over 2013-12, according to the fund’s annual report.

This year marked the first time the HGF could access financing from the Bell Media/Astral tangible benefits package, which accounted for $714,286 in financing in this year’s annual report. Harold Greenberg Fund is financed via a portion of revenues from The Movie Network, Bell Media via the tangible benefits and until this year, the Viewer’s Choice Canada channel.

The 2013-2014 report does not reflect the loss of VCC, which diverted 5% of its revenues to HFG and its equity investment program. The loss of revenue from VCC  is roughly equal to the tangible benefits money, which leaves the fund balanced in terms of budget, but unable to increase at the previously forecasted rate. As well, VCC represented an annual commitment, while benefits funds represent a one-time payment spread over seven years.

As previously reported, VCC’s declining revenue in recent years – and subsequent shut-down – had already sparked a change in strategy for the funder, which an HGF spokesperson says were underway before the tangible benefits monies were allocated.

However, in the boom year between – in which it received funds from VCC, Bell Media and the tangible benefits package –HGF invested almost a million dollars more than it did in 2012-2013.

It received a total of 367 applications in 2013-2014; of that amount 57 of the 219 applications submitted to the fund’s script development program received financing and 14 of the 30 projects in the story-optioning program were backed.

Twelve projects of the 29 submitted to the equity investment program received funding, while all 15 of the industry initiative program applicants received financing (including programs like the Director’s Guild Awards 2013 and the ImagiNATIVE Film Festival 2013). Finally, the HGF supported four projects of the 74 applications received for its shorts to features fund.

On the French-language side, the Fonds Harold Greenberg invested $2,858,598 across 52 projects in 2013-2014. The French language program received a total of 93 applications across its various funding programs last year, with 41% of the financing going towards the fund’s script development program. Twenty-one per cent of the financing went to the story optioning program, 19% went to the feature film equity program, 15% towards the polishing program, and 2% each to the TV production equity and format/conception programs.