IFFSA Talent Fund’s initial focus is on short narrative films. As the initiative builds capacity, it will support feature length and digital media projects as well. Bright Lights is the pioneer project of the IFFSA Talent Fund.



Jul 31, 2023 


This program will support up to five South Asian Canadian short narrative film projects with assistance of up to $15000 each plus hands-on workshops and mentorship by acclaimed Canadian and International filmmakers. Films would be of 10 to 15 minutes in length. All the films will have their world premiere at IFFSA followed by a global festival run. The aim of this program is to build South Asian Canadian narrative through cinematic arts by supporting emerging South Asian Canadian talent in showcasing their creative visions and furthering their careers toward feature filmmaking. This is a yearly program.

The objective of the Bright Lights Program is to uncover untold stories within the South Asian Canadian community, with a focus on narratives conveying the specificity of the South Asian Canadian diasporic experience while incorporating themes of universal relatability.


The applicant must read the following criteria carefully before applying:
1. Two out of three creative team members (writer, director and producer) must be South Asian Canadian. The remaining cast and crew must also be predominantly South Asian Canadian. Projects with over 75% South Asian Canadian representation will be eligible for an extra $1000 in assistance.
2. All creative team, cast and crew members must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents. This condition can be reviewed on case to case basis.
3. The film must be between 10 to 15 minutes long, including the credits. This condition can be reviewed on case to case basis.
4. The film storyline must have a South Asian Canadian theme.
5. The creative team must not have had a main credit on a feature film in their discipline.
6. The creative team members may only be attached to one application, in a particular discipline, per deadline. 
7. Applicant must reside in Canada and the applicant company must be incorporated in Canada; applicants not incorporated at the time of applying are still eligible, but must incorporate if selected into the program.
8. Resubmissions from previous years are NOT allowed.

  1. This program will support up to five South Asian Canadian short narrative film projects with assistance of up to $15000 each plus hands-on workshops and mentorship.
  2. Drawdown schedule will be determined at the time of contracting, but best efforts will be made to provide most of the funding up front prior to production.
  3. We will favour projects that can be realized as close to the financing supplied. If the budget exceeds our financing, applicant must describe the alternative sources.
  4. The funding support must only be used towards the production budget of the film, and cannot be re-assigned for any other purpose.
  5. The filmmaker must submit a project close out report including an expense report of how the funds were used.
  6. Any un-utilized funds must be returned to IFFSA Talent Fund.
  7. Applicants must not have signed any pre-license broadcast agreements prior to acceptance of the grant.
  8. Applicant will share the distribution rights equally with IFFSA Talent Fund. All creative rights stay with the applicant. Get in touch for clarification.
  9. The completed film must include a full screen logo recognition of IFFSA Talent Fund in the opening and closing credits. Logos of Talent Fund supporters and partners also have to be recognized.
  10. Contractually, the project will be obliged to have it’s world premiere at IFFSA Toronto. This condition can be reviewed on case to case basis.

Applications must come through the IFFSA Talent Fund online portal system. All projects will be evaluated by a jury made up of members of acclaimed filmmakers. All decisions are final. Creative feedback or written reports for projects that have not received funding will not be provided.

The Initial Applicants will need to provide the following:

  1. Script synopsis of maximum 500 words
  2. One page director’s vision statement of the film which gives a sense of how he or she will approach the making of the film in terms of it’s composition, rhythm, the kind of performances he or she is looking for and how the various locations and the colour palette of the film will help in presenting the theme of the film. We would also be very interested to know how the director will use sound and music in the film.
  3. Examples of previous work from the director (share a link/url)
  4. Detailed resumes for the creative team
  5. Completion of the demographics self-reporting survey

The Program Finalists will need to provide the following:

  1. Shooting Script of maximum 15 pages
  2. List of cast and crew with detailed resume of the cinematographer, sound designer, editor, composer and brief bios for rest of the team
  3. Production Budget
  4. Production Plan
  5. Incorporation certificate of applicant company (applicants not incorporated at the time of application are still eligible, but must incorporate if selected into the program)
May 2023 – Program launch and application call out: Deadline: Jul 31, 2023
Aug 2023 – Jury review of all applications
Sep 2023 – Announcement of 10 finalists
Oct 2023 – Request for detailed proposals from the finalists
Nov 2023 – Jury review of the detailed proposals
Dec 2023 – Announcement of winners
Jan 2024 – Practical training and workshops
Feb 2024 – Film pre-production, shoot and post-production

Aug 2024 – World premiere of films at IFFSA Toronto 2024

Projects MUST go into production within one month of the final selection and MUST deliver their film within two months after that.


Apply via FilmFreeway