The Aboriginal Program is designed to support Aboriginal-language independent production in Canada. This program is part of the Canada Media Fund’s (CMF) Convergent Stream; thus, projects funded through this program must include content to be produced for distribution on at least two platforms, one of which must be television and the other, digital media. Funding from this program was allocated according to a selective process, evaluated by a jury of Indigenous people.
2018-2019 saw commitments totaling $8.5M to development and production, due to an increase in the program budget. Commitments have increased each year after 2015-2016. 2017-2018 had a special allocation of extra funds to the Aboriginal Program. 14 convergent production projects were funded with $7.7M. Aboriginal-language production projects received $1.2M in additional CMF funding from the Performance Envelope and regional incentive programs, resulting in $8.9M in total for Aboriginal-language productions, leveraging $17.7M in production budgets.
Aboriginal projects came from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nunavut (with 4 projects), Ontario, and Québec. Funding support was predominantly for Documentary, at 72.0% received by ten convergent projects. Drama funding took an 18.3% share for two projects. Children’s & Youth projects received 9.7%. 10 television components had an accompanying Rich and Substantial digital media component in 2018-2019. 14 development projects were supported in 2018-2019 with $850K in funding.
In 2018-2019, APTN licensed 8 projects, Nunavut Independent Television Network (NITV) licensed three, APTN and CBC co-licensed one, APTN and NITV co-licensed one, and Hollywood Suite licensed one. A total of 77 television hours were funded. The average television production budget per hour was $229K, slightly less than last year at $232K per hour. Three projects had production budgets over $1.5M.
CMF funding provided 48.8% of television production budgets in 2018-2019, compared to 45.4% in 2017-2018. Broadcasters provided 15.5% of television budgets, a 3 percentage point drop from last year’s 18.4%. Budgets were supported by increased producer investment, up to 4.7% this year from 0.2% last year.