2015 was an exciting year with continuing developments in the production, distribution, and consumption of programming on many platforms. The Bell Fund assisted Canada’s production industry with funding for 48 English and 15 French independent production companies whose programs were carried on 25 English and 15 French broadcast channels. We are proud to support a diverse array of producers and broadcasters and always seek opportunities to create new partnerships.
The digital age offers an exciting, transformative time in history. We have the opportunity to embrace an era of disruptive technology, to focus on innovation that will shape exciting new interactive experiences, and to embrace new opportunities that will define our future.
During this period of change, the Bell Fund remains committed to delivering excellence through our strategic partnerships with Canada’s innovators in digital media and television cross-platform content. We are dedicated to the development and production of excellent content by providing funding to the best and brightest in the industry, encouraging risk-taking and excellence, and driving the nation’s creative economy.
We were heartened to see so many new projects on our slate in 2015. The past year offered investment in 168 new projects, totalling $16,383,579 in projects from Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Alberta. These new projects join the more than 1,700 other Bell Fund projects that have been supported by a total of $167M since the Fund’s inception in 1997.
We are strengthening Canada’s screen industries through our partnerships. It’s increasingly important for the Bell Fund to provide grants for research and knowledge sharing. Last year, we supported 30 organizations to give voice to new forms of storytelling, and share insights on emerging technologies, audience engagement and the ever-changing business model.
We support events at festivals and conferences. We also look beyond our borders to celebrate Canadian talent by providing financial support for Canadian activities at international events.
Bell Fund is driven by quality, innovation and excellence. We continue to carve out promising paths for emerging talent, business, and technologies. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our support of virtual reality (VR), 360 video and augmented reality (AR) where we proudly approved 10 projects in 2015. We are well positioned to cultivate this exciting new frontier. The possibilities are endless. VR has the potential to enhance our understanding of our world by recreating experiences like visiting the Bornean jungle and its indigenous people, taking centre stage in a whodunit murder-mystery, or even going hands-on with DIY renovations. 2016 is shaping up to be the year of VR
We look forward to hearing the results of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) review of its Let’s Talk TV proceeding that called for a review of all Certified Independent Production Funds with the ultimate goal of seeking greater flexibility in programming funding. The Bell Fund was pleased to tell its story to the CRTC. We were humbled by the thoughtful, positive and candid feedback from our many partners. Canada-wide associations, guilds, broadcasters and independent producers all weighed in and their resounding response will help to create a more robust sector and help us to create the best possible content for Canadians and the world.
Bell Fund activities are made possible by annual contributions from Bell TV (including Bell Aliant and Câblevision du Nord de Québec) and from the BCE/CTV Benefits.
Together, we can make continual improvements to the state of the industry and support a thriving digital media and television production ecosystem.