Advance Your Career as a Film Producer

If you’re an Indigenous digital film producer and want to take your career to the next level, then gaining a thorough understanding of the business affairs aspects of filmmaking is a must.

The FILM Business Affairs (FILMBA) training program is designed to develop the management skills of mid-career Indigenous producers who own their own film production company. Its focus is on demystifying the business side of film production and will cover a range of essential areas: from funding models, contract negotiation and financial management to production proposals, intellectual property law and distribution.

Representing a bridge between the classroom and the film industry, the program is designed to broaden opportunities for Indigenous-led film production companies to make an impact on the digital, creative and cultural sectors of Western Canada.

Camera operated by indigenous people conducting interview

Program Overview

The program offers twenty sponsored seats and will be delivered entirely online. It consists of eleven two-day workshops that take place over two terms. The summer term runs from May 15 to June 27 (four workshops), and the fall term runs from Sept. 11 to Dec. 5 (seven workshops).

Workshops will take place on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). There will also be mentorship sessions between workshops (up to four hours per participant).

  • Days 1 & 2
    Workshop 1 Orientation and Research
  • Days 3 & 4
    Workshop 2
    Business Planning
  • Days 5 & 6
    Workshop 3
  • Days 7 & 8
    Workshop 4
    Negotiation and Contracts
  • Days 9 & 10
    Workshop 5
    Legal and Insurance Issues
  • Days 11 & 12
    Workshop 6
    Conventional Financing
  • Days 13 & 14
    Workshop 7
    Disruptive Financing Models
  • Days 15 & 16
    Workshop 8
    Networking Strategies
  • Days 17 & 18
    Workshop 9
    Marketing and Distribution
  • Days 19 & 20
    Workshop 10
    Digital Distribution
  • Days 21 & 22
    Workshop 11
    Authenticity and True Cultural Value

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the program, you will be able to:

  1. Describe core production workflows relating to human resources, production resources, unions and guilds, and accounting
  2. Prepare industry standard production budgets for million plus budgets
  3. Determine the legal risks and responsibilities of various business structures and the industry necessity for incorporation as a preferred structure
  4. Develop and negotiate the necessary industry agreements to develop, produce and distribute projects
  5. Distinguish the varied approaches involved in developing, producing and distributing projects for film, television and new media
  6. Apply market analysis to identify the appropriate markets and distribution channels for your own projects
  7. Develop a five-year plan for your professional development and career goals

Film reel, clapper board ontop of a laptop

Details at a Glance

  • Open to mid-career Indigenous film producers who own an established film production company (company must have been in operation for at least one year).
  • Tuition is free for all participants accepted into the program.
  • Delivered entirely online.
  • Duration: Eleven two-day workshops that take place on weekends over two terms. The summer term runs from May 15 to June 27 (4 workshops), and the fall term runs from Sept 11 to Dec 5 (7 workshops).
  • Led by film industry professionals.

Eligibility Requirements

The program specifically seeks Indigenous producers who have demonstrated management experience in producing. To apply, you must:

  • Have Indigenous ancestry.
  • Own an established film production company that has been in operation for at least one year.
  • Have a minimum two years' film training from a recognized film studies program or equivalent.
  • Have been out of film school for at least two years.
  • Have produced at least two short films in which you managed a budget of at least $10,000.
  • Have produced at least one film that was 75 minutes or longer as an independent producer.
  • Have qualified for development funds from a recognized source like federal or provincial Arts Council, TELUS Storyhive, APTN, CBC shorts, ISO Development Funds, Telefilm Talent Development funds or verifiable private funds.
  • Come to the program with a project you wish to develop.
  • Sign a commitment contract with the FILMBA program, which requires that you commit to attend all workshops and mentorship sessions as well as complete all exercises.
  • Sign a media release form so that we may film/record/photograph you during the workshops and use the footage for promotional purposes (e.g., testimonials).

Technical Requirements

  • Competent with basic software, including Office, Excel, PowerPoint and online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Blue Jeans, etc.
  • Have access to a computer with a high-speed internet connection, equipped with camera and microphone.

Indigenous people filming and acting in a scene


Application is a two-step process. The application deadline has been extended to May 14, 2021.

  1. To apply, you must first complete and submit this online application form.
  2. In addition to the application form, you will need to submit the supplementary documents listed below by attaching them as pdfs to an email. Send the email to: with ‘FILM SUPP DOCS’ in the header. Remember to include your name in the body of the email.

Supplementary documents required to complete application:

  • Proof of ancestry (copy of Indigenous or Metis status card or, if you don't have a card, fill out the proof of Indigenous Ancestry Lineage Declaration Form).
  • Resume
  • Reference letter from a funder, festival organizer or producer-mentor highlighting your experience as a producer
  • Synopsis of the project (e.g., feature film, web series, TV series case study production) you plan to use in the program. Please also include a brief paragraph stating the length of the production and stage of development (e.g., Does it have funding? Is the script complete? What are the goals for the production?)

Online form and supplementary documents must be submitted no later than May 14, 2021.

Successful applicants to the program will be informed by email starting from April 26, 2021.

More Information

If you have any inquiries please contact

FILMBA horizontal logo

Instructors & Advisors

The instructors and advisors for the program are all industry professionals with proven expertise and years of experience working in essential areas of film, from producing, fundraising and negotiation to marketing, distribution and more.

Meet the instructors and advisors.

Fees & Sponsorship

We would like to thank our generous sponsors for their support:

FILMBA Sponsors - Indigenous Screen Office, TD Bank, Story Hive, Western Economic Diversification Canada