About the Canadian Independent Screen Fund (CISF) for Black and People of Colour (BPOC) creators.

In 2020, the CISF for BPOC Creators was born out of the former Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund (CIFVF). In 2020, the Board made a historic decision to rebrand the organization, retaining its primary mandate, but positioning the fund to support BPOC filmmakers.    

The board and advisory of the CISF is comprised of key leaders from BIPOC TV & Film, Being Black in Halifax, Black Screen Office, Creatives Empowered, Independent Media Producers Association of Creative Talent (IMPACT), the National Screen Institute (NSI), Racial Equity Media Collective(REMC), Reelworld Screen Institute, Vancouver Asian Film Festival and independent producers from across Canada. The Indigenous Screen Office participated in the consultation process and is in full solidarity with the intent and direction of this fund. 

The CISF board believes that it is important to create a fund that speaks directly to those it aims to support. Film and media producers know when a program is made for them, and when it resonates with their needs. The various groups who have been on the frontlines of advocacy for change have all come together to join the board and to reimagine this fund because we believe strongly that we need a fund that is independently juried and independently managed. 

We combine the history and continuity of the CIFVF with a very strong connection mandate of equity and representation. Our wide community reach ensures not only a larger pool of diverse projects from the regions but also gives us access to a pool of jurors.

History of the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund

The CIFVF was a dynamic, not-for-profit charitable organization that financially supported the development and production of media projects created by Canadian independent producers.  It provided a unique funding model that met the needs of filmmakers who were not always served well by institutional models. The CIFVF provided critical, often first-in, funding to small and medium production companies who created employment in their communities, both large and small, and in all provinces and territories. 

Between 1991 – 2008, the CIFVF funded over 1,000 projects. Produced from all regions of Canada and in both official languages, Indigenous languages and third languages, many of these projects won awards both in Canada and internationally. It operated with a small, dedicated staff who professionally and efficiently organized 2 annual grant deadlines and provided personal support to client applicants. The CIFVF staff regularly received positive feedback on how encouraging and helpful the organization was in the application process. 

The CIFVF had an economic impact:

Board of Directors 2021

The Board Of Directors Of The Canadian Independent Screen Fund For BPOC Creators Are A Strong And Diverse Group Of Talent From Across Canada.

Sobaz Benjamin

Independent, Halifax

Kadon Douglas

BIPOC TV & Film, Toronto

Jennifer Holness

Black Screen Office, Toronto

Samantha Kaine

Independent Media Producers Association of Creative Talent (IMPACT), Montreal

Lalita Krishna

Independent, Toronto

Barbara Lee

Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Vancouver

Joy Loewen

National Screen Institute, Winnipeg

Tony Merzetti

Independent, Fredericton

Erica Meus-Saunders

Independent, Halifax

Shivani Saini

Creatives Empowered (CE), Alberta

Sarah Spring

Independent, Montreal

Mahalia Verna

Independent, Montreal

Amar Wala

Racial Equity Media Collective, Toronto

Haydn Wazelle

Independent, Vancouver

Advisory Group

Larissa Christoforo

Coalition M.É.D.I.A, Montreal

Stefan Verna

Black on Black Films, Montreal

Emily Jane Williams

Reelworld Screen Institute, Toronto

Michelle Wong

Business Affairs Consultant Beans and Rice Inc., Calgary

Latest Press

Report tracks Asian representation
across Canada’s major broadcasters

“With the imminent influx of new funds to our sector from Bill C-11, the time is now for public support of a fund like CISF, which represents a milestone in decades-long and ongoing multi-generational efforts for racial justice in our sector. The report is spot on in connecting the fact that who is on screen not only reflects who is behind the camera, but is also an extension of our funding structures,” said Sally Lee, executive director of CISF, in a statement to Playback Daily.