GNWT releases new film strategy, pilot program for producers

The rock creature from Elijah and the Rock Creature, in full make up, attended Whistler Film Festival in December 2018
Two characters from Elijah and the Rock Creature, an NWT-based feature film released in 2018. Photo: Elijah and the Rock Creature

The territorial government has released a strategy for the NWT’s film and media sector intended bolster an industry the GNWT says “is now positioned to grow.”

The Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment announced the strategy – titled Rolling, Action! The Next Five Years – on Tuesday. It continues the work of the first one, released in 2015.

The document was developed using feedback from public engagement sessions held last year by the department and the NWT Film Commission, the territorial government said.

The strategy includes 15 action items to be implemented between 2021 to 2026 in three areas: improving government programs that support the sector, promoting NWT film and media, and developing industry capacity within the territory.  



According to the department, the NWT’s film and media sector contributes $9.27 million to the NWT’s GDP and $15.5 million to the territory’s economic output, as well as 58 jobs.

Alongside the economic benefits, the strategy said film and media had social and cultural importance to the territory.

“Showcasing the NWT, with its diversity of people, stories and landscapes, the NWT film and media sector builds community, promotes identity and inspires and encourages creativity and collaboration among a diverse set of sector stakeholders, including Indigenous groups, governments, industry organizations and southern producers,” it reads.

“In the sharing of its stories, culture and language, it provides opportunities to connect residents and communities to northern traditional knowledge.”



New program for northern producers

The GNWT also unveiled a program aimed at supporting producers in the territory.

The Producers Incentive Pilot Program was one of 10 recommendations identified during public engagement sessions, the territorial government said.

Those interested can apply for up to $10,000 to help with pre-development expenses such as screenwriting, acquiring rights to materials, or travel and project research. Another $25,000 is available to help cover development costs such as location scouting and creation of a marketing or budgeting plan.

The program is open to NWT businesses or residents who have experience in the media production field. Applicants must be able to prove they have either completed a “professional project shown by a recognized broadcaster or distributor” or a project that has received funding from a “market relevant source,” such as Telefilm and the Canada Media Fund.

There is no deadline to apply. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.