For those of you moving forward via the Writer Access Point of the Canada Media Fund (CMF) Early Stage Development program, we can now offer some guidance on completing the Writer’s Agreement as requested by Telefilm/CMF.
As a reminder, the Early Stage Development Program is a program of the CMF. As such, the CMF has full discretion in the administration of its programs and in the application of its guidelines. The following information is provided for your consideration and is to the best of the WGC’s knowledge. However, CMF applicants must ultimately be guided by communications from the CMF itself and/or the CMF’s administrator, Telefilm Canada, any independent legal or professional advice they may wish to obtain, and their own judgement as experienced screenwriters.
Writer Agreements in the Writer Access Point
The WGC understands that the CMF requires an applicant to be an incorporated entity — a “single-shareholder company” that, among other things, has you, the screenwriter, as the sole shareholder. We understand that the CMF will enter into a funding agreement with that company. We also understand that the CMF requires a writer agreement between that company and the writer(s) on the project. In previous communications, the WGC suggested that writer can use the IPA Standard WGC Writer’s Agreement for this purpose.
The Standard WGC Writer’s Agreement was created in the context of screenwriters contracting with producers, and contemplates the possibility of writer’s contracting via their loan-out company. The use of this template for the CMF may therefore cause some confusion, since the context of Writer Access Point funding is different than a traditional, writer- producer context.
As such, the WGC suggests that screenwriters using the IPA template for these purposes list the incorporated entity that they are applying to the CMF with as the “Producer” in the template. With respect to the writer/writer’s loan-out company field:
- If the applicant entity is also the writer’s loan-out company, we understand that the CMF will accept writers listing themselves as individuals on the agreement.
- Alternatively, we have seen writers who have created a separate corporation, as a “production company,” and who then used their loan-out company as per usual in the IPA template.
We hope this is of assistance. If you have further questions, we recommend that you contact the CMF Administrator | Telefilm Canada and/or seek professional independent legal advice.
As for deliverables for the program, we are currently working with the CMF and will communicate additional information asap.