Skip to content

Lights, camera, funding for Yukon filmmakers

Yukon government announces new funding streams for filmmakers
Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News file)

An overhaul of Yukon government funding programs for screen productions in the territory will see more than $1 million available annually.

Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai announced the new funding on Jan. 10.

The new funding streams — a predevelopment fund, development fund, media production fund and training fund — replace the previous film location incentive, film training incentive, filmmakers fund, film development fund, and film production fund with the overall annual cash available increasing from $660,000 to $1.16 million.

The changes come after an extensive review of funding programs with Pillai describing the new funds as “more responsive” and adaptable to the current industry.

“The Yukon is full of excellent filmmakers, both new and established,” he said. “These new funds will provide them with the resources needed to take their work to new heights for the benefit of all Yukoners. I want to thank all of the industry stakeholders who provided input to guide these funds and I wish them all success on their next projects.”

Each of the new funding streams has criteria and a maximum amount of funds available for projects.

The predevelopment fund is available to Yukon producers to help develop ideas for professional film, television or digital media. Funding can be used to help attract broadcasting or distribution commitments for further development or production. Up to 75 per cent of eligible costs are available to a maximum of $15,000.

For those who already have a commitment for broadcast or distribution, the development fund is available. Those applying must demonstrate market demand in the form of a licence agreement or letter of interest. Up to 50 per cent of costs in a development budget are available to a maximum of $40,000.

Meanwhile, the media production fund is a rebate program for professional projects that have a minimum of three Yukoners in key positions. A licence agreement or letter of interest is also required to access this fund. A minimum rebate of 25 per cent of approved Yukon spending is available. It will increase if the production is Yukon owned or if additional Yukoners are in key positions with a maximum rebate of 40 per cent.

Finally on the training front, Yukon producers or technicians looking to develop their skills can receive funding for training in development, production, post-production, and marketing. A total of 75 per cent of approved cash expenses to a maximum of $10,000 is available. No more than 50 per cent of the total budget can go to travel costs.

Yukon non-profits can also take advantage of the fund to offer training programs to Yukoners that increase opportunities to work in the industry. A total of 75 per cent of approved expenses, to a maximum of $25,000, is available for non-profits providing training. As with individuals pursuing training under the fund, no more than 50 per cent can be for travel costs.

Andrew Connors, artistic director with the Yukon Film Society, said, in general, it is great to see an increase in funding as well as more of a focus on Yukon producers and encouraging Yukoners to take on major roles in projects. He did; however, also note a possible concern with the predevelopment fund in that it appears to access the fund, those looking to work on an idea must either be working with an established producer or incorporate their own business for the project.

“That’s a barrier,” he said, though he also acknowledged “the devil’s in the details” and he intends to look into it further to confirm that may the case.

Speaking as the owner of Jackleg Productions, he said he’s pleased to see an increase in the available funds as well as the percentage amounts that are covered.

Dan Solkolowski, who produces the Dawson City International Short Film Festival, said he is also pleased to see the increased funding amounts, but also cited concern around the difficulty newer filmmakers or those not connected with a broadcaster may having in accessing some of the funding.

He noted the film festival currently accesses education funding through government programs, which have been an important part of training initiatives at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City.

The new funding streams are welcome news for the Screen Production Yukon Association (SPYA), with officials from that group noting it will shift more support to Yukon productions and hiring of Yukon crews.

“With supportive programs and more available funding, producers will be able to develop more projects, attract more buyers and partners, and put more Yukon creators and crews to work,” SPYA president Teresa Earle said in a statement.

She pointed out that along with a more modernized, Yukon-focused funding program, the additional funds show the Yukon government sees the value in the industry.

Information sessions for each of the funds will get underway Jan. 18, continuing to Jan. 28 with intake applications beginning March 18 for the media production fund, April 19 for the development fund, May 2 for the predevelopment fund, and May 16 for the training fund.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
Read more