Doc Impact Fund

Inspirit’s Doc Impact Fund supports social issue documentary film outreach and engagement campaigns that aim to build inclusion and pluralism in Canada and address issues of racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination.

In 2018 we are supporting up to four (4) Canadian documentary film campaigns that aim to raise awareness about pressing issues related to ethnic, racial, or religious discrimination in Canada, build understanding of underrepresented perspectives, and catalyze action to build inclusion. Special consideration will be given to Indigenous or Muslim-led projects that seek to advance reconciliation or address Islamophobia in Canada. Selected projects will be awarded $25,000.

This program is open to independent Canadian filmmakers and producers who have a recently completed film (short, feature or virtual reality/interactive), and aim to leverage their film to achieve a social change goal related to reconciliation, Islamophobia, or other forms of discrimination based on race, religion, or ethnicity.

Applicants should have a clear sense of how they will work towards the goal through campaign activities that may include research, community outreach, education, distribution, and audience engagement.

We strongly encourage applications from teams lead by Muslim, Indigenous, or racialized individuals with the appropriate lived and professional experience.


Inspirit will award $25,000 up to four (4) projects in 2018. Please read the guidelines below before applying.


Applications open: May 22, 2018

Applications deadline: June 29, 2018

Selections announced: August 2018


Canadian documentary film projects with impact campaigns that address issues of racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination. Special consideration will be given to projects that seek to further reconciliation or address Islamophobia in Canada. This requires:

  • Fully financed final or fine cut short (~15+ min), feature (~45+ min), or virtual reality/interactive documentary films produced 2017 or later;
  • A related social impact campaign strategy that includes:
    • Clearideas and realistic goals about potential social impact and key audiences;
    • A potential distribution plan, which may include theatrical or non-theatrical distribution and community or educational screenings;
    • An outreach and key audience engagement strategy that accounts for needed partnership development; or, if a strategy has not been developed, a clear description of your plan to develop a campaign;
  • A sense of how you intend to evaluate and communicate your project’s impact;
  • A feasible budget with respect to intended activities and goals;
  • A project schedule, with start and end dates. Please note, funds must be spent within 18 months of the project start date.


Funding is available for:

  • Registered Canadian non-profits, charitable organizations, or professional independent Canadian filmmaking or production companies;
  • Project activities that take place in Canada;
  • Eligible expenses include:
    • Personnel costs;
    • Strategy and planning development, including consultants;
    • Curriculum and educational tools, research, and development;
    • Evaluation costs;
    • Campaign associated travel;
    • Social media engagement, including website development;
    • Workshop / screening costs;
    • Non-theatrical distribution costs.


  • Production or post-production costs of films;
  • Films that are in rough cut form;
  • Broadcasters and broadcaster-affiliated production companies;
  • Ongoing TV series;
  • Distribution expenses that are not clearly tied to an impact campaign;
  • Activities that take place outside of Canada;
  • Companies or organizations based outside of Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by “impact campaigns”?

Inspirit is using “impact campaigns” to refer to the combination of distribution, outreach, audience engagement, and educational activities associated with documentary films intent on influencing social change.

With the term “impact” we are referring to “change”. This can mean change in attitude, knowledge, and ultimately, behaviour. Change can also happen on an individual level and/or an institutional level, such as shifts in policy.

What geographical scope of campaign are you looking for?

We will consider campaigns that are local, regional, or national in scope. A critical element in a proposal is a clear articulation of the issue, potential key audiences, and intended impact. This includes how it might be relevant on a local, regional, or national scale.

Do you fund film production?

No. The Doc Impact Fund cannot be used for production funding. Grants must be used for audience engagement and outreach activities.

Does my film have to be a certain length?

We are looking for films that have a high potential to support deep audience engagement.

We will consider short films (~15+ min.) and feature length films (45+ min.). Please remember a primary consideration is the strength of the social change campaign being developed around the film.

Do you fund films about environmental issues, criminal justice, or other social issues?

No, not if addressing racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination in Canada is not a primary focus. We recognize there are many important social, environmental, and political issues, and many films that address them in powerful ways. However, this funding is for films that directly address racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination and, in particular, reconciliation or Islamophobia. Films and applications that address these topics while exploring intersections with other identities–such as gender, sexuality, or disability–or other issues, such as criminal justice, will also be considered.

Will you accept fictional films or biopics that have a social message?

No. We are focused on documentary film for this pilot program. However, we recognize documentary is an evolving form and we will consider docu-fiction, docudrama, as well as formats such as VR and AR.

I have a virtual reality (VR) film that is a documentary – can I apply?

Yes. We will consider VR and interactive films if they meet the social impact criteria outlined above.

I have a feature-length TV episode I would like to use in an impact campaign. Can I apply?

Yes. However we do not support ongoing TV series. Also, please be aware of potential conflicts depending on the nature of any pre-existing broadcast distribution deals.

Can I use the grant to support festival travel?

Yes. Provided you can show how it is part of your impact campaign and it occurs in Canada.

Do we need to have additional funding secured for outreach?

No. But we will be assessing whether the project goals and activities are feasible with the total budget.

If your project is eligible for other sources of funding or support, we encourage you to seek, or show you have obtained, additional financial or in-kind support.

Can I submit more than one application?

No. We can only consider one initiative per applicant organization or group.

Does my organization need to be a registered charity to apply?

No. But you must be a registered Canadian business.

Inspirit will support projects that are partnerships between film projects and registered Canadian charities that are qualified donees with the Canada Revenue Agency. In this case, you may indicate the partner charitable organization on the application.