Latest NewsIndigenous Screen Office to receive permanent funding

Indigenous Screen Office to receive permanent funding

Canadian Heritage has announced permanent funding to support the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) to the tune of $65 million over five years starting in 2024–25 and $13 million per year ongoing.

The department says the funding provides stability that will allow the ISO to develop long-term relationships with partners and sponsors, building on the work of the Online Streaming Act to support Indigenous storytelling and help audiences discover Indigenous programming in different languages.

In 2022–23, the ISO disbursed a total of $11.8 million to 191 recipients across 12 provinces and territories, including another $1.02 million in funding through strategic partnership programs.

Bones of Crows (Ayasew Ooskana Pictures)

Over the last six years, the independent, Indigenous-led organization has supported critically-acclaimed productions including Bones of Crows, the first Indigenous- and female-led miniseries and feature film about the residential school experience in North America; sci-fi feature film Night Raiders, and Crave and APTN co-production Little Bird, which heads into the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards with 19 nominations.

The ISO has established partnerships with Netflix, Google, the Sundance Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Last year, the organization staged the first Indigenous Screen Summit at Cannes and is also supporting the building of a film and production studio in Nunavut.

“Securing ongoing funding marks a major milestone for the ISO and the Indigenous storytellers we support, and provides us all with a stable foundation from which to grow,” said ISO CEO Kerry Swanson, in a release. “This is only the beginning for the ISO as we embark on the full expression of our mandate to build an Indigenous screen sector in Canada, and for Indigenous-made stories on screen to inspire audiences around the world.”

Canadian Heritage says ongoing funding for the program directly responds to the action plan of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

“The Indigenous Screen Office is changing lives and enabling Indigenous peoples to share their authentic stories at home and abroad,” said Canadian Heritage Min. Pascale St-Onge. “Making sure Indigenous communities have the means and the capacity to tell their stories is an essential part of our commitment to reconciliation. We fully support the ISO in making possible these creative works that are vital for a brighter future for Canada and Indigenous peoples.”

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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