Diverse Languages Program
The Diverse Languages Program is designed to support independent production in languages that reflect the diversity of Canadians by funding projects in languages other than English, French, or Aboriginal languages. This program is part of the Canada Media Fund’s (CMF) Convergent Stream; thus, projects funded through this stream must include content to be produced for distribution on at least two platforms, one of which must be television and the other, digital media. Funding from this program is allocated according to a selective process using an evaluation grid.
The Diverse Languages Program committed $3.0M to 11 convergent projects in Spanish, Mandarin, Farsi, Italian, Russian, and Punjabi, spending the total amount budgeted for the program. The program supported 10 projects in previous years. Production activity triggered by this program totaled $6.7M. 2015-2016 saw total budgets of $10.0M, however, that year was unique due to a big-budget drama. CMF’s share of convergent project financing was at 44.8% in 2016-2017. A total of 49.5% of funding went toward five Spanish-language productions. Three Mandarin-language projects received 17.9% of funding. 42.2% of funding went to Documentary, while 29.9% went to Children’s & Youth and 27.9% went to Drama projects. All of the projects were complemented with digital media components receiving a total of $994K or a 33.1% share of total Diverse Languages Program funding, the highest level of the CMF Convergent Stream.
Broadcasters and CMF provided similar shares of financing to diverse language television projects at 42.2% and 44.5% respectively. The CMF contributed 72.8% of digital media financing and broadcasters paid a 25.7% share. Diverse Languages Program projects received an additional $600K in funding from the Performance Envelope Program. The other significant source of television financing was provincial tax credits.