First Time Video

 ** APPLICATION DEADLINE: Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we have temporarily suspended our granting programs and submission deadlines until further notice. Until we re-open our submissions, we encourage all interested applicants to access our available online programs and support services. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment caused and look forward to supporting you as soon as we can. 

program guidelines

DARC’s, First Time Video grant is available to emerging filmmakers who are interested in creating their very first video projects. Granted artists will be provided the conceptual and technical support necessary to complete their first works. Successful applicants will receive:



  • A one-year producing membership at DARC;
  • Up to $1,200 in access to SAW Video equipment;
  • Up to 20 hours of conceptual and technical support;
  • An opportunity to present completed work at DARC’s annual OUTPUT screening;
  • Two mandatory introductory courses (production and post-production) and two mandatory elective courses (of filmmakers choice) from DARC’s educational opportunities.

Two grants are awarded annually to emerging filmmakers (as defined by the arts councils) who want to create a first video project. Artists must successfully complete their project within 12 months of acceptance. Proposed projects must be under 10 minutes in length.


  • The First Time Video grant is only available to individual, emerging filmmakers.
  • Collaborative projects are not permitted in this grant program.
  • As the majority of the support for the projects is provided in the form of equipment and facilities access, DARC grants are intended for residents of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.
  • Applicants do not need to be a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident of Canada in order to apply.
  • DARC actively promotes access for all artists, regardless of age, class, gender, sexual orientation, race or ability.
  • DARC supports projects that are produced in both French and English, however, there are some specific requirements when submitting an application in French (please see Other restrictions).

what types of projects
are eligible?

DARC supports independent, artistic work where the applying artist initiates and is the driving force behind the proposed project. The applicant must retain complete creative and editorial control over the work. (All grants are for video projects but can also include projects originating on film and transferred to video.) Priority is given to projects that are innovative in content, point of view, form, style, technique or process and that further the applicant’s development as an artist. Please note: Applicants may be students but may not be making student or training projects. Please see below for a list of project types that are eligible and ineligible for production funds at DARC.


  • Web-based video projects;
  • Single channel video projects.


  • Transmedia projects;
  • Media art installations;
  • Corporate projects;
  • Promotional projects;
  • Public service announcements;
  • Commercial television projects;
  • Movies-of-the-week and news reports
  • Instructional and or educational projects;
  • Projects using film or video simply as a tool to record or document existing artworks;
  • Projects commissioned by, made on contract for, or produced by, a government agency, non-profit organization, broadcaster or private company.

other restrictions

Applicants may submit only one application to each individual DARC grant.  For example an applicant may not submit two different applications for two separate projects to the First Time Video grant. Applicants may submit their applications in French or English. However, it should be noted that not all jurors selected will be French speaking and therefore may not be able to fully read applications submitted in French. It is recommended that applicants provide at least a synopsis in English.

How are the grants assessed?

For each grant, a team of jurors is selected. Jurors independently review grant applications and assess them based on the assessment criteria below. Afterwards, they meet to review the audio-visual support material. It is at this point that they discuss the applications and deliberate as a group. Applicants will find out whether or not their submission has been successful within 6 weeks of the grant deadline. All applicants will be contacted regardless of application success.

What are the jury's
decisions based on?

artistic merit

Artistic merit pertains both to the quality of the proposed project as articulated by the required application documents, and to the quality of the submitted audio-visual support material. Artistic merit is demonstrated by an applicant’s commitment to their own artistic development and the contribution or impact the proposed project will have on their medium and discipline.  Priority is given to proposals from applicants whose work demonstrates the development of their own unique artistic vision, voice or approach.


Applications are also assessed on feasibility. Feasibility is the ability for an applicant to see a project through to completion successfully. The feasibility of an application can be shown through the applicant’s  thoughtful consideration and articulation of the proposed project that are demonstrated through required application documents such as:


  • A balanced budget which takes in to account all expenses and revenues and is a realistic representation of the needs and scope of the project;
  • A production schedule which demonstrates a thoughtful consideration of the time required to complete the project;
  • A CV or résumé that highlights the applicant’s previous experience and training;
  • A clear and well thought out detailed project description.

applying online

DARC only accepts applications through our grant application submission form. Applications submitted over email or in person will not be accepted. If access to a computer is an impediment to applying, wanting applicants are very welcome to come and use a computer at DARC. All support material must be submitted via links. We do not accept any hard-copy materials.


Please note that all First Time Video applications are only accepted through our online submission form. You must thoroughly read the Program Outline listed above before entering the application process. The necessary requirements of each section are detailed in the form. If you encounter any issues or have any questions please contact: