Sponsor of the Panel “Gaming and Documentary” at Sunny Lab 2016, The Bell Fund was established in 1997 as an independent production fund and was the first convergent/cross-platform fund in Canada. Nancy Chapelle, Executive Director of The Bell Fund, talks about international coproductions for hybrid programs.

nancy-chapelle-shayne-gray-3166 2Executive Director of The Bell Fund, Nancy Chapelle has dedicated her career to building organizational capacity for creativity. Most recently as Managing Director of Content & Programming for TVO, Nancy led the evolution of the public broadcaster’s content strategy from a single broadcast channel to a relevant and agile digital multiplatform educational media organization. In 2011 Nancy was recognized with a WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Woman Award in the Arts and Communications category which recognizes contributions women have made to Canadian thinking and culture through the arts.

Question: What is Bell Fund main purpose?

Nancy Chapelle: The Bell Fund was established in 1997 as an independent production fund and was the first convergent/cross-platform fund in Canada. Widely considered to be a leader in the global market both in terms of quality and commercial appeal,  we  support the creation of original digital media Canadian content (associated with tv) in English and French and have contributed over $170M to 1700 projects.

polarsea_frClick to play the video

Question: How do you see international coproductions for transmedia and, more generally, hybrid programs?

Nancy Chapelle: Since 2013 the Bell Fund along with 4 other major Canadian digital media funding organizations have been providing a framework for co-producing digital media projects between Canadian producers and their foreign partners. We listened to Canadian producers who were facing many challenges in structuring international co-productions when our existing treaties don’t address digital media production. This a strength of private funds like the Bell Fund, that can be nimble and respond to the needs of the Industry. We believe in offering the maximum flexibility possible in order to deliver the best content when it comes to competing on the Global stage. And with a number of interactive digital media co-production incentives recently launched by the CMF and NFB, there are several more reasons to think about co productions with Canada.

Question: What are the recent productions that your organization has been involved in, you would be most proud of, and why?

Nancy Chapelle: A couple of co-productions that come to mind include Polar Sea (Canada-German co production), a multi platform 10 part journey through the Northwest passage along with an interactive VR and 360 experience called Polar Sea 360 and, Apocalypse : World War One (Canada-France coproduction)  a multiplatform project which included a second screen app, Apocalypse Experience and website The Apocalypse 10 Lives. All of this interactive  content was launched over a period of  4 years marking the centenary of  WW1. Both took creative risks to immerse their audience in the story, and to bring those stories to life using new platforms and technologies in order to engage their audiences.

 New technologies like VR, 360, AR, gaming are all opportunities not just for storytelling but for engagement and that’s what we are looking for – putting the audience first.

APOCALYPSE 14-18

Question: What would be your advice for new hybrid authors/producers attending Sunny Side of the Doc and wanting to apply for Bell Fund?

Nancy Chapelle: Given we are in the business of supporting cross platform (tv/dm) projects, we are always on the lookout for ways to improve these partnerships and to focus on audience experiences across platforms. New technologies like VR, 360, AR, gaming are all opportunities not just for storytelling but for engagement and that’s what we are looking for – putting the audience first. In terms of coproduction, this takes more work. We encourage producers to be open, nimble and to take risks. It’s an iterative process which is all about trying new things and  collaboration can only lead to better projects. We believe Canadian Producers make great co-production partners and we welcome these partnerships at the Bell Fund.

Bell Fund_RGB