A “documentary” is defined as a non-fiction representation of reality that contains the following elements:
• Informs and engages in critical analysis of a specific topic or point of view;
• Provides an in-depth treatment of the subject;
• Is meditative and reflective;
• Is primarily designed to inform but may also entertain;
• Treats a specific topic over the course of at least
30 minutes (including commercial time);
• Requires substantial time in preparation, production
• Has an original narrative and visual construction
(which may include scenes of dramatic re-enactments);
• Has enduring appeal and, therefore, a long shelf life.
1. Auteur Point of View/Creative Documentaries (POV) The LFP makes a distinction between “Factual Documentaries” as described above and “Auteur Point of View/Creative Documentaries” (POV).
Point of View Documentaries
The LFP has special incentives and guaranteed spending levels for POV documentaries in order to protect this important form of cultural expression.
The LFP will make a discretionary evaluation when deciding which projects meet the spirit and intent of the POV definition. As a starting point, the LFP will apply a very narrow and traditional interpretation of the above documentary definition. In all cases, the filmmaker’s approach as much as the subject will determine a project’s eligibility. Specifically, the LFP will look at: • Who the filmmaker (or filmmaker team) is. Her/his track record and/or film background, regardless of whether they are an emerging or experienced filmmaker.
• The intent of the filmmaker in making the film.
• The research that has gone into the project.
• The production and post-production crew that is crafting
• In the case of arts auteur documentaries, how experimental
is the filmmaker’s approach.
• The budget and the cost of the production.
• That it is a single work (or in rare situations – a limited
• Whether the project is licensed to air in a broadcast strand recognized or formatted for POV documentaries (e.g. “Rough Cuts”, “Witness”, “The View From Here”,”Herstory”, “Doc en Stock”, and “L’Œil ouvert”).
• Generally, a POV documentary is not: – A docu-drama, docu-soap, reenactment or performance piece with people playing themselves
or with professional actors; – A factual project;
– A profile or biography; – Segmented or capsular one-off or series;
– A video “diary” of social events (e.g. a series on “graduations” or “family reunions”); – A project dependent on light “information” format;
or – “Surveillance” television.
2. Limited Series Throughout this document, special consideration is given
for “limited series”. A limited series is generally six or less episodes and will always handle a subject matter in its entirety and in a manner which results in a conclusion. As such, the intention is that the limited series will
not be renewed.
3. Ineligible Programming Projects presenting information primarily for its entertainment value are not considered to be documentaries.
These include such ineligible types of programming as “how-to” (e.g. gardening shows, cooking shows, home decorating shows, etc.), lifestyle and human interest programming.