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Project Lab

Project Lab - A launching pad for alberta voices

Now in its second year, Project Lab supports Alberta’s emerging filmmakers by providing them with grants to launch their project into the global marketplace. Supported by the Government of Alberta, Project Lab offers support in the areas of finance, venue, mentorship and equipment services, along with in-kind resources. The program engages seasoned Alberta producers, storytellers and others who will use their skills to train and mentor the new generation of talent.


who is eligible for project lab 2018?

In 2018, Project Lab will support emerging filmmakers with existing micro-budget feature productions that have either ‘a ready to shoot’ status, and/or productions requesting completion funds for post-production work.  All submissions must demonstrate clear marketing and distribution strategies in their applications.

Project Lab will sponsor and resource two feature film projects in 2018. 

How do I apply?

Deadline for all submission materials is Friday, March 30th at 16:00.  Submissions must follow the format as detailed in Application Guidelines.  Applications that significantly deviate from the format will not advance to the Jury for consideration.

Application Checklist:

1.       Please read over the Application Guidelines and Eligibility Guidelines to ensure your project is eligible.

2.       Please sign the Declaration Form and submit this with your Application Documentation via email to the email address stated in the PDF guide. 

3.       Send any Application Supporting Material (Media on DVD or USB only) to the Calgary Film Centre as detailed in the guide. Materials must be clearly labeled with the name of the applicant and project title as stated in the Declaration Form. 


a lens into 2017 Project Lab winners

In late May 2017, six emerging filmmakers from Alberta were awarded grant money to put towards projects that they can add to their upcoming successful career repertoires. The grants came through Alberta Culture and Tourism’s Project Lab which is a program to support development, production and distribution of compelling Alberta stories.

The grants were awarded to the worthy recipients at an event held at the Calgary Film Centre on May 27, 2017. Honorable Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism, was on hand to announce the winning filmmakers.

“Project Lab supports the talented filmmakers emerging in their province through financial, venue, mentorship, equipment services and in-kind resources,” said Miranda. “A critical element of the program involves engaging seasoned Alberta producers, storytellers and others who will use their skills to train and mentor the new generation of talent.”

The grants were broken into two categories: production and development.

The 2017 Production winners are:

·         Gillian McKercher – Circle of Steel 

·         Dylan Pearce – Grandprix Cupcake 

·         Jeremy Podlog – The Comic Strip 

The 2017 development winners are:

·         Matt Watterworth – Jonesin’ 

·         North Country Cinema – Vance Adams 

·         Alecia Krawchuk – New Nowhere

The projects of these winners are as diverse as the winners themselves:

Circle of Steel (Gillian McKercher, Calgary) – This feminist dark comedy tells a satirical story of workers in Alberta’s oil and gas industry. The story follows Wendy Lee, a young female engineer who enters the workforce in a multinational oil company.

Grandprix Cupcake (Dylan Pearce, Edmonton) – Two sisters with seemingly nothing in common must join together to save the family bakery. This female-driven comedy covers topics including sibling rivalry, economic stresses resulting from owning a business and the unbreakable bonds of family.

The Comic Strip (Jeremy Podlog, Edmonton) – The pilot for a potential documentary series set in the backdrop of the iconic Edmonton comedy club, The Comic Strip. A stylistic hybrid of Louis C.K.’s comedy-drama “Louie”; Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”; and Barry Levinson’s “Diner.”

Jonesin’ (Matt Watterworth, Calgary) – The adventure of inadvertent hero Deke Jones, a small town boy who discovers a dangerous new world in the big city. A feature film involving shady business deals, rival territories and a kidnapping resulting from a mistaken identity.

Vance Adams (North County Cinema, Calgary) – The adventures of an unlikely duo in search of new identities amidst the ascent of the social media revolution. Set in Calgary in 2008 in the peak of the oil boom, this dark comedy tells the story of a big-talking advertising director and his intern. 

New Nowhere (Alicia Krawchuk, Edmonton) – A miniseries centered on the patrons of a seemingly mundane diner in rural Alberta. Each of the six episodes follows characters dealing with issues around isolation and mental health and the way people cope with these challenges, for better or worse.

“One of the goals for Project Lab and Calgary Film Centre was to create an ecosystem which serves specific films but also works as a catalyst to elevate the entire industry by bringing talented casts, crews and filmmakers together to drive creative thinking,” said Luke Azevedo, the Commissioner of Film, Television & Creative Industries at Calgary Economic Development. The Calgary Film Centre was honoured to be a part of this great event. We are eager and excited to follow these talented filmmakers on their journeys to complete their projects.

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