Watch TVO for innovative new works by Canadian and international independent filmmakers Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 pm.

Got an idea for a great documentary? Make us a pitch. Browse our guidelines below.

Canadian POV Documentaries

TVO's multiple-Gemini award-winning Canadian point-of-view documentary anthology series leads the way in creative, ground-breaking, social-issue documentaries that explore the human condition, are of direct relevance to Canadian audiences, and open windows on diverse points of view that challenge conventional thought. This anthology series features one-hour and some feature-length documentaries suitable for commercial-free public broadcasting.

Documentary commissions include:

Manufactured Landscapes
The Bodybuilder and I
Last Call at the Gladstone Hotel
Girl Inside
A Hard Name
Examined Life
Dying at Grace

Limited Series

The Canadian POV documentary anthology series also considers the development and pre-licensing of high-impact limited documentary series for prime time ranging from two to four parts.

Limited series commissions include:

The Corporation
Empire of the Word
Inside Disaster Haiti
Raw Opium
Diamond Road
Black Coffee
Memory for Max, Claire, Ida & Company

Commission Eligibility for Canadian POV Documentaries and Limited Series

TVO commissions compelling, character-driven POV documentaries with an active, unfolding storyline. Our focus is on social, political and cultural issues that are of direct relevance to Canadian audiences; powerful stories that engage and inspire, showcasing unique and diverse points of view.

We commission hour-long and some feature-length documentaries, and Limited Series of two to four parts, on a first-window basis in Ontario. Acquisitions of completed programs can be considered, provided that first-window broadcast rights are available in Ontario.

Commission opportunities are open to Canadian independent producers with a demonstrated ability to deliver broadcast-quality programs with high production values. Preference is given to producers from Ontario. Programs must qualify for certification as 100% Canadian productions or International Treaty co-productions.

Producers are expected to apply for CMF funding and are strongly encouraged to confirm their financing as early in the year as possible, in order to ensure access to the Fund. Financing scenarios can include second window licenses with other edunets, specialty, digital and French-language channels, international pre-sales, public and private film funds, co-productions with the National Film Board of Canada, provincial and federal tax credits, distribution advances and producer investments (evidence of interim financing is required if applicable.)


Production budgets for hour-long and feature-length documentaries are in the range of $100,000 to $500,000 per hour.

Documentaries are licensed for an Ontario-only, 24 month first-window exclusive, for a period of six years, and have their North American premiere on TVO. License fees range from $30,000 to $75,000 per hour. TVO receives prominent full-screen credit in the program and on all printed materials.

Development funds of up to $10,000 may be advanced as a portion of the production license fee. Development licenses may be matched with CMF development financing if available, at the discretion of the Commissioning Editor.


Proposals of up to 10 pages in length may be submitted at any time, although producers are encouraged to do so as early as possible in the year.

Supporting documentation should include a concise treatment, production schedule, production budget top-sheet, a realistic summary of the project's proposed financing plan and CVs of the key creative personnel. Samples of previous work may be included in the proposal package.

Proposals should also include a brief new media plan of one to two pages, outlining realistic cross-platform ideas and opportunities.

Submissions for Canadian POV Documentaries and Limited Series may be sent to:

Canadian POV Documentaries
Box 200, Stn Q

Toronto, ON

M4T 2T1

Attention: Jane Jankovic or Linda Fong

Email: or

*Allow six to eight weeks for a response.

Acquisitions and Pre-Buys

International POV Documentaries

TVO's acclaimed prime time series of exceptional, social-issue documentaries acquired from around the world. Controversial and provocative, and always on the edge, the series programs hour-long and feature-length documentaries by the finest auteur documentary filmmakers, such as Barbara Kopple, Victor Kossakovsky, the Maysles Brothers, and Ray Muller.

Acquisitions include:

Fog of War
Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary
To See If I'm Smiling
Operation Filmmaker
The Devil's Miner
Grey Gardens
Paragraph 175

Number of plays, exclusivity, and license period vary according to competitive market conditions. Hour-long and feature-length documentaries are licensed for Ontario only, and licence fees for works in progress may be advanced at the discretion of the Commissioning Editor.

Arts Documentaries

TVO's bold, prime time documentary series celebrating and exploring the life, work, and creative process of influential painters, photographers, architects, writers, musicians, and filmmakers who are considered masters in their respective fields.

This series is both Canadian and international in scope. Launched with a tribute to Rhombus Media, world-renowned producers of arts documentaries, this series has featured Strand: Under The Dark Cloth, a lush portrait of Paul Strand, one of the 20th century's great photographers; Simon Schama's Power of Art; the evocative BBC series The Private Life of a Masterpiece which explores great iconic works of art such as Michelangelo's David and Edvard Munk's The Scream; Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Gates; and Sydney Pollack's Sketches of Frank Gehry.

Canadian titles include Pepita Ferrari's Joseph Guinta: A Silent Triumph, a profile of the Montreal painter; Brenda Longfellow's ode to Tina Modotti in Tina In Mexico; Annette Mangaard's The Many Faces of Arnaud Maggs; a portrait of pioneering Canadian photographer William Notman in Murray Battle's Notman's Canada; Joseph Hillel's exploration of architect Mies van der Rohe in Regular or Super; and David Vaisbord's, Drawing out the Demons, about the controversial Canadian artist Attila Richard Lukacs.

Limited commissions are available for Canadian productions, although most are acquisitions and some are pre-buys. Collaborations with other Canadian broadcasters are also possible. These hour-long or feature-length documentaries are licensed for Ontario only. Number of plays, exclusivity, and license period vary according to competitive market conditions.

Submissions for International POV Documentaries and Arts Documentaries may be sent to:

Box 200, Stn Q

Toronto, ON

M4T 2T1

Attention: Naomi Boxer


*Allow six to eight weeks for a response.


TVO's History strand is dedicated to presenting hour-long documentaries that examine historical events of national and international significance.

From the acclaimed Canadian series For King and Country to the award-winning archaeological series Time Team, TVO seeks out the best in probing and provocative history programming from around the globe.

While acquisitions dominate the strand, a limited number of Canadian pre-buys may be funded each year.

Submissions for History Documentaries may be sent to:

Box 200, Stn Q

Toronto, ON

M4T 2T1

Attention: Christine Lee


*Allow six to eight weeks for a response.