Project to Help Canadian Artists Fund Music Videos Announces First Recipients

Jessie Reyez
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Pandora Media

Jessie Reyez performs at the Pandora x Verizon presents Jessie Reyez at Rough Trade on Aug. 8, 2018 in New York City.

New Canadian music video fund MVP Project, created by The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and the non-profit Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (The Canadian Academy) after Bell Media stopped its long-running MuchFACT grant in 2017, has announced its inaugural recipients.

The approved artist and director teams are, from Toronto, Beatchild and the Slakadeliqs with director Dan Lemoyne; Jeremy Dutcher with director Chandler Levack; Sean Leon who will self-direct; and co-directors Lulu Wei and Lindsay Geoldner who will work with Saskatoon's Wild Black; just outside Toronto, from Ajax, GOVI and director Jordan Lee; from Vancouver Jordan Klassen with Farhad Ghaderi; from Montreal, Milk and Bone with Soleil Denault; and from St. John’s Newfoundland, Tim Baker with Jordan Canning.

Jessie Reyez and director Peter Huang will also receive funding for the Curated Music Video Production, a commissioned piece from one recording artist/director team who has successfully collaborated in the past.

More than 300 applications from across Canada applied for funding, mostly from Ontario, followed by Quebec and the Western provinces, according to the press announcement. The project said 22.2 percent were pop artists, 12 percent rock; 10.5 percent R&B and 10.2 percent hip hop.

A maximum of $100,000 (CAD) in total funding is available per round, RBC’s PR Michelle Yao told Billboard. "The majority of this funding will be dispersed as individual production grants valued between $5,000 and $15,000."

The MVP Project was established in 2018, in a partnership between RBCxMusic and the Prism Prize (an annual juried music video awards show) and administered by The Canadian Academy. The first round opened in October 2018 to defined "emerging artists." Applicants submitted their music and video treatments to a peer-based jury of music and media professionals. In addition to funding, the selected artists and directors will receive mentorship and networking opportunities.

"We heard directly from the music community about the lack of resources and funding for music videos," said RBC's Matt McGlynn, vice-president, brand marketing, in an emailed statement to Billboard. "That’s why we've partnered with the Academy, who is an authority on outstanding artistry in music videos and screed-based media, to bring to life the MVP Project."

"We strongly believe that in this digital age, music videos provide a strong platform for artists to break through in the music/filmmaking industry," he continued. "These first nine recipients will receive critical support to create compelling content that engages with current events and drives important conversations."

The MVP project is part of the financial institution's RBC Emerging Artists Project, which helps Canadian artists bridge the gap from emerging to established, and supports organizations that provide opportunities to advance their career.

The next round of submissions will open on Jan. 15.