The Launch

Join us 6:00pm November 14th at the Halifax Central Library for our re-launch of The Launch: Documentary Development and Pitch Contest

A $20,000 prize package including cash and in-kind filmmaking services will be awarded to the winning participant to support the making of a short documentary. In addition, the selected filmmaker will receive one-on-one mentorship from an acclaimed Canadian documentarian for the duration of the development of their short documentary. The completed film will premiere at the tenth edition of Lunenburg Doc Fest in 2023.



Lunenburg Doc Fest is thrilled to announce the five filmmakers selected to participate in The Launch: Documentary Development and Pitch Contest, a new program for emerging, underrepresented media creators.


See the full Press Release here.

Israel Ekanem

Israel Ekanem is an award-winning storyteller. At a young age, he was introduced to the art of storytelling by his grandmother, and it quickly became his passion. He has over twenty writing and directing credits, including the award-winning, Drown the Lovers and Dearg. Israel believes that a story properly told can change the world, one person at a time.

Clinton Howard

Clinton Ray Howard lives in the community of Glooscap First nations, near Hanstport, NS. After the birth of his daughters, Clinton returned to school to complete a degree in horticulture operations with a specialization in therapeutic horticulture, as well as cannabis cultivation. Clinton’s plan is to combine his passion for growing and his Aboriginal culture to create his own farm market within his community. He plans to create a film that communicates his journey with the healing power of plants.

Juliet Mawusi

Juliet Mawusi immigrated from Ghana in West Africa to Canada in 2017 for studies. Juliet attended Nova Scotia Community College where she studied Broadcast Journalism. She is the creator of the short film Being Black in the Nova Scotian Music Industry, which was featured on Eastlink Community TV, FIN Atlantic Film Festival, CBC East Coast, The Nova Scotian Advocate and other outlets and has additional film projects currently in production. 

Anna Quon

Poet and novelist Anna Quon likes to create paintings and short animated films of her original poetry. Anna is also a writing workshop facilitator and Zoom host of an arts and culture guest speaker series for a local mental health organization. Anna’s chapbook, Body Parts was published in 2021 by Gaspereau Press. She has released three novels with Invisible Publishing — Migration Songs (2009), Low (2013) and Where the Silver River Ends (2022). Anna lives in Kjipuktuk (Halifax).

Gee Stewart

Gee Stewart is a filmmaker from Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Over the course of her filmmaking career, Stewart has created and released eight short films. Outside of her own projects, Gee is a Junior Videographer and Editor at NovaStream, a digital agency with a focus on media production and web technologies. She is also a co-host of the Hail to the Deadites podcast.


Applications now closed

The initiative, funded by the Nova Scotia Creative Industries Fund, offers diverse emerging Nova Scotia filmmakers a chance to win mentorship and a prize package to make a short documentary over the next year. Five selected participants will pitch their documentary project live at the 2022 Lunenburg Doc Fest in competition for $10,000 in cash and in-kind filmmaking services.

Contest participants will take part in professional development workshops on story development and pitch preparation to hone their pitch materials ahead of the contest. Workshop dates are Thursday evenings, August 11 & 18, 2022.

Participants will receive key introductions to regional industry decision-makers, and free all-access passes to the ninth Lunenburg Doc Fest, The Dock Market industry conference, and networking events September 22-28, 2022.

The pitch contest will take place at Lunenburg Doc Fest on September 24, 2022 before a live audience and jury of screen industry decision-makers. The winner will be announced that evening. Following the contest, the winning filmmaker will be paired with a professional mentor for one-on-one guidance as they create their documentary project to premiere at Lunenburg Doc Fest in 2023.

Nova Scotia residents who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC), artists with a disability, persons who are part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and other underrepresented individuals who identify as diverse are encouraged to apply.

The application deadline is June 8, and selected applicants will be notified on June 14, 2022.

Lunenburg Doc Fest recognizes the support of the Province of Nova Scotia. We are pleased to work in partnership with the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage to develop and promote our cultural resources for all Nova Scotians.


Guidelines & Terms

Free to apply.

The Launch: Documentary Development & Pitch Contest invites diverse emerging filmmakers to submit original pitches showcasing the potential to make a short documentary film (no more than 30 minutes). 

The pitch will be ten minutes or less. 

The pitch must contain some visual element including but not limited to one or more of the following: video clip(s), teaser trailer, reel, power point, etc. 

The competition takes place on-site at Lunenburg Doc Fest (September 22-28) before a live audience and a screen industry panel. 

A maximum of five pitches will be selected.

The industry panel will offer feedback on each pitch up to a maximum of ten (10) minutes per pitch. 

The panel will select the winner. 

The documentary project should be able to be completed in the following nine months and submitted by July 31st 2023 for LDF 2023.

The applicant must be a producer and/or director on the project. Please specify your role(s) in your application form. 

Film projects must either be in pre-development, development or production stage. Projects in post-production will not be eligible. 

Only one applicant (one filmmaker) per project will be allowed to pitch.

To qualify applicants must:

• Live in Nova Scotia and have been a resident for at least one year from date of application.

• Identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC), an artist with a disability, a person that is part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, or other underrepresented individual who identifies as diverse 

• Be 18 years or older as of June 8, 2022.

• Commit to attending the online workshops and on-site The Launch contest in Lunenburg, September 24, 2022 (Date subject to change). 

• Be a media creator who has at least one producing or directing credit; or who has a comparable level of industry experience in the arts.

Filmmakers who have made at least one feature or two short films that have been broadcast or premiered at a film festival are not eligible.

Entry is conditional upon full agreement to the Guidelines & Terms. 

If you have any questions or difficulty applying, please email Kate at

By submitting your application, you guarantee that your project is an original work and that there are no ownership or copyright disputes regarding this entry. You are authorized to submit this project and affirm that your submission will not violate any law or right of any person or entity.



1. Can I apply if I do not have a festival or broadcasting credit?

Yes, please demonstrate in writing your level of success with arts council grants, online distribution or related work in other areas of production, or applicable arts industry experience. 

2.  Can I apply with another member of my team?

No, only 5 total candidates can participate. We do not accept two participants for one project. 

3. Can I still submit to The Launch if I’m applying for other grants or funding for the same film? 

Yes, The Launch is a non-exclusive opportunity. You are still eligible even if you have applied for other funding. It is required, however, that the film be completed by July 31, 2023 should your pitch be chosen.

4.  What kind of in-kind services are included in the pitch prize?

The in-kind benefits are yet to be confirmed but may include equipment rentals, post-production services, festival access, and more.
The film created through The Launch program must be completed by July 31, 2023.

5. Can you share tips for making my application stand out with the selection committee?

  • Demonstrate a commitment to media creation and documentary film in particular. Cite previous experience as applicable. 
  • Focus your application on one strong and compelling project that is ready to progress to the pitching stage. Only one project per participant can be workshopped throughout the program. 
  • Illustrate your understanding of the viability of your project — project elements that require extensive travel, access, archives, music, or other potentially costly elements may detract from your application.
  • Share why you should be the one to tell this documentary story, and why now.

6. How much time commitment is required?

The two 60-120 min online workshops (Aug 11 & 18, 2022) and on-site in Lunenburg at Lunenburg Doc Fest (September 24, 2022). The winner of the contest will have online mentor time (schedule TBD).

7. What is the cost of the program?

It is free to apply.

8.  How long will I have to make the film?

Nine months for July 31 2023 submission to Lunenburg Doc Fest.

If you have a question that is not answered here please email Kate at 

The Launch is presented with generous support from the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism & Heritage (NS), Bell Fund, RBC, William F. White, Atlantic Filmmaker’s Cooperative, Outpost East, and the Centre for Art Tapes.