The Genre Film Lab is an accelerator program designed to support the development of effective finance, packaging and pitching strategies for Canadian genre film creators whose projects are at an advanced stage of development.

Genre projects include, but are not limited to thrillers, western, science fiction, fantasy and horror – or any imaginative combination of these.

GEMS welcomes applications from all creators who are equity-deserving on the basis of gender. We believe in fostering an inclusive, equitable and accessible environment, where all participants and staff feel valued, respected and supported. We are dedicated to building a program that reflects Canada's diversity and elevates equity-deserving voices. Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, people with disabilities, and 2SLGBTQIA+ people are strongly encouraged to apply.


- PLEASE NOTE: The Program is open to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents. Productions must qualify as Canadian.

- Writers & directors must be women or gender diverse, with preference given to teams who are all equity-deserving on the basis of gender.

- Projects must be feature-length films with completed scripts (first drafts okay)

- Preference is given to projects with director & producer attached; however projects without will still be considered

- Genre Film Lab (and From Our Dark Side) alumni and those who have submitted in the past are welcome to submit with full length scripts.

We recognize that not all gender diverse people will feel comfortable accessing a program facilitated by an organization named Gender Equity in Media Society Vancouver. We are in the process of a name change to address this.


PLEASE NOTE: You must upload a complete submission package, not just your screenplay.
Please include the following in ONE PDF in the order as follows:

1. Project title with submitter’s contact information and role on the project.

2. Logline - a short sentence that states the genre of the film, protagonists, their goal and their main obstacle. (75 words max)

3. Synopsis - introduce the main character(s), summarize the main plot, the conflict, and the overall arc of the story (beginning, middle, and end) using words that reveal tone, genre, and intended audience. (500 words max)

4. Team Bios - include the names of the director(s), writer(s) and producer(s) followed by a short description of each member’s previous credits (maximum of 3) and relevant experience. (150 words max each)

5. Budget & Finance Plan: estimated budget in CAD and finance plan (intended sources of funding, including the percentage each source will contribute to your overall budget). If you have any confirmed financing, please indicate the amount, source and proof of agreement.

6. Goals - outline your goals & motivations for participating in the The Genre Film Lab. What do you hope to achieve in the program? What is your overall project timeline? What types of partners are you currently seeking? (250 words max)

7. A full-length script (no longer than 120 pages and please note the draft number and date of draft completion).

9. Lookbook or pitch deck (ONE PDF) that showcases the world and visual language of your project.

10. If your concept touches upon Indigenous traditional knowledge, linguistic or cultural intellectual property, or content from equity-deserving communities, please describe your relationship to this content and how appropriate protocols are/will be observed or addressed. (500 words max)

11. Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose - Please provide insight into your identity as a creator and share any information that you believe would be valuable for us to consider in evaluating your submission. This may encompass details about your project's evolution, your career trajectory, or your personal journey in the creative sphere. Don't hesitate to address any barriers you have encountered or continue to face while advancing your work. (250 words max)

For questions regarding submissions, waiver codes for filmmakers experience financial barriers, or any other accommodation requests please contact:

The Genre Film Lab is made possible with the support of Telefilm Canada, Creative BC, and Warner Access.


April 1 2024 - Five projects selected and announced by a jury of top genre creators.

Early April - An info session for selected participants.

May - July 2024 - The program runs from May through July 2024.

Late July 2024 -
Consultations on packaging, financing and pitching concluded with participation at the Frontières International Genre film Finance and Packaging Forum held in conjunction with the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal (exact event dates TBD).
Projects will participate in a special pitch session at Frontieres and meet with leading international genre industry professionals. *Please note that participation details and possible travel stipends will be subject to the structure of Frontières 2024.

- Project must be an ORIGINAL concept for a narrative feature film (*if the project is an adaptation, you must provide documented proof that you hold the rights to this adaptation).
- Projects must not have entered production.
- If your project has already secured any financing, you must submit proof of this financing and indicate the percentage you have not yet secured.
- Project must qualify as GENRE in nature (see description above “What is Genre Film?”)
- Project must be written & directed by women and gender diverse people and contain a strong representation of roles for women and gender diverse people.
- Project materials must be submitted in English but the project itself may be in any language (please indicate your project’s original language if it is non-English). Please note all related activities for winners will be conducted in English (efforts will be made to accommodate other languages when possible).
- Applicants may apply with a maximum of two projects.
- Co-writers and co-directors may apply, but all writers & directors must be women or gender diverse people.
- In the case of co-writers & co-directors, each applicant may submit a maximum of two entries. For example, a writing team of two people may submit four projects total. Each entry requires its own registration and payment.
- Applicants may submit a project that has been previously submitted to the program but they must indicate in what significant ways the project has been altered since its previous submission. Projects submitted without this additional documentation will not be considered.
- Contestants retain all rights to their projects.
- Feedback cannot be provided on any submissions.
- Once an application is submitted, new or updated versions may not be submitted.
- Entrants agree to indemnify and hold The Genre Film Lab, GEMS, including our employees, our officers, and our partners and affiliates harmless against all claims arising out of entry or participation in the contest.
By submitting your contest application, you agree that you have read, understood, and agree to all the aforementioned contest rules and regulations. You also assert that you are the author and owner of the original work.


By submitting to the The Genre Film Lab contest, the applicant(s) agree(s) to the following submission release rules:
- You own or control the content of your script. You have the full and exclusive right to submit the script to GEMS and no other person or corporation has any right, title or interest in the script. The script is not defamatory and does not infringe upon or violate the privacy rights, copyrights, trademarks, publicity or other intellectual or proprietary rights of any third party.
- GEMS has the right to copy, use and distribute your submission package for the purpose of its evaluation and review. If selected, GEMS has the right to publicize the title and a description of the script as well as your name as the author and or director and or producer.
- GEMS, its representatives or assigns, including the jury and mentors for this contest, may already, or in the future, be developing materials similar to the script. You acknowledge they have the unrestricted right to use these similar materials and you will have no right or recourse against GEMS, its representatives or assigns for use of these similar materials.