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Royal Bank of Canada Boosts Annual Funding to Video Project for Emerging Artists


The Royal Bank of Canada, which last year stepped up to help fund the creation of music videos by launching the MVP Project grant, has committed to another three years and $900,000 (USD$671,000). That's $300,000 per year, the largest per annual donation made by the RBC Foundation on behalf of its Emerging Artists Project, according to the financial institution.

"At RBC, our commitment to the arts includes supporting artists in the earliest stages of their careers and helping artists bridge the gap from 'emerging' to 'established,'" said Valerie Chort, vice-president, corporate citizenship, RBC, in a statement. "We are thrilled to continue our support of the MVP Project for three more years, and to help even more emerging Canadian artists, directors and producers make their important mark."

In 2017, the long-running MuchFACT fund, which helped Canadian artists fund music videos since 1984, was dissolved by Bell Media, which successfully made its case to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the public regulatory agency.

A year later, RBC Royal Bank and annual juried music video award Prism Prize partnered to create the Music Video Production Project, truncated to MVP Project, to fund teams of artists and directors in the making of music videos.



The MVP Project is a partnership between Prism Prize and RBCxMusic, but the grants come from the RBC Foundation's Emerging Artist Project.

Initially a maximum of $100,000 (CAD) in total funding was made available per round, the majority dispersed as individual production grants of $5,000 to $15,000. 

"We have not officially declared, but the 100k max is not true anymore," Neil Haverty, co-founder of Prism Prize and manager of MVP Project, told Billboard via an email to the publicist. "The grants will still be between 5k and 15k, and we will still run 2 rounds. This means more grants per round, and likely means that max goes to $150,000 per round, but I don't have confirmation of that yet."

The first round opened in October and the inaugural nine recipients were announced in January. The majority of the 300 applicants were from Ontario and 22 percent in the pop genre (followed by rock, 12 percent; R&B, 10.5 percent; and hip hop; 10.2 percent).

Three hundred and eighty applicants were submitted for the second round, voted on by six regional jury pools totally 30 music and film industry professionals across Canada, with a slightly different makeup: pop was down (19.8 percent), indie rock up (18.3 percent), hip hop (10.7 percent) and electronic/dance music (7.7 percent).

"The Round 2 recipient list includes rising talent from the Canadian music video scene and represents a wide range of musical genres and filmmaking styles, including stop-motion animation, dance, and short-form narrative," the press release states.

Louis Calabro, Prism Prize co-founder and vp, programming, The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which now produces the awards, said, "There were so many great treatments submitted in Round 2. We are thrilled to provide an opportunity for these artists to work collaboratively in the creative sandbox that is music video production."

Jeremy Dutcher, winner of the 2018 Polaris Music Prize for best Canadian album, was one of the inaugural round recipients with director Chandler Levack. He went on to win a Juno Award a couple of months later.

He still hasn't made the video with the MVP grant, but said in the press release, "Music videos are just as important as the music itself, and without a visual representation of an auditory work how can we come to understand it on multiple levels? The kind of support being offered through MVP is essential for musicians to thrive, and we look forward to bringing the video for my song 'Mehcinut' to life with this funding."

Submission opportunities for round three of the MVP Project will open in late summer, with a deadline of Oct. 1.

The nine recipients for round two:  

  • Recording artist Amaal; director Kat Webber and producer Matt Power (Toronto)
  • Recording artist Harrison; director Jon Riera and producer Connor Illsley (Toronto)
  • Recording artist Tanika Charles, director, Nayani Thiyagarajah (aka V. T. Nayani) and producer Simone Ince (Toronto)
  • Recording artists Hansom Eli, director Yann Lo Bono and producer Alexy Guérer (Montreal)
  • Recording artist Shay Lia, director CARAZ and producer France-Aimy Tremblay (Montreal)
  • Recording artist  Maky Lavender, director Alexandre Pelletier and producer Anthony Martino Maurice (Montreal)
  • Recording artists  Said The Whale, director Johnny Jansen and producer Josh Huculiak (Vancouver)
  • Recording artist Dylan Menzie and Director/Producer Aidan Searle (Charlottetown)
  • Recording artist Desiire and Director/Producer  Ayo Tsalithaba (Scarborough)

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