CBC, Bipoc Tv & Film and CFC launch a new showrunner accelerator program

The main objective of the Catalyst program is to support the advancement of diverse Canadian creators and the inaugural participants are Andrew Burrows-Trotman, Motion and Ian Iqbal Rashid.

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Motion and Andrew Burrows-Trotman

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CBC, BIPOC TV & Film and the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) have announced at the Banff World Media Festival the creation of a new accelerator program, the CBC-Bipoc Tv & Film Showrunner Catalyst, which will support the career advancement of senior writers who identify as Indigenous, Black or People of Colour through hands-on and personally tailored on-set experience.

The Catalyst will be inaugurated by Andrew Burrows-Trotman, Motion and Ian Iqbal Rashid and offers a high-level professional coaching opportunity, designed through an anti-racist and equity-focused lens, and provides participants with additional tools and support systems necessary to reach a showrunner level in the Canadian film and television industry. CBC, BIPOC TV & Film and the CFC have made an initial commitment of three years to the program, with the opportunity to renew.

“It is imperative that while we are opening doors at entry-level for BIPOC creatives, we are simultaneously creating pathways for mid-level and senior BIPOC writers to have the opportunities to bring their careers to the next level,” said Kadon Douglas, Executive Director, BIPOC TV & Film. “The Canadian industry needs to see BIPOC writers as showrunners – leaders who can helm the vision of a show, from both the creative and business standpoint.”

“Within our industry, there are limited opportunities for equity-deserving senior writers to take on a leadership role, and we are honoured to work with Kadon and the dedicated team at BIPOC TV & Film in partnership with the CFC to help bridge that gap with the Showrunner Catalyst,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports, CBC. “By launching this tailored and practical program, we help to ensure that the future of Canadian storytelling reflects the changing face of our country. We offer our sincere congratulations to this year’s talented participants, who have already made great strides in their careers.”

“We’re thrilled to work with BIPOC TV & Film and CBC on this new initiative to help catalyze change in the Canadian film and television industry by including and growing Black, Indigenous and racialized creators in leadership positions,” added Maxine Bailey, Executive Director, CFC. “This shift is required to truly reflect today’s Canada, and the CFC is excited to be part of this change.”

SHOWRUNNER RESPONSIBILITIES
The first part of the Catalyst will consist of a series of substantive and hands-on masterclasses covering topics related to the role and responsibilities of a showrunner, including anti-oppressive leadership, people management, mental health, building relationships with network, studios, creative and crew, and all facets of bringing a show to life, from the writing room to prep, production, post and delivery.

Through the context of a senior writing and producing role on a CBC series, the second part of the Catalyst will see each participant building upon their foundational skills in showrunning by working with an experienced showrunner and participating in all key elements of production: from prep meetings to running the floor, managing set, taking a block of episodes through to post. Throughout the process, each participant will also be paired with an external showrunner, who will serve as a mentor. The program will be highly tailored for the needs of each writer and participating production, offering wellness and advocacy support through an anti-racism, anti-oppression lens. The inaugural year will run through the summer and fall of 2022.

By launching this tailored and practical program, we help to ensure that the future of Canadian storytelling reflects the changing face of our country” Sally Catto General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports, CBC