Update on initiatives to support Black Creators in Canada

In honour of Black History Month, we join many Canadians from coast to coast to coast in celebrating the dynamic array of Black voices and perspectives that can be found across the country.

As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting an equitable screen-based industry, we would like to take a moment to highlight some of the steps that Telefilm has taken to support Black talent within Canada’s audiovisual industry. In the months that have followed since we launched our Equity & Representation Action Plan in July 2020, and in consultation with our staff and communities, Telefilm has been actively working to follow through on the pledges we set out.

Recent initiatives to support Black creators include:

  • The launch of our Development Stream for Racialized Persons (Black and People of Colour): We were able to fund all eligible applications for this inaugural year. Out of the 143 projects in this stream, it currently includes 51 projects by screenwriters, and 51 projects by producers that self-identified as Black, counting for 35.7% of all This is now a permanent stream in our Development Program.
  • Diversifying our workplace: By welcoming the four new hires outlined in our Action Plan in December, we increased representation by Racialized Persons in key decision-making roles, and created stronger outreach and access to underrepresented communities within the industry, including Black. We are also well on our way to meeting the target we set of having a minimum of fifty per cent representation of underrepresented communities, including the Black community, within new hires across Telefilm, and thirty per cent representation of new management hires of underrepresented identities by 2023.
  • Pledging an ongoing commitment to the Black Screen Office: Telefilm was the first organization to do so and we look forward to collaborating with the BSO as they continue to advocate on behalf of Black creators.
  • Becoming a partner of Being Black in Canada: The Fabienne Colas Foundation’s Being Black in Canada represents Canada’s largest mentorship, training, and creation program to be entirely dedicated to Black filmmakers.
  • Supporting Mothering in the Industry: Black Women Film! Canada’s three-day brings Black women, trans and non-binary parents together for a series of presentations, mentorship, screenings, insight and support to Black moms making it happen in the industry and in their creative practice. Scheduled to launch in April 2021.
  • Engaging with the community: We have been in active, discussions with organizations like IMPACT, REMC and BIPOC TV & Film to listen, learn, and come up with ways in which we can be a better supporter and ally to the Black community and other underrepresented communities through our programs.
  • Enhancing data collection: As part of our commitment to improving our data collection, applicants identifying as Racialized Persons can now also choose to further identify as Black. This extra step in our data collection will further assist to better identify needs and allow us to provide more directed funding and customization our existing and future initiatives.
  • Committed to Ongoing learning: Throughout February and March, all Telefilm staff will be participating in Anti-racism training, and we are constantly looking for ways to furthering the education of our staff.

We will share further updates on partnerships and initiatives as they happen throughout the year. We know that there is still a long way to go in support of the Black community, as we work to balance the inequities that haven taken place in organizations like our own. These are just some of the very first steps that must be taken. Telefilm is committed to ongoing, tangible support to further Black excellence and access within Canada’s film industry.

Members of our staff at Telefilm have curated a selection of highlights and activities to celebrate Black History Month over the course of February. Stay tuned to our social media channels for updates. In the meantime, we encourage you to seek out stories by Black creators on your favourite streaming service. There is lots to be found!

Sincerely,

Christa Dickenson
Executive Director
Telefilm Canada

Kathleen Beaugé & E.J. Alon
Co-Leads
Equity & Representation Action Committee, Telefilm Canada