Netflix is launching a development program for various Canadian writers in film and television.
The head of global television streamers announced the initiative, dubbed Advancing Voices: Netflix Canada Creator Program, at the Banff World Media Festival on Tuesday.
Bela Bejaria says seven writers from underrepresented groups are receiving paid mentoring and consulting sessions to develop their proposal and material for a potential Netflix series.
Participants will be able to work flexibly and remotely, and will be paid above the industry average.
They include: comedian and director Bita Joudaki of CBC Gem’s “Slowest Show”; co-creators Jabbari Wicks and Tichaona Tapambwa of CBC Gem “Next Stop”; actor, director and founding artistic director of Realwheels James Sanders; director Rama Rau of the films “Honeybee” and “League of Exotic Dancers”; writer/director Jeff Barnaby of Blood Quantum; and Heartland author Adam Hussein.
The three-month program starts in July in Toronto.
Wicks and Tapambwa chronicled the lives of young black Torontonians in their Next Stop anthology series. They say Advancing Voices is an opportunity to expand, and not just in one direction.
“We wanted to be a part of it because we wanted to keep developing our craft,” Weekes said in an interview, noting that many of the pair’s projects were shorter.
“We want to tell more black stories, more queer stories, more stories in our community. We feel that in order to really get into the depth and emotional range that we want, we need to keep navigating and exploring.”
The duo say they hope the program will help them take the next step in their careers and mentor a new generation of color creators.
Bejaria called Canada one of Netflix’s top production centers and “home to a plethora of talent”.
“We want to support more new and untold stories, and the training provided through this initiative will give aspiring local writers an invaluable opportunity to work with our content team to gain experience in developing stories for a global audience,” Bejaria said on Tuesday. in release.
Advancing Voices is part of Netflix’s Creative Capital Fund, a five-year, $100 million investment designed to empower young creatives behind the scenes.
Since the announcement in 2021, the foundation is also supporting the Women’s Directing Program in partnership with the Canadian Film and Television Academy; ImagineNative Institute’s Calling Card Program, which supports Indigenous women writers; and helped expand the mentorship program in Vancouver with Women in Animation.
The CBC announced a similar effort at a media festival on Sunday.
CBC-BIPOC TV & Film Showrunner Catalyst is an accelerator program for senior writers who identify as Black, Native or Colored.
In partnership with advocacy organization BIPOC TV & Film and the Canadian Film Center, the program will offer on-set experience and professional coaching designed with anti-racism and fairness in mind. Its first members are Andrew Burroughs-Trotman, MOTION and Ian Iqbal Rashid.
Tapambwa says programs like this are needed to give Canada’s “world-class storytellers” the platform they need, along with a wider audience.
“We can keep developing it and have new programs that show that it’s not impossible, that there’s practicality in how you start filming, how you start writing scripts, how you promote,” Tapambwa says.
“All of this makes everyone better, and being able to share this information with our communities is key.”
Participants were selected through an open competition, and some were nominated by executives within the company.
— Sadaf Ahsan, The Canadian Press
CultureFilm and TV