Telefilm to contribute $100K per year towards creation of Black Screen Office

August 26, 2020
Telefilm to contribute $100K per year towards creation of Black Screen Office

Telefilm Canada is committing $100,000 a year toward the creation of a Black Screen Office.

Telefilm announced the pledge on Wednesday after meeting earlier in the week with filmmakers who have called for the formation of a institution dedicated to expanding the reach of Black stories onscreen.

Telefilm executive director Christa Dickenson said in a statement that the move marks a “concrete step” toward addressing systemic racism in Canada’s film industry.

The Crown corporation is bolstering its diversity initiatives after facing criticism last month from filmmakers who said it could do more to support marginalized creators.

Members of the Black Screen Office Ad Hoc Group, which includes producers Jennifer Holness, Damon D’Oliveira and Joan Jenkinson, applauded Telefilm for being the first Canadian agency to contribute to the initiative.

WATCH | Black filmmakers call out racism, inequity in the film industry:

Prominent Black Canadian filmmakers are calling out anti-Black racism in Canada’s film and television industry, and are hopeful it’s a step toward real change. 2:15

Telefilm is also among the backers of the Indigenous Screen Office, which was established in 2017 with a mandate to support the development, production and marketing of Indigenous content.

On Tuesday, Telefilm revealed its slate of 20 English-language feature films set to receive a combined $7 million. It says half of the projects are directed and written by women.

Among the selected films are Kipkemboi from Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Hubert Davis, and writer-director Kazik Radwanski’s Matt and Mara.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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