Content Catalyst Fund makes triple hire and reveals first development slate

From a media release:

Content Catalyst Fund (CCF) — the development and funding company that focuses on content developed, delivered and designed by women, about women — has announced three new hires to support both its growing portfolio of in-development projects and its rapidly expanding network of partnerships.

In order to realise these premium projects at speed, CCF has appointed a trio of unscripted specialists: Vibika Bianchi, Maria Farano and Heather Findlay as executive producers. CCF, which entered into a non-scripted co-production joint venture with international producer, distributor and channel operator Blu Ant Media in late February, has also announced its first slate of female-generated unscripted projects for the global marketplace.

Vibika is a respected curator, format creator and executive producer, who has delivered countless hours of top-tier unscripted content for the likes of HGTV, Food Network, Discovery and CBC. In addition to guiding the creation of lifestyle hits Property Brothers and Love it or List It, she has overseen local adaptations of some of the world’s most successful formats, including Undercover Boss, Come Dine With Me, How to Look Good Naked and Jamie Oliver’s Pressure Cooker. Her genre experience spans food programming (Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip), docusoap (Cupcake Girls), premium reality (Hockey Wives), scripted (Davinci’s Inquest) and true crime (Murder She Solved). Vibika’s CV includes SVP roles at Our House Media and Entertainment One, as well as nearly 11-years at Corus Entertainment, where she led the commissioning strategy for several channels including W Network, OWN Canada and CMT. 

Storyteller, executive producer and creative executive Maria Farano has 20 years of experience in developing and producing unscripted content for the global market. She brings with her a wealth of experience gained from producing critically acclaimed and commercially successful content for, among others, HGTV, History, W Network, SLICE, OWN, Discovery, ABC Spark and CMT. Farano’s career highlights include serving as Corus Entertainment’s director of original unscripted programming, during which time she developed a string of successful formats, including The Bachelorette Canada/The Bachelor Canada, Game of Homes, To Catch a Killer, Undercover Boss Canada, The Real Housewives of Toronto, Tornado Hunters and My Mom’s A Medium.

Creative executive and producer Heather Findlay, has a proven track record in developing strong concepts into ratings-generating content. Over the past 20 years, Findlay has played a key role in the development and production of hundreds of hours of content for Discovery, CBC, W Network, T&E, CMT, HGTV, Travel Channel, Science Channel and Food Network. Her genre experience also spans factual, kids and food programming, with credits including Canada’s Worst Driver, Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip, The Great Canadian Baking Show and Keeping Canada Alive.

CCF founder Julie Bristow said: “This powerhouse trio of unscripted executives brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, both domestic and international, to the CCF team. In addition to being inspirational leaders with razor-sharp creative instincts, all three are exceptional in that they have experience of both the buying and selling side of the business. With Vibika, Maria and Heather on board, CCF is in the best possible shape as it begins to give voice to the best female stories and storytellers.”

To coincide with the announcement of its new creative team, CCF has also unveiled its first slate of in-development projects, which span true-crime, ‘occu-doc’ and comedy.

Highlights include Darkness in Daylight, developed in collaboration with producer/actor Folklaur Chevrier, which revists the brutal murder of nine-year-old Christine Jessop in 1984. After 36 years without justice and a wrongful conviction, a killer has finally been identified — but the Jessop family is still a long way away from closure. Home Made with Kara Beckmann is a renovation series featuring savvy real estate investor, builder and designer Kara Beckmann, who’s not afraid to take risks as she flips properties for profit. Also in development is factual comedy I Have Nothing, on which CCF is collaborating with creators Carolyn Taylor (Baroness Von Sketch) and Zack Russel. The show follows Carolyn’s quixotic quest to choreograph a figure-skating routine inspired by her (unhealthy) obsession with the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

About CCF
Content Catalyst Fund is a mission-driven, for-profit business dedicated to catalysing the creation of commercially viable content for an underserved global market by powering female creators and investing in their ideas. CCF partners with female creators and producers to advance their projects from inception through to full monetisation of content. The company invests strategic, business and creative power in the best ideas, with the aim of ensuring that they are realised in the shortest possible time frame.