CBC, BIPOC TV & Film and CFC announce new showrunner catalyst to support the advancement of diverse Canadian creators

From a media release:

CBC, BIPOC TV & Film and the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) today 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 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.

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.

The 2022 inaugural participants are as follows:

Andrew Burrows-Trotman

Andrew Burrows-Trotman (ABT) earned a Double Honours degree in English and History at the University of Toronto before attending the American Film Institute’s Screenwriting MFA programme. Upon graduation, ABT wrote a feature screenplay based on the Valley Manor Retirement Home scandal entitled, If We Left. It was shortlisted for the prestigious San Francisco Film Society’s Hearst Grant. ABT subsequently joined the writing staff of Frankie Drake Mysteries, writing episodes for the first three seasons of the popular CBC series. His other TV credits include Diggstown (CBC/BET+), Utopia Falls (Hulu/CBC Gem) and The Porter (CBC/BET+).

“Television production is more than a profession, it is how I share my soul with the world and let them know I was here. No matter how the rest of my career pans out, I have already lived the dream. Every day I wake up brimming with gratitude that I get to tell stories for a living. I am dedicated to a life of service and mentorship, dutifully holding whatever doors are opened for me so others can enter.” – Andrew Burrows-Trotman

MOTION

MOTION is a screenwriter, playwright, poet and emcee, fusing word, sound & drama for the screen and stage. She is co-writer of the award-winning feature Akilla’s Escape with director Charles Officer, which debuted at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, and garnered five Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Original Screenplay. An alumna of the Canadian Film Centre, she is also the writer of A Man’s Story, which won the Impact Award for Best Short Film at the ReelWorld Film Festival, going on to screen in London, Ghana, Belgium, and Zanzibar. In television, MOTION is a CSA-nominated writer and supervising producer on hit drama series Coroner (CBC/CW), The Porter (CBC/BET+) and Diggstown (CBC/FOX). She is also a writer and co-executive producer on the new digital series Revenge of the Black Best Friend (CBC Gem). Her most recent productions for stage and screen include the Dora-nominated Oraltorio: A Theatrical Mixtape with DJ L’Oqenz (Riser/Obsidian/Soulpepper), and Rebirth of the Afronauts in the award-winning anthology series 21 Black Futures (Obsidian/CBC Gem).

“I am passionate about the creative process of developing unique, often unseen and impactful stories, opening a stage for diverse talents in front of and behind the camera, to reach both new and diverse audiences nationally and worldwide. I also am passionate about initiating opportunities for BIPOC and new generations of writers, as well as other creatives and crew. By bringing new voices to the writers’ rooms, spearheading creative projects and creating series that resonate and reflect those that still need to be heard, I’m excited by the chance to work with others to amplify, collaborate, create, and change.” – MOTION

Ian Iqbal Rashid

Ian Iqbal Rashid is a creator, writer, director and producer known for the series Sort Of (CBC/HBO Max) and This Life (BBC) as well as the feature films Touch of Pink (Mongrel/Sony Picture Classics) and How She Move (Mongrel/Paramount). Born in Tanzania of Muslim Indian ancestry, Ian holds dual British/Canadian nationality. His awards include the Writers Guild Award of Great Britain for Series Writing and the Aga Khan Award for Excellence in the Arts. He is the author of three books of poetry, has curated exhibitions and film programmes, and was the founder and first director of Desh Pardesh, Canada’s seminal festival of South Asian diasporic culture.

“In recent years I have led development rooms and created series for Sienna, CBC, Lionsgate, Showtime, and Mark Gordon Productions. And while I have yet to run a produced show, I think my experience and expertise reveal that I have exactly the right skill set and sensibility for that role.” – Ian Iqbal Rashid

Catalyst participants are nominated by showrunners, producers, production companies or broadcasters, in consultation with BIPOC TV & Film and the CFC, based on their experience and readiness to further progress in their career. In order to qualify for participation, each potential candidate must be a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident of Canada (as recognized by CAVCO), and a Writers Guild of Canada member in good standing with a minimum of three episodes of “written by” credits on 30 or 60-minute prime time television or streaming platform productions in the last seven years, and at least one “co-producer” credit in the last three years, or equivalent experience. For more information on the qualification and nomination process, visit bipoctvandfilm.com/showrunner-catalyst.

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