Tag Archives: BIPOC TV & FILM

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 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.


BIPOC TV & FILM launch new Showrunner Training Bootcamp

From a media release:

BIPOC TV & FILM announces the launch of its first Showrunner Training Bootcamp, a workshop intensive for mid-to upper level Canadian writers and content creators. Led by writer and executive producer Anthony Q. Farrell, the bootcamp will include special guest instructors and panellists from the U.S. and Canada. The programme, co-designed by writer and producer, Jinder Oujla-Chalmers with support from BIPOC TV & FILM, will train up to 50 Canadian BIPOC writers on best practices in managing and staffing their writing rooms, managing production and post-production schedules, and managing relationships with stakeholders, including production companies and broadcasters. Participants will also be invited to observe Farrell showrun during one of his upcoming TV series writing rooms. The bootcamp will be open to writers who are Black, Indigenous or People of Colour who have or have had a TV or web series in development with a Canadian broadcaster or production company, a minimum of Co-Producer credit on a Canadian TV or web series, or a story editor credit on an animated series. Applications are currently being accepted through to September 19, 2021.

“A nice thing about the Canadian Entertainment industry right now is that more doors are opening for BIPOC creators. It’s a beautiful thing. What I’m noticing though, is that many of those creators are being thrown into showrunning without any real preparation or support,” said writer and showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell, lead facilitator of the bootcamp. “The goal of this program is to get mid and upper-level writers ready for the jump to showrunning, demystify elements of the role that are new to them, and to inspire them to take creative control of their series. We’ll go through the nuts and bolts of the job so they’re mostly ready for the opportunity if and when it arises.”

A 2021 report from the Writers Guild of Canada revealed that writers from marginalized and underrepresented communities were least likely to occupy leadership roles or senior credits on Canadian TV series. This disparity impacts compensation, hiring practices, and content.

“There are a growing number of excellent training programs geared for entry level BIPOC creatives, however none are focused on levelling up experienced writers,” says Kadon Douglas, Executive Director of BIPOC TV & FILM. “We are not only entry-level or emerging. We are also mid to senior level creatives who are ready to take the lead. Through this BIPOC TV & Film Showrunner Training Bootcamp, we are equipping our community with the knowledge and business acumen to hold their own and revolutionize Canadian content . Knowledge is power; an investment in career advancement for mid to senior level BIPOC creatives is key to transforming and modernizing the industry.”

“It was a painful experience creating my own television series, being given a greenlight, only to have the ‘showrunning’ position go to someone else. I’ve found throughout my writing journey no one ever talks about what the showrunners task really is. Like it’s a big secret that nobody is willing to reveal,” said writer and executive producer Jinder Oujla-Chalmers, co-designer of the boot camp curriculum. “The truth is, I believe anybody who creates their own show should be given the opportunity to see their vision through. Anthony and I created this showrunner program to give people the opportunity to hear from the experts so that they can learn and expand their knowledge of what it takes, and not be afraid to run their own shows.”

Anthony Q. Farrell is the Showrunner and Executive Producer of the sci-fi primetime comedy Overlord & The Underwoods. He has served as the showrunner for The Parker Andersons, Amelia Parker, and the BAFTA-winning CBBC series Secret Life of Boys, which he also created. In the past, he has written for NBC’s The Office, Canada’s international hit Little Mosque On The Prairie, and Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans. He is in active development on several other shows that he hopes to share in the near future. He lives in Toronto with his amazing family.

Jinder Oujla-Chalmers of Inner Vision Productions Inc. is an award-winning writer, producer, director and facilitator. For over 30 years, she has worked on diversity issues and was instrumental in the creation of the Writers’ Guild of Canada’s (WGC) Bell Media Screenwriters Diversity and the Bell Media Diverse Producers programs. Jinder was a founding board member of the Asian Heritage Film Society in Vancouver B.C. and is the former vice-president of the Female Eye Film Festival. She has also designed curricula and facilitated film and television writing programmes Kingston University (London, UK) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s school of journalism. The WGC Sondra Kelly Award-winner currently sits on the City of Toronto’s film, television and digital media board and on the WGC diversity committee.

BIPOC TV & FILM is a national grassroots nonprofit organization advocating for racial equity and inclusion in Canada’s screen media industry. BIPOC TV & FILM provides career training, mentorship, job access and wellness support to creative professionals who are Black, Indigenous and/or Persons of Colour; and works in solidarity with its community and industry stakeholders to address and eliminate barriers to career entry and advancement. Through its HireBIPOC initiative, BIPOC TV & FILM provides direct access to above and below-the-line crew and content creators for hire. Launched in October 2020, HireBIPOC now hosts over 7,000 members and over 200 crew positions.