Telefilm Canada is committing $100,000 a year towards 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” towards 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.
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 features 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.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2020.