Canadian film and TV academy announces equity-driven initiatives, including new rule

TORONTO — The organization behind the Canadian Screen Awards has announced some equity-driven changes and initiatives, including a new rule concerning eligibility requirements for Indigenous content.

The new rule from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television takes effect for next year's awards season and concerns two types of content, including that which tells an Indigenous story and/or is from an Indigenous perspective.

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The academy says such work submitted for awards consideration must have a minimum of two thirds above-the-line talent identify as Indigenous, or be from a production company that is majority Indigenous-owned.

The other new rule requirement concerns work that tells a story from a non-Indigenous perspective but includes Indigenous content.

Entrants submitting such work must declare that they have read the Indigenous Screen Office’s On-Screen Protocols and Pathways Media Production Guide.

They must also provide written documentation of how the production "a) respectfully engaged Indigenous community leadership; b) followed community protocols around permissions and consent; and c) employed and maintained a respectful work environment for Indigenous crew members."

In a news release Friday, the academy said the new rule is intended to support the efforts of the Indigenous Screen Office in seeking "narrative sovereignty" for First Nation, Inuit and Metis communities.

The academy also announced several new anti-racism initiatives, including an equity committee for its board of directors, and an equity and inclusion fund.

Other new academy announcements include a multi-year partnership with WarnerMedia on a writers' program for experienced but underrepresented Canadian talent.

Meanwhile, the academy's board of directors has some new faces, including actors Stephan James, Shamier Anderson, and Tina Keeper.

And Prospero Pictures president Martin Katz is stepping down from the board following maximum 10-year terms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.

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