THE TASK OF FINDING OUR AUDIENCE
Canada has a long history of not championing enough artists from Black and Global Majority communities. Canadian film and television content is primarily white, even with the effort of boosting representation in front and behind the cameras in recent years.
Although the situation is still not ideal, it’s only part of the problem. Canadian content is still not getting the numbers it should, even after receiving critical praise and recognition from award bodies. How does that reality affect the funding and the production of projects from Black and Global Majority creatives? What do we feel needs to be done to connect our work with the Canadian audience and make them come to watch our work?
Cheryl Foggo, Award-winning Author, Playwright & Filmmaker
Cheryl Foggo whose work over the last 30 years has focused on the lives of Western Canadians of African descent. Her full-length National Film Board documentary John Ware Reclaimed will have its World Premiere at CIFF on September 24th. The 30th-anniversary edition of her book Pourin’ Down Rain: A Black Woman Claims Her Place in the Canadian West, has just been released by Brush Education Press. She also recently directed the short film Kicking Up a Fuss: The Charles Daniels Story. Her play, John Ware Reimagined, won the 2015 Writers Guild of Alberta Award for Drama and was produced most recently at Workshop West Theatre Company in November 2017. Also in 2017, she was recognized by the YWCA as one of 150 outstanding Calgary women. She is a past recipient of the Sondra Kelly Screenplay Award from the Writers Guild of Canada. In 2014 she co-produced Alberta’s first Black Canadian Theatre Series with Ellipsis Tree Collective Theatre Company.
Annmarie Morais, Showrunner, The Porter
Jamaican-born, Canadian writer Annmarie Morais’ beginnings came in the form of short story and playwriting. She is a graduate of Toronto’s York University Film and Video Production program.
In 1999, The Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship (sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) made Ms. Morais the first Canadian in the program’s history to receive a fellowship with her dramatic feature script BLEEDING.
Her inaugural feature film HOW SHE MOVE was a 2007 Sundance Film Festival Selection and received worldwide release through US distributor Paramount Vantage. Ms. Morais’ work in television has proved equally noteworthy, writing on the SyFy series KILLJOYS, as well as on such series as COMBAT HOSPITAL, ROGUE and HAVEN.
Ms. Morais is the Co-Showrunner on the CBC/BET historical drama THE PORTER (Sienna), while also developing her original series ARTICLE 41 with Muse Entertainment, and an untitled forthcoming series with Jada Pinkett Smith's company, Overbrook Entertainment.
Kathryn Fasegha, Managing Director, BalminGilead Movie Productions Limited
Kathryn’s first film "Treacherous Heart" Premiered in 2012 and won an award for “Best Drama in Diaspora”. Her second film “2 Weeks in Lagos” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019; opened in Cinemas in February 2021 and Netflix in July 2021 and was nominated for an award for “Best film by an African Living abroad”.
Noah Segal, Co-President, Elevation Pictures
Noah Segal is the co-president of Elevation Pictures. Since its launch in 2014, Elevation has established itself as a leading independent distributor in Canada. In 2016, Noah expanded his duties to spearhead Elevation’s new production division with producer Christina Piovesan. Elevation has been actively producing and co-producing original film and TV content in Canada.
Shant Joshi, President, Fae Pictures
Shant Joshi is an award-winning producer and president of Fae Pictures, based in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto, on a mission to decolonize Hollywood by creating cinematic content for, by, and about queer, trans, and BIPOC people. On his mission, his projects have won awards at Sundance (Framing Agnes), Berlin (International Dawn Chorus Day), Inside Out, and Bend (Noor & Layla), and premiered at festivals like Canneseries (Streams Flow From A River), Toronto (Diaspora, Scaring Women at Night), Aspen (I Live Here), Hot Docs, BlackStar, Bentonville, and BFI.
Shant is currently Co-Chair of the BIPOC TV & Film Board, sits on the Canadian Media Producers Association’s EDI action committee, and sits on the Advisory Board at the Future of Film Showcase.
He is an alum of the Canadian Film Centre, Rotterdam Lab, and Osgoode Hall Law School, and was named a Reelworld Trailblazer, nominated for an Indiescreen Award, and to York University’s Top 30 Changemakers under 30.