CBC, BIPOC TV & Film and CFC Announce New Showrunner Catalyst to Support the Advancement of Diverse Canadian Creators

Posted: Jun 12, 2022

CBC, BIPOC TV & Film and CFC Announce New Showrunner Catalyst to Support the Advancement of Diverse Canadian Creators

Inaugural participants are Andrew Burrows-Trotman, MOTION and Ian Iqbal Rashid

June 12, 2022CBC, 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.

“It is imperative that while we are opening doors at entry-level for BIPOC creatives, we are simultaneously creating pathways for mid-level and senior BIPOC writers to have the opportunities to bring their careers to the next level,” said Kadon Douglas, Executive Director, BIPOC TV & Film. “The Canadian industry needs to see BIPOC writers as showrunners – leaders who can helm the vision of a show, from both the creative and business standpoint.”

“Within our industry, there are limited opportunities for equity-deserving senior writers to take on a leadership role, and we are honoured to work with Kadon and the dedicated team at BIPOC TV & Film in partnership with the CFC to help bridge that gap with the Showrunner Catalyst,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports, CBC. “By launching this tailored and practical program, we help to ensure that the future of Canadian storytelling reflects the changing face of our country. We offer our sincere congratulations to this year’s talented participants, who have already made great strides in their careers.”

“We’re thrilled to work with BIPOC TV & Film and CBC on this new initiative to help catalyze change in the Canadian film and television industry by including and growing Black, Indigenous and racialized creators in leadership positions,” added maxine bailey, Executive Director, CFC. “This shift is required to truly reflect today’s Canada, and the CFC is excited to be part of this change.”

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:

*Participant headshots can be found here.*

  • 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.


About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.

About BIPOC TV & Film
BIPOC TV & FILM is a national nonprofit organization advocating for racial equity and justice for Black, Indigenous and Persons of Colour in Canada’s screen media industry. From professional development training to mentorship to wellness support and community engagement initiatives, we ensure that BIPOC creative professionals have the necessary resources, access and opportunities to fully participate in our industry—at all levels in front of and behind the camera. BIPOC TV & Film also operates HireBIPOC.ca, a bilingual online database of above and below-the-line crew and creative professionals in Canada. Launched in October 2020, the digital database hosts over 7,500 users—including crew, creative talent, and employers—and more than 200 production roles.

About the CFC
The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is a charitable cultural organization that drives the future of Canadian storytelling. Our intensive, hands-on programs in film, television and entertainment technologies empower, shape and advance opportunities for Canadian creators and entrepreneurs working in screen-based industries. Learn more at cfccreates.com.

Media Contact:
Tanya Koivusalo, CBC PR

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