The Canadian Film Centre Announces Six Writers for First-Ever Comedy Cohort of the Bell Media Prime Time TV Program
Posted: Aug 31, 2022
Posted: Aug 31, 2022
Award-winning playwright, actor and Kim’s Convenience co-creator Ins Choi to lead story room for comedy cohort
Toronto, August 31, 2022 – The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and Bell Media are pleased to announce the six writers invited to join the first-ever comedy cohort of the Bell Media Prime Time TV Program, an immersive real-world story room experience for Canadian TV writers delivered under the mentorship of an experienced television executive producer.
The inaugural comedy cohort, which will run from October 2022 to the end of March 2023, has been designed for writers specifically looking to gain experience in comedy writing and engage in a collaborative comedy series story room. The offering is for Black, Indigenous and/or racialized creators in Canada, to celebrate and amplify a diversity of underrepresented voices and stories. The program aims to reduce barriers to access comedy-related resources, including writers room opportunities and mentorship, for Black, Indigenous and/or racialized creators, and to help fuel the industry with more authentic comedic stories and storytelling.
“We’re thrilled to work with our longtime partner Bell Media to increase access and training opportunities for racialized creators through the inaugural comedy cohort of our celebrated Prime Time TV Program,” said maxine bailey, executive director, CFC. “We look forward to watching as these six talented writers fill our screens with authentic comedy series that showcase a diversity of voices, perspectives and lived experiences.”
As previously announced, the cohort will be led by award-winning playwright, actor and Kim’s Convenience co-creator, writer and executive producer Ins Choi as Executive Producer in Residence. Under his mentorship throughout the first half of the program, these six selected writers will work as a team with Choi to develop a new original series.
“I’m very grateful to the CFC and Bell Media for this unique opportunity to work with these gifted writers,” shared Choi. “They’re a funny bunch and write from their varied experiences and backgrounds. I’m excited to discover who we are as a group, how we work and where this might lead.”
“Advancing the careers of talented writers from different backgrounds is a fundamental step in creating more inclusive content, which builds on Bell Media’s commitment to telling stories that reflect the diverse lived experiences of Canadians from across the country,” added Rachel Goldstein-Couto, Head of Development, Original Programming, Bell Media. “We’re delighted to have Ins lead the first-ever comedy cohort and mentor these six talented writers who will bring new perspectives to the Canadian comedy landscape.”
The writers joining the comedy cohort of the Bell Media Prime Time TV Program are:
AMEERA SIDDIQUI (she/her), a Toronto-based, multifaceted storyteller. After interning with Bell Media’s Original Programming team in 2020, she wrote a pilot and pitch package for an original webseries with her friends, and later began freelance script editing.
JACKSON CHOW (he/him), an emerging Vancouver-based screenwriter who started out in visual effects, working on big-budget Hollywood films like Ad Astra and The New Mutants, among others. He has placed in multiple screenwriting competitions from ScreenCraft to The PAGE Awards, and has written and directed unique short films that showcase his distinct voice. Jackson is an alumnus of the 2022 Pacific Screenwriting Program.
KANIKA AMBROSE (she/her), playwright, librettist, screenwriter and Associate Artistic Director of Necessary Angel Theatre Company. As a playwright, her work has been presented at Toronto Fringe, Cahoots Theatre, Obsidian Theatre Company and Rhubarb Festival, among others. Her play Our Place will premiere at Theatre Passe Muraille in November 2020. As a librettist, Kanika’s works have been presented by Tapestry Opera, Curtis Institute of Music and Opera Philadelphia. She is currently developing a new opera, Of The Sea, with composer Ian Cusson, Tapestry Opera and Obsidian Theatre Company.
MONA HERSI (she/her) is a writer-producer-actor-sketch comedian. She draws on her intersectional experiences of being a first-generation Somali-Canadian born and bred in Toronto to fuel her writing. Her recent credits include writing for comedy series Abroad (OMNI TV) and a series in development at A Tokens Entertainment Company. She is currently developing two of her own original half hour comedies and is ⅕ of the Don Valley Girls sketch troupe.
SHIRLEY YIP (she/her), a Chinese Canadian writer-director. Her work has been placed in Austin Film Festival, ATX Festival and Script Pipeline, among others. Shirley was a 2022 BIPOC TV & Film Episodic Writers’ Lab Fellow with her drama series House of Fortune and a Reelworld E20 participant with her feature Orchid Dream. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Toronto and Professional Certificates in Screenwriting and Directing from UCLA.
VINCENT LUI (he/him), a Toronto-based Chinese Canadian writer. His recent credits include writing for children’s animated series Pet Shop Zombies and season 2 of webseries Tokens On Call webseries. Vincent is a PAGE Awards finalist, an alumnus of the BIPOC TV & Film Kids’ TV Writing Incubator, and a 2022 participant of the Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative.
The Bell Media Prime Time TV Program is recognized industry-wide for training TV series writers and developing new projects for the marketplace. The program has attracted some of Canada’s most prolific and successful showrunners to lead the story room as Executive Producer in Residence, including Michael MacLennan, Karen Walton, Brad Wright, Dennis Heaton and Alexandra Zarowny. The program has played a vital role in developing numerous hit series through its story room, including Travelers (Showcase / Netflix) and the Emmy Award-winning series Orphan Black (CTV Sci-Fi / BBC America). Learn more about the program here.
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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.
About Bell Media
Bell Media is Canada’s leading content creation company with premier assets in television, radio, digital and out-of-home media, including 35 television stations that are part of the CTV and Noovo networks; 27 specialty channels, including sports leaders TSN and RDS; bilingual TV and streaming service Crave; the iHeartRadio Canada brand encompassing 215 music channels, including 109 radio stations in 58 Canadian markets; and the Astral out-of-home advertising network. Bell Media is also a partner in Pinewood Toronto Studios, Montréal’s Grande Studios, Just for Laughs and Dome Productions, one of North America’s leading production facilities providers. Bell Media is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. Learn more at BellMedia.ca.
Director, Marketing & Communications, CFC
Manager, PR & Partnerships, Bell Media
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