Access BIPOC Producers: Congratulations to our newest graduates

Group photo from Access BIPOC Producers workshop 3, March 2024
Abiola Agbayewa

Abiola Agbayewa

Programs Outreach Manager

Photo credit: Michael Oyaro at Oyax Creative Studios

The second edition of the Access BIPOC Producers program, presented by European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE) and the National Screen Institute in partnership with Canada Media Fund, recently wrapped in Vancouver.

The 10-month program began in Winnipeg in July 2023 with a six day in-person workshop. The 22 producer participants had the opportunity to introduce themselves and their companies and discuss their current slate of projects. Writers affiliated with their projects had the option to attend the workshop. A second workshop took place virtually over 10 days in November 2023 with writers again having the option to attend.

In March 2024, the producer participants reunited in-person for six days to learn from industry experts, engage in group work, network and further progress their career goals.  It was a joy to observe the camaraderie between them.

The producers were invested in learning what will be needed to grow their companies while also rooting for each others’ success. There were spirited discussions, budding collaborations, confidence-building, information-sharing and genuine excitement at the careers that lie ahead for each of them.

The bonds they formed were evident in the original, hilarious, beautifully produced group videos they created and shared at the end of the workshop.

Workshop 3 opened with cedar brushing by Tsleil-Waututh Elder Gene Guss who also attended the final day of the workshop to send the participants on their way with singing and drumming.

There was an incredible amount of talent coming together from both program participants and local producers invited to attend select plenaries. The industry experts who presented plenaries and ran the group work sessions were generous in sharing their experiences, time, advice and encouragement.

Topics discussed throughout the workshop included company planning, festival strategies, recoupment schedule and distribution / sales issues, interim financing, case studies on company operation and distribution, fireside conversations about career strategy and the current state of the Canadian film and TV industry. These conversations and interactive sessions with industry experts were honest, reflective, unfiltered, intimate and relaxed.

Takeaways included the importance of establishing clear boundaries for work and life and being direct from the outset about your dos and don’ts, retaining passion for and in what you do, and being realistic about the challenges, along with the successes, in the lifestyle of a producer.

There was a focus on the importance of recognizing the difference between networking and building meaningful relationships, the importance of feedback and coming together to push for progress now and over the long haul.

Industry experts at the final workshop included group leaders Tamara Dawit and Diana Elbaum, María José Arauz, Todd Brown, Valerie Creighton, Leanne Harry, Karen Harnisch, Hilary Hart, Tom Hastings, Natalie Igelfeld, Jane Kim, Titus Kreyenberg, Lea Marin, Pierre-Emmanuel Mouthuy, Mathew Parry, Marielle Poupelin, Patrice Ramsay, Ken Tsui, Shirley Vercruysse, Robert Wong and Hédi Zardi. Yoga and stretching sessions were led by Farah Nazarali.

The Access BIPOC Producers program was deftly led by program advisor Jeff Peeler, senior programs manager Ursula Lawson, program manager Julie Hackett and program support Oyinkansola Bolaji-Idowu. Under their guidance and that of group leaders, the participants were well taken care of throughout the program.

Congratulations to all the producer participants involved in the program! We look forward to following their careers for many years to come.

Participants shared personal reflections on their time in the program. They were recorded live in front of an audience on March 23, 2024, the final day of workshop 3. You can listen to their reflections here.

Missing: Kashif Pasta (Surrey, BC)

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Access BIPOC Producers is presented by EAVE and the National Screen Institute, in partnership with the Canada Media Fund (CMF); Host partners Manitoba Film & MusicCreative BC; Strategic Sponsors Telefilm CanadaBell MediaSociété de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC)Ontario Creates; Industry Supporter Bell Fund; Tuition Partner National Film Board of Canada. National Screen Institute Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

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