The Black Screen Office (BSO), in partnership with Telefilm Canada and with the assistance of the Bell Fund, have announced a national consultation called Being Seen: A Directive for Authentic and Inclusive Content.
The iniitaitive is focused on the representation of Black, people of colour, LGBTQ2+ and persons with disabilities in the screen-based sectors.
It will engage with underrepresented communities to determine how they want to be seen and represented and will then provide a set of directives to the industry.
The consultation will be conducted through virtual focus groups and one-on-one interviews with representatives of the industry and the general public who are members of the target communities.
They will be conducted in English and French and will consider intersectionality and regional representation. The Indigenous communities are not part of the consultation as they have developed the ‘On-Screen Pathways and Protocols’ guide to address their needs.
Consultations will take place from May to September, and the goal is to launch the directives as three separate reports from October 2021 to January 2022.
The work will be spearheaded by lead researcher Kelly Lynne Ashton together with a team of researchers and interns working with an editorial committee, who will provide guidance throughout.
Both the research team and the editorial committee have been staffed with representation from the targeted communities with a focus on intersectionality.
“The goal is to galvanise the screen industry so that all creators can feel supported to do their best work and audiences can see themselves reflected and hear their stories told,” said Joan Jenkinson, BSO executive director.
“Telefilm Canada is firmly committed to the development of an equitable and representative screen sector,” said Telefilm Canada executive director Christa Dickenson. “We believe that ‘Being Seen’ will be an essential tool towards achieving that goal. The industry is ready to see these stories told, and to support them with respect and openness.”