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TORONTO, Oct. 23, 2023 — Paramount+ in Canada, BIPOC TV & Film, and the National Screen Institute announce today a joint partnership that brings to life the all-new ELEVATE program, providing business development mentorship, as well as strategies for growth and stability to BIPOC-owned production companies. Applications are now open until November 30 and eligible participants can apply HERE. The ELEVATE program runs from January 2024 to March 2025.
“The ELEVATE program is an important initiative that will dovetail with specific project-based funding already available for BIPOC-owned production companies, offering the tools and resources to elevate their businesses beyond individual projects,” said Doug Smith, SVP Streaming & Content Licensing Paramount Global, Canada. “We’re honoured to support the growth of BIPOC production companies in Canada that will leave a legacy of diverse storytelling for generations to follow.”
“ELEVATE is a vital branch of BIPOC TV & Film’s three-year strategic plan to build, fortify and sustain BIPOC entrepreneurs and businesses in the screen sector,” said Executive Director Kadon Douglas. “Sustainable and thriving production companies are critical to building power and autonomy for BIPOC creators, and transforming the stories we tell and legacies we build for the future of Canadian content.”
“ELEVATE is our response to requests from BIPOC producers who seek business development support,” said National Screen Institute CEO Joy Loewen. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Paramount+ and BIPOC TV & Film to deliver a groundbreaking initiative designed to address existing disparities and barriers faced by BIPOC producers. We believe ELEVATE will accelerate the growth of BIPOC production companies in both the domestic and international markets.”
Through the ELEVATE program, participants will be provided with tailored mentorship and coaching, expert financial and business guidance, access to industry decision-makers and networks and critical resources to help bridge the gap and accelerate their growth trajectory. The program aims to foster long-term sustainability, economic empowerment and representation within the industry and encourage greater export of Canadian creative content.
The program is designed through a trauma-informed lens to consider the socioeconomic impacts of systemic oppression and barriers these communities have experienced. In a 2021 Canada Media Fund survey of over 150 companies owned by Black and racialized producers, four in 10 companies operated with less than $50,000 annually and relied on six or more funding sources. ELEVATE will inject flexible funding into BIPOC production companies and facilitate connections with funding opportunities, financial institutions, and potential investors to enable BIPOC producers to access the necessary capital for business growth.
This initiative is the second partnership Paramount+ in Canada has announced that reinforces Paramount’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Earlier this month, the company announced a collaboration with the Black Screen Office for the Black Creators Festival Initiative.
These programs are intricately connected to the mission of Paramount Global’s Content for Change initiative, which seeks to counteract narratives that enable bias, stereotypes, and hate using the power of our content, the creative supply chain that powers it, and the culture that underpins everything we do.
Paramount+ is a global digital subscription video streaming service from Paramount that features a mountain of premium entertainment for audiences of all ages. Internationally, the streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including SHOWTIME®, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and the Smithsonian Channel™, in addition to a robust offering of premier local content. The service is currently live in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, Italy, Ireland, and South Korea.
About BIPOC TV & Film
Founded in 2012 as a grassroots movement and community-building initiative—creating new networks of support, care, and knowledge sharing, and challenging discriminatory policies and practices in the industry—BIPOC TV & Film has evolved into a national not-for-profit organization building power and opportunities for Black, Indigenous and Racialized people in Canada. BIPOC TV & Film demonstrates what is possible when a group of determined, visionary, and creative people come together for good. Through investments in professional development training, mentorship, wellness support and community engagement initiatives, we ensure that BIPOC media professionals have the necessary resources, access, and opportunities to fully participate in the film and television industry—at all levels in front of and behind the camera. In 2020, the organization launched HireBIPOC, a workforce development initiative to facilitate connections between employers and above and below-the-line crew and creative professionals in Canada.
About the National Screen Institute
Propelled by a visionary network of donors, private and public organizations, board members and staff, the National Screen Institute supports creators from across Canada to tell unforgettable stories. Through industry-informed training and mentoring in film and television, students and alumni find their voice and place on the global stage, inspiring us to shape a better world.
The National Screen Institute is committed to training participants from a diverse community of voices including Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+), people with disabilities, those outside large urban centres, those in regional and remote areas and various religious groups.
ELEVATE is presented by Paramount+ in Canada, BIPOC TV & Film and the National Screen Institute, with program partners Canada Media Fund (CMF) Telefilm Canada, and academic partner Toronto Metropolitan University. More sponsors will be added as confirmed.
For further information: For further information: Paramount+ in Canada Media Contacts: Laura Heath Potter; Laura.HeathPotter@paramount.com, Marin Pollock; firstname.lastname@example.org; BIPOC TV & Film Media Contact: Rebecca Rashev; email@example.com; National Screen Institute Media Contact: Liz Hover; firstname.lastname@example.org