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BLACK MARKET: Creating Black TV Series in Canada
CREATING BLACK TV SERIES IN CANADA/ CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES
English Canada seems well ahead of Quebec in terms of inclusion on television. Indeed, several creators-author-directors and black producers were able to see their black TV series on television. This was the case for Jennifer Holness , Floyd Kane (Diggstown, currently on CBC) and Karen King ( CEO of Productions Without Borders, MCATD) These three Toronto-based creators will be invited to tell us about their experiences and how they were successful in getting their productions on television. The obstacles they had to overcome as well as the opportunities to be seized.
Jennifer Holness - Co-author, Co-creator and Executive Producer of Shoot the Messenger (CBC)
Jennifer Holness is an award-‐winning writer and producer of scripted and factual films and TV. Jen’s feature film producing credits include feature film Home Again with co-‐writer and director Sudz Sutherland. The film stars Tatyana Ali, Lyriq Bent and CCH Pounder and won the prestigious PAFF–BAFTA Festival Choice Award. The film was also nominated for two Canadian Screen Academy awards and a DGC nod for Best Directing. Jen also produced and co-‐wrote the feature Love, Sex and Eating the Bones that won 9 festival awards including the Best First Canadian Feature at Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for a trifecta of Genies – Best Feature, Best Writing and Best Directing. She is currently in late stage development on several feature projects including the German-‐ Canadian coproduction, Riptide, and Operation Red Dog with Canadian Academy Award-‐winning Director, Sudz Sutherland. On the TV side, Jen is in development with CBC on the comedy series, #relationship goals and the drams series, The Wild. She also co-‐created the TV drama series Shoot The Messenger for CBC about cops and journalists. She co-‐wrote and produced the two-‐part CBC miniseries, Guns, starring Elisha Cuthbert and Colm Feore that won five Canadian Screen Awards, including a shared best writing award for Jen. She also co-‐created, wrote and produced the thirteen-‐part comedy series She’s the Mayor for Vision TV that sold to BBC worldwide. With regards to documentaries, Jen is in-‐post production on the feature documentary, Hispaniola, about the impact of mass deportations on Dominicans of Hattian decent with the Sundance award-‐winning team Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster (American Promise) and the National Film Board of Canada. Jen is directing her second documentary, the feature Subjects of Desire, about cultural appropriation and the Black female image with TVO Canada. She is the Executive Producer of feature doc Black Zombie, currently in production with CBC’s Doc Channel. She has also produced numerous documentaries, including; Badge of Pride (CBC & PBS), Brick By Brick (Omni), Yin Yin Jade Love (TVO), and Dolores: The Art of Art Modeling (Bravo!), Speakers For The Dead (CBC/NFB) which she also co-‐directed. She is also working on several digital projects including adapting her award-‐winning digital app The Music Biz into an animated series called Monstah Music Biz. Jennifer has been a member of several Boards including Women In View, the Regent Park Film Festival, Innoversity Creative Summit and CMPA’s Prime Time. When she’s not working, Jen spends her down-‐time keeping up with her three spectacular girls.
Floyd Kane - Creator and Executive Producer of Diggstown (CBC)
Floyd Kane is the creator, executive producer and showrunner of the new original CBC legal drama, DIGGSTOWN. Prior to DIGGSTOWN, Floyd’s recent writing credits include SLASHER (Netflix), BACKSTAGE (Disney/DHX), CONTINUUM (Syfy) and the critically acclaimed feature film, ACROSS THE LINE. In addition to his work as a screenwriter, Floyd continues to produce independent feature films. His recent producing credits include, JEAN OF THE JONESES, which debuted at SXSW and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, ANGELIQUE’S ISLE, a period indigenous drama, THE INCREDIBLE 25th YEAR OF MITZI BEARCLAW and BROWN GIRL BEGINS based on the renowned novel, “Brown Girl in the Ring.”
Karen King - CEO Productions Without Borders, MCATD
Karen King is a seasoned veteran of the film and tv industry who commissioned and supervised the development of 15 lifestyle, drama & comedy series including, Da Kink in My Hair and Combat Hospital. As a commercial and NFB she championed diversity and served as a diversity consultant on US service productions. Karen is the CEO of a social enterprise Productions Without Borders a hub for international TV series to support the engagement of diverse audiences by engaging diverse talent, suppliers and clients through training, development, and production of content that is created with a diverse team in an inclusive manner. Karen believes we can use the power of media to its maximum benefit and create content that entertains without doing harm to our societies resulting in enhanced employee and market engagement to achieve excellence and enhance the bottom line.