Today, Rogers and the Black Screen Office (BSO) have jointly announced the extension of a pioneering Canadian fund aimed at fostering the creative endeavors of Black and People of Colour (BPOC) storytellers.
Over the next three years, the Rogers Group of Funds is set to invest $900,000, continuing its commitment to the Rogers-BSO Script Development Fund. Since its inception in 2021, this initiative has garnered a total investment of $1.65 million. Administered by the Canadian Independent Screen Fund for BPOC Creators (CISF), this fund plays a crucial role in breaking down barriers and providing equal opportunities for BPOC creators in Canada and beyond.
Robin Mirsky, Director of Rogers Group of Funds, expressed the company’s dedication to fostering inclusivity in the storytelling landscape: “We’re committed to removing barriers and creating opportunities so Black and People of Colour creators have equitable access to funding and other supports to help them tell stories here in Canada and abroad.”
The Rogers-BSO Script Development Fund offers financial support to Black and People of Colour storytellers throughout Canada, supporting them from the early stages of script development to refining and creating pitch-ready projects. To date, the fund has supported over 45 projects from various regions across Canada.
Joan Jenkinson, Executive Director of Black Screen Office, sees the renewed support from Rogers as a milestone in their mission to create equity for BPOC storytellers. She highlighted the fund’s impact in nurturing voices and talents that have historically been overlooked in the industry, emphasizing the importance of this collaboration in bringing forth diverse narratives from across Canada.
Sally Lee, Executive Director of the Canadian Independent Screen Fund, commended Rogers’ increased level of support, describing it as a strong commitment to improving racial equity in the sector. She expressed delight in continuing to work closely with Rogers and BSO to elevate the voices of Black and other racialized creators, anticipating the submission of exciting new projects later in the year.
The extension of the Rogers-BSO Script Development Fund addresses significant underrepresentation of Black professionals in Canada’s screen industry, as revealed in BSO’s 2022 report, “Being Heard: Black Canadians in the Canadian Screen Industries.” The report highlighted challenges such as a lack of qualified talent, leading to less than 3% of participants in key decision-making roles. The fund plays a pivotal role in directly addressing these barriers and supporting BPOC storytellers on their creative journey.