$400,000 available in funding for new and emerging Black content creators through partnership between Black Screen Office and TELUS
Bridget Stringer-Holden // News Editor
Twenty grants of $20,000 will be awarded in the first Black Creators Edition of the TELUS STORYHIVE. Black creators in B.C. and Alberta without industry experience are welcome to submit original ideas for a short local documentary, web pilot series or digital short until Oct. 6.
“STORYHIVE is dedicated to supporting and amplifying local stories and voices,” said Cameron Zinger, Director of Local Content.“We’re here to support and accelerate the creativity of storytellers in B.C. and Alberta through funding, training, distribution and support from TELUS.”
The partnership with Black Screen Office (BSO) grew out of conversations with Joan Jenkinson, Executive Director and Founder of the BSO, and will help create equity through funding for those who have been excluded or who face barriers in accessing the Canadian broadcasting system due to anti-Black racism. STORYHIVE has helped new and emerging creators to break into the industry, with many of the films and creators going on to win local, national and international awards.
For the Black Creators Edition, anyone is encouraged to submit ideas of fiction or nonfiction projects that delve into Western Canada’s cultures and communities. The funding will help support Black content creators build their careers and networks, but also empower the next generation and support capacity building. Creators who are chosen for this grant, will also receive customized career training, filmmaking mentorship, and help with distribution of their projects on certain TELUS platforms.
Some of the past editions that Zinger feels have made a profound impact in the community include the Female Director Edition and the Indigenous Storytellers Edition. TELUS continues to test new programs, including the Podcast Edition and STORYHIVE Voices. “We want to continue offering innovative editions that keep up with the changing landscape, to offer funding for projects that are COVID friendly, and provide a platform for a variety of stories and experiences,” says Zinger.
An external selection committee made up of members from the Black community will review all the submissions and allocate funding. Some members sit on the BSO board, and others work within the film and television industry, or other related industries such as technology and security. The impact of the award on the creator and importance of the idea to the creator’s community of residence will also be factored into the decision.
Since 2013, TELUS STORYHIVE has supported over 18,280 creators through 512 projects, coming to around $11 million dollars awarded in funding, mentorship, training and distribution of projects. “At TELUS, we believe in building stronger and more connected communities,” said Zinger. “Our mission is to continue celebrating and amplifying Canadian-created content that’s locally reflective and relevant.”