WarnerMedia Expands Development for Canadian BIPOC Screenwriters

atmosphere at HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation at Warner Bros. Studios - Getty - H 2020
Ann/Getty Images

Paul Bronfman's Comweb Group has also committed $250,000 to POV for training and jobs for Black, Indigenous and People of Color amid an industry reckoning over systemic racism.

WarnerMedia and the Comweb Foundation have bolstered the Canadian entertainment industry's concerted drive to improve representation behind the camera.

On Monday, WarnerMedia and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television unveiled a Global Access Writers Program to give experienced Canadian writers from diverse communities the opportunity to be mentored by studio executives, creators and established industry professionals, while also turning an unfinished script into a viable draft.

WarnerMedia brought its studio-wide drive toward greater diversity and inclusion to Canada by hiring Deanna Cadette to lead its local diversity development initiative in September.

“With these initiatives we look forward to bringing together a variety of backgrounds and, along with our incredible partners at the Academy, aim to create space and opportunity for these individuals to step into their excellence," Cadette, executive director of WarnerMedia’s Global Access Programs-Canada, said in a statement.

WarnerMedia's screenwriter initiative will target experienced Canadian writers from the Indigenous, Black, racialized groups, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2+ and French-speaking minority communities. The goal is getting up to a dozen diverse Canadian writers in a room to pitch a project, nab additional writer credits or showrun their own show.

The push comes as the Canadian industry faces a reckoning over admissions of systemic racism in its top ranks and increased calls to improve representation in front and behind the camera.

Elsewhere, Paul Bronfman's Comweb Foundation is committing $250,000 to POV, a non-profit that trains and places BIPOC talent in Canadian entertainment jobs. The five-year partnership will support efforts to offer Canadians from the Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities technical training, career development, mentorship, paid jobs and internships.

“We are deeply committed to building a diverse and skilled media production workforce. With our multi-year commitment to support POV, we will help establish strong economic access and professional success for underrepresented young creatives across Canada," Comweb founder and CEO Bronfman, who is also chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios, said in a statement.

Bronfman's Comweb Corporation recently sold William F. White International, the Canadian production equipment rental giant, to Ashtead Group/Sunbelt Rentals of Canada.