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Oct 14, 2022
In April 2020, Canada’s public broadcaster launched the CBC Creative Relief Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide $2 million in urgently needed development and production funding to a wide range of original Canadian projects, including scripted comedies and dramas, unscripted entertainment, kids and young adult programming, podcasts, play adaptations and short documentaries. There were 119 projects selected to receive the immediate support, exceeding the initial commitment with $2.2 million in development and production funding confirmed across the three programming streams. With close to 9000 submissions received, 99 projects were selected for development funding and 20 for production funding, including 51 projects (43 per cent) from self-identified Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) creators.
Two and a half years later, all of the 20 projects which received production funding have been produced and released on CBC platforms, including 15 short documentaries; two unscripted projects (The Artistic Accountant and viral sensation Bhangra Happy Dance); and three young adult/youth titles (Automatic, Uprooted: The Plantemic, and Who Do You Think I Am?).
Three of the unscripted/factual entertainment titles initially selected for development were produced by majority BIPOC-owned production companies as CBC Gem originals: DNA (renamed Real Blackity Talk); The Great Canadian Sex Survey (renamed The Big Sex Talk, and now being sold internationally by a distributor); and Cartoons that Shaped Us (renamed Stay Tooned and debuting in December 2022).
One of the scripted drama titles selected for development funding, Something Undone, was greenlit, yielding two seasons for CBC Gem. Two scripted titles are still in development, with an additional title now in pre-production and set to be released in 2023.
Two podcasts selected for development were greenlit and produced, Limited Capacity and Sorry About The Kid, and three kids/tweens projects are still in development, with an additional title greenlit for production.
Ultimately, the CBC Creative Relief Fund satisfied its goal of providing immediate support to Canadian creators throughout the challenging period of lockdowns at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to yielding more than 25 diverse projects available on CBC platforms, with several more still in development, the Fund introduced CBC’s programming teams to many talented creators and producers across the country, helping to build solid relationships in anticipation of future collaborations.
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