Canadian Screen Awards group introduces new equity-driven initiatives, eligibility rules

The organization behind the Canadian Screen Awards has announced some equity-driven changes and initiatives, including a new rule concerning eligibility requirements for Indigenous content.

The new rule from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television takes effect for next year’s awards season and concerns two types of content, including that which tells an Indigenous story and/or is from an Indigenous perspective.

The academy says such work submitted for awards consideration must have a minimum of two-thirds of its above-the-line talent identify as Indigenous, or be from a production company that is majority Indigenous-owned.

The other new rule requirement concerns work that tells a story from a non-Indigenous perspective, but includes Indigenous content. Entrants submitting such work must declare that they have read the Indigenous Screen Office’s On-Screen Protocols and Pathways Media Production Guide.

Supporting efforts of Indigenous Screen Office

They must also provide written documentation of how the production “respectfully engaged Indigenous community leadership,” as well as “followed community protocols around permissions and consent.”

Entrants must also document how the production “employed and maintained a respectful work environment for Indigenous crew members.”

In a news release Friday, the academy said the new rule is intended to support the efforts of the Indigenous Screen Office in seeking narrative sovereignty for First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities.

The academy also announced several new anti-racism initiatives, including an equity committee for its board of directors, and an equity and inclusion fund.

Other new academy announcements include a multi-year partnership with WarnerMedia on a writers’ program for experienced but underrepresented Canadian talent.

Meanwhile, the academy’s board of directors has some new faces, including actors Stephan James, Shamier Anderson, and Tina Keeper.

Prospero Pictures president Martin Katz is stepping down from the board, following a maximum 10-year term.