Paramount+ Canada has taken a bold step in supporting and showcasing the talents of Black Canadian directors on the international stage. In a move that reflects a growing commitment to diversity and inclusion in the film industry, Paramount+ in Canada has partnered with the local Black Screen Office to help emerging Black Canadian filmmakers get international exposure.
Canada has long been recognized as a hub for cinematic talent, and its multicultural fabric has given rise to a wealth of diverse voices in filmmaking. However, despite the presence of immense talent, Black Canadian directors have historically faced hurdles when it comes to recognition and representation at international film festivals.
So Paramount+ Canada has rolled out the Black Creators Festival Initiative to help showcase indie films from Black Canadian directors worldwide by helping cover travel and hotel costs for international film festivals and TV markets like Cannes, MIP Africa and the European Film Market in Berlin.
Guidance will also be offered before festivals and markets on how to exploit contact with buyers, producers, distributors, and financiers. Among Black Canadian directors making inroads on the global film festival circuit is Canadian-Nigerian Clement Virgo and his brother, Lonzo Nzekwe’s revenge drama Orah — which screened this week in Toronto as part of the Industry Selects program.
Shot in Lagos and Sudbury Ontario, Orah includes an array of both Nigerian and Canadian acts that include Oyin Oladejo, OC Ukeje, Tina Mba, Lucy Ejim, Emeka Nwagbaraocha, Femi Lawson, Ruby Akubueze, Somkele Iyah-Idahlama, Oris Erhuero, Morgan Bedard, Christopher Seivright and Agape Mngomezulu.
According to a statement by Senior VP of streaming & content licensing at Paramount Global in Canada, Doug Smith, “The world needs more diverse storytelling from Canada and that is only possible by supporting and developing our incredible home-grown talent.”
The goal is to allow waves of Black Canadian directors to reach audiences around the world as a slow, yet steady culture shift to more diverse voices and talent in the Canadian industry continues.
“Their generous contribution underscores the importance of diversity and inclusion in the industry. Together, we can continue to promote the voices and talents of our community on a global stage,” Joan Jenkinson, executive director of the Black Screen Office, said in her own statement.
By collaborating with Black Canadian directors, Paramount+ Canada is not only providing financial support but also leveraging its industry connections to ensure that their works receive the attention they deserve. This support includes funding for festival submissions, travel expenses, and promotional efforts to help these filmmakers break through barriers.
XploreNollywood is available to promote all positive collaborations and hopes that other industry players will extend to other film producing countries.