Indigenous Screen Office Announces $3 million in Emergency Relief Funding and Launches $300k Solidarity Fund

TORONTO — The Indigenous Screen Office will disburse $3.3 million in COVID-19 emergency relief funding to support Indigenous-led production companies affected by the pandemic, as well as new opportunities for individual creators and a new fund for racialized creators.

The $3 million in relief funding will support COVID-19-related business continuity and expenses such as health and safety measures, fees and additional insurance costs for Indigenous-led production companies. Training and skills development, and development grants for Indigenous individual creators and companies will also be supported.

“While initial relief funding has been largely successful in maintaining the Canadian screen sector, it did not completely address the needs of historically marginalized communities within the sector and those working outside the established funding system,” said Jesse Wente, Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office. “ISO is committed to filling this gap by offering relief funding that is responsive to the needs and realities of Indigenous creators working in all screen-based platforms across the country.”

The Solidarity Fund will be created in partnership with the Racial Equity Media Collective (REMC) and will provide $300K in funding to support racialized creators with development grants, with a focus on reaching Black creators. ISO and REMC are in dialogue with other community partners and welcome additional financial contributions to grow the fund.  The Solidarity Fund was created as a meaningful response to the global movement opposing anti-Black racism that is also shining a light on anti-Indigenous racism and systemic racism in Canada.

“As an Indigenous organization, we believe it is our responsibility to leverage the capacity and networks we have built to support racialized creators who are also fighting for an equitable screen sector in Canada,” said Kerry Swanson, Managing Director of the Indigenous Screen Office. “We hope this initiative will support larger long-term investment strategies and we look forward to working and learning with our partners at REMC.”

“The Solidarity Fund is an example of why Indigenous leadership is vital to the future of the media sector,” said Amar Wala, on behalf of REMC. “The fact that the ISO is using its own resources to open doors for other racialized communities is incredible. This fund signals a new era of BIPOC communities coming together to move the industry towards equity.  REMC looks forward to this and many future collaborations with the ISO.”

The ISO intends to release program guidelines and application forms within the next four weeks, and a more detailed announcement will follow.

Funding for these programs comes from the Canada Media Fund’s 15 per cent allocation of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations that will be invested through targeted initiatives to ensure equity, including by region, language and for underrepresented groups. The total of this allocation will be $13.3M in emergency funding.

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