Excerpt from a press release:
Bell Media and French-language executive producers Marie Ka and Richard Jean-Baptiste, along with English-language executive producers Damon D’Oliveira and Clement Virgo, have teamed up to develop FESTIVALE, Canada’s first bilingual anthology series by and about Black Canadians. . Produced for Bell Media’s Crave, FESTIVALE is a collaboration between Crave’s Francophone and Anglophone development teams and a response to the lack of black Francophone stories on mainstream television.
This groundbreaking series also serves as a BSO-administered pre-development incubator, supporting creative teams who haven’t had the opportunity to produce content for a major network. This initiative aligns with BSO’s talent development mandate to build bridges between broadcasters and content creators; connect participants to resources; and fostering relationships to cultivate strong talent pools.
“FESTIVALE is a groundbreaking experience where black Canadian writers, French and English, finally have the chance to work together on the same project,” said executive producers Marie Ka, Richard Jean-Baptiste, Damon D’Oliveira and Clement Virgo . “We can’t thank Bell Media enough for bridging the language gap and supporting this timely creative journey. We hope that this project will be the starting point for future collaborations with Bell Media, for all our participants. »
“We are delighted to support this important initiative and commend Bell Media and Crave for their openness to engaging in the work to accelerate system change,” said Joan Jenkinson, Managing Director, BSO. “The collaboration between this array of talented black writers and producers is wonderful to see, and we look forward to the outcome.”
“As Bell Media continues to work towards creating equitable creative space and opportunity, collaborations like this are critical to our collective success,” said Karine Moses, Senior Vice President, Content Development and news, Bell Media. “Thank you to this visionary executive production team and the BSO for bringing FESTIVALE to Bell Media and partnering with us to help develop and champion incredible black talent.
The incubator will also serve as a hybrid story room for writers to develop episodic ideas, with the help and experience of showrunner Adam Pettle. At the end of the process, the editorial team will have completed six drafts of the proposed anthology series and will have the opportunity to pitch it to Bell Media network executives.
In addition to Pettle, the writing room will be made up of black French-speaking writers, Kimberley Ann Surin, Josiane Blanc, as well as the writing team Kadidja Haïdara and Seydou Junior Haïdara; and three English-speaking black writers, Adeline Bird, Andrew Burrows Trotman and Anika Jarrett.
Four black French-speaking producers, Maeva Montemiglio, Malcom Odd, Sabrina Roc and Jephte Bastien; and two English-speaking black producers, Mansa Chintoh and Jose Holder, are also involved in the incubator.
Comprised of six stand-alone episodes, FESTIVALE focuses on authentic new voices that evoke the Black Canadian experience. Against the backdrop of a scorching heat wave in Montreal, the series explores themes of appropriation, identity, belonging and the transcendent nature of love, in all its forms. Each episode follows complex characters grappling with situations that reveal their humanity, grounded through their journeys that cut through stereotypes and resonate with authenticity. Episodes, whether in English or French, can also feature multilingual dialogue.
Now in pre-development, the anthology series is funded by Bell Media, with development funding from the Canada Media Fund’s Racialized Communities Pilot Project (RCPP) fund. Funding for the incubator is supported by the BSO-TD Bank mentorship program.