Earlier this month, Canada’s Black Screen Office released a blistering report entitled Being Seen: Directives for Creating Authentic and Inclusive Content. The 51-page study, which revealed how the country’s film, television and digital-media sectors are “falling short in representing people from Black, People of Colour, 2SLGBTQIA+ and People with Disabilities communities,” urged greater onscreen representation that doesn’t resort to tokenism and stereotypes.
While the report focused on the creative and financial elements that shape productions – broadcasters and production companies, writers and directors – the Black Screen Office noted that a true shift in the landscape requires structural change “throughout the system.”
In other words, diverse stories require diverse creators, from those at the top of a crew to what are called “below-the-line” participants: editors, art directors, line producers, hair and makeup stylists, production assistants and more. Which is where a handful of new Canadian initiatives come into play.
This week, ARRAY Alliance, the “narrative change non-profit” organization founded by American filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma, When They See Us), launches its Canadian expansion of ARRAY Crew. The initiative, a sort of Internet Movie Database meets LinkedIn, offers producers access to thousands of profiles of diverse below-the-line talent across more than 600 job titles, with a “special focus on the amplification of women, people of colour, and other under-represented film and television professionals.”