Net­flix un­veils part­ner­ships with Indige­nous groups

The Prince George Citizen - - A & E -

Net­flix has an­nounced new part­ner­ships with three Indige­nous cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tions in Canada to help fos­ter and de­velop screen tal­ent.

The part­ner­ships with imag­ineNATIVE, the Indige­nous Screen Of­fice, and Wapikoni Mo­bile were re­vealed Tues­day night at the Banff World Me­dia Fes­ti­val.

The ini­tia­tive is part of a $25-mil­lion commitment Net­flix made in Septem­ber 2017 to in­vest in mar­ket de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at sup­port­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of Cana­dian cre­ators over five years.

These new agree­ments bring to 14 the to­tal num­ber of part­ner­ships that have been inked as part of that commitment, which fo­cuses on un­der­served com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing Indige­nous, women and fran­co­phone cre­ators.

In a phone in­ter­view, Net­flix’s public pol­icy di­rec­tor for Canada, Stephane Cardin, wouldn’t re­veal the fi­nan­cial de­tails of the agree­ments. He said the com­pany works with each part­ner to en­sure the amount of fund­ing they re­ceive is suf­fi­cient for them to ac­com­plish their ob­jec­tives.

In a state­ment, imag­ineNATIVE ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ja­son Ryle said the part­ner­ship with Net­flix “marks one of the largest spon­sor­ships in imag­ineNATIVE’s his­tory.”

Cardin said while Net­flix would want to hear about any projects that might come out of the part­ner­ships, the com­pany doesn’t have any­thing built into the con­tracts con­cern­ing so-called “first­look” or “right of first re­fusal” deals that would give the com­pany an ex­clu­sive on pro­duc­tions.

The part­ner­ships with the Indige­nous or­ga­ni­za­tions com­ple­ment each other and will sup­port Indige­nous cre­ators across Canada, he said.

“For us it re­ally is a tes­ta­ment to two things: One, that we have a long-term view and commitment to Canada and rec­og­niz­ing the strength of its creative com­mu­nity. We want to help fos­ter some emerg­ing tal­ent,” Cardin said.

“And the sec­ond is re­ally the fact that we be­lieve that not just our com­pany and our work­force, but also our ser­vice and our con­tent are bet­ter and stronger when they re­flect the di­ver­sity of our mem­ber­ship, and I think that is re­flected in all the part­ner­ships that we’ve signed.”

The agree­ment with imag­ineNATIVE – an or­ga­ni­za­tion that has its own in­sti­tute and holds an an­nual film fes­ti­val in Toronto – will in­volve six dis­tinct ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at Indige­nous screen­writ­ers, di­rec­tors and pro­duc­ers.

Those ac­tiv­i­ties will in­clude Indige­nous pro­duc­ers’ and di­rec­tors’ labs.

The agree­ment with the Indige­nous Screen Of­fice will pro­vide “sec­ond-phase sup­port” for Indige­nous projects, in­clud­ing key creative ap­pren­tice­ships and cul­tural men­tor­ships for di­rec­tors, pro­duc­ers, screen­writ­ers and showrun­ners.

Un­der the deal with Mon­tre­al­based Wapikoni Mo­bile – an or­ga­ni­za­tion that trav­els to Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties across Canada to of­fer film­mak­ing tools for youth men­tor­ing and coach­ing will also be pro­vided.

Cardin said tal­ent wish­ing to par­take in any of the ini­tia­tives un­der the part­ner­ships should in­quire through the re­spec­tive or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“Our role in that is to fa­cil­i­tate and to make sure that things are as com­ple­men­tary as pos­si­ble but our part­ners are very au­tonomous and they’re the ones who run the show.”

On Sun­day, Net­flix an­nounced a part­ner­ship with the Al­liance of Fran­co­phone Pro­duc­ers of Canada as part of the same fund­ing commitment.

That part­ner­ship also in­volves Tele­film Canada and the Canada Me­dia Fund, and in­cludes the launch of a pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment pro­gram for fran­co­phone pro­duc­ers and cre­ators out­side of Que­bec.

Other or­ga­ni­za­tions Net­flix has part­nered with since 2017 un­der the $25-mil­lion mar­ket de­vel­op­ment fund in­clude RIDM (the Montreal In­ter­na­tional Doc­u­men­tary Fes­ti­val), In­side Out, Que­bec Cinema and the Cana­dian Film Cen­tre.

The mar­ket de­vel­op­ment fund is an ar­range­ment spe­cific to Canada and is on top of the commitment Net­flix made in 2017 to in­vest $500 mil­lion in Cana­dian pro­duc­tions over five years, a num­ber it re­cently said it will ex­ceed.

“For us, it re­flects the fact that in our cul­ture at Net­flix, di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion are key to our suc­cess,” Cardin said.

CP FILE PHOTO

The logo of Amer­i­can en­ter­tain­ment com­pany Net­flix is pic­tured at the Paris games week in Novem­ber 2017.

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