In a bid to bolster diversity in the kids content industry, Canada’s Youth Media Alliance (YMA) has partnered with broadcasters Radio-Canada, Télé-Québec, TFO and APTN on a new scholarship initiative.
The Montreal-based nonprofit org is looking to help increase the number of Indigenous, French-speaking creatives behind the camera. The new fund aims to provide experience and networking opportunities for those who are either looking to start a career in Canadian kids content or already working in the industry.
Four recipients will be selected each year, and creators from diverse or Indigenous communities in Canada who want to pursue a career in kids and family content are eligible to apply. Applicants must speak French and be at least 18 years of age at the time of application.
The fund is budgeted to distribute US$7,800 (CAD$10,000) annually for three consecutive years, and this spend will cover a maximum of 10 working days for each participating creator to work on a kids show that’s set to air on one of the broadcast partners.
Applications are due by May 31, and the scholarship’s first recipients will be selected and notified in early June. More information is available on the YMA website.
There’s more demand for Indigenous stories and creators in kids entertainment these days, as audiences and buyers alike demand better on- and off-screen representation. This week, for example, Canadian public broadcaster the CBC kicked off a five-month community engagement program for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples as part of a broader effort to better represent and reflect Indigenous needs, interests and cultures on its platforms.
YMA has also been supporting underrepresented groups in the industry. Last year, it teamed up with Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) to launch the John Rooney Creator Fund. Established in honor of Canadian animation veteran John Rooney, who died in 2020, the fund was created to carry on his advocacy work in supporting LGBTQ+ talent. Earlier this year, Kai Little-White, Alora Lafontaine, David di Giovanni, Mia Ema Falak and Scott Farley were selected as the inaugural recipients.