Attached and enclosed please find a press release from ACTRA Toronto’s Diversity Committee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, September 6, 2016 – ACTRA Toronto’s Diversity Committee, which serves the union’s self-identified diverse membership, is launching a multi-tiered awareness campaign called #SharetheScreen today. To celebrate the launch, they are releasing an advocacy video featuring over 35 professional performers including award-winning actors Art Hindle, Cara Gee (Strange Empire), Shailyn Pierre-Dixon (Book of Negroes), Maria del Mar (Terminal City, A Touch of Grey) as well as fan favourites Kevin Hanchard (Orphan Black), Rick Howland (Lost Girl), Soma Bhatia (Degrassi: TNG) and Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience, Blood and Water).
The video for #SharetheScreen addresses the realities and experiences of diverse performers in the entertainment industry while also speaking to larger issues of diversity and gender inequities. The script was written by Joella Crichton and Connie Wang (who also makes her directorial debut). The video was produced by Diversity Committee Co-Chairs, Sedina Fiati and Farah Merani, with Gugun Deep Singh and Safiya Ricketts. Shot in one day at the Gordon Pinsent Studio at ACTRA Toronto, the video was filmed by the talented Tricia Hagoriles (Mad Max: Fury Road, Darknet) and features the music of Jeff Toyne (Rogue, You Me Her). It was made possible by the generous support of Actra Fraternal Benefit Society, Alter Ego Post Production, Neal Brothers Food Inc., ACTRA Toronto’s Executive and more than 50 Diversity Committee members who volunteered their time and talents.
An exclusive industry reception on September 8, 2016, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., will be hosted by ad agency DensuBos at their Toronto office steps from TIFF Bell Lightbox. The reception will honour the achievements and commitment to diversity of director Dawn Wilkinson (Degrassi) and Sinking Ship Entertainment (producers of the Emmy Award-winning Odd Squad) with the Sandi Ross #SharetheScreen Award. The #SharetheScreen video will also be shown at the event.
“We all recognize the value and importance of embracing diversity in our industry but we haven’t seen an industry-wide initiative like this that’s driven by the actors, the very people who directly reflect that diversity on screen,” says Ms. Merani. “There are so many talented performers, writers, directors and producers ready and waiting for the opportunity to tell their stories. It’s now up to decision-makers to make inclusion a priority and give Canada a chance to show the world that embracing diversity and inclusion will make our industry stronger,” adds Ms. Fiati.
The ACTRA Toronto Diversity Committee began as the New Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities, founded in 1984, to address the challenges faced by the physically and culturally diverse artistic community in the film and television industry in Canada. Dedicated to initiating policies and advocating for support structures, the mandate includes providing a better understanding of the need for change in both ACTRA and the industry at large.
ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA, representing more than 15,000 of Canada’s 22,000 professional performers working in recorded media in Canada. As an advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven union that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of professional performers.
Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv_s2LS0j1A
Media Contact: Farah Merani, Diversity Committee Co-Chair, Cell: 647-284-8112
DentsuBos: 276 King St. W. Suite 100, Toronto