BANFF: Netflix details Canadian investment, with originals push and animation grant

Ted Sarandos

Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos has highlighted the streamer’s ongoing investment in Canada, with a new original film in the works, the hiring of a Canadian original series exec and a partnership with Women in Animation Vancouver.

Sarandos kicked off his keynote speech at the virtual Banff World Media Festival yesterday with the announcement that Netflix is providing funding to Women in Animation Vancouver to expand its Animation Career EXCELerator Program (ACE).

He revealed that the streamer will act as the premiere partner of the 2022-2024 program, which aims to bring more women, particularly from underrepresented backgrounds, into key creative animation roles.

The grant from Netflix will see the current Vancouver-based ACE program expand nationally to applicants across Canada.

“Our focus is going to be on the BIPOC community, underrepresented voices in a very underrepresented community in animation,” said Sarandos. “Unfortunately, here in the US, by way of example, only about five per cent of producers of animation today are women of colour, so we really have an opportunity to bring more voices to the table in animation.”

The collaboration part of Netflix’s previously announced Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, which will see the streamer invest $100 million over the next five years.

Local originals expansion

It has now been 10 years since Netflix entered Canada and Sarandos further highlighted how the streamer has invested CA$2.5bn on local production, just since 2017. This investment is set to continue this year with the hiring of a Canadian content executive, following the streamer’s recent opening of a Toronto office.

“We’re actively in the process of hiring a manager for original Canadian series, which will in effect move the greenlight for Canadian content to Canada,” said Sarandos.

Meanwhile, Netflix has also handed a greenlight to Collective Pictures for Canadian sci-fi sequel Code 8: Part II. Sarandos described this follow-up to the 2019 sci-fi thriller feature as Netflix’s “first English-language Canadian original film”.

Jeff Chan will direct and write alongside Chris Paré, Sherren Lee and Jesse LaVercombe, with Robbie Amell and Stephen Amell set to reprise their roles from the first film. The film will shoot in Canada later this year and be released globally by Netflix.

“We’ve really made it a point to come in and be a partner in each of these countries we operate in and put really meaningful investment into the marketplace and not just export Hollywood to the world, but to actually export content and local stories from around the world to everywhere else in the world” said Sarandos, who further praised Canada as “a great place to produce.”

Tags: Netflix

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