Jul 20, 2022

Twenty-one participants selected for scripted comedy/drama and short documentary streams

National pilot program in partnership with the ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto offers training, mentorship and financing support to Deaf and disabled creators 

CBC today announced the 21 participants selected for AccessCBC: A CBC Initiative for Creators with a Disability, the national pilot program from CBC and the ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto presented by the Miles Nadal JCC (RAFFTO) that provides development opportunities and support to Deaf and disabled creators. With scripted comedy/drama and short documentary streams, the initiative offers training, mentorship and, on certain projects, financing support for persons with a disability who work in film, television and/or video content production.

*Photos of AccessCBC participants can be found here.*

The 10 scripted comedy/drama participants are: 

  • Sivert Das (Ontario)
  • Shay Erlich (Ontario)
  • Courtney Gilmour (Ontario)
  • Stefan Hicks-Rubel (Ontario)
  • Scott Jones (Nova Scotia)
  • Sam Eli MacPhee-Pitcher (Ontario)
  • Elizabeth Morris (Ontario)
  • Shannon Rayne (British Columbia)
  • Anusree Roy (Ontario)
  • Cole Vandale (British Columbia)

The scripted stream of participants recently completed their development workshops, where they received practical experience writing pitch documents, individualised feedback, coaching on how to package and market their project, and the opportunity to network with other industry professionals from CBC and across the industry. The program was facilitated by CBC scripted executives Gosia Kamela, Head of CBC Films, and Sarah Quan, Executive in Charge of Development, Comedy, with industry workshop facilitators including: Glenn Cockburn, President, Meridian Artists; Rebecca DiPasquale, Producer and Co-Founder of Robot Monkey Entertainment; Kelsey Lundy, freelance design director; and Karen Tsang, Senior Vice-President, Creative Affairs, Pier 21 Films.

The 11 short documentary participants are: 

  • Desiree Bilon (Alberta) 
  • Sarah Colbeck & David Campbell (Ontario)
  • Taylor Gaudon (Ontario)
  • Steff Juniper (Ontario) 
  • Lynn Matheson (Nova Scotia) 
  • Megan Milton (British Columbia) 
  • Leymo Hassen Mohammed (Ontario) 
  • Avan Neo (Ontario)
  • Veronika Swartz (Alberta) 
  • Kristen Walsh (Ontario) 

Each of the 11 selected participants in the short documentary program will receive development funding for their projects, and throughout the summer, a CBC executive will act as a mentor and provide guidance on their funded development process. There is the opportunity for one project to be greenlit for production at the completion of the program this fall. The CBC mentors include: Yasmine Abbasakoor, Executive in Charge of Development, Unscripted; Lesley Birchard, Executive in Charge of Production, CBC Docs; Lucius Dechausay, Senior Producer, Unscripted Content; Sandra Kleinfeld, Senior Director, Documentary; Jacquie Lee, Senior Producer, CBC Creator Network; Michelle McCree, Executive in Charge of Production, CBC Docs; Nic Meloney, Executive in Charge of Production, Unscripted Content; Mike Miner, Executive in Charge of Production, CBC Docs; and Jessica Schmiedchen, Director of Development, Unscripted Content. 

AccessCBC was initially announced in January 2022, and submissions were open to creators with a demonstrated interest in the media industry who self-identify as having a disability and are not employed by CBC. For eligibility purposes, AccessCBC followed the Accessible Canada Act’s definition of a disability: any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment — or a functional limitation — whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society. The eligibility criteria of “a demonstrated interest in the media industry” included previous storytelling experience and past or present employment, in any media industry position, including volunteering and workshops.



About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.

About ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto

The ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto is the Canadian chapter of the largest film festival in North America dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities and/or who are Deaf. RAFFTO showcases award-winning and compelling shorts centering Deaf and disability cultures, along with providing a platform for film industry professionals to learn about accessible screenings, relaxed performances, captioning, and described audio. Through participating in the festival and year-round programming, artists with disabilities and Deaf artists find a platform for their work, networking opportunities, and professional development, and audiences discover the unique voices and art of underrepresented filmmakers. RAFFTO is presented by the Miles Nadal JCC in Toronto, ON.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Tanya Koivusalo, CBC PR