Bell Media Announces $1 Million Producer Accelerator Lab

- New innovative program provides hands-on training in both broadcasting and independent production environments -

- Accelerator Lab is latest program supported by the $1.8 Million Bell Media TV Skills Development Initiative -

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TORONTO, April 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Bell Media announced today the creation of an immersive and innovative new apprenticeship program to help develop the next generation of small-screen producers in Canada. With a yearly commitment of up to $1 million, the Bell Media Producer Accelerator Lab is a catalyst to fast-track the advancement and skills of qualified television producers. The latest program supported by the Bell Media TV Skills Development Initiative, one of Canada's most extensive broadcaster-supported training funds, the Bell Media Producer Accelerator Lab provides emerging producers from across Canada with the opportunity to gain unique hands-on experience - at both Bell Media and at leading production companies - to assist them advancing their careers within Canada's TV industry. Bell Media will announce application details later this spring, with the program expected to launch by the end of the year.

The long-term objective of the Bell Media Producer Accelerator Lab is to ensure the next generation of producers are ready to meet the ever-changing demands of producing Canadian television and, as demand for Canadian programming continues to grow, enlarge the pool of talented, experienced producers from which Canadian broadcasters can partner.

The Producer Accelerator Lab joins current national training programs that the Bell Media TV Skills Development Initiative supports in association with leading TV and film organizations, with overall funding of up to $1.8 million each year. The programs include the Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program (Writers Guild of Canada), the Bell Media National Fellowship Program (Banff World Media Festival), the Bell Media Primetime TV Program (Canadian Film Centre), the Bell Media Showrunner Bootcamp (Canadian Film Centre), the Business Management for Media Professionals Program (Women in Film and Television - Toronto), the Media Leadership Program (Women in Film and Television - Toronto), and Totally Television (National Screen Institute)*.Together, the programs ensure a comprehensive range of training across disciplines, and at different career states, for Canada's up-and-coming production talent.

"Canadian television production is burning more brightly than ever. With our stated goal to feature prestige Canadian programming in primetime on CTV on every night of the week, and as we continue to commission more and more original content on our specialty channels, there is an increasing need to fuel the fire with even more accomplished producers," said Kevin Crull, President, Bell Media. "Today's announcement is an investment in the future of Canadian production."

"There is momentum in Canadian development and production right now, and the Accelerator Lab will help propel it further forward," said Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. "We hope to help set the stage for next period of growth in our industry."

Experiential and experimental, the Bell Media Producer Accelerator Lab has two innovative components:

A) Broadcaster Internship

  • Up to 10 participants each year will partake in a group-based curriculum during a multi-week internship at the Bell Media's Toronto headquarters.
  • Participants will be exposed to the fundamental operations of a Canadian broadcaster, including learning about the business model and economics of Canadian broadcasting.
  • Participants will participate in rotations with the various Bell Media departments involved in Canadian production, such as Development, Programming, Business Affairs, Regulatory, Marketing and Communications, Research, News, In-House Production, Sales, and Brand Partnerships.
  • Travel and accommodation are provided for each participant. Additionally, participants would attend one festival/conference relating to television/digital production as guests of Bell Media.

B) Production Mentorship

  • Then, top producers from the Broadcaster Internship each year will advance to a specialized 8-10 month mentorship experience at a production company or Bell Media In-House Productions.
  • Bell Media will leverage its relationships with its independent production partners and in-house productions to tailor each mentorship placement. The mentorships could include independent producers creating comedy, drama, or reality/factual programming, as well as in-house news, sports, or entertainment production at Bell Media.
  • The successful participant(s) will receive up to $50,000 each payable over the duration of their mentorship.

Applicants for the Bell Media Producer Accelerator Lab must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Applicants must hold a degree or diploma with an emphasis on television or film studies, or have an equivalent four years of production experience. Full details will be announced in the coming months.

About the Bell Media TV Skills Development Initiative
The $1.8 million Bell Media TV Skills Development Initiative is a suite of national training programs, exclusively funded by Bell Media, which ensure a comprehensive range of training for writers, producers, directors, and showrunners in the Canadian television industry at different stages of their careers. The Initiative supports the Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program (Writers Guild of Canada) for emerging and mid-career writers from diverse backgrounds who intern in a writing room of a Bell Media TV series; the Bell Media National Fellowship Program (Banff World Media Festival), which encourages professional development in the television industry by enabling emerging producers, writers, and directors to attend the festival and take part in mentorship activities; the Bell Media Primetime TV Program (Canadian Film Centre), which provides series development for TV writers; the Bell Media Producer Accelerator Lab, which provides immersive and experiential broadcast and production experience for emerging producers; the Bell Media Showrunner Bootcamp (Canadian Film Centre), which develops showrunner knowledge and management for TV writers; the Media Leadership Program (Women in Film and Television - Toronto), a biennial program designed for mid to senior-level women and men who want leading-edge academic knowledge and contemporary business and leadership skills required in the Canadian screen-based industry; the Business Management for Media Professionals Program (Women in Film and Television - Toronto),  a certificate program essential for emerging media professionals who want to understand the business of film, television and interactive production; and Totally Television (National Screen Institute)*, which delivers hands-on series development for writers/producers.

About Bell Media Independent Production
Bell Media has commissioned and co-produced some of Canada's most-watched and most-acclaimed original programming, while working with the best Canadian independent producers in the country. Hit CTV series include ratings success stories SAVING HOPE, MOTIVE, and THE LISTENER, and the recently concluded game changer FLASHPOINT. New for 2013 on CTV are the drama series PLAYED (working title), relationship comedy SATISFACTION, multi-cam office comedy SPUN OUT, and THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, a Canadian-produced, complementary version of the hit international series. Among the scripted series on Bell Media specialty channels are the two-time Emmy®-nominated hit DEGRASSI, ORPHAN BLACK, and upcoming drama BITTEN, as well as reality series PANIC BUTTON and hit game show MATCH GAME, and factual series HIGHWAY THRU HELL and LAST CAR STANDING. In total, Bell Media ordered 27 new original Canadian series in 2012, and put 35 scripted projects into development.

About Bell Media
Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital. With passion and an unrelenting commitment to excellence, Bell Media entertains, informs and inspires Canadians. Bell Media owns 28 conventional stations, including CTV, Canada's #1 television network, and owns and operates 30 specialty channels, including TSN, Canada's #1 specialty channel, and RDS, Canada's #1 French-language specialty channel. Bell Media also owns 33 radio stations, dozens of websites including the TheLoop.ca, and Dome Productions Inc. Bell Media is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada's largest communications company. For more on Bell Media, please visit www.bellmedia.ca.

*The NSI's Totally Television program is currently on hiatus pending approval of the proposed Astral/Bell Media transaction.

SOURCE Bell Media



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