Bell Media greenlights bilingual anthology series for Crave, by and about Black Canadians

The executive producers of Festivale: (l-r) Damon D'Oliveira, Marie Ka, Richard Jean-Baptiste and Clement Virgo. (Bell Media)

Bell Media has greenlit a bilingual anthology series, by and about Black Canadians, that will also serve as a story incubator, supported by the Black Screen Office (BSO).

Festivale, a six-part series being produced for Crave, is helmed by francophone executive producers Marie Ka and Richard Jean-Baptiste, and anglophone executive producers, Damon D’Oliveira and Clement Virgo.

Bell Media says the collaboration between Crave’s French and English development teams is an answer to the lack of Black francophone stories on mainstream television, while supporting creatives who have not had the opportunity to produce content for a large network.

“Festivale is a groundbreaking experience where Black Canadian writers, both French and English, get the chance to finally work together on the same project,” said executive producers, Ka, Jean-Baptiste, D’Oliveira and Virgo, in a release. “We can’t thank Bell Media enough for bridging the language gap, and lending their support to this timely creative journey. Our hope is that this project will be the starting point for future collaborations with Bell Media, for all our participants.”

Adam Pettle

Producer and writer Adam Pettle, known for his work on series like Saving Hope, Burden of Truth, and Rookie Blue, will lend his experience to the hybrid story room where writers will develop episodic ideas they’ll have the opportunity to pitch to Bell Media network executives.

Along with Pettle, the writing room will include Black francophone writers, Kimberley Ann Surin, Josiane Blanc, along with writing team Kadidja Haïdara and Seydou Junior Haïdara; and three Black anglophone writers, Adeline Bird, Andrew Burrows Trotman, and Anika Jarrett. Four Black francophone producers, Maeva Montemiglio, Malcom Odd, Sabrina Roc and Jephte Bastien; and two Black anglophone producers Mansa Chintoh and Jose Holder, are also involved in the incubator.

Now in pre-development, the anthology series is financed by Bell Media, with development funding from the Canada Media Fund’s Pilot Project Racialized Communities (PPRC) fund. Incubator funding is supported by the BSO-TD Bank Mentorship Program.


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