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Diversity Report: Diversity On Screen – All Access

ALL ACCESS REPORT

Diversity On Screen: a Conversation with Jennifer Holness

Interviewed by  Ify Chiwetelu

 

Written by Alan Wong

 

Late afternoon, on the second day of ALL ACCESS, is not necessarily the prime spot for any sort of panel. Many participants were in 1-on-1 sessions in the next room, or feeling sluggish from their mid-day slump. However, in the midway ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel, a small but engaged audience welcomed Jennifer Holness to Winnipeg with enthusiastic applause. CBC Radio host, Ify Chiwetelu conducted an intimate interview with the award-winning Jamaican-Canadian producer and screenwriter.

Jennifer’s story is exceptional. To hear her tell it, it would almost seem like producing content with an ethnic mandate was easy. It certainly seemed to come easy to her and her producing partner & husband, Sudz Sutherland, who as a team, have put out edgy, hard-hitting stories of gun violence, deportation of immigrants, and homophobia. The couple have won numerous awards for their projects and continue to push the boundaries with Shoot the Messenger, a gritty television crime drama loosely based on Ex-Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford. Her goals are to tell stories that other producers shy away from, and if her success is any indication, they are ones that people want to hear – and need to hear.

After a very interesting 45-minutes, which very much seemed like a casual chat over a glass of wine, Participants were left with the message that diverse content – powerful, meaningful content that speaks to all of us – is in demand and in need. And it’s our job to create it.

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