Netflix is ramping up its investment north of the border.
The streamer is increasing its spending to help bolster women working in animation in the country as it actively searches for an executive to lead its originals – in effect introducing local greenlight power for original commissions.
This comes as Netflix, which entered Canada ten years and has spent around $2.5B on Canadian content since 2017, unveiled plans earlier this year to open a local office.
“Canada’s a great place to produce,” co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said during his Banff World Media Festival keynote. “We want to be even more aggressive about telling even more Canadian stories. We’re opening an office in Toronto and 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.”
He said that he was looking for an executive with “curiosity”. “What has made the most successful Netflix employees globally has been a high level of curiosity so not asking can I do this, but asking how do I do that and understanding that the possibilities are endless and not limited by what was done in the past,” he added.
Today, the streamer also revealed that it was working with Women in Animation Vancouver (WIA) to expand their program to advance the role of women in the genre.
They will expand WIA Vancouver’s Animation Career EXCELerator Program (ACE) to bolster women into key creative roles in animation, providing mid-level career professionals targeted and focused mentoring, support and training. Through the program, participants are given the opportunity to develop, create and own original intellectual property.
The scheme, which is now being rolled out across Canada, will see Netflix act as the premiere partner of the 2022-24 program. The initiative is open to all women, or those identifying as women or non-binary, with a special focus on attracting creators from BIPOC or underrepresented groups.
Sarandos said he wanted this program to have “incredible reach and impact” around the country, particularly for underrepresented voices. In the U.S., he said, only 5% of animation producers are women of color. “We really have an opportunity to bring more voices to the table in animation as we continue this incredible journey in Canada,” he said.
“Canada’s animation sector is second to none. This partnership will help ensure that the animation industry continues to thrive and include the experiences of Canadian women from diverse backgrounds,” he added.
Elsewhere, the streamer also took global rights to Canadian sci-fi movie Code 8: Part II – its first original Canadian English-language feature acquisition.