Canadian, Brit writers set up lab

Pool talents to create Incubation Program

TORONTO — Canuck and Brit TV writers will pool their talents across the pond with the creation of the Canada-U.K. Script Incubation Program.

Announced Sunday at the Canadian Film Centre’s annual Toronto festival BBQ, the exchange-model lab aims to mentor talent through workshops, story meetings and production exercises and, ultimately, to develop TV co-prods between the two countries.

Founded by Norman Jewison, in attendance Sunday, the CFC — the country’s most prestigious TV and film training ground — is partnering with BBC Drama, BBC Worldwide and Canwest Broadcasting on the script lab, which begins in 2009.

“For 20 years we have established shared learning and creative partnerships for talent. Today with the launch of our first co-production program we now bring Canadian storytellers to the world,” said CFC exec director Slawko Klymkiw. “We are taking the best practices from both countries to benefit and strengthen international content development in the television industry.”

BBC Worldwide director of content and production Wayne Garvie said, “This initiative underlines BBC Worldwide’s commitment to supporting a new generation of writing talent, while our distribution network offers them an international stage on which to showcase their work.”

The CFC also announced the creation of Canada’s first Actors Conservatory, supported by the legacy of late Canuck entertainment broadcaster Brian Linehan, who left his entire estate for the purpose of creating a star system in Canada. To date the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation has supported various training programs at colleges, theater companies and the Toronto film festival.

Presenting by Canwest, the CFC conservatory will offer eight experienced Canuck thesps on-screen performance training and provide them with examples of produced work to showcase their talent.

The CFC, which celebrates its 20th anni this year, has two productions screening at TIFF this year: helmer Charles Officer’s feature bow “Nurse.Fighter.Boy,” staring Toronto-raised Clark Johnson, and the short “Pudge.”

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