A drawing of a young boy with an oversized head, a character from BLA BLA, an interactive website produced by Vincent Morisset in 2011.

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Press release


NFB announces the winners of the REEL DIVERSITY competition

September 11, 2007 – The National Film Board of Canada is pleased to formally announce, during activities held at the ReelWorld Indie Film Lounge during TIFF, the winners of the REEL DIVERSITY competition, an initiative of the NFB in partnership with CBC Newsworld's The Lens.

REEL DIVERSTY provides emerging filmmakers of color from across Canada with training, mentorship and the chance to direct a documentary with the NFB for broadcast on CBC Newsworld's The Lens. The competition is an example of the NFB's leading role as a laboratory for developing new talent and as a centre for creative excellence.

This year's winners are based in Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

Gesar Mukpo was recognized as a tulku, or reincarnated Buddhist teacher at the age of three. Tulku will look at his own story of growing up as a tulku, trying to reconcile the great expectations placed upon him with his desire for an ordinary life. Good Morning Kandahar by Ariel Nasar looks into the heart of Canada's Afghan communities to explore how young Afghan Canadians feel about their adopted country fighting in their homeland. Twelve by Lester Alfonso is an insightful look at issues of identity and belonging through the stories of twelve Canadians who, like the filmmaker, immigrated to Canada at the age of 12. These projects will be in production over the next year and will be broadcast in 2008-09.

The Competition

In October 2006, NFB received 146 applications from aspiring filmmakers from across the country. Fifteen projects were selected, each director was teamed up with an NFB producer, and the project went through an early development stage. In January 2007, seven projects were greenlit for more intensive development, including a series of intensive workshops with some of Canada's leading documentarians, among them Jennifer Baichwal, Barry Stevens, Manfred Becker and Hubert Davis.

REEL DIVERSITY, now in its sixth year, has helped to develop some of Canada's hottest new talent: Zarqa Nawaz, director of the documentary Me and the Mosque, went on to create the hit CBC sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie; Karen Cho's film In the Shadow of Gold Mountain about the Chinese head tax helped create public awareness of an historic wrong; and Elizabeth St. Philip's documentary Breakin' In: The Making of a Hip Hop Dancer launched the flagship documentary series on the Discovery Times network in the U.S. These are just a few examples.

Over the past five years, REEL DIVERSITY films have won two Canada Awards from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, an award that honours excellence in mainstream television programming that best reflects the racial and cultural diversity of the country.

About The NFB

The National Film Board of Canada produces and distributes bold and distinctive social issue documentaries, auteur animation and digital content that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. Since its founding in 1939, the NFB has created over 12,000 productions and won over 5000 awards, including over 90 Genie Awards. The NFB also received its 12th Academy Award® this year for the animated short The Danish Poet, directed by Torill Kove and co-produced by Norway's Mikrofilm AS and the NFB. The NFB is renowned for its technical innovations and is a leader in content for new platforms. For more information about the NFB or to order films, go to www.nfb.ca or call 1-800-267-7710.