People/Biz

Content Catalyst Fund hires trio of unscripted vets

Vibika Bianchi (pictured), Maria Farano and Heather Findlay will help extend the company's development capabilities as it reveals its first unscripted titles.
March 9, 2021

Development and funding company Content Catalyst Fund (CCF) has expanded its creative talent and revealed its first slate of unscripted content after inking its joint venture with Blue Ant Media.

The company has hired former Corus Entertainment execs Vibika Bianchi (pictured) and Maria Farano, as well as experienced creative producer Heather Findlay, as executive producers to help further develop its unscripted slate. The development slate includes true crime, comedy and lifestyle projects.

Founded by Julie Bristow in 2020, CCF offers development funding to projects created by women to help bring them to the global market. The company launched with an unscripted focus, with plans to eventually expand into scripted content.

Bristow struck a partnership with Blue Ant Media last month, which will see the Canadian media company produce titles developed by CCF and serve as the preferred distributor for produced content, with CCF acting as executive producer.

CCF’s initial development slate includes Darkness in Daylight, a true crime docuseries developed with producer and actor Folklaur Chevrier, which examines the 1984 murder of nine-year-old Christine Jessop; Home Made with Kara Beckman, a renovation series that revolved around Beckman, who flips houses as a real estate investor; and I Have Nothing, a comedy docuseries developed with Carolyn Taylor (Baroness Von Sketch Show) and Zack Russell, which documents Taylor’s obsession with the 1988 Calgary Olympics and her “quixotic quest” to create a figure-skating routine inspired by them. All creators will serve as executive producers on their respective projects.

Bianchi has more than a decade of experience as a programming executive at Corus, and has also held senior roles at Our House Media and Entertainment One (eOne). She has helped develop content for HGTV, Discovery, CBC and Food Network.

Farano (pictured, left) served as a director of original unscripted programming at Corus for several years, developing format adaptations such as The Bachelor Canada, Undercover Boss Canada and The Real Housewives of Toronto. She has helped develop and produce content across Corus channels such as HGTV, W Network, SLICE, ABC Spark, History, OWN, Discovery and CMT.

Findlay has helped develop and produce hundreds of hours of content in her last 20 years in the industry, working for companies such as eOne and Corus. Her credits include The Great Canadian Baking Show, Canada’s Worst Driver, Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip and Keeping Canada Alive.

“This powerhouse trio of unscripted executives brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, both domestic and international, to the CCF team,” said Bristow, in a statement. “In addition to being inspirational leaders with razor-sharp creative instincts, all three are exceptional in that they have experience of both the buying and selling side of the business.”

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