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CBC orders “Black Life: A Canadian History” from Studio 112, Northwood Ent, Ugly Duck

Canadian pubcaster CBC has greenlit the eight-part docuseries Black Life: A Canadian History from Leslie Norville’s Studio 112, in association with Northwood Entertainment and Ugly Duck Productions. Spanning more than 400 ...
September 16, 2021

Canadian pubcaster CBC has greenlit the eight-part docuseries Black Life: A Canadian History from Leslie Norville’s Studio 112, in association with Northwood Entertainment and Ugly Duck Productions.

Spanning more than 400 years with an eye towards contemporary issues, culture, politics, music, art and sports, Black Life: A Canadian History seeks to inform audiences of the vital role Black Canadians have played in shaping the county, while examining a history fraught with violence, racism, hardship and perseverance.

In addition to Norville (pictured) and Northwood Entertainment’s Miranda de Pencier, the TV event is helmed by creative talent, activists, and historical and cultural consultants.

The series will be executive produced by NHL All-Star P.K. Subban (Ugly Duck Productions) and Nelson George. Sandy Hudson, co-founder of Black Lives Matter (Canada), is co-executive producer.

Consulting producers include former Governor General Michaëlle Jean, rapper and broadcaster Shad (Shadrach Kabango), and activist Ravyn Wngz.

Historical and cultural consultants, academics, and writers participating include David Austin, Dr. Claudine Bonner, Dr. Afua Cooper, Annette Henry, Isaac Saney, Dr. Rinaldo Walcott, Dr. Dorothy W. Williams and writer Jael Richardson.

The producers will partner with eight Black Canadian directors for each episode.

Black Life: A Canadian History premieres on CBC and CBC Gem in 2023.

“The docuseries will be an honest and nuanced look at Black Canadian history – and while some may find this uncomfortable, it’s critical to understand and grapple with the complexities of Canada’s past,” Norville, showrunner and executive producer, said in a statement. “I couldn’t ask for a more talented team to help bring this rich history to audiences and to explore and celebrate the stories and people whose  contributions have shaped the country we know today.”

“One of the many things that attracts me to this project is that it connects events across 400 years of  history to the present day,” Hudson said in a release. “Reckoning with the past and confronting our present can be a foundation through which we imagine and build liberatory Black futures.”

For CBC, Sally Catto is GM, entertainment, factual, and sports; Jennifer Dettman is executive director, unscripted content.

Sandra Kleinfeld is senior director, documentary, and Michelle McCree is executive in charge of production, CBC Docs and The Passionate Eye.

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