December 1 to 4, 2023


Breaking into the entertainment industry is an arduous journey, one that often feels like scaling an insurmountable mountain. Black and Racialized Artists have long grappled with doors that, more often than not, have been unjustly bolted shut. Their incredible talents and potential have faced systemic biases and exclusion.

In an informative one-on-one conversation, we have the privilege of gaining unique insights into the world of creative companies, trailblazing entities in the entertainment industry. Key representatives from these companies will generously share their journeys of creation, their unwavering creative focus, and what they actively seek in terms of projects. Most importantly, they will address how they have been instrumental in opening doors for Black and Racialized Artists both in front of and behind the cameras, how they feel about the importance of representation in the industry, and how Black and Racialized Artists can find opportunities within these companies.


Established in 2010, Lark Productions is an award-winning television production company with a proven track record of producing exceptional programming in Canada for the global marketplace. Lark develops both scripted and unscripted content, often in collaboration with Universal International Studios, a division of the Universal Studio Group, through a first-look distribution deal.

Established in Vancouver in 2010, Lark’s productions include Family Law for Global TV, spy drama Fortunate Son for CBC in association with NBCUniversal International Studios, CSA-nominated Motive (CTV, USA Network), the hit formats The Real Housewives of Toronto (Slice) and The Real Housewives of Vancouver (Slice), Crash Gallery (CBC), Paramedics: Life on the Line (Knowledge Network), Emergency Room: Life + Death at VGH (Knowledge Network, Discovery Fit), and High Moon (SYFY).


Omari Newton, Actor, Writer & Director

Omari Newton is an award-winning professional actor, writer, director and producer.

As a writer, his original Hip Hop theatre piece Sal Capone has received critical acclaim and multiple productions, including a recent presentation at Canada’s National Arts Centre.

He was commissioned by Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) in Montreal to write a companion piece to Sal Capone entitled Black & Blue Matters, which premiered in 2019.

Omari and his wife, fellow professional playwright Amy Lee Lavoie, recently received a generous grant from the Canada Council to co-write a new play: Redbone Coonhound. Their latest collaboration is a bold and innovative satirical comedy that confronts instances of systemic racism in the past, present and future.

Newton’s work in Speakeasy Theatre's production of Young Jean Lee's The Shipment earned him a 2018 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor, as well as a nomination for Best Direction.

Notable film & TV credits include: Lucas Ingram on Showcase’s Continuum, Larry Summers on Blue Mountain State and lending his voice to the Black Panther in multiple animated projects (Marvel).

Most recently, Omari has a recurring role as Nate on Corner Gas (the animated series) and a recurring role as Corvus of Netflix’s hit new animated series The Dragon Prince.


Nicole Mendes, VP of Scripted Development, Lark Productions

Nicole Mendes. VP Scripted Development, Lark Productions. Born in Scarborough and bred for a career in the arts (whether her parents want to acknowledge it or not) Nicole Mendes is a creative executive whose career revolves around supporting voices in bringing their stories to the small screen. She is currently VP, Scripted Development at Lark Productions where she oversees strategy and development for the scripted arm of the company, and is executive producing the upcoming series, Allegiance for CBC and NBCU. Prior to that she spent over a decade at the CBC, where she worked in scripted content, overseeing shows for the network.

Events in that series