OMNI.2 leads to more independent productions


TORONTO - Thanks to a seven year, $50 million production commitment put in place as part of the licensing approval process for OMNI.2. OMNI Television currently has 25 independently produced ethno-cultural projects in development.

All are receiving support funding through Harbourfront Entertainment's Independent Producers' Initiative and to date, more than $12 million of the total initiative has been put to work, out in the field.

"OMNI television is proud to be the industry's first, and only, major source of funding for the independent production of non-official language programming," says Malcolm Dunlop, vice-president, programming for Rogers Media Television. "We're committed, not only to helping independent producers tell their stories in their language of comfort, but also to making sure that these stories are accessible to other ethno-cultural communities through re-versioning in different languages."

The documentary projects currently under development were chosen from among 250 applications received so far. Combined, they reflect more than 19 languages, including English, and represent over 80 new program hours scheduled to be broadcast in early 2004, says the company's release.

The stories include:
A Thousand Miles to Freedom - The story of Canada and the Underground Railroad, to be produced in Cantonese, Italian and English;
Fundamental Freedoms: Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms - The 25 anniversary of the document that has shaped Canada and its identity to the world, to be produced in Cantonese, English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Portuguese;
Soccer In North America: A Trail of Tears - Exploring how and why the world's most popular sport remains relatively overlooked by North American mainstream television, to be produced in English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese;
Courage and Compassion: The Story of Dr. Joseph Wong - From post war Hong Kong to recipient of the Order of Canada, the inspiring tale of one man's tireless dedication to charity; to be produced in Cantonese, English and Mandarin;

"With support from OMNI Television, the past can now be revealed through the eyes of the average person and told from a Canadian perspective to third-language communities as well as mainstream audiences," said Ron Moore, Producer of A Thousand Miles to Freedom. "Without OMNI, these voices would likely have remained silent."

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