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Level Forward Impact Award

Pilots applying for the Independent Pilot, Digital Short Series, and Late Night competitions have the opportunity to opt in to be considered for the Level Forward Impact Award. 

The Level Forward Impact Award will be given to the episodic pilot and team who demonstrate, on top of their commitment to creative excellence, a thoughtful, thorough, and deliberate approach to using storytelling as a means of leveling the playing field for underrepresented people including women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA and alternatively abled voices. In keeping with Level Forward’s mission to advance the access, opportunity, and influence of storytelling, we are looking for compelling and entertaining pilots that have incorporated this ethos into the fabric of their process and project. 

The winning project will receive a $5,000 stipend thanks to Royal Bank of Canada as part of the Inclusion Initiative.

All submissions will be evaluated by a panel of Level Forward artists including playwrights, directors, producers, and performers from some of the company’s portfolio of work.

Submissions will be reviewed according to the following criteria:

  • What story is being told? Why is this story important now, in this moment? How is it being told? 
  • Who is telling this story? Why are you the best person/people to tell it? Are you telling a story about something that has personally impacted you or someone close to you? 
  • How were you able to tell this story? What kind of support system did you have or lack? What non-financial resources did you use? 
  • Who is the audience for this story and what is your connection to that audience? How do you believe you can reach that audience? How do you hope your audience will be impacted by this story being in the world? How might others be impacted by it? 
  • What actions would you like to see taken by audiences because of your story? What are the partnerships you have made, or would like to make, to advance those actions?
  • How did you identify and build your team? Who is on that team and how do they represent the subject matter, and/or the intended audience? Is there gender and racial balance that reflects equitable access to the opportunity of working on your project? 
  • How were the people on your team compensated? How were they compensated relative to one another?
  • How would you like to see this story distributed? How would you like to see it priced?
  • If you could control the profit allocation of your work, how would you allocate it?
  • From where did your financing come? 

Importantly, there are no right answers to these questions. Additionally, not all questions may apply to you. Don’t worry, these are guideposts and ambitions. We know it takes extra time and money to be as thoughtful, thorough and deliberate as we would all like to be. Our logic, however, is that by naming these criteria, and rewarding them with a commitment to develop your series in partnership with you, and in alignment with our collective aspirations, we can together shape a more equitable and impactful industry, and encourage others to do the same.

2021 Award Recipient: Parked in America, Created by Kayla Yumi Lewis

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