Tuesday, September 26, 2023

TV & Film News – Citytv celebrates 50 years

Citytv is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first broadcast this week. City launched on Sept. 28, 1972 on channel 79 from its studios on 99 Queen Street East in Toronto, the former home of the Electric Circus Nightclub. The company was made up of 36 founding investors, including channel licensee and cable TV pioneer Phyllis Switzer, television host Moses Znaimer, broadcast lawyer Jerry J. Grafstein, and film producer Edgar A. Cowan. Eventually acquired by CHUM Ltd., Rogers Communications has owned the Citytv stations since 2007. Known for its innovative programming and loose delivery style, the channel gave birth to original programming like Cityline, Electric Circus, Breakfast Television, and Late Great Movies, in addition to news delivered unconventionally with no desks and anchors reading the news standing up or on stools. Among the on-air segments looking back at five decades of Citytv, was a piece celebrating the station’s iconic continuity voice, reporter and late night anchor Mark Dailey, who was with City for 31 years, up until his passing in 2010. Other City alumni over the years include Brian Linehan, Gord Martineau, Jeanie Beker, J.D. Roberts, Ivan Fecan, Jay Nelson, Dini Petty, Jeff Ansell, Bill Cameron, Stephen Lewis, Peter Gross, Jim Tatti, Christopher Ward, John Burgess, Bob Hunter, Anne Mroczkowski, Glen Cole, Ann Rohmer, John Gallagher, Monika Deol, Denise Donlon, Steve Anthony, Avi Lewis, Kevin Frankish, and Avery Haines, among many others. Read more here.

The Legacy Awards honoured olympian Andre De Grasse, broadcaster Kayla Grey, and film festival founder and diversity advocate Fabienne Colas at the inaugural edition of the CBC-televised tribute show this past Sunday, the country’s first major celebration of Canadian Black talent. This year’s award recipients were decided upon by The Legacy Awards’ Advisory Committee comprised of industry specialists in music, film, TV, and pop culture and The Black Academy, the Toronto-headquartered organization founded by Scarborough actor/producer brothers Stephan James and Shamier Anderson, who co-executive produced and hosted Sunday’s awards show. Read more here.

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has announced the nominees for the 2022 DGC Awards for Feature Film, Documentary and Short Film. Selected from nearly 450 submissions, the nominations are led by Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, and Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders. Each secured three nods including Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film nominations for Goulet and Cronenberg. The nominees for Television Series, Movies for Television and Mini Series were announced in August. Winners will be announced at the first-ever West Coast DGC Awards Gala in Vancouver on Nov. 5.

BAFTA has announced an expansion of its awards activity in North America and will introduce year-round presentations of BAFTA Special Awards, honorary recognition presented to those that have made a significant and outstanding contribution to film, games and television through a particular project(s) and/or their work. This marks the evolution of the Britannia Awards ceremony, previously hosted once a year in Los Angeles – the last taking place in 2019. Special Awards can be put forward by members, the sector committees, and the BAFTA North America Board, chaired by Kathryn Busby. The move is part of the organization’s expansion of North America operations including an inaugural presence at the Toronto International Film Festival. 

Gary Farmer

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival will award the 2022 August Schellenberg Award of Excellence to actor and musician Gary Farmer. The annual prize recognizes professional and personal achievement by an Indigenous actor, of any gender, from Turtle Island. Farmer will receive his award at the imagineNATIVE Awards on Oct. 22 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Farmer’s career has spanned more than four decades. He is widely recognized as a pioneer in the development of First Nations media in Canada and the founding director of the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network. Born in Ohsweken, ON, his first major television role was on CBC’s Spirit Bay (1984). He subsequently played police captain Joe Stonetree on syndicated TV series Forever Knight (1992-94) and Chief Tom in CBC series The Rez (1996). Recent credits include Resident Alien, Reservation Dogs, and Blood Quantum, among other projects.

Avery Haines

W5 reveals a critical shortage of volunteer firefighters across Canada as it opens its 57th season of investigative journalism Saturday, Oct. 1 on CTV. In the season premiere episode, “Under Fire,” W5 Host and Managing Editor Avery Haines investigates a series of deadly fires that volunteer fire crews couldn’t get to in time, speaking to survivors who believe the staff shortage was a factor in their loved ones’ deaths. CTV News’ Science and Technology Specialist Dan Riskin also investigates invasive species propagating in North American ecosystems, from wild pigs in Saskatchewan to boa constrictors in Florida. W5’s new season is led by Haines; Investigative Correspondent Molly Thomas; and CTV National News Anchor Sandie Rinaldo; with contributions from CTV News correspondents. 

Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson’s highly-anticipated HGTV Canada debut, Pamela’s Garden of Eden (8×60), premieres Nov. 3. The Corus Studios Original follows Anderson as she takes a break from Hollywood and embarks on a massive restoration of her grandmother’s six-acre waterfront legacy property on Vancouver Island. Over the course of the season, contractors work alongside Anderson through the stresses, struggles, budget and time constraints of the renovation.

CBC is marking the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday, Sept. 30 with an extensive lineup of Indigenous-led original programming showcasing First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives and experiences across CBC, CBC Gem, CBC News Network, CBC Kids, CBC Radio One, CBC Listen and CBC Music. Also known as Orange Shirt Day, CBC’s programming will include a CBC News Special, hosted by Chief Correspondent Adrienne Arsenault, as well as broadcast presentations of ʔəm̓i ce:p xʷiwəl (Come Toward The Fire) and Buffy Sainte-Marie Starwalker

CPAC (Cable Public Affairs Channel) is marking the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a full day of special programming allowing viewers to reflect on the experiences of Indigenous Peoples across the country and the long and continuing road to reconciliation. In partnership with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and APTN, CPAC will broadcast the national commemorative gathering Remembering the Children: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which will take place at LeBreton Flats Park in Ottawa beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The one-hour live broadcast will honour residential school survivors, their families, communities, and all the children who never made it home. CPAC will also broadcast special programming from its archives throughout the day.

Rogers Sports & Media is commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with special features and stories across its sports, news and entertainment properties. Sportsnet programming includes a profile on Ryan Francis, a member of Acadia First Nation in Nova Scotia, who is providing support to Indigenous women and girls in the region to stay involved in sports and physical activity, while Blue Jays Central is spotlighting Baseball Canada Junior National Team member, Kaleb Thomas, the first player living in an Indigenous community to ever play for the program. Citytv will air Remembering the Children, a one-hour live broadcast honouring residential school survivors, their families, their communities and all the children who never made it home.

Camp of Dreams, a documentary following NHL player Ethan Bear, and his annual hockey camp at the Ochapowace First Nation in Saskatchewan, is set to air on TSN1 and TSN5 on Friday, Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. ET, in conjunction with Canada’s National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. As an NHL player with humble beginnings, Bear faced challenges and levels of bigotry that most athletes couldn’t begin to comprehend. He is now giving back and paving the road for future Indigenous athletes.

CTV News special, Reconciliation and Reconnecting – The Path Forward, airs on CTV, CTV2, CTV News Channel, CTVNews.ca, and the CTV News app on Friday, Sept. 30. Produced by CTV News Winnipeg, the special is hosted by CTV Regina’s Nelson Bird and CTV Winnipeg’s Taylor Brock. Featuring stories from across Canada and interviews with residential school Survivors and Indigenous community leaders, the special focuses on Indigenous youth who are regaining and embracing their heritage as they share their contributions and influence on Indigenous culture in Canada. 

OMNI TV’s new Elevator Show, hosted by Ieden Wall, sees the host commandeer a condo elevator and use it as a stage for comedy bits, man-on-the-street interviews and variety acts. Residents gathered outside the open elevator become the studio audience. To bring Wall’s concept to life, technical producer Efim Bulshtein set up 27 cameras throughout an undisclosed condo building in the GTA—in stairwells, hallways, garbage rooms, underground garage, sauna, and electrical rooms to allow Ieden to “roam and improvise the show without boundaries.” The Elevator Show debuts Oct. 8 on OMNI 1 across Ontario. The premiere features an interview with Dini Petty, a surprise drop-in to a neighbourhood convenience store, and a live performance by Jewish magician Ben Train. Set to make appearances during the season are Natalie Portman, Howie Mandel, and former National Post columnist Rebecca Eckler. 

Michelle Shephard’s provocative look at journalism, TVO Original The Perfect Story, will have its world broadcast premiere on TVO, TVO.org, YouTube and smart TV services on Oct. 18. nfb.ca is also streaming the film, starting Nov. 1. Co-produced by Frequent Flyer Films and NFB, the feature doc is an intimate look at the ethical and moral challenges sparked by the friendship between foreign correspondent Shephard and a young Somali refugee. The documentary questions what stories are told, why, and who gets to tell them. Shephard is the recipient of three National Newspaper Awards, earned over two decades of foreign reporting at the Toronto Star, as well as a Michener Award. Her filmmaking credits include the Emmy-nominated feature Guantanamo’s Child and The Way Out. 

Paul Rabliauskas

CTV Comedy original series Acting Good premieres Oct. 17. The 10-episode, half-hour irreverent comedy is loosely based on the life of Anishinaabe stand-up comedian Paul Rabliauskas. Shot on location in Manitoba this Spring, Rabliauskas stars as Paul who, after a botched attempt to move to Winnipeg, retreats back to his eccentric family in the fly-in community of Grouse Lake First Nation. Acting Good is co-created by Rabliauskas, Amber-Sekowan Daniels, Eric Toth, and Pat Thornton, and produced by Kistikan Pictures and Buffalo Gal Pictures. It joins the CTV Comedy lineup on the channel’s 25th anniversary, which originally launched on Oct. 17, 1997 as The Comedy Network. According to viewer data provided by Bell Media, CTV Comedy is the #1 Canadian Entertainment Specialty Channel with the A25-54 demo for a fourth year in a row. 

Hollywood Suite’s Shocktober programming is back, including the premiere of original production Cinema A to Z: Monsters on Oct. 16 and the next two episodes of the Blumhouse Into The Dark anthology on Oct. 31. Viewers can also stream 100 Halloween favourites on Hollywood Suite On Demand starting Oct. 1. Additional Shocktober premieres include The Tingler (1959), Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971), He Knows You’re Alone (1980), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Clue (1985), April Fool’s Day (1986), The People Under The Stairs (1991), Dead Again (1991), Fear (1996), Hellboy (2004), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Ghost Rider (2007), and The Babadook (2012).

Cinespace Studios has entered into a 30-year lease with PortsToronto that will see Marine Terminal 52 developed into a studio facility. Cinespace previously renovated Marine Terminal 51 four years ago, which has since become a Canadian hub for Netflix productions. Marine Terminal 52 re-development will involve conversion of the 130,000-sq. ft. warehouse facility into three production stages and support spaces in line with the City of Toronto’s “Strategic Action Plan for the Film, Television and Digital Media Industry.” The studio says the new development will create more than 300 new jobs onsite. Read more here.

Raghav Khanna

Beach House Pictures, a Blue Ant Media company, has announced a significant expansion of its operations, bolstering its position in Asia. The company has partnered with Raghav Khanna, former head of Netflix’s documentary productions in Asia-Pacific, to launch Riverland Entertainment in Mumbai. The newly-formed production company will partner with local Indian talent to create content for global and Indian audiences, while leveraging Beach House Pictures’ international expertise and reach, including access to its post-production facility Space Lion Studios. Tasked with developing a slate of unscripted series and documentaries for streamers and broadcasters, Khanna will serve as Managing Director of Riverland and work closely with Beach House founders Donovan Chan and Jocelyn Little.

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