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TV & Film News – English-language production remains at all-time low in Quebec, says QEPC

Image Credit: Alamy

Quebec English Language Production Council (QEPC) has published a new report, indicating English-language film and television production remains at an all-time low in Quebec. The Canadian Audiovisual Regional Production Report 1996-97 to 2019-20 shows that English-language Canadian content production in Quebec was equal to $166 million in 2019-20, an all-time low of just 7% of the $2.3 billion in total English-language Canadian content production. That number was consistent in three of five years prior to 2019-20, down from a record high of 26% in 1997-98. Based on all languages, the report says Ontario’s dominance of Canadian content production continued, hitting 47% in 2019-20, down slightly from its 2011-12 peak of 49%. Read more here.

Desiree Brightnose

Desiree Brightnose has received the inaugural National Screen Institute (NSI) RBC Emerging Indigenous Filmmaker Award. The award supports an emerging Indigenous filmmaker with $7,500 and mentorship from filmmaker and award advisor, Sonya Ballantyne. Brightnose is a Cree filmmaker based in Winnipeg. After studying media production at Assiniboine Community College, she went on to launch her own production company, Tilted Teepee Productions. Her work focuses on Indigenous language revitalization with the goal of providing a learning platform for those looking to delve deeper into their culture. She is an alumna of the 2021 CBC New Indigenous Voices program.

Knowledge Network, in conjunction with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, is collaborating on a new documentary initiative about First Nations cultural revitalization in British Columbia. The public broadcaster will commission two half-hour compilations, each comprised of 10 short docs that showcase efforts to revitalize First Nations languages, arts, cultures and heritage and its positive impact on communities. Through its relationships with Elders, community leaders, Knowledge Keepers and artists, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council will support storytelling efforts. The deadline for proposal submissions is March 17. The films will premiere on Knowledge Network’s television and streaming platforms in 2024.

Jeff Barnaby

Netflix and imagineNATIVE are partnering to award $25,000 grants to five Indigenous filmmakers in honour of late filmmaker Jeff Barnaby. In memory of the Mi’gmaq filmmaker, who passed away in October at age 46, the grant will support five Indigenous film and television creatives developing projects in the horror, thriller and futurism genres. Netflix is ​​contributing $125,000 from its Fund for Creative Equity, with ImagineNATIVE supporting the application, judging and selection process.

Warner Bros. Discovery Access Canada and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television have announced the return of talent roster initiatives the WBD Access x Canadian Academy Writers Program and WBD Access x Canadian Academy Directors Program for their third and second round of programming, respectively. Applications for both programs are open now through Feb. 16. The third iteration of the WBD Access x Canadian Academy Writers Program will support up to 10 experienced Canadian writers seeking to advance their careers through the development of a particular project, mentorship and community-building opportunities, with a focus on episodic television. The sophomore edition of the WBD Access x Canadian Academy Directors Program will welcome eight Canadian directors from underrepresented communities who have been taking steps in their career to direct television episodic series in any genre.

CBC, BIPOC TV & Film and the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) have announced the participants for the second year of the CBC-BIPOC TV & Film Showrunner Catalyst, an accelerator program supporting the career advancement of senior writers who identify as Indigenous, Black or People of Colour. The six participants for the second year of the program, now underway, are Vance Banzo, Nelu Handa, Amanda Joy, JP Larocque, Robina Lord-Stafford, and Shannon Masters

FuboTV is launching three Disney channels in Canada as part of its Premium package: Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD. The trio of Disney channels come to FuboTV as part of the company’s partnership with STACKTV. Channels already launched on Fubo through the partnership include Global, HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, W Network, Showcase, Slice, Adult Swim, National Geographic, Lifetime, The HISTORY® Channel, TELETOON, Treehouse and YTV. Channels new to Fubo Canada in late 2022 include The Design Network, World Poker Tour, and food channel, Tastemade.

​​toober, the Toronto-based live television platform connecting viewers to specialty television from around the world, has launched in-browser viewing, allowing any viewer with a browser-equipped device (computer, tablet or smartphone) to subscribe and watch with no app download necessary. toober also added 10 new channels to its lineup in January, including Serbian-language channel Kitchen TV; Spanish-language news and entertainment kids channel, Vision Latina; Universal Living Faith Network; Coyoteland Media Afro Music Pop; Pakistani Canadian channel, Toronto360; NOW 70s, NOW 80s and NOW 90s music channels; France 24 French HD; and France 24 English HD. toober is available in Canada on Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, Apple TV, Google TV Playstore, Samsung, and Roku, as well as in the U.S. and Mexico via LG, Roku and Apple TV.

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards will air Sunday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. on Citytv,, and Citytv+. The lineup has been expanded with the addition of an In Memoriam segment which will feature Kacey Musgraves performing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in a tribute to Loretta Lynn; Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood and Bonnie Raitt honoring Christine McVie with “Songbird”; and Maverick City Music joining Quavo for “Without You” as they remember Takeoff. Trevor Noah hosts this year’s awards show, live from Los Angeles. 

Corus Entertainment’s Séries Plus has acquired the exclusive television broadcast rights for popular drama series, Yellowstone, in French in Canada. Originally broadcast on Amazon Prime in Canada and on the Paramount specialty channel in the U.S., the series has been a resounding success since its debut. Séries Plus will broadcast the complete series, starting in fall 2023 with a special early broadcast of Season 5, starting April 5.

France Castel

Prime Video is partnering with Corus Entertainment’s Séries Plus to bring back popular murder mystery, Nuit Blanche (8×60). The second season begins production this summer with Quebec’s Pixcom. At launch, Season 2 will be exclusively available on Prime Video and later on Séries Plus in Canada. Season 1 will also be available on Prime. Leading the cast is actress, host, singer, France Castel who reprises her role as LouLou Hébert. Produced by Pixcom in association with Amazon Studios and Séries Plus, the series is part of Prime Video’s continued investment in French language content, joining LOL: Qui Rira le Dernier?, Pour un Soir Seulement, and other Canadian Amazon Originals.

Kyle Crawford plays three AI characters (Professor Saussenheimer pictured) in Gusto TV’s The Wizard of Sauce. (CNW Group/Gusto TV)

Gusto TV is in production on what the Canadian culinary channel is billing as the world’s first food show featuring on-screen characters generated through Artificial Intelligence (AI) software. Set to air on Gusto TV later this year, The Wizard of Sauce stars Toronto food stylist and TikTok personality Kyle Crawford who shares the tips, techniques and secrets of sauce while referencing pop culture, fashion and lifestyle hot buttons. Shot on a high-concept, non-kitchen set at Gusto TV Studios, the show features three secondary characters: Professor Saussenheimer, Dr. Sauss and Sgt. Sauce-alot. Performed by Crawford in costume and then digitized in post-production and rendered as AI characters, each appears in a 30-second interstitial segment in the average episode. Gusto TV is also casting for forthcoming AI project, Some Assembly Required, which will feature a host chef who’ll speak with an AI creation that appears on set via a giant plasma screen. Read more here.

Haunted by History

Blue Ant Media has greenlit three new series set to air in 2023 across its Canadian specialty TV networks: T+E and Cottage Life, and global free streaming (FAST) channels: HauntTV and Total Crime. Following the ratings success of two-part original documentary, Haunted Gold Rush, Blue Ant Media has ordered new six-part series, Haunted by History (w/t)(6×60’; HD), which marks the return of paranormal investigators, Corine Carey, Leanne Sallenback and Kelly Ireland, as they travel across North America and meet with real people who recount their ghost experiences. Also commissioned is new original documentary, A Secret to Die For (2×60’; HD), which investigates how a person’s secret life can end up costing them their own. The first two episodes of the true crime documentary series will make their broadcast debut on T+E in Canada this summer as well as Total Crime in the U.S. New original series Secrets in the Sand (6×60’; HD) will examine curiosities from lost ancient cities to mysterious geological formations, relying on CGI, stock and archival footage, and expert testimony. The six-part series is slated to premiere this summer on Cottage Life in Canada.

Bell Media has confirmed the sale of two seasons of original docuseries Pets & Pickers to Animal Planet. Produced by Tyson Media, the series makes its U.S. debut Feb. 18. Production has wrapped on Season 2, set to launch this spring on Bell Media’s Animal Planet and will also air in the U.S. at a later date. Shot in Richmond, BC, the unscripted series is a look at how the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) Animal Hospital works to offer low-income pet families access to healthcare, funding treatments with their thrift store. Season 1 is available to stream on and the CTV App.

Finding Freedom, a TELUS original documentary, premieres on TELUS Optik TV on Feb. 14. It follows four asylum seekers, who after being detained indefinitely in an immigration detention centre, use smuggled cell phones to document prison-like conditions and expose daily violations to their human rights. Producer Mel D’Souza and director Alan Goldman shed light on the disturbing realities of certain refugee detention centres and the challenges newcomers face even after securing freedom in Canada, among other countries. Beginning March 3, the film will also be available on WaterBear, an interactive streaming platform featuring documentaries dedicated to the future of the planet.

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has revived its Black History Month Speaker Series with two CFC Conversations celebrating Canadian Black Excellence, Black Futures and Black Stories. Award-winning actress Amanda Brugel (The Handmaid’s Tale, Kim’s Convenience, Infinity Pool) will take the stage on Feb. 15 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Cineplex Cinemas Varsity and VIP in Toronto. CFC alumnus Clement Virgo will be featured Feb. 22, discussing breaking boundaries and his most recent feature, Brother. Thanks to the support of TD, both events are free of charge and open to the public. Find ticket info here.

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