TV & Film News – Ontario reports record-breaking year for production

Ontario Creates is reporting another record-breaking year for film and television production in Ontario. The provincial agency released its annual statistics report this week showing 419 productions brought $3.15 billion in production spending to the province, including generating 45,891 full-time equivalent direct and spin-off jobs. Television led strong foreign production numbers with expenditures reaching $1.95 billion. Domestic production accounted for 38% of total film and television spending in Ontario, up from 34% in 2021, contributing $1.2 billion to the economy, an increase of 25%. Read more here.

Cinespace Studios and York University have announced the creation of a Production Accounting Micro-Credential Program in response to a critical shortage of production accountants in the Ontario film and television sector. The six-week program, taught in-person at Cinespace Studios’ Kipling campus in Toronto, will launch in June, providing a comprehensive understanding of accounting in the creative sector. The curriculum was designed by self-employed production accounting veteran Marr Morgan and Kitty Spiropoulos, Manager, Production Finance, at Netflix in Toronto. The program, established with CineCares, a division of Cinespace that supports workforce development and crew diversity, is designed to create a pipeline of high-quality talent. Cinespace will provide funding for two scholarship bursaries through the Black Screen Office. Read more here.

 

ACTRA Toronto has announced the nominees for the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award and ACTRA Toronto Stunt Ensemble Award to be awarded at the 21st annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto on April 26. The Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award nominees include Murdoch Mysteries (Shaftesbury Films), Pink Is In! (Pink One Productions), Pretty Hard Cases (Cameron Pictures, CBC, Universal International Studios), Sort Of (Sienna Films, Sphere Media, Canada Media Fund, HBO Max), and Tokens (Tokens On Call Productions). The Stunt Ensemble Award nominees are The Handmaid’s Tale, “Safe” (Daniel Wilson Productions, Littlefield Company, White Oak Pictures, MGM Television); Mayor of Kingstown, “This Piece of My Soul” (101 Studios, Bosque Ranch Productions, MTV Entertainment Studios); Titans, “Brother Blood” (Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, Weed Road Pictures); Titans, “Lex Luthor” (Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, Weed Road Pictures); and What We Do In The Shadows, “The Night Market” (FX Productions, Two Canoes Pictures, 343 Incorporated, FX Network, Dive). 

Yasmine Mathurin
Yasmine Mathurin

TIFF has announced Yasmine Mathurin as the recipient of the 2023 TIFF–CBC Films Screenwriter Award for her screenplay, Sorry Pardon Madame. As part of the award, Mathurin will receive a $15,000 grant and professional support from a script consultant, as well as access to the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival and TIFF Industry Conference. A Haitian-Canadian award-winning writer, director, and producer, Mathurin’s first feature documentary One of Ours won the Hot Docs Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary in 2021, and was nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards in 2022 for Best Writing, Documentary; Best Direction, Documentary Program; and Best Feature Length Documentary. Mathurin previously worked as an associate producer with CBC Podcasts

The CRTC will hold a hearing, starting June 28, to consider applications by Nunavut Independent Television Network and Inuit TV Network for mandatory distribution across Canada on the digital basic service of their respective, currently exempt Inuktut-language channels, Uvagut TV and Inuit TV, as well as for broadcast licences to operate as licensed services. Uvagut TV, which launched in January 2021, is a national television service devoted to Inuit communities that broadcasts primarily in Inuktitut. Airing Inuit-made children’s shows, movies, and cultural and current affairs programming, the service is currently available in basic packages through Shaw’s direct-to-home satellite BDU and several smaller BDUs. Inuktut-language discretionary service Inuit TV, which currently serves the Territory of Nunavut, launched in May 2022, is recognized by the Government of Nunavut as the regional educational television programming service and is carried locally as part of the basic package by licensed BDUs as well as free through Bell Satellite TV and Shaw Direct in the North as part of the digital basic service. Comments are being accepted until April 14.

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has announced that longtime partner Netflix has joined the Norman Jewison Film Program as a lead supporter for the 2023 cohort. The accelerated professional film program for emerging to mid-level Canadian directors, writers, producers and editors helps program residents advance their narrative storytelling skills, grow their body of work, build their creative community, and expand their career opportunities through a series of workshops, case studies, industry sessions, cross-program collaborations, and one-on-one mentoring. The participants of the 2023 cohort will be announced in early July with this year’s program running from July to mid-December at CFC’s campus in Toronto. 

Manitoba Film & Music’s former Access to Markets & Festivals program will be administered by On Screen Manitoba, starting April 1, and rebranded under three support programs: Access to Markets (supporting market development activities of Manitoba producers, prodcos, independent distributors and writers at national and international markets); Access to Festivals (covering travel costs for independent Manitoba writers, directors, producers and distributors whose productions have been selected to screen at national and international festivals); and the Professional Development Fund (supporting the professional development of independent Manitoban writers, directors, production company staff, and creative service professionals).

Pluto TV continues to grow its library of programming and FAST channels, announcing a content partnership with The Weather Network. Canadians can now stream The Weather Network’s new FAST channel on Pluto TV. The addition follows a series of new channel and content partnerships for the streaming service including new FAST channels OUTtv Proud and Shades of Black and a Blue Ant Media partnership that saw the addition of HauntTV, Crimetime, HistoryTime, and Homeful. Canadian users can watch Pluto TV via the web at pluto.tv, the Pluto TV app for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, Chromecast, Samsung and LG devices, and via mobile apps on the App Store and Google Play. 

Popularity Papers, a new live action comedy based on the middle-grade books of the same name by Amy Ignatow, premieres April 10 on YTV and STACKTV. Adapted for the screen by Corus Entertainment’s Aircraft Pictures and WexWorks Media, the series follows two best friends as they set out to crack the code on how to become popular by conducting a variety of hilarious social experiments. Produced in association with BBC Studios Kids & Family, Popularity Papers is being distributed worldwide by BBC Studios. The cast includes Glee Dango, Mia Bella, Millie Davis, Jenna Weir, Callum Shoniker, and Seth Murchison

marblemedia and The Jim Henson Company are partnering on original scripted comedy series, Felix (10×30), which promises to “break new ground by debunking the stereotypes and stigmatization around neurodiversity and mental health challenges among children.” Created by Miklos Perlus and inspired by his neurodivergent son, Felix is a live action comedy about a boy, his family, and his “feels” – five original characters to be created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop that manifest his larger-than-life emotions. marblemedia and The Jim Henson Company have previously partnered on live-action preschool series Hi Opie! in 2014 and spin-off Opie’s Home.

 

TSN will showcase live coverage of select Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) games on TSN and TSN+ throughout the 2023 season, culminating with the 2023 CEBL Championship Weekend. Coverage of the CEBL Game of the Week on TSN tips off on May 24 with the 2022 CEBL champion Brampton Honey Badgers heading to the nation’s capital to face off against the Ottawa BlackJacks. TSN’s CEBL broadcast schedule is available here

CBC/Radio-Canada will be the Canadian broadcast home of the Paris 2024 and Milano-Cortina 2026 Paralympic Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and public broadcaster announced Wednesday. CPC has been the rightsholder of the broadcast since Sochi 2014, working with CBC and a consortium of partners. For 2024 and 2026, CBC/Radio-Canada will play a larger role, sub-licensing the rights as the official broadcaster. CBC will provide comprehensive Paralympic Games coverage across its television, streaming, and digital platforms in English and French. The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games take place Aug. 28 – Sept. 8, 2024 and the Milano-Cortina 2026 Paralympic Winter Games run March 6-15, 2026.

VisionTV will present the world television premiere of The Rhapsody, the true story of pianist and composer Leo Spellman. Set to air April 3 at 9 p.m. ET, the film captured the Audience Award for Best Documentary at last year’s Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival. Spellman, a Jewish musician and Holocaust survivor from Poland, composed a three-part work, Rhapsody 1939-1945, while at a Displaced Persons (DP) camp in Germany. The piece musically depicted his experiences of war, suffering and the joy of liberation, and was performed only once by Spellman and a group of concentration camp survivors. When he immigrated to Canada in 1948, he tried to bury his memories and packed the score for Rhapsody 1939-1945 in a suitcase in his garage where it remained for 52 years. The film captures Spellman’s story and the second performance of Rhapsody 1939-1945 at the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto, just three months before his passing at the age of 99. 

Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana has announced the launch of new merchandise line, 43°N By Bryan Baeumler. The first series of products from the HGTV Canada personality include branded apparel and accessories. Baeumler is a contractor, entrepreneur and host of hit HGTV Canada shows like Island of Bryan, Renovation Resort, House of Bryan, Leave it to Bryan, Bryan Inc. and Disaster DIY.

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