The Black Screen Office (BSO), in partnership with Telefilm Canada and with the assistance of the Bell Fund, have announced national consultation Being Seen: A Directive for Authentic and Inclusive Content, focused on the representation of BIPOC, LGBTQ2+ and Persons with Disabilities in the screen-based sectors. The consultation will engage with under-represented communities to determine how they want to be seen and represented and will then provide a set of directives to the industry. The work will be led by Lead Researcher, Kelly Lynne Ashton, with consultations to take place from May to September.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) is distributing $18.9M in remaining 2020-21 COVID-19 relief funds to television and digital media production companies. The Spring 2021-22 Allocation will provide a top-up to up to roughly 2,000 companies. The funding is being made available predominantly to applicants who have previously received COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funds from a CMF Allocation and CMF funding through either the Convergent or Experimental streams in the past four years. Funding will also be available to some recipients of funding offered by the Indigenous Screen Office. Click here to apply and here to access eligibility criteria.
Star Trek: Discovery claimed three awards at the 2021 CAFTCAD Awards recognizing excellence in Canadian costume arts and design. Among this year’s other winners were The Odd Squad, Murdoch Mysteries, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Heritage Minutes. Find the full list of recipients and nominees here.
Blue Ant Media’s FAST (free ad-supported streaming television) channels, HauntTV and Crimetime, are now available to stream on Samsung TV Plus in Canada. The partnership builds on Blue Ant’s expansion into the FAST channel space, with Samsung TV Plus users now having free access to HauntTV and Crimetime’s unscripted paranormal and true crime programming, including series like Paranormal Survivor, See No Evil and In Ice Cold Blood. HauntTV (channel #1420) and Crimetime (channel #1137) are available via the Samsung TV Plus app on 2016-21 model year Samsung TVs and select Samsung Galaxy mobile devices.
Stingray has announced the launch of free, ad-supported TV channels and premium SVOD services with 13 major OTT providers, including Alteox (Luxembourg), Amazon Prime Video Channels (Italy, Spain and Netherlands), ChannelBox (United Kingdom), Maskatel (Canada), Pluto TV (Latin America and United States), Pzaz (Global), Rakuten TV (Europe), Redbox (United States), Rostelecom (Russia), Ruutu (Finland), Samsung TV Plus (Brazil, Mexico, Netherlands and Sweden) Totalplay (Mexico) and Zeasn (Austria and Germany). The new distribution agreements grow Stingray’s audience over new platforms and territories, adding millions of potential viewers to its reach.
Crave Original series Way Over Me (Sortez-Moi De Moi) begins streaming Friday, May 7. Marking a first for Crave, the six-part drama, which takes viewers inside the world of mental health care, is available in its original French format on Crave SUPER ÉCRAN and simultaneously on Crave with English subtitles or dubbed audio. The cast includes Vincent Leclerc, Pascale Bussières, Sophie Lorain, Émile Proulx-Cloutier, Valérie Blais, Bruno Marcil, Danielle Proulx, Émile Schneider, and Sandra Dumaresq.
Tegan and Sara’s coming-of-age memoir High School will be adapted as an original series for Amazon ad-supported streaming service, IMDb TV. Tegan and Sara will executive produce, alongside actress, writer and director Clea DuVall (The Handmaid’s Tale, American Horror Story) The series will be produced by Amazon Studios and Plan B Entertainment.
Girls5eva is the latest Peacock Original comedy to make its way to W Network. The comeback story about a one-hit wonder girl group from the ‘90s will debut with back-to-back episodes June 3 and stream live and on demand on STACKTV and the Global TV app with two episodes rolling out weekly. The ensemble cast includes singer Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Saturday Night Live mainstay Paula Pell, and actress and host Busy Philipps. Meredith Scardino serves as creator and executive producer for the series, alongside executive producers Jeff Richmond, Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, David Miner, and Eric Gurian.
Lalita Krishna, president of In Sync Media, has been named Hot Docs’ Don Haig Award recipient. Now in its 16th year, the award is presented to a Canadian independent producer with a feature-length film in the festival and recognizes creative vision and entrepreneurship. In Sync Media produced 2021 official selection Bangla Surf Girls. The award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize, courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation, allows the recipient to name an emerging female documentary filmmaker to also receive a $5,000 cash prize. Krishna has chosen Bangladeshi filmmaker Elizabeth D. Costa, director of Bangla Surf Girls.
Hot Docs has announced that Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will be the closing keynote speaker at this year’s industry conference. In A Conversation with Questlove, the musician will sit down with NOW Magazine culture editor Radheyan Simonpillai to discuss his Hot Docs Official Selection Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised). The keynote will stream Thursday, May 6, at 1:30 p.m. on the industry conference platform until May 9, with an extended viewing window for All-Access Pass holders until May 31. The keynote will also be available for public festival audiences to watch for free May 6 at 1:30 p.m. on the Hot Docs website and made available to ticket buyers of the film.
YVR Screen Scene For India is an online fundraiser, planned for May 8, in support of COVID-19 efforts in the beleaguered nation. Starting at 2 p.m. PT, the event will be hosted by YVR Screen Scene Podcast host Sabrina Rani Furminger and will bring together Vancouver stars for a panel event featuring Agam Darshi (Funny Boy), Dhirendra (Lego Jurassic Park: The Legend of Isla Nublar), Praneet Akilla (Nancy Drew), Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica), Sachin Sahel (The 100), and Sandy Sidhu (Nurses). Funds raised will be donated to Indian and international organizations providing relief to those who need it most, including Goonj, an organization that works with marginalized communities in rural and urban areas, and Doctors Without Borders’ Emergency Response in India, which is setting up two 1,000-bed units in a field hospital in Mumbai.
ReelAbilities Film Festival has announced programming for its 6th annual festival, taking place online May 18 – 30. ReelAbilities showcases Canadian and international shorts, features, and documentaries about deaf and disability cultures and by filmmakers and actors with disabilities and/or who are deaf. The festival will include online presentations of 15 films including the Opening Night screening of dramatic comedy Give Me Liberty, directed by Kyrill Mikhanovsky, about a perpetually late medical transport driver steering a bus that’s effectively a microcosm of American society. Find the full schedule here.
The Calgary Black Film Festival (CBFF) has announced its inaugural online program and events lineup, running May 26 – 30. The festival will open with Christiaan Olwagen’s Poppie Nongena, the true story of a mother’s desperate fight to protect her family during the bitter years of apartheid in South Africa. CBFF will close with Calgary filmmaker Cheryl Foggo’s feature documentary, John Ware Reclaimed, the complex story of a Black cowboy and rancher who settled in Alberta prior to the turn of the 20th century.
The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced that The SpringHill Company CEO Maverick Carter will give a virtual keynote as part of the BANFF Summit Series lineup on June 16. Under Carter, the company produces projects that reach cross-cultural and diverse audiences, including Emmy-winning documentary What’s My Name, Muhammad Ali Part I, the upcoming Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Shop: UNINTERRUPTED on HBO, NBC primetime gameshow The Wall, and Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker for Netflix. Carter joins influential media leaders appearing at this year’s virtual event including Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos; the new Chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group, Channing Dungey; and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, among others. Find the full agenda here.
TVOkids is premiering all-new episodes of Power Hour of Learning to help students, families and educators across Ontario meet remote learning goals in this challenging time. Developed by Ontario educators, the hour-long lessons will air on TVOkids Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. ET for students in Grades 1-3, and at 1:30 pm ET for students in Grades 4-6. Videos will also be available to stream on TVOkids.com, TVOlearn.com and the TVOkids’ Power Hour of Learning YouTube channel. The series was launched in April 2020 to support learning during the pandemic. 38 new episodes are being introduced this spring to explore additional parts of the Ontario curriculum, including financial literacy, numbers, coding and writing skills.
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) is premiering new adventure series By Hook or By Cook, starring freestyle motocross rider Bruce Cook. After becoming paralyzed, Cook is on a mission to help others realize their dreams the same way he did: with innovation, modifications and determination. Debuting June 3 at 10 p.m. ET on AMI-tv, Cook and his friends, Ashley King and Christian Bagg, use creativity to make an inaccessible world more inclusive. AMI and Render Digital Media are already casting for Season 2 of By Hook or By Cook and are looking for participants with all ranges of disability. Interested applicants can apply now via the Render Digital Media website.