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TV & Film News – DGC BC members vote in favour of strike mandate

DGC BC (Directors Guild of Canada, B.C. District Council) members have voted 92.2% in favour of a strike mandate. Held last week, the vote follows a breakdown in negotiations after a year of trying to reach a new three-year collective agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA). The DGC BC Collective Agreement covers the categories of Director, 2nd Unit Director, Production & Unit Manager, plus those employed in various Assistant Director and Locations Departments, including entry level Production Assistants. AMPTP and CMPA – BC say a strike authorization vote sends a message of labour uncertainty in the province and “seriously jeopardizes British Columbia’s reputation as an attractive location for motion picture production.” The producers say after being close to reaching an agreement, DGC BC made additional demands that were not part of the mediator’s recommendations. Read more here.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) announced the winners of the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards over six days during Canadian Screen Week, culminating in Sunday’s awards broadcast on CBC and CBC Gem. CTV’s Transplant led television honours, winning eight Canadian Screen Awards including: Best Drama Series; Best Lead Actor, Drama Series for Hamza Haq; and Best Lead Actress, Drama Series for Laurence Leboeuf. The fifth and final season of CBC’s Kim’s Convenience took home three awards: Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon won Best Lead Actor and Actress, Comedy; and Andrew Phung was named Best Supporting Actor, Comedy, marking his fifth win in the category. Film honours were led by Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson’s Scarborough, which earned a total of eight Canadian Screen Awards including: Best Motion Picture, Achievement in Direction; and the John Dunning Best First Feature Film Award, which comes with a $25,000 cash prize. Find the winners in Drama & Comedy Crafts and Scripted Programs & Performance here and Cinematic Arts here.  

Barry Avrich has issued an apology after the Oscar Peterson: Black + White director stated during his Canadian Screen Awards acceptance speech for Best Direction, Documentary, that “There are so many Black stories in Canada that need to be told. It doesn’t matter who tells them, we just need to tell them.” Organizations including the Black Screen Office, Reelworld, and the Indigenous Screen Office, were among those that took issue with the statement as diverse creators continue to fight for equitable access to funding and distribution.

Spin Master Corp. won The Golden Screen Award, presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, for PAW Patrol: The Movie. The Golden Screen Award recognizes the Canadian film that grossed the highest domestic box office between Jan. 1, 2021 and Feb. 24, 2022. The first feature film for Spin Master Entertainment, in association with Nickelodeon Movies, and distributed by Elevation Pictures in Canada, PAW Patrol: The Movie grossed over $7.5 million in Canadian box office sales and $152 million to date globally. A second feature film, PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, has been greenlit with its theatrical release set for Oct. 2023. 

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced this year’s nominees for the 2022 Rockie Awards International Program Competition, recognizing excellence in television and digital media from around the globe. By company, the BBC leads this year’s nominations with 23, followed by National Geographic and Disney Branded Television with nine nominations each; HBO with seven nods; Sky with six; and Warner Bros. with five. By country, the UK secured 59 nominations, followed by the U.S. with 54, Canada with 30 nominations, nine for Australia, and six for France. The Rockies Program Competition ceremony will be held in-person and live-streamed on YouTube during this year’s festival at 6:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. MT) on Monday, June 13. Read more about this year’s nominees here.

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has released Profile 2021, a summary of film and television production activity in Canada between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, including a look at how the pandemic impacted Canada’s media production industry. Topline numbers show that during the period, media production in Canada generated $9.09 billion in production volume, $11.27 billion in GDP and created 216,660 jobs across Canada. Canadian production volume decreased by 12% in 2020/21, due at least in part to the pandemic. During the same period, FLS (foreign service and location) production saw a marginal uptick of 0.4 per cent, the only sector to see an increase in 2020/21, propelling it to an all-time high production volume level of $5.27 billion.

Sphere has acquired film distributor, MK2 l MILE END, which will become part of Sphere Films, with Charles Tremblay appointed as President of the division. The existing team of Anick Poirier and Lorne Price will continue to successfully sell feature films to the international market. Since it was founded by Tremblay in 2017, MK2 l MILE END’s slate of films has included award-winning titles including Palme d’Or and Best Picture Oscar winner Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and Quebec films like And the Birds Rained Down by Louise Archambault and Maria Chapdelaine by Sébastien Pilote. The distributor launched its own home cinema platform in 2020. 

Adrienne Mitchell

Cineflix Media has announced it’s partnering with showrunner, director, and producer Adrienne Mitchell and her newly-launched production company, BentFrame Film & TV. The partnership gives Cineflix Media the first option to co-produce original content developed by Mitchell, while providing BentFrame with access to development support from Cineflix Studios. In addition, Cineflix Rights will retain exclusive first-look rights to distribute the shingle’s content internationally. The Toronto-based prodco, focused on female driven dramatic series and feature films, already has several projects in development. The announcement follows Cineflix Media’s recent acquisition of Back Alley Films—co-founded by Mitchell—along with its library of content IP. Zach Marcovici, also previously of Back Alley, joins BentFrame as Director of Development and Production. 

Pamela Anderson

Corus Studios has announced its biggest-ever U.S. output deal with Hulu, consisting of over 400+ episodes of lifestyle, renovation, unscripted and crime content. The expanded partnership includes the U.S. pre-sale of Pamela’s Garden of Eden (8×60), following Pamela Anderson as she renovates her family home. Hulu also picks-up all three seasons of Global News-produced series Crime Beat (53×60), based on the successful podcast of the same name. In the home and renovation genres: Gut Job (8×60), Hoarder House Flippers (6×60), Styled (8×60), Trading Up with Mandy Rennehan (10×60) Making It Home with Kortney and Kenny (10×60) and Rock Solid Builds (Season 1 & 2). Hulu will also carry additional seasons of Farmhouse Facelift (Season 2 – 8×60), and will be the SVOD home of Buying The View (26×30), the first U.S. sale of docu-series Cheese: A Love Story (6×60), and baking competition show, Wall of Bakers (10×60).

Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Media company, has entered into an agreement with A+E Networks to produce Hoarders: Canada, the first-ever format commission for the series outside the U.S. The series has been greenlit by Blue Ant to premiere on its specialty channel Makeful in late 2022. Hoarders: Canada follows a team of experts as they tackle some of Canada’s most challenging hoards, giving viewers an in-depth look at the emotional stories of those dealing with compulsive hoarding behaviour. Produced by Saloon Media, nationwide casting for Hoarders: Canada will begin this month. 

Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen

NRK has commissioned a series based on Leonard Cohen’s relationship with muse Marianne Ihlen. The 1950s-set So Long, Marianne will be co-produced for the Norwegian state broadcaster by Buccaneer Media and Redpoint Productions, along with Connect3 Media, which will handle Canadian production. Primarily taking place on the Greek island of Hydra where the pair met, the series will also be set in Oslo, London, New York and Montreal. Cohen’s relationship with Ihlen inspired songs including “So Long, Marianne,” “That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” and “Bird On The Wire.”

Griff Rhys Jones

BBC First original series Griff’s Canadian Adventure (6×60’) follows Welsh comedian and travel enthusiast Griff Rhys Jones as he embarks on a journey across Canada. The series explores how history has shaped Canada; uncovering what makes each province so unique, yet distinctly Canadian. From the Atlantic Coast of Newfoundland to Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest, each episode sees the comedian undergo a unique and quirky challenge that reflects the region he is visiting – from cutting cod tongues and singing sea shanties with Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle in Newfoundland to trying his hand at dog-sledding in Manitoba and eating his first-ever poutine in Quebec. The series will have its Canadian broadcast premiere April 21, exclusively on BBC First. 

Katharine Dowson, Adam Beach, Ryan Cook

Discovery’s all-new Canadian original woodcarving competition series, A Cut Above, will be hosted by Golden Globenominated actor, Adam Beach. The 12-episode series shoots this spring in Squamish, B.C., and is set to premiere later this year on Discovery. Joining the cast is world-renowned Canadian chainsaw carver Ryan Cook and UK sculptor, Katharine Dowson, who bring their combined expertise to serve as competition judges. A Cut Above puts 12 of the best chainsaw carvers from across the world to the ultimate test of creativity, strength, and skill, as they turn ordinary logs into works of art.

Crave has secured a deal with Sesame Workshop to bring Sesame Street programming to the platform. Crave becomes the Canadian streaming home of the iconic children’s series when Season 51 drops on Friday, April 15, along with the Sesame Street: Classic Episodes Collection. Additional Sesame Workshop programming coming to Crave this year includes: Sesame Street Season 52, Cookie Monster’s Food Truck, Elmo’s World, Once Upon A Sesame Street Christmas, and Sesame Street Mecha Builders, the upcoming CGI-animated Sesame Street spinoff. 

Longhope Media Inc. and OMNI Television will premiere all-new satirical sketch comedy series ABROAD, in English and Tagalog, on April 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. Co-created by and starring Filipina comedian Isabel Kanaan (Second Jen, Air Farce NYE), the 12-part, half hour series is based on her experiences as an immigrant from a comedic perspective. Starring alongside Kanaan are Aldrin Bundoc, Joy Castro, Nicco Lorenzo Garcia, Justin Santiago, Carolyn Fe, Jon Blair, Natalie Metcalfe, Sharjil Rasool, Nile Seguin, Christian Smith, and Jillian Welsh.

CHCH-TV has moved into its new home in suburban Hamilton on Innovation Drive. In 2021, CHCH said goodbye to its previous location on Jackson Street West in downtown Hamilton, which it had occupied since the station’s launch in June 1954. The new facility features a 3,500 sq. ft. fully digital and 4K-ready broadcast space, complete with a 360-degree anchor desk.

Cogeco is the title sponsor of the 2022 Ontario Mixed Curling Championship, airing the event throughout the province on YourTV. The tournament takes place at Belleville’s historic Quinte Curling Club from Wednesday, April 13 to Sunday, April 17. Curlers from across the province are competing for the opportunity to represent Ontario at November’s 2022 National Championship. YourTV’s Al Galloway is anchoring event coverage. Cogeco customers can check for their local listing.

Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers) of Trinidad & Tobago doing battle with compatriot Ryan Telfer, formerly of Atlético Ottawa

MEDIAPRO Canada has sealed a media rights agreement with Flow Sports, the Caribbean sports broadcaster owned by British telecom CWI Group, that will bring live coverage of Canadian soccer to households across 22 Caribbean territories. The deal means close to 500,000 households across the region will have access to live coverage of the Canadian Premier League (CPL). The deal covers the 2022 season with an option to renew. The strong Caribbean talent pool in the CPL includes Alex Marshall, HFX Wanderers (Jamaica), Emery Welshman, Forge FC (Guyana); Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Valour FC (Haiti), and two players form Trinidad & Tobago: Andre Rampersad and Akeem García, both of HFX Wanderers – as well as HFX Wanderers coach Stephen Hart, also of Trinidad & Tobago.

Knowledge Network’s executive leadership is under scrutiny following the release of a 2022 audit that shows over the past seven years, just 1.7% of the films supported by the B.C. public broadcaster were the work of filmmakers of colour. That equates to $34,000 of the $2M granted to filmmakers. A petition to replace CEO Rudy Buttignol, who has overseen Knowledge Network for 15 years, has gathered more than 500 signatures to date. 

The 23rd annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival will welcome artists and audiences back to Toronto for in-person screenings and events, Oct. 18-23. imagineNATIVE will then present the festival online, Oct. 24-30. Programming and ticket details will be announced in the coming months. Submissions are now open until May 18.

CBC is offering a week-long slate of programming in recognition of Earth Week 2022, April 18-22. New and original content available on CBC platforms includes Arctic Blue with Peter Mansbridge (World Premiere, April 18). The new CBC Docs original takes an in-depth look at Canada’s claim to the North and asks who will have authority over the Arctic when it isn’t covered in ice. documentary Channel original Coral Ghosts has its CBC TV premiere April 19, combining 100 years of underwater photography with Dr. Tom Goreau, a marine biologist who inherited the family legacy of protecting the world’s coral reefs. The Fifth Estate’s Bait and Switch: Recycling’s Dirty Secrets (April 20 on CBC, CBC Gem) sees the show team up with Radio-Canada’s Enquête for a joint investigation showing how Canada still routinely ships plastic waste to developing countries. 

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