The Directors Guild of Canada, BC District Council (DGC BC) has issued strike notice to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the Canadian Media Producers Association-BC (CMPA-BC). The announcement comes following the labour organization’s first-ever strike vote earlier this month, in which members voted 92.2% in favour of a strike mandate. The DGC BC Collective Agreement covers thousands of film and television workers, including 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. The union says at a meeting it requested with the employers on Monday, April 25, no progress was made towards reaching a deal. Read more here.
The Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) have reached a new one-year agreement that provides an increase in pay and gives the parties a window to jointly work towards modernizing and simplifying the existing agreement, following a recent deal between advertisers and the Screen Actors’ Guild in the U.S. The Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) will not join ACA as co-administrator of the agreement since, under their current CEO, the ACA says ICA was seeking terms unacceptable to the other parties. The new terms will now be put to the ACA Board and to ACTRA members for ratification.
The 26th annual Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) Screenwriting Awards were handed out virtually on April 25. Among those claiming wins were CBC comedy Sort Of, which was named Best Comedy Series, and Super Channel’s The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker, which won in the Teens & Tweens category. Both series had led nominations heading into this year’s awards. Additionally, The Parker Andersons/Amelia Parker showrunner, producer and writer Anthony Q. Farrell was honoured with the Showrunner Award. Find the full list of winners here.
Sphere has announced the opening of a new office in downtown Ottawa on May 1. Following the recent announcement of two new original animated series, including Riley Rocket, Sphere is increasing its production capacity with the opening of the new Ottawa location, hiring more than 100 employees. The company already has existing teams in Montreal and Toronto.
Discovery takes viewers on a mission to help animals in need with new Canadian original series Pets & Pickers, premiering May 12 at 9 p.m. ET. The eight-episode docuseries follows the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) Animal Hospital, which works to offer low-income pet families access to top healthcare. To fund these treatments, RAPS runs a thrift store where a dedicated group of animal loving “pickers” comb through donated mystery bins.
Insight Productions is working on a Canadian spinoff of the Eurovision Song Contest with a broadcaster and host to be announced in the coming weeks. Based on Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival, Eurovision has been held annually since 1956, making it the longest-running annual international televised music competition and one of the world’s longest-running television programs. Celine Dion famously won the multi-national competition in 1988, while representing Switzerland.
Hulu has acquired U.S. streaming rights for Overlord and the Underwoods (20×30). The original live-action, single-camera family comedy from Canadian writer Anthony Q. Farrell (NBC’s The Office, CBBC’s Secret Life of Boys, The Parker Andersons/Amelia Parker) and co-creator Ryan Wiesbrock (Buddy Thunderstruck, Holly Hobbie), will land on Hulu this summer. Overlord and the Underwoods follows a family whose life is turned upside down when their distant cousin, Overlord, the second most-wanted villain in the universe, seeks refuge in their home after being forced into intergalactic witness protection. Produced by marblemedia and Cloudco Entertainment, the series features an ensemble cast including Patrice Goodman (Slasher, Sunnyside), Darryl Hinds (Second City, Little Mosque on the Prairie), Ari Resnick (Odd Squad, Clearwater Kids), Kamaia Fairburn (Holly Hobbie, Endlings, Starfalls), Jayne Eastwood (Hey Lady!), Troy Feldman (Lord of the Rings musical) as “Overlord”, and Jann Arden (Jann) as the voice of “R0-FL” — a droid that has spent most of her life by Overlord’s side.
Corus Entertainment’s Télétoon is bringing cult Quebec comic book hero Red Ketchup to life in a new animated series inspired by the comic book, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Produced by Jacques Bilodeau of Sphère Animation, directed by Martin Villeneuve and based on the hit comic by Pierre Fournier and Réal Godbout, 20 half- hour episodes will start airing in winter 2023 on Télétoon la nuit. The series will also premiere in English on Adult Swim.
Gusto TV has announced its newest original series, Dine Your Sign (12×30), produced in association with Bell Media. Hosted by chef Siobhan Detkavich, the 12-episode project focuses on each of the 12 Zodiac signs and their connection to food. Detkavich is a Kelowna-based chef of Indigenous heritage who, at 21-years-old, is the youngest-ever contestant on Season 9 of Top Chef Canada. In addition, she is a chef de partie at Mission Hill Winery, earned a third-place finish in the Skills Canada National Competition, competed in Culinary Apprentice of the Year, and was a part of Team B.C. in the 2018 Gold Medal Plates.
Bell has announced that AMC Networks’ Acorn TV, IFC Films Unlimited, Shudder and Sundance Now programming is now available on Fibe TV. Customers in Ontario, Québec and the Atlantic provinces can now watch shows and movies on demand from the streaming channels by subscribing via Bell Fibe TV or the Fibe TV app.
TELUS has introduced Stream+, combining Netflix Premium plan, Apple TV+, and discovery+ on a single bill for $25 per month. Stream+ is available to new and existing TELUS Mobility customers. A recent Angus Reid survey commissioned by TELUS, found that close to half of Canadians use three or more streaming platforms and that 90% of Canadians would bundle streaming services together to save money if they could.
Simon Cowell will join the Canada’s Got Talent judges panel alongside Howie Mandel, Lilly Singh, Trish Stratus, and Kardinal Offishall for the live two-hour finale of the show on May 17 on Citytv and Citytv.com. Created by Cowell, the Got Talent franchise is the most successful reality TV format ever, airing in 194 territories worldwide and holding the Guinness World Record for the highest number of adaptations, having been commissioned in over 72 territories.
CTV Comedy Channel has announced that award-winning actor, director, and choreographer Michael Greyeyes has been tapped to direct five episodes of new original series, Acting Good. Loosely based on the life of Anishinaabe stand-up comedian and series co-creator, Paul Rabliauskas, production on the half-hour scripted comedy is currently underway in Winnipeg and set to premiere later this year. Joining Greyeyes as directors for the debut season are writer, director, and video artist Darlene Naponse, as well as series co-showrunners Amber-Sekowan Daniels and Eric Toth. Acting Good stars Rabliauskas as a comic who returns home to the fictional Grouse Lake First Nation after a botched attempt to move to the big city.
MEDIAPRO Canada has sealed a partnership for the exclusive media rights in Mexico to a wide-ranging package of Canadian soccer with new sports broadcaster Hi! Sports TV, carried nationwide on TotalPlay, the IPTV pay-TV platform controlled by the Grupo Salinas conglomerate, owner of Mexican network TV Azteca. The deal gives over three million TotalPlay subscribers access to live coverage of the Canadian Premier League (CPL), airing all 117 games in the CPL, as well as 12 Canadian Championship matches and up to eight home friendly matches of Canada Soccer’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams. Hi! Sports TV is promoting its Canadian soccer coverage under the #OlaGélida (#FrozenWave) hashtag. The presence of Mexican and Central American talent in the CPL, including Alejandro Diaz of 2021 CPL champion Pacific FC, is an added attraction for Mexican fans.
Youth Media Alliance, along with partners Radio-Canada, Télé-Québec, TFO and APTN, is offering four scholarships per year over three years that will place applicants from diverse or Indigenous communities with French-language youth production companies to gain on-set experience. The winners will be placed on a crew of a show currently in pre-production or production (fiction, live-action series, youth news or magazine, intended for ages 2-17). Applications are being accepted until May 31.
CaribbeanTales, founded by award-winning filmmaker and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member Frances-Anne Solomon, has launched its Micro-Credential Certificate Program. The program harnesses the expertise of selected media industry professionals to mentor program participants. From film directing to composing, the courses will be released monthly starting in May.