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TV & Film News – Tantoo Cardinal, Catherine O’Hara, Ryan Reynolds headline Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards

The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards have announced this year’s lineup of honourees, headlined by Tantoo Cardinal, Catherine O’Hara and Ryan Reynolds. The awards annually recognize artists for their outstanding body of work and enduring contribution to the performing arts in Canada. Read more about this year’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award recipients, here.

Elle-Maija Tailfeathers

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers is this year’s UBCP/ACTRA International Women’s Day honouree. Awarded annually to a UBCP/ACTRA member with a demonstrable history of giving back to the union, the industry, and causes of social justice, Tailfeathers is is a Blackfoot and Sámi actor, producer and filmmaker from the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta. She and co-director Kathleen Hepburn received VIFF’s Best BC Film Award for The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open. Tailfeathers was also the recipient of the BC Emerging Filmmaker Award. The critically acclaimed film, largely based on Tailfeathers own experiences as an Indigenous woman, is nominated for six Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture.

Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley is the 2020 ACTRA National Woman of the Year. ACTRA bestows the honour annually on an ACTRA member who excels in both her artistic and advocacy achievements. Polley is an award-winning performer, writer, director and producer whose dramatic features include Away from Her, Take This Waltz, and Stories We Tell. Her adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace for Netflix and CBC, which she executive produced, garnered six Canadian Screen Award wins including Best Screenplay, Director, Actress and Limited Series. She recently co-directed CBC Gem series, Hey Lady!, which debuted at Sundance. Polley has been a leading voice promoting ACTRA’s campaign to increase Canadian entertainment content and has participated in ACTRA’s federal election press conferences and government lobbying efforts. She was previously honoured in 2008, with the ACTRA Toronto  Award of Excellence.

The 2020 CAFTCAD Awards, honouring excellence in costume arts and design, were handed out Mar. 1 in Toronto. Among this year’s multiple award winners were Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events, which won for Excellence in Crafts-Illustration and Costume in TV-Sci-fi/Fantasy. The teams behind Apple+ series See also claimed two awards in the Excellence in Crafts – Western Canada – Building and Excellence in Crafts – Textiles categories. Find the full list of winners, here.

Kew Media Group is in receivership and its board of directors resigned. The news comes following an internal financial review, first announced in November, and subsequent cease trade order in January. Kew also announced Friday that Jamie Brown, CEO of Frantic Films Corporation, has entered into a share purchase agreement with the company to buy back a 100% interest in the Winnipeg-based prodco. Frantic Films had been acquired by Kew in 2017.

William F. White International Inc. (Whites) has announced its opening a second studio location in the Greater Toronto Area to meet demand for studio space, driven in part by streaming service companies. Whites Studios Cantay is set to open in Mississauga in early 2021. Paul Bronfman, company co-chair and CEO, said Whites’ existing Edwards Blvd. location is booked solid with clients requiring additional stages. Whites Studios Cantay will feature 181,000 sq. ft. of space with a 30′ clear ceiling divided between four stages, two floors of office space, two carpentry shops, two paint shops, two wardrobe areas and a lunchroom. Read more here.

Thunderbird Entertainment Group is reporting consolidated revenue for the three and six months ended Dec. 31, 2019 of $14.3 million and $31.3 million as compared to $11.6 million and $26.0 million for the comparative periods of fiscal 2019, increases of $2.7 million and $5.3 million respectively. The majority of the revenue increase is credited to growth in the kids and family division. Adjusted EBITDA was $0.8 million and $3.9 million for the three and six months ending Dec. 31, 2019 compared to $1.5 million and $5.6 million in fiscal 2019, a decrease of $0.7 million and $1.7 million, respectively. The three-month decrease was due to the timing of revenue recognition of an animation series and distribution contracts in Q2 2019 that had no comparable delivery in Q2 2020. The decrease also stemmed from increases in salaries and computer software due to significant growth in the animation and factual divisions.

TVA Group recorded operating revenues in the amount of $164.2 million in Q4 2019, a year‑over‑year increase of $13.7 million. Net income attributable to shareholders was $16.0 million for earnings of $0.37 per share, compared with net income attributable to shareholders of $9.5 million for earnings of $0.22 per share in the same quarter of 2018. Fourth quarter operating highlights include consolidated adjusted EBITDA of $33,568,000, representing a $7,667,000 (29.6%) favourable variance from the same quarter of 2018. TVA reported $21,345,000 in adjusted EBITDA in the Broadcasting segment, a $4,669,000 (28.0%) favourable variance mainly because of the acquisition of the Évasion and Zeste channels, a 24.6% increase in the adjusted EBITDA of the other specialty channels, which benefited from a favourable retroactive adjustment in subscription revenues, and a 13.5% increase in the adjusted EBITDA of the TVA Network. $7,828,000 in adjusted EBITDA was reported in the Film Production & Audiovisual Services (“MELS”) segment, a $1,846,000 (30.9%) favourable variance due to the improved profitability of all of the segment’s operations, including a 17.4% increase in adjusted EBITDA from soundstage, mobile and equipment rental, and an 81.4% decrease in negative adjusted EBITDA from visual effects. $2,198,000 in adjusted EBITDA was reported in the new Production & Distribution segment which since April 2019 includes the businesses acquired through the acquisition of the Incendo group companies.

The Media Technology Monitor (MTM) and MTM JR has released a new report on how Anglophones and Francophones of all ages are consuming and paying for television. The TV Distribution report finds that the majority of Anglophones continue to subscribe to paid TV services such as cable, satellite or fibre optic TV. However, for the first time, SVOD subscriptions like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have surpassed paid TV subscriptions, sitting at 72% and 69% respectively; Cable remains the most common type of TV service subscription in the Anglophone market, serving 33% of Anglophone households; Fibre Optic TV is most popular on the coasts and among affluent Anglophone households; One in five Anglophones are “TV My Way” users. While they do not subscribe to a TV service, they consume a large amount of TV content online.

Bell Media has struck a new multi-year media rights extension with Formula 1, ensuring that TSN and RDS will continue to be the Canadian home of F1 races through the 2024 season. Under the new agreement, TSN and RDS subscribers now have access to a series of F1 live feeds through the networks’ digital platforms, including the Multiplex player on and, and through the TSN and RDS apps. Those feeds include a pit lane channel, driver tracker, select onboard cameras, and timing channel. Bell says 2019 was the most-watched F1 season ever on TSN, with audiences growing across TSN and RDS 21% compared to 2018. Coverage across the two networks reached nearly 5.3 million Canadian viewers in 2019.

Global TVGlobal started principal photography and casting for its latest scripted original series Family Law this week in Vancouver. Produced by SEVEN24 Films and Lark Productions, the legal drama was created by Canadian author Susin Nielsen (Robson Arms, Cedar Cove), with Jordan Canning (Nurses, Schitt’s Creek) directing the pilot episode. Set to premiere on Global later this year, the 10-episode, one-hour drama follows a group of flawed family members who reluctantly work together at their father’s law firm in downtown Vancouver. The legal procedural stars an all-Canadian cast including Jewel Staite (Firefly), Victor Garber (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), Zach Smadu (The Expanse), and Genelle Williams (The Expanse).

John Luke Kieper

John Luke Kieper, a journalist at Kamloops BC Now, is among 16 houseguests cast on the new season of Big Brother Canada. Making its two-night debut, Mar. 4-5, houseguests face the challenge of an extended season lasting two extra weeks. Read more about the Season 8 houseguests, here.

CTV is rebooting Cook Life A Chef, Fridays at 8 p.m. ET, starting Mar. 6. Produced in partnership with Gusto Worldwide Media, the 20-episode, half-hour CTV Life Channel original features four new hosts including Katie Ardington, former personal chef to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and executive chef for the Beckta restaurant group; Derek Dammann, head chef of Montréal’s Maison Publique and former protégé of Jamie Oliver; Natalia Machado, Argentinian One World Kitchen host; and Craig Wong, owner of Asian-Caribbean Toronto restaurant Patois. In each episode, the expert chefs focus on a single ingredient and dive deep into cooking techniques, tips, and tricks.

Top Chef Canada’s eighth season begins April 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada. This season’s judging panel is comprised of chef and host Eden Grinshpan, chef and owner of The McEwan Group; head judge Mark McEwan; and resident judges restaurateur Janet Zuccarini, and food writers Mijune Pak and Chris Nuttall-Smith.


AMI will broadcast the 2020 Canadian National Blind Hockey Tournament Championship, March 27-29, and in a first will show the championship game on Sunday, Mar. 29 across AMI-tv, AMI-audio, AMI-télé, and stream live at AMI-audio’s live coverage begins with the opening ceremonies Mar. 27, at 11 a.m. Eastern. The Neutral Zone’s Brock Richardson, Cam Jenkins, Bret Wills and Claire Buchanan provide pre- and post-game coverage as well as game recaps during intermissions all weekend. Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on AMI-tv and AMI-audio, Jim Van Horne and Nicco Cardarelli lead the broadcast team in English with live described play-by-play and commentary from the gold medal game. AMI-télé’s gold medal coverage will be anchored by Mike Ross and Robert Gignac.

APTN will host the 14th edition of National Indigenous Peoples Day (IDL) on June 20 in a First Nation community for the first time. The event will be broadcast live from Nova Scotia’s Membertou First Nation, in addition to Winnipeg and Whitehorse. The multi-platform broadcast will air on APTN from 7:30 p.m.–12 a.m. ET. This year, IDL will also commemorate Manitoba’s 150th anniversary, paying tribute to the Métis founders of Manitoba and the First Nations Peoples who originally inhabited the province prior to European settlement.

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