TV & Film News – DGC announces Special Awards recipients

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The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has announced its Special Awards recipients to be recognized at the first West Coast DGC Awards, Nov. 5 in Vancouver. The DGC Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to director Sturla Gunnarsson, whose films have been recognized with a multitude of awards, including Emmy, Genie and Gemini Awards, a Prix Italia, and an Oscar nomination. He’s also worked on series from The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents to Degrassi and Schitt’s Creek, and directed Sarah Polley, Stellan Skarsgaard and Gerard Butler in Beowulf and Grendel (2006), and William Hurt and Molly Parker in Rare Birds (2001). His documentary, Air India 182, won both DGC and Gemini awards. The Don Haldane Distinguished Service Award will be presented to long-serving DGC BC Chairman Allan Harmon; and the DGC Impact Award to Alberta DGC member Brock Skretting, who helped lead grassroots intiatiive “Keep Alberta Rolling.” Cheryl Nex of EP (Entertainment Partners) Canada will be named a DGC Honorary Life Member.   

Sort Of

MIPCOM’s Diversify TV Awards saw three Canadian series recognized. Pour Toi Flora, Sort Of, and Proud To Be Me won in the categories of Representation of Race and Ethnicity, Representation of LGBTQIA+, and Representation of Diversity in Kids Programming, respectively. Read more about this year’s winners here.

 

UBCP/ACTRA, the autonomous branch of ACTRA in British Columbia, has announced this year’s nominees for the 11th Annual UBCP/ACTRA Awards, recognizing acting, voiceover, and stunt performer talent. Among the projects garnering multiple nominees are Agam Darshi’s Donkeyhead; Letterkenny spinoff, Shoresy; and Stephen Campanelli coming-of-age comedy, Drinkwater. Find the full list of nominees here. The winners will be announced on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Vancouver Playhouse,

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) have announced the successful conclusion of negotiations, resulting in an agreement in principle on terms for a new Standard Agreement. The terms for the new three-year agreement will be sent to the CMPA’s Board of Directors, and distributed by the DGC to its members, for ratification. The current agreement expires on Dec. 31, 2022.

William F. White International (WFW) has announced a partnership with Big Sky Studios (BSS), a new full-service 187,000 sq. ft. film and television studio in Winnipeg, owned and operated by Vancouver-based Eighth Avenue Development Group. The first phase of BSS is now officially open, with the building’s recent renovation including transforming 137,000 sq. ft. of existing interiors into two soundstages at 17,000 sq. ft. and 12,800 sq. ft., renovated production offices, workshops, on-site equipment rental and specialty areas for film departments. The second phase will see the addition of two purpose-built 15,000 sq. ft. clear span soundstages with 40-foot-high ceilings, along with indoor climate-controlled loading. Manitoba’s Film and Media Tax Credit, the most competitive in Canada (up to 65% on Manitoba labour, or up to 38% on eligible Manitoba expenditures, and a 10% increase on the labour tax credit on the third film shot within a two-year period), has proven to be a significant incentive for producers. 

Bridge Studios is slated to build 42 new sound stages over the next four years in Burnaby, B.C, bringing the number of sound stages operated by Bridge Studios to 55. The new studios will be housed on both the current Bridge Studios Boundary campus and new sites, including: Griffiths (four sound stage facilities on five acres, opening in 2023), Lake City (21 sound stages on 18 acres, opening in 2025), and Marine Way (16 sound stages on 18.5 acres, opening in 2026). Currently with 13 sound stages, Boundary will add an additional sound stage by 2026. The new construction will include facilities with 50-foot-high stages, ranging from 9,000 to over 30,000 sq. ft. British Columbia’s film and TV production has hit new highs, generating a record $4.8 billion in direct spending in 2021. Vancouver ranks as the third-largest film & TV production centre in North America. 

Rogers is investing in Indigenous stories and voices through Creative BC’s newly-launched Rogers Indigenous Film Fund Program, funded by Rogers Group of Funds. First announced in 2021, the multi-year $1 million fund supports emerging, early and mid-career Indigenous filmmakers and content creators to develop new works from concept to full production with the support of Creative BC and other funding agencies. Eligible applicants can apply for up to $20,000 to cover activities like research and development, community engagement, and scriptwriting. They’ll also have access to online professional development throughout the duration of the program and beyond, in addition to coaching and mentorship supports.   

Telefilm Canada has joined the Arctic Indigenous Film Fund (AIFF) as a partner to support Indigenous audiovisual productions and increase new training and mentorship opportunities for Indigenous creators in the Arctic region. The Arctic Indigenous Film Fund is an international collaboration established in 2018 by global partners, the International Sami Film Institute, Nunavut Film Development Corporation, Greenland Film Makers, Archy, Russia and the Canada Media Fund. AIFF creates a platform for Indigenous filmmakers from across the Arctic to collaborate and actively works to give young Indigenous people in the region opportunities to work in the media and digital business in their own communities. 

Telefilm Canada and the Talent Fund have announced the 16 first feature-length film projects from emerging independent filmmakers selected under the Talent to Watch Program for fiscal 2022-23. A commitment of $3.5 million will be invested into the projects. As part of Telefilm’s modernization efforts, the Talent to Watch Program was relaunched earlier this spring with changes, including a funding increase of $250,000 (up from $150,000) per film and up to $150,000 for documentary projects. In addition, this year’s Talent to Watch recipients will have access to a new mentorship program administered by the National Screen Institute (NSI) and the Institut national de l’image et du son (INIS). Read more about this year’s selected projects here.

Blue Ant Media has announced the launch of its free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channel HauntTV on VIZIO WatchFree+ in the U.S. The channel’s extensive library of paranormal-themed programming is available to VIZIO audiences beginning this month. Additionally, VIZIO will premiere two original series from Blue Ant Media during its Fall Fest line-up, including Haunted Gold Rush (2 x 60), Blue Ant’s first-ever original FAST-first docuseries exploring ghostly mysteries along B.C.’s historic Gold Rush Trail and the U.S. premiere of Hotel Paranormal, Season 2, narrated by Dan Aykroyd. Those series will debut on HauntTV Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, respectively.

Andrew Phung

CBC and Pier 21 Films have announced that production is underway in and around Toronto on the second season of original comedy series Run The Burbs (13×30). Created by Andrew Phung and Scott Townend, Run The Burbs welcomes some new faces to the neighbourhood for season two, including new cast member Sharjil Rasool (New Eden) playing Camille’s cousin Nikhil and an array of guest stars including Dakota Ray Hebert (Run Woman Run), The Great Canadian Baking Show’s Ann Pornel, and comic and actor Gavin Crawford. As previously announced, veteran showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell joins the creative team as Executive Producer and showrunner. The second season will premiere on CBC and CBC Gem in winter 2023. 

Super Channel has acquired a second season of six-part limited series, The Pact, from Lionsgate Television. The hit BBC thriller will return for a second season with an all-new story and cast Nov. 22 on Super Channel Fuse, with each episode available on Super Channel on Demand the day following its linear premiere. BAFTA-winning actor Rakie Ayola, who played DS Holland in season one, returns, this time in the lead role as social worker Christine Anthony. She also serves as executive producer on the series, which was filmed in and around Wales.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), in partnership with ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto and the Miles Nadal JCC, with sponsorship from the Canada Media Fund (CMF), have announced the six Canadians chosen from over 180 applicants to participate in the first-ever Accessible Writers’ Lab. Running until November, the lab will bring writers with disabilities together with established showrunners and senior writers to experiment with what an accessible TV writers’ room might look like, with an aim of breaking down barriers and creating pathways for creatives in the disability community to thrive in the Canadian television industry. The Accessible Writers’ Lab is designed and led by award-winning disabled writer, performer and consultant Ophira Calof

Alberta Film, the Edmonton Screen Industries Office, the Calgary Film Centre, Alberta Media Production Industries Association and the Calgary Film Commission, in partnership with Access Canada have announced the second cohort of the Alberta Producer Accelerator (APA) Program. The APA Program: Scripted Television will offer training, one-to-one mentorship, and access to key decision makers for up to 10 selected producers. The APA Program is open to producers with a registered Alberta business, who have worked in the industry for three years. Interested applicants must apply by Oct. 30.

The Canadian Creative Accelerator (CCA), run jointly by the Consulates General of Canada in Los Angeles and New York, has opened its winter cohort to film producers who identify as women or film production companies that are at least partly owned and/or managed by producers who identify as women and are working within scripted production and development. Applicants should have a lead project that is either a finished production, or in the advanced stages of development (at least 60% of financing in place) with the goal of finding U.S. partners or buyers for the project or format. The initiative aims to increase the scope and global reach of Canadian television, film, music, live entertainment, and contemporary arts. Applications close Nov. 11.

Hot Docs has opened submissions for micro-docs highlighting ordinary Canadians doing extraordinary things to make their communities better for the second season of Citizen Minutes. Completed films will launch at the 2023 Hot Docs Festival and then screen across Canada and internationally. Selected filmmakers will receive $10,000 – $35,000 to film their short documentary. Hot Docs is looking for pitches, two to eight minutes in length, that capture Canadian stories of people or groups actively involved in advancing social and cultural fabrics, exploring (but are not limited to) themes like resilience, healthy democracy, empathy, empowerment, and social equity. Apply by Nov. 2.