LISTEN: Canadian Screen Week makes its in-person return, starting April 11, with seven awards shows celebrating Canada’s screen media and the talent behind it, culminating in a star-studded broadcast special on CBC on April 16, hosted by comedian Samantha Bee. Tammy Frick, CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy), joins the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast to talk about taking leadership of the organization, the Academy’s move to gender-neutral performance categories, and the importance of coming together to celebrate Canadian content. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
ACTRA Toronto has announced its Outstanding Performance nominees for its on-camera and voice awards, set to be handed out April 26. It has also announced Paul Rutledge as the recipient of this year’s ACTRA Toronto Stunt Award. Known for his work in more than 145 feature films and series, Rutledge has performed stunt work in films like Nightmare Alley, RoboCop, The Incredible Hulk, and Johnny Mnemonic, and served as stunt coordinator on countless other productions, including TV series Reign, Relic Hunter, and Due South. Find the full list of nominations here.
Youth Media Alliance (YMA) has unveiled the nominees for their Awards of Excellence with the winners to be revealed during a gala evening May 31 at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Find the full list of nominees here.
The Canadian Film Fest (CFF) has revealed its 2023 award winners, following a successful five-day festival at Toronto’s Scotiabank Theatre and virtually across Canada on Super Channel Fuse. Monia Chokri’s Babysitter won Best Feature and Best Set Design, Adrian Murray was honoured with DGC Ontario’s Best Director award for his film Retrograde, Fanie Pelletier’s documentary Bloom was awarded the William F. White Reel Canadian Indie Award, and Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers’s How To Get My Parents To Divorce won the feature film jury awards. Additionally, Joy Webster’s Menace won Best Short Film and Polarized took home People’s Pick for Best Flick.
Alanis Obomsawin will receive the MacDowell Medal in July from the American arts organization, recognizing an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to their field. She joins past medal recipients, including Robert Frost, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Updike, Toni Morrison, and David Lynch. Obomsawin, 90, an Abenaki who was born in New Hampshire, has 56 films to her credit, including landmark documentaries Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993), documenting the 1990 Mohawk uprising in Kanehsatake and Oka, Quebec, and Incident at Restigouche (1984), a behind-the-scenes look at Quebec police raids on a Mi’kmaq reserve. Author Jesse Wente will introduce Obomsawin at the MacDowell awards ceremony in New Hampshire.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) will invest nearly $366M in the Canadian television and interactive digital media industries for its new fiscal year, starting April 1. The 2023 federal budget included an additional $40M investment in the CMF over the next two years, which its current program budget does not take into account. Key changes for 2023-24, include the introduction of a Narrative Positioning Policy to help ensure that storytelling in CMF-funded projects is done responsibly and inclusively and separate guidelines for programs focused on predevelopment funding, development for targeted communities, and regional incentives.
National Canadian Film Day (CanFilmDay) will celebrate its 10th anniversary on April 19 with over 1,300 live events taking place from coast-to-coast and another 120 events internationally. Among this year’s highlights, late Canadian screen legend Gordon Pinsent will be celebrated with multiple screenings of John and the Missus, the award-winning 1987 feature he wrote, directed and starred in, including an all-day Gordon Pinsent marathon (featuring 1972’s The Rowdyman and 2006 drama Away From Her) in Toronto at Scotiabank Theatre. Groundbreaking Mi’kmaw filmmaker Jeff Barnaby, who died last October following a battle with cancer, will also be honoured with a special screening of Barnaby’s 2019 horror feature, Blood Quantum, followed by a live Q&A with star Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. Read more here.
CBC, Netflix and APTN have greenlit a new Arctic comedy series. Inuit co-creators Stacey Aglok MacDonald and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril are set to Executive Produce, alongside Miranda de Pencier. The untitled comedy series that will film in Nunavut follows a young Inuk mother who wants to build a new future for herself in her small Arctic town where everyone knows your business.
Netflix has ordered limited series Tall Pines, a thriller from Canadian comedian Mae Martin (Feel Good, The Flight Attendant), who’ll also star in the series, set in a bucolic but sinister town that explores the insidious underbelly of the “troubled teen industry.” Martin is serving as creator, as well as co-showrunner and executive producer, alongside Ryan Scott (Servant, Treadstone, Fear The Walking Dead). Sphere Media is producing with Ben Farrell executive producing through his company, Objective Fiction (Feel Good, The Gold), along with Hannah Mackay (Peep Show, Year of the Rabbit), Jennifer Kawaja (Sort Of, The Porter, Cardinal), and Bruno Dubé (Transplant, The Sticky).
Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana has teamed up with Toikido, a London-based entertainment company at the cutting edge of digital design and toys, to develop a new animated kids series based on gaming IP, Piñata Smashlings. Launching in 2023, Piñata Smashlings will debut on Roblox this June. Plans are underway to launch ancillary productions like toys, plush, apparel, homewares, publishing, magazines and animation.
Headspinner Productions, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this week, and CBC Kids, have announced that production has begun on new live-action preschool series Aunty B’s House, created by and starring Khalilah Brooks. Aunty B’s House (20×7) is a live-action sitcom for preschoolers and their families, set in a foster home. The series is based on Brooks’ own experiences growing up in the Canadian foster care system and will address some difficult themes not usually seen in preschool television, including becoming a new foster child, and social worker and parental visits.
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), in partnership with Border2Border Entertainment and OUTtv, will debut web series Womb Envy on AMI.ca, the AMI-tv App and OUTtv.com on May 10. Created by Toronto drag artist Champagna, Womb Envy (12 x 15 min.) is written by Mark Keller, directed by Jake Horowitz and produced by Charlie David of Border2Border Entertainment for AMI-tv and OUTtv. The series follows Max (played by queer Afro-Filipino actor Daniel Fernandes), who develops a rare condition known as couvade syndrome, bizarrely displaying pregnancy symptoms which become increasingly difficult to hide.
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), in association with Halifax Comedy Fest and Premiere Entertainment Group, is making tickets available for its free, live taping of All Access Comedy, hosted by comedian D.J. Demers, a stand-up special featuring comedians from the disability community. To be filmed live during the 2023 Halifax Comedy Fest on Sunday, April 30 at the Spatz Theatre in Halifax, the one-hour show also features Courtney Gilmour, Darryl Lenox, Tanyalee Davis, Ahren Belisle, and Ryan Lachance. ASL interpreters, CART real-time captioning technology and increased wheelchair accessible seating options will make the event truly inclusive.
Lone Eagle Entertainment has acquired the life story rights of George Kresge, a.k.a. The Amazing Kreskin, and is currently in development on a feature-length documentary, set to premiere in 2024. Award-winning journalist, documentarian and television producer Allen Abel is on board as producer, joining Lone Eagle President Michael Geddes, who serves as Executive Producer. The Amazing Kreskin, now 88, has appeared on stages from Broadway to Las Vegas and TV, including 61 The Tonight Show appearances from 1970-80, in addition to Late Night with David Letterman, The Howard Stern Show, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. This is the second feature-length documentary from Lone Eagle Entertainment, coming on the heels of Offside: The Harold Ballard Story for CBC and CBC Gem earlier this year.
Team Canada are on home ice in Brampton, April 5-16, in search of a gold medal three-peat at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship. TSN has live coverage of every game of the tournament, including the Quarter-Finals, Semifinals, and Gold Medal Game, on TSN, TSN.ca, and the TSN app. Network coverage features play-by-play commentator Kenzie Lalonde, alongside analyst Cheryl Pounder, as well as play-by-play from Daniella Ponticelli with Sami Jo Small as analyst. Hosting TSN’s coverage is two-time IIHF gold medallist and Olympic gold medallist Tessa Bonhomme and Sportscentre’s Laura Diakun with panelists Small, Hockey Hall of Famer Jayna Hefford, Lori Dupuis, and Becky Kellar. TSN’s Leafs Lunch co-host Julia Tocheri and BarDown’s Raegan Subban report rinkside in Brampton.
Paramount Global Streaming Research and Insights has released a new research study suggesting more than half of Canadians are using FAST (Free Ad-Support Streaming Television) services as a companion throughout the day. Exploring the rapid growth of the FAST channel universe, more than 5,000 consumers, ages 18-64, were interviewed across eight markets, including Canada. Key insights among Canadian consumers include that 78% of those interviewed find FAST services easy to use. FAST channels act as a companion throughout the day for 63% of Canadians interviewed, with 74% agreeing that there’s always something to watch. Over 80% are surprised by the amount of content available for free, while roughly 7.5 in 10 FAST users said they “love” having both live TV and on demand in one service. The study also found that 72% of Canadians surveyed, and 69% overall, accept ads as part of the FAST experience. Read more here.