Blue Ant Media and marblemedia have announced the merger of their respective production and distribution operations into one unified studio and rights business. The deal sees Blue Ant acquire marblemedia and its international sales operation Distribution360. Former marblemedia co-CEOs Mark Bishop and Matthew Hornburg will helm the combined business, based in Toronto, serving as co-Presidents and reporting to Michael MacMillan, CEO and co-founder, Blue Ant Media. The combined business, which encompasses the marblemedia, Blue Ant Studios, Saloon Media and Look Mom! Productions prodcos, in addition to distributors Distribution360 and Blue Ant International, will form what’s being billed as a “super-charged” studio, spanning scripted comedy and drama, unscripted, formats, factual and premium docs, live action kids/family and animation. Read more here.
Screen Nova Scotia (SNS) has acquired Crown land to build the province’s first-ever purpose-built film and television soundstage. The industry association says following a request for proposals (RFP) late last year, an industry-led committee has unanimously selected a 25-acre parcel of land adjacent to Exhibition Park in Halifax on Highway 333. Screen Nova Scotia says the parcel was chosen for its size, quiet natural setting, and proximity to downtown, 100-series highways and the services of Bayers Lake Business Park. It also leaves room for future expansion. Screen Nova Scotia says the next step is issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) to identify equity partners interested in driving the project forward. FLS (Foreign Service and Location) volume hit $91 million in the province in 2021/22, a new 10-year high for Nova Scotia and almost double the previous year’s volume, with almost all of that growth in television series. Read more here.
The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is proud to announce Anishinaabe and Ashkenazi actor, writer, producer and director Jennifer Podemski as this year’s winner of the August Schellenberg Award of Excellence. The “Augie” is an annual prize that recognizes gifted Indigenous actors from across Turtle Island based on the longevity and impact of their careers, as well as their professionalism and involvement in mentorship and community work. Starting her career at 17, Podemski’s breakout role was Sadie in Bruce McDonald’s film, Dance Me Outside. Since then, she has earned Canadian Screen Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Film, and launched Indigenous owned and operated film/television and post-production company Big Soul Productions, and the Shine Network, a digital exhibition platform and talent incubator for Indigenous women creators. The Augie will be presented to Podemski at this year’s imagineNATIVE Awards Presentation during the festival, Oct. 17-22.
Shawn Levy, the Canadian producer and director behind films like Free Guy and Deadpool 3, will receive the inaugural Norman Jewison Career Achievement Award presented by The Budman Family, recognizing Canadians in the film industry who have made a global impact with their careers. The awards presentation will take place at the TIFF Tribute Awards gala fundraiser on Sept. 10. The Montreal-born filmmaker, known for his executive producer credit on Stranger Things and directing the Night at the Museum franchise, will be showcasing his latest work at the Festival ― All the Light We Cannot See, based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel ― which he directed and produced through his production company 21 Laps. TIFF’s official schedule is now out.
The 43rd Atlantic International Film Festival (AIFF) will showcase 115 feature and short films at Halifax’s Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane, Sept. 14-21. Queen of My Dreams, directed by Fawzia Mirza and produced by Mirza, Andria Wilson, Jason Levangie and Marc Tetreaut, will take the spotlight as the Opening Night Gala. Sweetland, directed by Newfoundland writer/director Christian Sparkes, and produced by Allison White, is this year’s Atlantic Gala. The Closing Night Gala will be Sundance hit, Flora and Son, directed by John Carney and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eve Hewson.
CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF) founded by filmmaker and Academy member Frances-Anne Solomon, will celebrate its 18th year, Sept. 6–22, at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. This year, CTFF will explore urgent narratives around climate change and diverse stories from the Caribbean and African diaspora. 2023 also marks the inaugural Hon. Dr Jean Augustine Award to be presented Sept. 9. Opening night includes screenings of Eden River (Jack Evans, Belize/USA), which was nominated for Best Short at Cannes, and Central America, 1961, exploring cultural, moral, and ancestral tensions between three sea turtle poachers. Check out the full program here.
Super Channel Fuse Original Series Clean Sweep, produced by Montreal’s Incendo Media and Ireland’s ShinAwiL, will make its Canadian broadcast premiere Sept. 3. Each hour-long episode of the Ireland/Canada co-production will be available on Super Channel On Demand the day following its weekly linear broadcast. Starring Charlene McKenna (Bloodlands, Peaky Blinders), the suspenseful Irish series is told from the point-of-view of a killer, who is also a mother and wife. Additional cast include Barry Ward (Anne Boleyn), Cathy Belton (Hidden Assets), Katelyn Rose Downey (The Princess), Adam Fergus (Harry Wild), Trevor Kaneswaren (Line of Duty), Rhys Mannion (It Is In Us All), Aidan McCann (Bad Sisters) and Jeanne Nicole Ní Áinle (SisterS).
Knowledge Network has moved four documentary projects from B.C. filmmakers into production. As Canada breaks its historical record for total area burned during a single wildfire season, the limited series Wildfire captures the magnitude and scale of modern wildfires in B.C. The creative team behind the series includes executive producer and showrunner Kevin Eastwood, producer and additional cinematographer Simon Shave, and director of photography Clayton Mitchell. A Ballad for Judi is a one-hour doc produced by Baljit Sangra of Viva Mantra Films and Brishkay Ahmed. Directed by Sangra, it tells the little-known story of Judi Singh, a Punjabi-Black singer-songwriter who was a prominent fixture in the Edmonton jazz scene from the 1950s to ‘70s. Treasure of the Rice Terraces,, directed by Kent Donguines, explores traditional Filipino tattooing, a once stigmatized practice which is now a cultural phenomenon featuring the story of 106-year-old tattoo artist Apo Whang-Od, who was recently featured on the cover of Vogue Philippines. Clan of the Painted Lady is a feature doc produced by Jennifer Chiu and Mel D’Souza of SILO Entertainment, exploring the experiences of members of the Hakka-Chinese diaspora.
TVO’s over-the-air (OTA) viewers are part of an independent documentary project in production from filmmaker Steven J. May. The documentarian is looking to interview viewers who watch Ontario’s public broadcaster on Channel 21 with an aerial, antenna or rabbit ears. Potential interviewees can contact May at email@example.com or 437-992-6150.
MADE | NOUS is looking for digital creators to become the campaign’s next ambassadors. Celebrating the work of Canadians in film, television, video games and digital entertainment, Canada Media Fund (CMF) Executive Vice-President of Marketing Mathieu Chantelois says they’re looking to bridge the gap between TV and film viewers and fans of online content by partnering with digital creators who share a passion for Canadian entertainment. Creators with an established community on social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube are encouraged to apply before Sept. 15.