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TV & Film News – ISIS doc ‘ROJECK’ to represent Canada in Oscar race

ISIS documentary ROJEK will represent Canada in the Best International Feature Film nomination race.

ROJEK will represent Canada in the nomination process for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards. Written and directed by Zaynê Akyol, and produced by Audrey-Ann Dupuis-Pierre, Sylvain Corbeil, and Akyol of Métafilms, the documentary – told in a mix of Arabic, English, French, and Kurdish – interviews incarcerated members of the Islamic State (ISIS) from all over the world, as well as their wives, who share the common dream of establishing a caliphate or Muslim political-religious state. The film traces the rise and fall of ISIS through their personal stories against the backdrop of current, post-war Syrian Kurdistan. Read more here.


The DGC (Directors Guild of Canada) has unveiled its initial round of nominees, recognizing achievement in television series, movies for television and mini-series. Winners will be announced at the first in-person DGC Awards Gala since 2019 to be held at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto on Oct. 21. Among the series garnering multiple nominations are Crave/APTN ’60s scoop drama Little Bird; Amazon Prime Video mystery Three Pines; CBC series Essex County, Sort Of and Son of a Critch; Hallmark Channel’s The Way Home; The Roku Channel comedy Slip; Netflix’s Wednesday and horror collection Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities; and AppleTV+ productions Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock and Jane. Find the full list of nominees here.

The Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) has announced the finalists for the 2023 Alberta Film & Television Awards, celebrating outstanding achievement in Alberta’s screen industries. The Rosies will be held in Edmonton over two celebrations on Sept. 30. Northern Gateway Films (Edmonton), SEVEN24 Films (Calgary) and Sticks & Stones (Edmonton) had the most overall finalists with more than 15 nominations each. The top two individual productions with 10 nominations each are Dark Nature from Peterson Polaris Corp & Nika Productions and Father of Nations from Thousand Year Films, both from Calgary. Find the complete list of nominees here. 

The Black Academy has announced the first four recipients of this year’s Legacy Awards, celebrating Black Canadian talent, including actress and Reelworld Film Festival founder Tonya Williams; filmmaker Julien Christian Lutz (aka Director X); platinum-selling artist Jully Black; and Congolese-Canadian singer LU KALA. The second-annual awards show, to be hosted by Keshia Chanté, will take place Sept. 24 at Live Nation Canada’s HISTORY in Toronto and air on CBC and CBC Gem. Read more here.


Colman Domingo

Colman Domingo will receive the TIFF Tribute Performer Award, recognizing an overall body of exceptional work, one of seven awards being handed out at the fifth annual TIFF Tribute Awards gala. Domingo’s career spans over 30 years. He’ll next be seen in Greg Kwedar’s Sing Sing, premiering at the festival, based on a real-life art rehab program founded at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. 

Ontario Creates has announced details of the 2023 International Financing Forum (IFF). Now in its 18th year, the annual two-day event will be held in Toronto, Sept. 10-11, in association with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The feature film co-financing and co-production market brings together jury-selected producers looking to secure financing for upcoming projects with film industry executives, including international sales agents, financiers, distributors, agents, and executive producers. This year’s edition will be a hybrid event with in-person meetings at TIFF and online meetings taking place internationally. New companies represented include: Black Bear Pictures, Cinetic Media, Embankment Films, Film Republic, Hanway Films, Miramax, Mister Smith Entertainment, Picture Tree International, Pressman Film, Radiant Films International, and The Yellow Affair. Find the full list of IFF producers and projects here.

The Government of Ontario has amended eligibility for its film and television tax credits, as of Aug. 24, to extend eligibility to productions released exclusively online, as announced in the 2022 Budget. That includes productions made available online (download or streaming), by video-on-demand, or on physical media like DVD. However, distribution rights are limited to exploitation by a Canadian corporation for two years after the production is completed.

PBS Distribution has picked up Crave and APTN series Little Bird. Set to premiere Oct. 12 across PBS platforms in the U.S., the six-part, one-hour limited series follows Bezhig Little Bird (Darla Contois) as she embarks on a path to find her birth family and uncover the hidden truth of her family history. PBS will also broadcast and stream Coming Home, a 90-minute companion documentary providing historical context around the Sixties Scoop, which is interwoven with interviews with Little Bird cast, crew, and community members revealing personal connections to the Sixties Scoop. Led by Contois, the cast of Indigenous actors includes Ellyn Jade; Osawa Muskwa; Joshua Odjick; Imajyn Cardinal; Braeden Clarke; Eric Schweig; and Michelle Thrush. Little Bird recently captured the Audience Award at the 2023 Series Mania Festival in Lille, France, while showrunner Jennifer Podemski was honoured with an Academy Board Of Directors’ Tribute Award at the Canadian Screen Awards.


Corus Entertainment’s W Network has announced its fall lineup of new and returning series, along with Hallmark Channel’s holiday movie marathons. The fall schedule gets underway Aug. 31 with the fourth season of Australian comedy-drama Five Bedrooms, followed by Season 7 of When Calls the Heart (Sept. 3) and Season 4 of family drama, Chesapeake Shores (Sept. 3). New comedic true crime thriller Based on a True Story premieres Monday, Sept. 11 following a realtor, played by Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant), a former tennis star (Chris Messina), and a plumber (Tom Bateman), diving into America’s obsession with true crime and murder.

Farpoint Films has started production on a new 13-episode series, Fishing For History, filming through the rest of the year in Manitoba and the U.S. The show will premiere on Super Channel in 2024, as part of Farpoint’s deal to provide 150 hours of scripted and non-scripted shows to the network over the next year. Fishing For History is hosted by Mike Lenton and Justin Gerbrandt, commercial fishermen based in Gimli, MB, who formerly starred in Cottage Life show, Ice Vikings. Exploring magnet fishing, in which fishers can pull up anything from coins to antique guns, each episode will explore a different waterway from the Mississippi, MacKenzie, and Potemac to the Rio Grande. Fishing For History is directed by Cam Bennett (Ice Vikings) and will feature underwater photography from Dave Gaudet (The Medicine Line). 

Kelly Ireland, Corine Carey & Leanne Sallenback

Corine Carey, Leanne Sallenback and Kelly Ireland return with History’s Most Haunted (6×60’) on T+E, following the success of Haunted Gold Rush exploring ghostly mysteries along B.C.’s Gold Rush Trail. The all-new series follows the trio as they travel across North America meeting with real people who recount their paranormal experiences, with stops in Montreal, Newfoundland, Salem, New Orleans, Charleston and San Antonio. History’s Most Haunted premieres Friday, Sept. 8 during T+E’s nationwide free preview event, Sept. 4 to Nov. 5. New episodes will air every Friday leading into October and the channel’s Creep Week event. 

Telling Our Story, a four-part docuseries from director Kim O’Bomsawin, begins streaming on CBC Gem on Sept. 17, following its world premiere at TIFF. Produced by Indigenous prodco Terre Innue, the series reexamines First Nations and Inuit history, starting with the notion that the First Nations were “discovered.” Connecting beautiful natural scenery with tales and traditions from 11 First Peoples, the series tackles topics from Residential Schools to the Cold War transfer of Inuk to all-but-uninhabitable Arctic locales like Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord, in addition to the triumphs of Canada’s First Nations and Inuit communities. O’Bomsawin and her team traveled 30,000 kilometers by plane, seaplane, helicopter, train, Skidoo, canoe, car, ATV, and dog sled, filming 100 women and men of all generations in 30 communities.


Big Soul Productions has announced that Season 3 of Indigenous dirt track racing docu-soap Friday Night Thunder will premiere Sept. 8. Produced by the Toronto-based, 100% Indigenous-owned prodco, the series is set to air Fridays on APTN. Season 3 takes viewers back to Ohsweken Speedway after a two-year pandemic closure, following 11 Indigenous sprint car drivers as they navigate the dangerous open-wheel sport.

Vassy Kapelos

CTV News’ flagship political affairs programs, Question Period and Power Play with Vassy Kapelos, return in September. Question Period returns for its 53rd season, beginning Sept. 10 on CTV, CTV News Channel,, and the CTV News app, while Power Play with Vassy Kapelos, CTV News Channel’s marquee daily political program, returns Sept. 5. Question Period is also broadcast on the iHeartRadio Canada talk radio network. 

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