The 2023 Indiescreen Award winners include Québécois producer Nancy Grant and up-and-coming filmmaker Anam Abbas. Handed out annually by the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and recognizing outstanding independent Canadian film producers, Grant – the co-founder of Montreal-based Metafilms – was named the recipient of the Established Producer Award, which comes with a $20,000 cash prize. Her latest feature film, Simple Comme Sylvain (The Nature of Love), directed by Monia Chokri, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and had its North American premiere at TIFF. Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker Abbas is the winner of the 2023 Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer Award. Her latest project, In Flames, also premiered at Cannes and screened at TIFF. Read more here.
The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has announced the 2023 Jean-Marc Vallée DGC Discovery Award long list, highlighting up-and-coming directors to watch out for this festival season. This year’s list includes: Vampire humaniste cherche suicidaire consentant (Humanist Vampire Seeks Consenting Suicidal Person), Ariane Louis-Seize; Soleils Atikamekw (Atikamekw Suns), Chloé Leriche; Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun, Banchi Hanuse; Gabor, Joannie Lafrenière; In Flames, Zarrar Kahn; Hey, Viktor!, Cody Lightning; I’m Just Here for the Riot, Asia Youngman & Kathleen Jayme; The Queen of My Dreams, Fawzia Mirza; With Love and a Major Organ, Kim Albright; Coaching While Black, Alex Eskandarkhah; and Seagrass, Meredith Hama-Brown. Read more here.
The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) and IATSE have reached a historic, national agreement to represent script coordinators working in the Canadian film and television industry. WGC says a trend towards smaller writing rooms in recent years has resulted in those in the entry-level position handling more tasks than was previously the norm, from creative duties like script polishes and consultations, to administrative labour including copy editing, formatting, and distributing scripts. The agreement acknowledges concerns about the potential for vulnerable workers – especially those from underrepresented communities – to be exploited in the position, which is often temporary. Under terms of the new agreement, individuals working in the writers’ room whose duties are primarily administrative will fall under IATSE’s jurisdiction. Those whose duties are primarily creative in nature, will fall under the WGC’s jurisdiction. Read more here.
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has released a report examining the range of professional development programming options for media producers in Canada. It found that while there is an abundance of high-quality programs available, the variety and volume of programs can make it difficult for individual producers to identify training opportunities that best meet their needs. Analyzing over 200 programs, the research found the majority of professional development programs offered in Canada are aimed at individuals in the very early stages of their careers, with over 50% of programs analyzed found to be centered on mentorship and internship opportunities.
APTN, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation are joining forces to produce a 90-minute special marking the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The public gathering will be broadcast live across the country from Parliament Hill Sept. 30. Hosted by Charles Bender and Madeleine Allakariallak, Remembering the Children will include dialogue in English, French and Indigenous languages. The live gathering will be broadcast on APTN and made available to all Canadian broadcasters, including AMI-tv, Blue Ant Media, The Canadian Press, CBC, CHCH TV, Citytv, CPAC, CTV, CTVNews.ca, CTV News app, Global News, Hollywood Suite, Inuit TV, Knowledge Network, OutTV, Radio-Canada, Super Channel, TV5 and Uvagut TV. In addition, APTN will broadcast a full weekend of special programming to honour residential school survivors, beginning Sept. 30 and airing across APTN channels.
Prime Video has announced the premiere date and released the trailer for new Canadian Amazon Original documentary Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe, based on the life and career of legendary Canadian children’s entertainer Ernie Coombs—or, as he’s more commonly known by fans, Mr. Dressup. Launching on Prime Video on Oct. 10, the doc tells the origins and history of Canada’s favourite children’s show, which built a legacy of kindness, patience, inclusiveness, and creativity across 4,000 episodes over 29 years on CBC. With never-before-seen footage and interivews, the documentary explores Coombs’ early days working with Fred Rogers, his creative collaboration with puppeteer Judith Lawrence (voice and creator of Casey and Finnegan), the struggles to fund the iconic series, and finally, Coombs’ second act touring college campuses. The documentary is produced by marblemedia in association with Hawkeye Pictures and the CBC.
TVO Original Charlotte’s Castle, premiering Sept. 26, profiles a group of tenants who fear their homes in a downtown Toronto heritage building will soon disappear if they don’t put up a fight. The new documentary spotlights those impacted by Canada’s housing crisis, with the building at the centre of the documentary, Spadina Gardens, a mid-rise apartment located at Spadina and Lowther in downtown Toronto. Built in 1904, it is the oldest building in the city to maintain its original floor plans, making the living spaces a rare find in a dense neighbourhood dominated by glass condo towers.
Mary Galloway’s The Cowichan Sweater: Our Knitted Legacy will start streaming on CBC Gem on Oct. 6, and air on CBC TV the following day in B.C. and Alberta. The film, which was shot in Cowichan and Saanich Territory on Vancouver Island, centres on the story of the Cowichan Sweater and its significance. A vintage black and white photograph of Galloway’s grandfather, the late Chief Dennis Alphonse, sends the filmmaker on a journey to unravel the history behind the iconic sweaters. Based in Winnipeg, Galloway is an award-winning filmmaker and actor, and graduate of the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Directors Lab and Academy of Canadian Cinema and TV’s Executive Residency Program.
Crave is expanding its partnership with Blue Ant Studios and Rupaul’s Drag Race producers World of Wonder, announcing new series and format, Slaycation. The six-part unscripted series features six larger-than-life queens from across the international Drag Race franchise, as they vacation together at a Canadian winter cabin, with their fish-out-of-water escapades culminating in a drag performance for the local community. Slaycation is set to premiere on Crave in English and French in Canada, and will air day-and-date on WOW Presents Plus globally.
Black Moon Media and Screen Siren Pictures have announced that Alex Caulfield’s debut feature film What Comes Next has gone to camera in Vancouver. The feature film stars Alison Thornton (Nancy Drew), Mena Suvari (American Beauty), Aaron Ashmore (Ginny & Georgia), Maya Chariandy (The Good Doctor) and Stephen Lobo (Snowpiercer). The intergenerational coming of age story follows 17-year-old Tanya (Thornton) as she begins an ill-advised relationship with an older family friend Grant (Ashmore) before heading off to college. Caulfield is an award-winning non-binary director and writer with a background as a creative producer. Recent credits include the Lifetime television movie The Podcast Murders.
CTV has announced premiere dates for its fall 2023 lineup, headlined by new CTV Original murder mystery competition series The Traitors Canada (Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, beginning Oct. 2), hosted by Karine Vanasse. It’s joined by the return of unscripted series Kitchen Nightmares with chef Gordon Ramsay (Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, beginning Sept. 25); celebrity competition series Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test (Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, beginning Sept. 25); and new entrepreneurial game show Snake Oil, hosted and produced by David Spade and executive produced by Will Arnett (Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET/PT, beginning Sept. 27).
CTV has announced that Transplant’s upcoming fourth season will be its last. The award-winning series returns to the fall schedule, Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, beginning Oct. 6. Currently filming in Montréal, Season 4 finds Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq) on the precipice of finishing his residency at York Memorial and officially re-qualifying as a doctor. With his future uncertain once again, Bash and his sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus) are Canadian citizens now, but are still trying to build a life in their adopted country.
CTV National News weekend anchor and W5 reporter Sandie Rinaldo is celebrating her 50th anniversary with the network. Some of her most memorable interviews from the last 50 years are captured in upcoming CTV News special Sandie Rinaldos’s 50/50, airing Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. ET. The hour-long special features clips of Rinaldo sitting down with many of Canada’s biggest names from the past five decades, including Justin Bieber, John Candy, Celine Dion, Capt. (ret’d) Trevor Greene, Wayne Gretzky, Rick Hansen, Gordon Lightfoot, William Shatner, Martin Short, Margaret Trudeau, and many others. Back in May, the network aired special I’m Sandie Rinaldo, reflecting on how the veteran reporter’s upbringing as the daughter of Holocaust survivors shaped her own journey and profoundly influenced her work as a journalist.
NHK World Premium (NWP) has chosen Toronto-based live television app toober to distribute its Japanese-language news, sports, and entertainment programming to viewers outside Japan. Toober will bring NHK’s NWP content to audiences in 13 countries beginning in October, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Vatican City, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates, as well as additional countries in the coming months. Via toober, NWP will be available on AndroidTV/Google TV Playstore, Apple TV, LG, Roku, and Samsung.
Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) presents its 42nd edition, Sept. 28 – Oct. 8, the first fully in-cinema festival since 2019. This year’s lineup features roughly 140 feature films and 100 shorts, officially opening with Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves, a comedy about two lonely souls who believe they’re meant for each other, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes. The closing film selection will be The Pot-au-Feu (La Passion de Dodin Bouffant) by Tran Anh Hùng, a look at a romantic, intuitive, and intimate partnership between a famed gourmand and his beloved cook, played by Juliette Binoche. The film earned Tran Best Director at Cannes, 30 years after his debut film The Scent of Green Papaya won the Camera d’or at the same festival.
Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) has unveiled VIFF Amp’s Composer Filmmaker Accelerator program, a new interdisciplinary initiative that fosters emerging composers and filmmakers from around the world. The Composer Filmmaker Accelerator is curated by Emmy-nominee Miriam Cutler, co-founder of Alliance For Women Film Composers and former advisor to the Sundance Institute Film Music Intensive. The two-month program is an opportunity for 12 composers and four filmmakers to learn from professionals in the field, working closely to create an original score to picture. The final compositions will be recorded at Bryan Adams’ Warehouse Studios and performed live with members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in a special screening on Saturday, Oct. 7.
The Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) is back with its 19th edition, Sept. 27 – Oct. 1. Returning in person and online, #MIBFF23 will present 75 films from 20 countries, including five International Premieres, six North American Premieres, 20 Canadian Premieres and 16 Quebec Premieres. Opening night will mark the Canadian premiere of The Space Race by Lisa Cortés and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (USA), highlighting the little-known stories of the first Black pilots, engineers and scientists to become astronauts. The festival will close with the Quebec Premiere of Mohamed Kordofani’s film Goodbye Julia (Sudan), which begins in July 2005 in the midst of the aftermath of the Sudanese war.
The Sustainable Production Forum (SPF) takes place in Toronto on Sept. 25th at CBC’s Toronto Broadcast Centre. Focused on accelerating sustainable solutions in the film industry, SPF draws on extensive collaboration with global sustainability changemakers to bring lessons learned and best practices to the Canadian production ecosystem. It will feature a range of virtual and in-person programming, including the Tools to Reduce Your Fuel panel – hands-on training featuring guest speakers Moe Rai (Line Producer, Production Manager at Directors Guild of Canada) and Mary Anne Waterhouse (Producer at Quadrant Motion Picture).
Paramount+ in Canada and the Black Screen Office (BSO) are partnering to support the Black Creators Festival Initiative. As part of Paramount’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the collaboration expands the scope of the ongoing program, offering support to Black Canadian content creators seeking international exposure. The initiative provides creators with opportunities to showcase their work at international film festivals and TV markets, providing festival accreditation, travel and accommodation assistance, and pre-festival guidance. The program launched in May 2022 and has since supported 60 Black Canadian creators to facilitate their attendance at MIP Africa, TIFF, Content Canada, Cannes, and the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin.
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has announced the CJ & TIFF K-Story Fund. In collaboration with CJ Cultural Foundation and the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), the fund’s goal is to foster, support, and champion Korean Canadian and American filmmakers looking to develop their first or second feature film. The CJ & TIFF K-Story Fund, with an annual budget of $30,000 for a three-year period, will support three creative teams, empowering them to bring their cinematic dreams to life. The fund is set to start accepting applications in November.