TV & Film News – Women Talking, Sort Of lead DGC Awards wins

‘Women Talking’ earned a leading four awards at the 22nd Annual DGC Awards on Saturday evening at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.
(Photo credit: Michael Gibson, Orion Releasing)

Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) handed out the 22nd Annual DGC Awards on Saturday evening at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, the organization’s first in-person awards gala since 2019. “Women Talking” earned a leading four awards, including Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Sarah Polley and her team, Best Production Design – Feature Film for Peter Cosco, Best Picture Editing – Feature Film for Christopher Donaldson & Roslyn Kalloo, in addition to Best Sound Editing. CBC/HBO Max comedy Sort Of picked up three awards including Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series for Fabrizio Filippo. Documentary To Kill A Tiger, Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, The Handmaid’s Tale and Essex County also picked up multiple honours. Find the full list of winners here.

Crave and APTN limited drama series Little Bird has won the MIPCOM Cannes Diversify TV award, in the Representation of Race and Ethnicity – Scripted category. The awards are dedicated to championing and promoting diversity and inclusion in all its forms across the international television industry. Led by an Indigenous creative team, Little Bird was co-created by showrunner Jennifer Podemski and head writer Hannah Moscovitch. The creative team includes directors Zoe Hopkins and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and was written by Moscovitch, Hopkins, Shannon Masters and Darrell Dennis. Little Bird is currently airing on APTN and PBS, and streaming on Crave, APTN lumi and PBS.

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival juries have selected winners across film, video, audio and digital media works in 16 different categories for the 2023 Awards Presentation. Among them, Cody Lightning’s Hey, Viktor! won the Dramatic Feature Award; Connie Walker was awarded the Narrative Audio Award for Gimlet Media’s Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s podcast; while Lindsay McIntyre picked up the Live Action Short Award for Nigiqtuq (The South Wind).

Canada Post has issued a new stamp commemorating the career of celebrated Canadian actor Donald Sutherland. Following his breakout role in 1967 WWII film The Dirty Dozen, Sutherland landed the lead in 1970 feature film M*A*S*H as Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, earning him the first of nine Golden Globe nominations. An eclectic range of roles in nearly 200 film and television productions has followed. The Canada Post stamp takes its inspiration from movie posters, featuring an image of the actor’s profile, with several of his movie titles in English and French. It’s cancelled in Sutherland’s birthplace of Saint John, NB. Read more here

Telefilm has released its Indigenous Reconciliation Plan “as part of the continual nature of reconciliation and a desire to maintain a reciprocal relationship with Indigenous creators and partners.” Crafted via a collaborative two-year process, the plan gathered input from Telefilm’s Indigenous Working Group, interactions with filmmakers, and dialogues with Indigenous partner organizations. It’s structured around four core areas — strengthen, expand, engage and learn — setting out commitments for the next 18 months and three years. Among other measures, Telefilm says it will continue to expand Indigenous reconciliation efforts beyond the $4 million funding envelope for Indigenous projects and implement any best practice recommendations from Indigenous Screen Office consultations and around eligibility criteria for accessing Indigenous-specific funding.

Paramount+ in Canada, BIPOC TV & Film, and the National Screen Institute have partnered on the Elevate program, providing business development mentorship, as well as strategies for growth and stability to BIPOC-owned production companies. Applications are now open until Nov. 30. The Elevate program will run from January 2024 to March 2025. 

Chloe Avakian as Sadie

Harlow Creative, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios, and CBC have announced that production is underway in Toronto and Montreal on new CBC Gem youth family drama Near or Far (8×12). Based on the original story by Wattpad author Emma Szalai (Until I Met You, Maybe Perfect), written and created by Duana Taha (SurrealEstate, Degrassi), and directed by Vanessa Magic (True Dating Stories, The Future Above Us) and Duana Taha, the original series will continue production until early November and is slated to launch in spring 2024. Focused on sisters Lauren (Fanar Zak) and Sadie (Chloe Avakian) Mostafa, one of the only immigrant families in their bucolic lakefront Ontario town, Near or Far boasts an all-Canadian cast, including Brendon Kienhong Tremblay (Alert: Missing Persons Unit), Addison Holley (Annedroids), Christine Sahely (The Expanse), Soroush Saeidi (Transplant), Kalista Wilson (Transplant), and Tommie-Amber Pirie (Michael: Every Day).

Crave has revealed the cast of Canada’s Drag Race Season 4, premiering Thursday, Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. ET. Featuring 11 Canadian queens, the nine-episode season will be available to Canadian audiences in English and French. Season 4 is set to launch simultaneously on World of Wonder’s SVOD platform WOW Presents Plus in the U.S. and more than 160 countries around the world. Queen of the North Brooke Lynn Hytes, celebrity stylist and TV personality Brad Goreski, and ETALK senior correspondent Traci Melchor return as resident judges.

Crave has confirmed a Season 3 order for original series, Shoresy. Created by and starring Jared Keeso, and produced by New Metric Media in association with Play Fun Games and Crave, the hockey comedy continues to follow fan favourite character, Shoresy (Keeso), and the Sudbury Blueberry Bulldogs of the Northern Ontario Senior Hockey Organization (The NOSHO). Production on Season 3 begins in Sudbury in November.

CBC Sports is bringing audiences action from the Pan American Games, taking place in Santiago, Chile through Sunday, Nov. 5 and featuring more than 8,000 athletes from 41 countries competing in 39 sports. CBC Gem and CBC Sports digital platforms are offering multiple streaming feeds of sporting events at Santiago 2023, with a focus on Canadian athletes. The official broadcaster of the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games, Pan Am Sports Channel, is also available for free in Canada throughout the event, offering additional live feeds.

Michael Landsberg

JWeekly Canada will air a Mental Health Special on Oct. 28 as host Susan Minuk sits down with sportscasting legend Michael Landsberg for a candid and sobering look at Landsberg’s own struggles with mental illness. Ieden Wall follows with a candid chat with Toronto mental health therapist, Liz Beiterman. Season 4 of the grassroots Jewish talk show debuted on Sept. 30 on OMNI TV.




Prime Video has announced two Amazon Original hockey documentaries in collaboration with NHL Productions. Set to premiere in 2024, Chosen One: Alexandre Daigle highlights the Quebec-born teenage hockey phenom, positioned to be the saviour of the expansion Ottawa Senators. Saving Sakic follows the high-stakes saga that ensued when Colorado Avalanche CEO Charlie Lyons was blindsided by an attempt to sign away the captain of his team, future Hall of Famer Joe Sakic. With only seven days to raise $15 million to save his star, Lyons finds a lifeline from an unexpected place – Hollywood. 

Prime Video has announced the Season 2 cast of LOL: Qui rira le dernier? The French-language Amazon Original comedy series returns after its hit first season, using 45 cameras to catch all of the action during the unpredictable six-hour competition which follows a group of established comedy stars and up-and-coming talent. An adaptation of Documental, the successful Japanese Amazon Original series created by and starring Hitoshi Matsumoto, the new cast of competitors includes Roxane Bruneau, Fabien Cloutier, Pier-Luc Funk, Philippe Laprise, Katherine Levac, Mariana Mazza, Neev, Stéphane Rousseau, Tai TL, and Rosalie Vaillancourt.

Prime Video has entered into a global agreement to distribute the Crunchyroll anime subscription service. Now available via Prime Video Channels in the U.S. and Canada, with Sweden and the UK launching this week, Prime members can now select from two Crunchyroll memberships: Fan or Mega Fan, both of which allow customers to stream the entire Crunchyroll library ad-free, while enjoying new episodes shortly after their release in Japan. Crunchyroll is an independently operated joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan).

Paramount+ has set a date to roll out new tier subscriptions in Canada, Australia, Mexico and Brazil. The streamer will roll out a “Premium” plan on Nov. 16 that supports 4K UHD, HDR10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, in addition to four concurrent streams for $13.99/month. An ad-supported tier will follow in 2024. Currently, there’s just one subscription option available in Canada at either $9.99/month or $99.99/year.

MTM Jr. has released new data focused on usage of Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) services amongst kids under 18. It finds 81% of anglophone households subscribe to at least one SVOD service, while four in five kids aged 2-17 watch SVOD content monthly. Households with children are 11% more likely to subscribe to SVODs than the average anglophone household (90% versus 81%). They are also 50% more likely to subscribe to an SVOD than they are to a linear TV service (90% versus 60%). Netflix remains the most popular SVOD service for both household subscriptions and viewership among kids with 76% of anglophone kids able to access a Netflix subscription, followed by Amazon Prime Video (63%) and Disney+ (54%). 71% of French-speaking households subscribe to at least one service with Francophone households with children 28% more likely to subscribe to an SVOD service than the average household (91% versus 71%). 78% of French-speaking children aged 2-17 have access to Netflix, followed by Amazon Prime Video (56%) and Disney+ (50%).

GEMS Vancouver, in association with Whistler Film Festival (WFF), has announced Rebecca Strom as the recipient of the 2023 GEMS Whistler Film Festival Market Preparation Mentorship for her feature film, Until the Night Turns; about a 16-year old struggling to run her family’s farm while her father operates an illegal dog fighting ring. Strom’s mentor will be award-winning filmmaker Karen Lam. A BC-based multidisciplinary creative, Strom has worked in front of and behind the camera for nearly 15 years. She is currently co-developing 10-episode digital series Dandyland with support from TELUS StoryHive, slated for release on Optik TV in summer 2024. Select credits include writing Before MARS, the 30-minute prequel for Ron Howard’s MARS series, produced for the National Geographic Channel, and writing romantic whimsical zombie film, BITE, which received a Spotlight Award at the Atlanta Horror Film Festival. 

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