TV & Film News – UBCP/ACTRA hands out 12th annual awards

UBCP/ACTRA has handed out its 12th annual awards. Sarah Chalke won Best Lead Performance – Series for Firefly Lane; with Gabrielle Rose awarded Best Supporting Performance – Series for The Night Agent. Cardi Wong won Best Lead Performance – Motion Picture for Golden Delicious, while June B. Wilde was awarded Best Supporting Performance – Motion Picture for Blood. Greyston Holt took the honour for Best Performance – Made for TV Movie for House of Chains. Best Performance Stunt went to the team of Mike Mitchell, Matt Mylrea, Gerald Paetz, and Chris Webb for The Night Agent. Best Performance – Short was captured by Jess McLeod for A Little Vacation, while Best Performance – Voice went to Ian Hanlin for The Guava Juice Show.

Paramount+ Canada and The Shine Network Institute (TSNI) have announced the Indigenous Producers Budgeting Intensive, an online course and new resource to support the professional development and mentorship of Indigenous women in film, television and media. This first virtual course will be geared toward budgeting for film. It will be accessible on TSNI’s @Learnatshine platform and will launch on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21. Geared toward emerging and mid-level Indigenous female producers, the first intensive of 10 x one-hour modules offers students hands-on learning accompanied by Indigenous-framed tutorials designed to empower students as they prepare to produce their first feature film. The course will also include candid conversations with Indigenous female producers to inspire and motivate students by giving them access to industry veterans who can dispel myths and misconceptions about producing.

Paramount+ is adding two new Canadian original comedy titles to its expanding development slate from Boat Rocker. Bensen, created and written by Clara Altimas, and Elected, created and written by Michael McGowan, have been added to the growing list of Canadian content backed by the global streaming service. Bensen is a scripted dramedy about a struggling limo driver who tries to maintain fun dad status after the death of his wife and with the help of his dysfunctional family, while Elected follows an A-list actor who unexpectedly has an opportunity to become the Prime Minister of Canada. Paramount+’s first Original documentary, 500 Days in the Wild will premiere at the Whistler International Film Festival this Friday, followed by a limited theatrical run in early 2024, before its premiere on Paramount+. 

Taxam Films has announced that the TELUS original feature documentary Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before The Sun from director Banchi Hanuse (Nuxalk Radio) has been acquired by Paramount+ for release in Canada in a deal negotiated by 10Star Media. Following sold-out premieres at Hot Docs and Vancouver International Film Festival, the film will be available to audiences across Canada on Dec. 22 on Paramount+ and free on demand on TELUS Optik TV Channel 8. Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before The Sun is an intimate portrait of a young Siksika woman and the deep bonds between her father and her family, as she prepares for one of the most dangerous horse races in the world, the Indian Relay. The film was shot on location on Siksika Nation, Tsuut’ina, Îyâxe Nakoda, Blackfoot Territory, Enoch Cree Nation ᒪᐢᑫᑯᓯᐦᐠ Maskêkosihk, and Casper, Wyoming.

Studio 104 Entertainment has announced that TELUS original mid-length documentary Overtime from writer/director Jenny Lee-Gilmore will have its television debut on Dec. 5. On the heels of its World Premiere at the Calgary International Film Festival and winning Best Short Documentary, Best Direction in a Short Documentary and Best Cinematography in a Short Documentary at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Overtime will be available to audiences across Canada free on demand on TELUS Optik TV Channel 8 and online at https://watch.telusoriginals.com worldwide. The film follows Vancouver’s Kelley Lee Gilmore – a 60-year-old mother, wife, Ph.D. doctor, university professor, and hockey player – exploring what it means to be a Chinese-Canadian woman in hockey and her unwavering pursuit of her dreams as she faces the inevitable limits of age. 

Crave Original series Nesting, created by Rosa Labordé (The Spencer Sisters, Sensitive Skin) and Anna Hardwick (Mrs. America, Murdoch Mysteries), debuts on the streamer Dec. 22. Comprised of eight eight-minute episodes directed by Emmy-winner Allana Harkin (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), key cast includes creators Hardwick and Labordé, as well as Salvatore Antonio (Schitt’s Creek, Mary Kills People), Samer Salem (Yellowjackets, The Expanse), Ryan Allen (Titans, Five Days at Memorial), Paul Popowich (Spencer Sisters), and Lisa Berry (Slasher, Supernatural), Loosely inspired by the series stars and creators, it’s focused on unlikely best friends for whom the romantic comedy dream hasn’t panned out. Slowly, and surprisingly, their platonic friendship begins to feel romantic in the unflinching web series about fertility, friendship, the housing crisis, and love. 

AMI has announced the cast, writing and producing teams for The Squeaky Wheel: Canada. Based on Steven Verdile’s popular web publication The Squeaky Wheel and produced by Hitsby Entertainment, the satirical, half-hour news format pokes fun at the ableist society people with disabilities face every day. The eight-episode series introduces a fresh perspective to the entertainment landscape with its disability-led creative team, fronted by series producer Michelle Asgarali. Directed by Lucy Belgum and Tobi Abdul, production is slated to begin in Hamilton in December. The series stars Graham Kent and Gaitrie Persaud as its lead anchors, and an ensemble cast featuring Margaret Rose, Samantha Wyss, Sivert Gorachand Das, Wesley Magee-Saxton and Yousef Abdullah Kadoura. The first season of The Squeaky Wheel: Canada will be broadcast on AMI-tv in 2024 and available for streaming on AMI+.

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has announced that Netflix has returned as a lead partner for the Norman Jewison Film Program for the second consecutive year. CFC’s longest running and signature film program for emerging to mid-level Canadian filmmakers, applications are now open and close Jan. 31. The participants of the 2024 Norman Jewison Film Program will be announced in early July, with the program running from July 15 to Dec 13 at CFC’s campus in Toronto.

CTV’s 2023 Holiday Schedule includes classic holiday movies, seasonal specials and episodes of series including Shark Tank, Gordon Ramsay’s Road Trip: Christmas Vacation, The Masked Singer: Holiday Sing-a-Long, and CMA Country Christmas. Additionally, CTV’s Holiday Hub – available on CTV.ca and the CTV app with no subscription or sign in required – offers more than 250 titles and 18 curated collections, including free movies, dozens of seasons to binge, holiday-themed CTV Throwback episodes, and more. CTV’s suite of specialty channels offers a holiday nationwide free preview from Dec. 21 through Jan. 9. The CTV Life Channel, CTV Sci-Fi Channel, CTV Drama Channel, and CTV Comedy Channel freeview is available through participating television service providers across the country, including but not limited to Bell, Bell Aliant, BellMTS, Cogeco, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Telus, and participating members of the CCSA.

CTV Atlantic hosts the 60th annual Christmas Daddies Telethon on Saturday, Dec. 2. Beginning at 11 a.m. AT on CTV, the holiday tradition is also available for live streaming on CTVAtlantic.ca and the CTV News app. CTV Atlantic’s longest-standing tradition, in partnership with The Salvation Army, will be co-hosted in Halifax by Steve Murphy and Todd Battis, joined by CTV News at Five anchors Maria Panopalis and Jayson Baxter, alongside Ana Almeida, Katie Kelly, Paul Hollingsworth, and Kalin Mitchell. CTV reporters Laura Brown, Avery MacRae, Alan MacLellan, and Alana Pickrell host from the Glad Tiding Church in Moncton with musician Ivan Daigle. Local comedian Bette MacDonald hosts from the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay, Cape Breton. CTV’s Jack Morse and comedian Jimmy the Janitor host from The Guild in Charlottetown. The seven-hour special also features holiday songs from a multitude of performers across all three Maritime provinces with special tributes to two long-time supporters the Maritime community lost this year singer/songwriter Bruce Guthro and Hollywood actor Alan Arkin.

Global Calgary will host its sixth Morning of Giving on Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. in support of The Magic of Christmas after a two-year hiatus. Global News Morning’s Leslie Horton will be at the donation drop-off at The CORE Shopping Centre where new, unwrapped gifts will be collected to help Calgary families in need. The  Magic of Christmas is a 100% volunteer, non-denominational charity. Every Christmas Eve, Calgary Transit buses are loaded up and magically transformed into “reindeer buses,” with hundreds of gifts and volunteers dressed as Santa and his elves to deliver Christmas spirit to those who need it most.

Global BC’s Jason Pires, Sonia Sunger, Mark Madryga and Katelin Owsianski from Global News Morning and Rock 101’s (CFMI-FM) Willy in the Morning will be live on location at Vancouver’s Fairmont Pan Pacific Hotel on Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. in support of the 36th annual Pan Pacific Christmas Wish Breakfast. Donations of new or unwrapped toys, cash or gift cards are encouarged in support of the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

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