TV & Film News – HireBIPOC initiative launches

Bell Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Corus Entertainment, and Rogers Sports & Media are the Foundational Partners of HireBIPOC, a new industry initiative launched Monday, aimed at changing hiring practices across television, film, and digital to ensure a more inclusive workforce. Created in partnership with volunteer-run advocacy group, BIPOC TV & FILM, the online hub launched with over 500 Black, Indigenous and Persons of Colour, who work in the screen industries – spanning crew to creatives. The goal is to increase representation on Canadian or shot-in-Canada productions in roles at all levels, from behind-the-scenes to executives, communications & marketing, and on-air. Industry partners in the initiative include the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, Banff World Media Festival, Canadian Film Centre (CFC), Canada Media Fund (CMF), Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), and Ontario Creates, among other organizations. Read more here.

Insight Producations has temporarily halted production on Battle of the Blades after a member of the production team tested positive for COVID-19. All training and pre-production on the upcoming season has ceased for the time being to ensure the health and safety of the cast and crew. As a result, CBC is postponing the Oct. 15 live premiere of Season 6 of the competition series.

The Original Santa Claus Parade will convert the annual live Toronto parade into a two-hour national, television event with broadcast partner CTV on Saturday, Dec. 5. Airing at 7 p.m. ET on CTV and CTV2, the parade is being staged in a closed set route, with the broadcast to be produced by Bell Media Studios and adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols.

 

This Hour Has 22 Minutes (19×30) has returned for a 28th season on CBC. Starring Mark Critch, Cathy Jones, and Trent McClellan, the show is now the longest-running comedy in Canadian history. Longtime cast member Susan Kent has moved on to new projects, but will return for guest appearances throughout the season. Among Season 28 highlights, a dedicated team will be embedded in the U.S. to cover the 2020 presidential race with Nik Sexton, Tom Stanley, and Jon Sturge (Rick Mercer Report) contributing weekly pieces from the field. The new season also sees 22 Minutes adapt to COVID-19 restrictions by creating two writers’ rooms – one in Halifax and one in Toronto. Writers this season include Heidi Brander (Baroness Von Sketch Show), SiriusXM’s Top Comic 2020 winner Adam Christie, JUNO Award winner Sophie Buddle, Aisha Brown (The First Black Woman Ever), Nadine Bhaba (Letterkenny), Isabel Kanaan (Royal Canadian Air Farce), and Aba Amuquandoh (The Sketchersons) – several of whom will be featured players on the show.

Discovery starts airing the second season of Disasters at Sea, Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, beginning Oct. 18. Among the disasters featured this season are the 2006 sinking of B.C. passenger ferry Queen of the North, the fifth anniversary of the shipwreck of U.S. container ship El Faro, and the 2003 Staten Island ferry crash. 

CTV and Just For Laughs have wrapped production on a new season of The Stand Up Show with Jon Dore. Amid COVID-19 safety protocols, eight half-hour episodes were filmed in front of live, socially-distanced audiences at Crow’s Next Theatre in Toronto last month. Produced as part of Bell Media’s ongoing partnership with Just For Laughs, the second season is slated to premiere on CTV Comedy Channel, with broadcast details TBD. New episodes feature Al Val, Debra DiGiovanni, Nour Hadidi, and Salma Hindy, among other new Canadian comedy faces.

Global and Entertainment One (eOne) have announced that production is underway on Season 5 of Private Eyes (8×60). The eight new episodes feature guest stars including Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica), Brett Donahue (Bad Blood), Sagine Semajuste (Grand Army), Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars) and appearances by Canadian singer/songwriter Royal Wood and Toronto Drag Queen Lucy Flawless. Season 4 is set to air later this fall on Global. 

 

RBC and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television have announced 13 grant recipients for the fourth round of the MVP Project. The joint initiative between RBCxMusic and the Prism Prize, provides support to emerging Canadian musicians and filmmakers for music video creation and production. Round five submissions are now open to emerging artists until Nov. 1.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and the Danish Film Institute (DFI) have renewed their incentive for the codevelopment of digital media projects between Canadian and Danish producers. Click here to access the guidelines. The $300,000 CAN incentive supports the codevelopment of new digital content that is innovative, explores new ways of telling stories, experiments with new formats and platforms and new ways of engaging audiences. The deadline to apply is Dec. 14.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced it’s investing $40.6M in the development, production and marketing of 94 Canadian audiovisual projects through seven CMF programs. The CMF’s Indigenous program will provide $7.6M in funding to 13 Indigenous-led projects; $6.3M through the first round of production funding of the Innovation Program will support 10 Canadian digital media projects, with CMF investing a further $1.1M in marketing and promotion support for four interactive digital media projects; 20 projects will receive $7.8M in funding as part of the first round of production financing through the Francophone Minority Program, supporting projects which reflect the realities of living in French-language communities outside Québec. 18 projects will receive $5.7M in funding through the English Point-of-View (POV) Program, designed to encourage one-off, point-of-view documentary production in the English-language market. Under the Commercial Projects Program, CMF will invest over $7.0M in the production of seven digital media projects, including six games and one software application. CMF is also investing $4.7M to enable the development of 22 digital media prototypes, including games, interactive media, and software applications through the the Prototyping Program.

Thunderbird Entertainment Group is partnering with Underknown, the creators of Webby Award-winning social media brand What If, to create a global television series. What If’s videos boast 250 million global views a month in nine languages. Asking questions like “What If you got swallowed by a whale?”, “What If the Earth stopped spinning?” and “What If the Earth was a moon of Jupiter?”, the franchise is published on YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram, amassing 25 million followers.

TELUS has introduced TELUS Presents, a collection of OnDemand shows from Australia and the UK now available to Optik TV and Pik TV subscribers at no additional charge. TELUS says with the pandemic affecting production and release schedules, the curated content is aimed at making it easier for customers to discover new favourites. Shows on initial offer range from Australia Network 10 series, The Wrong Girl, based on the best-selling novel by Zoë Foster Blake, to Sky History Channel reality series, Lost Relics of the Knights Templar.

The Blood In The Snow Festival (BITS) takes over Super Channel for 11 nights, Oct. 28 to Nov. 7. The collection of 10 features and four shorts will air on Super Channel Fuse, starting with Anything For Jackson, directed by Justin G. Dyck, which sees elderly satanists (Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings) attempt a reverse exorcism to resurrect their deceased grandson. The festival also features documentary Hail To The Deadbites (dir. Steve Villeneuve) which celebrates the fans that won’t let Evil Dead die four decades after its release, as well as Metis director Benjamin Ross Hayden’s futurist film Parallel Minds about a Metis researcher who races to destroy an out-of-control supercomputer as it feeds off the minds and memories of its users. Find the full schedule, here.

Quebecor is sponsoring the Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) for the 13th consecutive year, which is running online Oct. 7-31. Among this year’s screenings on the FNC website are two landmark Québec films digitized and restored by ÉléphantOctobre, directed by Pierre Falardeau, and Les Ordres, directed by Michel Brault. They’ll be screened online, free of charge, on Oct. 10 and 16, respectively.