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TV & Film News – MEDIAPRO and Canadian Soccer Business head to court over broadcast agreement

MEDIAPRO and Canadian Soccer Business (CSB) are headed to court with both sides alleging the other is unable to fulfill their part of their commercial broadcast rights agreement. The dispute leaves OneSoccer, MEDIAPRO Canada’s streaming service devoted to Canadian soccer, without its core programming, including Canadian Premier League (CPL) and Canada Soccer Men’s and Women’s National game broadcasts, which featured live studio pre-, half-time and post-game shows. OneSoccer was available to TELUS Optik TV subscribers, but the streamer had failed to reach carriage agreements with other cable providers. In a statement of its own released Thursday, CSB alleges that MEDIAPRO “failed to meet significant cultural obligations, including defaulting on the majority of its rights fees for 2023 and failure to secure broader audiences for Canada’s National Teams, the Canadian Championship and the Canadian Premier League.” Read more here.

Telefilm is set to benefit from the renewal of $100 million in additional federal funding. The funds will be allocated over two years, beginning in 2024-25, to ensure the crown agency can pursue modernization of its programs and provide better access to a diverse range of creators and producers. Budget 2021 saw $105 million invested over three years in the Crown agency. Canadian Heritage says the renewed support will ensure Telefilm maintains initiatives to improve support for creators from equity-deserving communities and measures to advance environmental sustainability.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has announced that the JUNO Awards are making their way back to Vancouver in 2025, from Wednesday, March 26 to Sunday, March 30, culminating with the 54th Annual JUNO Awards broadcast, airing live on CBC and CBC Gem from Rogers Arena. The JUNO Awards were last in Vancouver in 2018 when Michael Bublé hosted the show in his hometown. 

The WGC Screenwriting Awards have opened nominations for the 18th annual WGC Showrunner Award; the Sondra Kelly Award, which provides $5,000 to a woman-identifying screenwriter in mid-career for research/development on a self-initiated project; and the Alex Barris Mentorship Award, acknowledging a screenwriter who has made an outstanding commitment to help other screenwriters get ahead in the business. The deadline to apply for all three awards is March 19.

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has released its 2023 DGC Census with 1,100 additional responses included in its data since its first report was published in the fall of 2022. BIPOC representation stood at 25% among new respondents, bringing the overall share of BIPOC members from 18.3% in 2022 to 19.4% in 2023. DGC membership data shows that members identifying as men continue to be the highest-earning in the guild, with an average total income of $85,872 annually, compared to $77,748 for women, $55,409 for members who identify as gender non-conforming and $59,479 for members who identify as non-binary. Guild membership is now composed of 56.4% men and 43.2% women, incrementally closer to gender parity from 2022.  

Monkeypaw Productions, in partnership with TIFF and the Universal Filmmakers Project, have opened entry submissions for NO DRAMA, a new initiative aimed at cultivating breakout filmmakers. Up to six writer-directors will be chosen to create short films with the goal of developing them into full-length projects with Monkeypaw and Universal Pictures. From the mind of Jordan Peele, this reimagined installment of the Universal Filmmaker Project invites filmmakers to produce a project that explores horror across cultures, time, environments and society. Selected filmmakers will each receive a $50,000 grant to produce their short, exposure to the major studio production process, access to creative and production executives to develop their professional networks, and the opportunity to screen their projects at TIFF in 2025. The submission window closes Feb. 29. 

Amazon MGM Studios has acquired worldwide rights to the feature-length Celine Dion documentary, I Am: Celine Dion. From Oscar-nominated filmmaker Irene Taylor, the doc is an intimate exploration inside Dion’s past and present as she reveals her battle with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) and the lengths she has gone to continue performing for her fans. The result of more than a year of filming, the documentary was produced by Sony Music Vision, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment Canada and Vermilion Films. It will be available to stream on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide with a release date TBA.

Colin Mochrie

Blue Ant Studios has secured the Canadian rights to the long-running Japanese unscripted hit Old Enough! from Nippon TV in Japan. Production on the first North American version of the show has begun and is set to air this September on TVO. Canadian comedy star Colin Mochrie will lend his voice to the project as the narrator. The unscripted series follows toddlers independently running errands for the first time under the watchful eye of the show’s safety team. The sought-after format has been a cultural phenomenon in Japan for over 30 years, gaining popularity in English-speaking territories when Netflix streamed Nippon TV’s original series in 2022 in over 190 countries.

Mark Montefiore

New Metric Media has partnered with Quebec’s premiere production company Encore to co-produce an untitled, rom-com mini-series involving a Quebecois family and an Anglo-Ontarian family reluctantly coming together despite their differences for a wedding weekend. The project is based on a concept created by Mark Montefiore, New Metric Founder and CEO. The series is being billed as My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Bon Cop Bad Cop in a culture clash whodunnit about a young couple from two different provinces whose wedding threatens to divide rather than unite after the gift box of cash money goes missing from their already fractious ceremony. 

Nelvana is collaborating with Andrews McMeel Entertainment to develop Trapped in a Video Game, a series of films based on the book series by Dustin Brady. While development is underway on the first movie, Nelvana and Andrews McMeel Entertainment are looking for international partners.

Global has greenlit Canadian legal drama Family Law for a fourth season consisting of 10 new episodes. Produced by SEVEN24 Films and Lark Productions, and created by Canadian author Susin Nielsen, Season 4 starts production in Vancouver this March. Jewel Staite, Victor Garber, Zach Smadu, Genelle Williams and Lauren Holly are all set to return for the new season. The renewal comes ahead of the show’s highly anticipated Season 3 Canadian premiere, set to be announced later this year.

Bell Media says it’s set a new record for ad sales ahead of Super Bowl LVIII, airing live from Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 11 on TSN, CTV, and RDS. In advance of the showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, Bell Media says its advertising inventory is nearly sold out. FanDuel and Expedia return as sponsors of the broadcast, while advertising partners showcasing creative during the game include PepsiCo, Questrade, Government of Ontario, TD, Kruger Products, L’Oreal, BMW, BMO, Hershey, Boston Pizza, Novo Nordisk, Toyota Dealers, Maple Leaf Foods, Intuit TurboTax, and Fidelity Investments Canada. New partners include Temu, Canadian Kawaski Motors, and King’s Hawaiian.

Infield Fly Productions has announced that groundbreaking three-part series Secret World of Sound, a co-production with Humble Bee Films, in association with Netflix and Sky TV, will premiere on CBC’s The Nature of Things and CBC Gem on Feb. 15. Using cutting edge audio technology, host Anthony Morgan explores the extraordinary ways animals use sound to hunt, mate and survive. The docuseries places sound at centre stage using innovative technology like acoustic cameras and vibrometers to reveal new science. Each episode also includes a behind the scenes look at the technology and techniques used by Secret World of Sound filmmakers.

Love Hurts: The Science of Heartbreak, hosted by Anthony Morgan, takes viewers on a discovery to understand what happens to the human body and mind when experiencing the sorrow and pain of a broken heart. Directed by Karen Cho and produced by Noble Television, in association with CBC’s The Nature of Things, Love Hurts will air Feb. 8 on CBC TV and CBC Gem. The documentary brings together some of the world’s leading experts and researchers in the fields of neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry and evolutionary biology.

Knowledge Network has moved three new documentary projects from B.C. filmmakers into production. They include The Salmon’s Call, a one-hour documentary exploring the spiritual and cultural relationships between wild salmon and Indigenous peoples in B.C., directed by Joy Haskell. Up in the Clouds, Down in the Valley is a feature-length doc directed by Carmen Pollard, inviting viewers into the world of  Vancouver-based artist and activist Carmen Papalia, whose work explores vision loss, illness, and healing. 

Charles Officer

The National Film Board’s Black History Month activities are highlighted by a tribute to acclaimed filmmaker Charles Officer, who passed away in December. The NFB will screen the original version of Officer’s 2010 film Mighty Jerome, the story of the rise, fall and redemption of Harry Jerome, Canada’s most record-setting track and field star, available to stream free at The NFB website is also spotlighting Focus on Black Filmmakers, a playlist of 29 new and classic titles by Black directors; and Abroad: Africa On Screen, featuring 26 NFB films made across Africa illuminating the continent and its people, arts and culture.

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