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TV & Film News – Marilyn Denis, Tonya Williams among Canadian Academy ‘Special Award’ honourees

(l-r): John Brunton, Marilyn Denis, Tonya Williams, Jeff Barnaby.

Insight Productions CEO John Brunton, broadcaster Marilyn Denis, Reelworld founder Tonya Williams, and late filmmaker Jeff Barnaby have been revealed as the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television’s 2024 Special Award recipients. Presented to trailblazing individuals within Canada’s screen-based industries, they’ll be recognized during Canadian Screen Week, May 26 through June 1. Dennis is being recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award, while Brunton is being presented with the Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute Award, honouring a Canadian individual for their impact on the growth of the Canadian media industry. Barnaby, who passed away in 2022 at age 46, will also posthumously be recognized with the Tribute Award. Williams is the recipient of this year’s Changemaker Award, which recognizes those using their voice or platform to call out systemic racism and discrimination. Read more here.

Cast and crew on the set of web series ‘Jason,’ currently streaming on APTN lumi, which received support from the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO).

Canadian Heritage has announced permanent funding to support the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) to the tune of $65 million over five years starting in 2024–25 and $13 million per year ongoing. In 2022–23, the ISO disbursed a total of $11.8 million to 191 recipients across 12 provinces and territories, including another $1.02 million in funding through strategic partnership programs. Read more here.



Global News and Corus Audio pay tribute to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on Saturday, March 23 with special presentation, Remembering Brian Mulroney, featuring live television and online coverage of his state funeral. Anchored by Global National’s Dawna Friesen, who’ll be joined by Senator Pamela Wallin, the commercial-free special will air at 10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT, and conclude as the procession departs Notre-Dame Basilica. Mercedes Stephensen, Eric Sorensen, and Mike Armstrong will be reporting along the procession route. Corus Talk Radio stations across Canada will provide a funeral recap during The Roy Green Show from 2 – 3 p.m. ET, followed by Remembering Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney: A Family Tribute, an homage to the former Prime Minister produced and hosted by his eldest son, Ben Mulroney. The show will feature special guests including former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, Grammy winner Michael Bublé, and actress and singer Reba McEntire.

Anna Lambe

CBC, Netflix and APTN have started production on North of North in Nunavut. Co-commissioned by CBC and Netflix in association with APTN, North of North is produced by Red Marrow Media and Northwood Entertainment. Mary Lynn Rajskub (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 24), Maika Harper (Law and Order: Toronto, Burden of Truth), Braeden Clarke (Little Bird, Outlander), Jay Ryan (It: Chapter Two, Mary Kills People), Kelly William (Portraits from a Fire, Motherland), Zorga Qaunaq, Doreen Simmonds (True Detective: Night Country), and Tanya Tagaq (Bootlegger, Thoroughbred) join already announced cast members Anna Lambe (True Detective: Night Country, Trickster) and Keira Cooper in the series about a young Inuk mother struggling to build a new future for herself.

CBC Kids has renewed Canadian Screen Award-nominated live-action preschool series Bestest Day Ever With My Best Friend for a second season. Created and produced by Lopii Productions for kids aged 3-6, the new season (20×7) is scheduled to premiere in winter 2025. In every episode, host Lisette meets up with a young pet owner and their beloved pet, teaching owners how they can say thank you with a DIY toy, treat or enrichment that will make their day. Lopii Productions is now casting kids for the new season, with production to commence in April in Toronto. 

The National Film Board (NFB) is making a strong showing at the 2024 Annecy International Animation Film Festival, June 9 – 15 with four short films, including three in official competition. The latter are the highly anticipated Maybe Elephants by Torill Kove; Le tableau (The Painting) by Michèle Lemieux, made using the Alexeïeff-Parker pinscreen; and Ryo Orikasa’s Miserable Miracle

Jay Baruchel

Crave has announced that Season 2 of its award-winning original docuseries We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel) premieres with all six episodes on Friday, April 19. In the Canadian Screen Award-winning, half-hour series about the various ways the world could end, Baruchel (Blackberry, Goon) is once again joined by top scientists, activists, and experts to explore the global crises that could cause civilization’s demise, journeying below the surface of his own anxieties and fears, to explore artificial intelligence, coronal mass ejections, insect die-offs, nanotechnology,and  the simulation theory.

Paramount+ has picked up a third season of SKYMED, the medical drama series that follows young medics and pilots who fly air ambulances across the remote skies of Northern Canada. Produced by Piazza Entertainment, production for the nine-episode third season begins March 25 in Manitoba and Ontario with the ensemble cast returning for more jaw-dropping rescues. The upcoming season will be available to watch exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and internationally outside of Canada, and on CBC in Canada. Anthony Grant (Star Trek: Discovery, Polar) and Nicola Correia-Damude (Shadowhunters, Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent) join the cast this season in recurring roles.

Mae Martin

Kensington Communications’ latest project Fluid: Life Beyond the Binary premieres on The Nature of Things on March 28 on CBC and CBC Gem. Hosted by non-binary comedian Mae Martin, the film explores the little-known science of gender and sexual fluidity in the natural world. Guided by biologists Joan Roughgarden and Justin Rhodes and primatologist Frans de Waal, Martin discovers a hermaphroditic ginger plant, sex-changing clownfish and kobudai, and mammals that display surprisingly non-normative sexual traits.

The TVO Telethon is happening March 23-24. Supporting TVO’s fundraising efforts is a lineup of celebrities including actor and comedian Colin Mochrie, actor and writer Zaib Shaikh, singer-songwriter and author Jann Arden, singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, OBGYN and author Dr. Jen Gunter, and more. The telethon can be streamed from 6:30 p.m. to midnight ET both days via YouTube, the Telethon website, TVO Today mobile or smart TV app or on TVO’s broadcast channel in Ontario.

Mary Ann McDonald, left, Martin Short, Andrea Martin (top), Avril Chown, Rudy Webb (bottom), Gordon Thomson, Valda Aviks, Eugene Levy, Gilda Radner and Gerry Salsberg in Godspell.
(Ontario Jewish Archives)

Nick Davis Productions and Apatow Productions have begun shooting the first-ever-feature-length documentary about the influential 1972 Toronto production of the musical Godspell and its legacy. The production was the first-ever professional job for college friends Martin Short and Eugene Levy, and marked early professional highlights in the careers of Gilda Radner, Victor Garber (who played Jesus), Don Scardino, musical director Paul Shaffer, Jayne Eastwood, and future SCTV stars Andrea Martin and Dave Thomas. Making extensive use of never-before seen footage, personal archives, audio recordings Short made of the musical itself, as well as intimate gatherings where the young cast drank, partied, and fell in love, the film will detail the incredible ferment of creativity in Toronto in those years with the group’s friends also including future comedy legends John Candy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Aykroyd and his comedy partner Valri Bromfeld, and Harold Ramis

Paramount+ is introducing its “Basic (with ads)” plan in Canada in April, with Australia to follow in June. It will be priced at $6.99 CAD/month, offering streaming on one device at a time in full HD. The “Standard” stream, allowing viewing on two devices at once, including download and watch on the go, is priced at $10.99 (CAD)/month, while the “Premium” offering, accommodating four devices at once, is priced at $13.99 month.

Tubi, Fox’s ad-supported streaming service, has expanded its content offering in Canada with the addition of over 200 movies to its video-on-demand library, including newly-executed library content deals with NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros. Discovery. Find the full list of titles coming to Tubi through the end of June, here.

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