Telefilm Canada executive director Carolle Brabant and producer and writer Lisa Meeches are among the new Members named to the Order of Canada. Brabant has been with Telefilm since 1990 and at the helm of the organization since 2010, the first woman to hold the position. Meeches, who hails from Manitoba’s Long Plain First Nation, is the founder of Eagle Vision Inc. She started her career in the mid-1980s with Winnipeg-based Native Media Network and went on to work as a reporter with Craig Broadcasting in both Manitoba and Alberta. Among the award-winning productions she’s been behind are Burden of Truth, Ice Road Truckers, true crime series Taken, and Canada’s longest-running Indigenous series, The Sharing Circle, in addition to feature films Capote, Walk All Over Me and Lovesick. Read more here.
Telefilm has been informed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy – the committee’s initial pick to represent Canada in the International Feature Film race – does not meet the Academy’s eligibility requirements due to the amount of English dialogue in the film. The film will now be submitted for consideration in the Best Picture and general entry categories for the 93rd Academy Awards. Telefilm says French-language feature 14 Days 12 Nights by director Jean-Philippe Duval and producer Antonello Cozzolino will now represent Canada. The film stars Anne Dorval as a woman who travels to Vietnam to meet her adopted daughter’s biological mother.
The National Film Board (NFB) has pulled Michelle Latimer’s The Inconvenient Indian from all upcoming festivals, including the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, following questions about her claims of Indigenous identity. NFB says after engaging with those who appear in the film, the NFB’s Indigenous Advisory Group and industry partners, 90th Parallel Productions and producer Jesse Wente have decided to withdraw Inconvenient Indian from active distribution. NFB says over the coming months, it will continue to dialogue with Indigenous communities to explore an accountable path forward for the film. In the meantime, Latimer has resigned from Season 2 of CBC supernatural drama Trickster. “I have listened to my community and feel that stepping away from the production is the appropriate course of action. I stand by who I am and by my family’s history, but I also understand what is being asked of me. I recognize my responsibility to be accountable to the community and my fellow artists, and that is why I have made this decision,” wrote Latimer in a Facebook post.
ACTRA Toronto has named Jani Lauzon as its 2021 Award of Excellence recipient. Lauzon is a Métis multi-disciplinary artist, award-winning screen and stage actress, as well as a JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter, a Gemini Award-winning puppeteer, and a director and filmmaker. She is currently an Associate Director of the Acting Program at National Theatre School.
Telefilm Canada has announced that the audiovisual co-production treaty between Canada and Ukraine, signed on July 2, 2019, is now in effect as of Jan. 1. Ukraine is Canada’s 58th co-production partner country. For more information, including guidelines and eligibility, visit Telefilm’s International Treaties webpage.
Boat Rocker Media has retired its Temple Street Productions banner, folding the prodco into Boat Rocker Studios, Scripted. The move sees Temple Street SVP Kerry Appleyard gain the new title of SVP, Creative Affairs. Jessica Shadlock, formerly Temple’s Development Manager, is now Senior Manager, Creative Affairs. Boat Rocker’s Platform One Media content studio, based in L.A., has also been rebranded under the Boat Rocker Studios, Scripted umbrella.
Loomi Animation is the new Quebec-based animation studio from Ken Faier and Steve Couture. It will focus on original animated content for Faier and Couture’s kids IP incubator Epic Storyworlds, in addition to other projects. Louis Leclerc, former executive director of Pixel Québec, is the studio’s new director, with Guylaine Robidoux and Daniel Belleville of Montreal’s ToonDraw consulting.
Tyson Hepburn, the co-creator and executive producer of Rust Valley Restorers and The Dog Dudes, among other docuseries, has launched a new Vancouver-based production company focused on the development and production of factual, unscripted content with Holly Brace-Lavoie on board as Head of Development. Currently working on ramping up their development slate, Tyson Media is seeking unique unscripted series ideas through the company’s call for submissions that will close on Jan. 15. The winning entry will receive $10,000 in resources and support to develop their idea. Tyson Media is currently in development on two new projects: an eight-part series about the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) in Richmond, BC, and an occupational-series about the new gold rush in the Caribou Gold Fields.
Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) organizers have announced Vancouver-based filmmaker Kim Albright as the 2020 winner of two major WIDC awards: the CBC Films WIDC Talent Development Award worth $10,000 cash, and the WIDC Feature Film Award valued at up to $200,000 in in-kind services and rentals for her feature film directorial debut, With Love and a Major Organ. Set in a technologically advanced but antiseptic world where people go to extreme lengths to avoid the messiness of their emotions, With Love and a Major Organ is a cautionary tale about thirty-something Anabel who is determined to follow the sometimes off beat of her own heart. Based on Julia Lederer’s play of the same name, Albright and Lederer began developing the screenplay adaptation during Albright’s 2018 Canadian Film Centre residency. The film will be produced by Madeleine Davis with executive producers Lori Lozinski (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open) and WIDC’s Carol Whiteman.
Bell Media and REEL CANADA have launched Reel Opportunities, focused on educating and supporting youth exploring careers in the Canadian media industry. Created to reach youth in underserved communities, the program aims to foster excitement and awareness about the many opportunities in film and television, with the goal of creating a new generation of diverse media professionals. Reel Opportunities is set to deliver 150 free interactive networking workshops for 4,000 youth across Canada through schools and other youth-oriented programs beginning this month. Teachers and youth leaders are encouraged to reach out and become involved by contacting email@example.com.
The Pacific Screenwriting Program (PSP) has announced that its new Story Department Internship, an initiative to help writers in British Columbia committed to a career in scripted television, is now open for submissions. The internship is designed for writers already working in the film and television industry, and emerging writers seeking a focused professional development opportunity. Reimagined from the previous CMPA/Creative BC internship to include both production and development room roles, writer/interns may seek opportunities within productions or development rooms to be eligible to apply for the program. Full eligibility and submission details can be found here. PSP will host an info session Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. PT. RSVP here.
HGTV Canada has announced its new winter premieres, including five brand-new series. Joining the lineup is the latest Corus Studios Original Rock Solid Builds (10×60) which travels to the shores of Newfoundland as builder Randy Spracklin and his crew complete challenging construction projects amidst harsh weather and rugged terrain. Carpenter Ty Pennington makes his HGTV Canada debut with Ty Breaker (8×60) helping families find the best property to suit their needs. Home renovation star Nicole Curtis (Rehab Addict) shares her skills with overwhelmed DIY-ers to help them restore their own historic homes in Rehab Addict Rescue (8×60), while in Self-Made Mansions (8×60), lifestyle expert Clinton Kelly guides new millionaires on luxe real estate hunts.
TVO Original series Political Blind Date returns for a fourth season Tuesday, Jan. 19. Produced by Open Door Co. and Nomad Films, in association with TVO, this season shines a spotlight on hotly-debated issues facing all Canadians in a pre- and post-COVID 19 world: hospital capacity, the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, the safety of Great Lakes water, threats to migrant labourers, religious symbols in Quebec public spaces, and protection of Ontario’s green spaces. Each episode brings politicians with different points of view together on a “date” to bring to life opposing perspectives.