Canadian Heritage Min. Steven Guilbeault has announced that the federal government is doubling the Short-Term Compensation Fund to $100 million and extending the COVID-19 relief initiative through March 31, 2022. Telefilm Canada Executive Director Christa Dickenson says so far the fund has received 160 applications for projects in eight provinces and territories, representing $106 million in requested coverage. “The Short-Term Compensation Fund (STCF) is vital to ensuring that Canadian film and television productions continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dickenson, in a statement. “Today’s announcement means that our talented creators and artisans can continue to do what they do best: bring Canadian stories to screens big and small for the world to enjoy.”
Corus Entertainment has announced its restructuring its Global News operations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The changes will mean supper-hour and late night newscasts for Regina and Saskatoon will be anchored from Global Winnipeg, starting in mid-March. Global Winnipeg anchor Lisa Dutton, who previously anchored at Global Regina for 12 years and later Global Saskatoon up until her relocation to Winnipeg in 2017, will helm the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts for both Saskatchewan markets. Saskatoon meteorologist Peter Quinlan will provide weather, while they’ll be joined by Global Winnipeg anchor Kevin Hirschfield during the late night newscasts. Corus says the changes accompany an expansion of its MMC (multi-market content) production model on the Prairies. The restructuring sees numerous management changes, including the appointment of Brent Williamson, formerly Station Manager and News Director for Global Winnipeg and 680 CJOB, now Regional News Director and Station Manager for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Corus says there are no job losses attached to the announcement. Read more here.
Amazon Prime Video has announced a $1.25 million (CAD) commitment to support the Canadian BIPOC TV and film production community under a new partnership with the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO). The initiative will see a new pitch program established that will award 10 grants of $10,000 to creators who are Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Colour. Amazon will also donate to the Solidarity Fund, a joint initiative by ISO, Racial Equity in Media Collective (REMC), and BIPOC TV & Film, and the Indigenous Development Program, in support of diverse creators and BIPOC-owned companies. ISO and the Black Screen Office will lead engagement and outreach for the pitch program with submissions closing Friday, March 5. Read more here.
Super Bowl LV was the third-most-watched Super Bowl ever in Canada, attracting an average audience of 8.8 million viewers on CTV, TSN, and RDS, according to preliminary Numeris data provided by Bell Media. The game attracted significant engagement across the networks’ digital platforms, with Super Bowl live streaming on CTV, TSN, and RDS growing by 108% compared to last year. Bell says the game drew 17.6 million unique Canadian viewers, who tuned in to watch at least part of the broadcast. Audiences peaked at 11 million viewers at 8:38 p.m. ET during the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show headlined by The Weeknd. In the post-game time slot, the network said CTV’s premiere of Holmes Family Effect attracted an average audience of 918,000 viewers and was the third-biggest overnight debut of the current broadcast year among A25-54, and the biggest debut for a Canadian series since CTV’s Transplant in 2020.
The CRTC has approved an application from WOW! Unlimited Networks seeking revocation of the broadcast licence for the former Comedy Gold specialty channel. WOW! agreed to purchase the channel from Bell Media in 2017 for $6.86 million with plans to air kids programming on the channel. However, those plans never materialized and Comedy Gold went dark in Aug. 2019. Revocation of the licence lets WOW! off the hook from paying proposed tangible benefits of $687,000.
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has announced that Jennifer Holness and Dominique Dussault are the recipients of its annual Indiescreen Awards. Holness (Hungry Eyes Media) was named the recipient of the Established Producer Award (which includes a $10,000 cash prize) in recognition of her contribution to Canada’s film industry and career achievements, including films like Home Again (2012), Badge of Pride (2010), and Love, Sex and Eating the Bones (2003). Her latest feature documentary, Stateless, won the Special Jury Prize at the 2020 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Dominique Dussault (Nemesis Films) was awarded the Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer Award, which includes a $5,000 prize, for her early-career producer accomplishments. Her latest film Nadia, Butterfly was a 2020 Cannes Film Festival Official Selection.
The Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF), happening online Feb. 10-21, will honour Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson and Canadian director Clement Virgo with the TBFF 2021 Career Achievement Award for their accomplishments and success within the film and TV industries. TBFF will also pay tribute to the first African Canadian woman to be elected as Member of Parliament, the Hon. Jean Augustine, with its 2021 Pioneer Award. Her many achievements include legislation designating February as Black History Month in Canada. Wes Hall, one of MacLean’s 2021 Top 50 Most Powerful Canadians, will be presented with the TBFF 2021 Social Impact Award for his work as chairman of Black North Initiative. TBFF passholders will have the opportunity to view discussions with the honourees online.
The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced that CRTC Chairperson and CEO Ian Scott, will speak on BANFF 2021’s opening day Monday, June 14, with a virtual keynote as the festival launches Marketplace Week and a month of curated online programming. Read more about this year’s virtual event here.
FIN Atlantic International Film Festival has officially opened its call for entries for its 41st edition, set to take place Sept. 16-23. The festival is currently accepting fiction, documentaries, and animation in both short and feature-length formats from local, national and international filmmakers. The earlybird entry deadline is Apr. 30. The 2021 FIN Kids Youth Film Competition call for entries is also open to Atlantic Canadian youth, ages 18 and under. Presented by FIN Kids and WildBrain, they’re invited to submit short films, 5 minutes or less. Submissions close March 19.
Telefilm Canada is currently accepting entries of Canadian feature films on behalf of the Cannes Film Festival, “L’Officiel”, as well as the two parallel sections, La Semaine de la Critique and the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, and for the Karlovy Vary International Film and the Locarno Film Festival. Due to the pandemic, selection screenings in Montreal will not take place with festival programmers to screen films via Telefilm Canada’s viewing platform. Films submitted via Telefilm Canada will be exempt from the submission fee.
Mad Samurai Productions has optioned Eric Walters’ YA novel series The Rule of Three. The Vancouver-based prodco has teamed up with writer Lynne Kamm (Transplant, 19-2) to acquire exclusive television rights. With over 400,000 copies sold in North America alone, The Rule of Three starts with a catastrophic event that permanently shuts down everything computerized. The novels focus on a group of teens who band together amid the descending chaos to protect their small suburban community. Developing alongside Executive Producer Matthew Cervi, Kamm is attached as EP/Showrunner and will write the pilot with Walters attached to consult.
Nelvana and Discovery joint venture, redknot, has greenlit its third series, Super Wish (52 x 11 min). Created by Nelvana’s Vanessa Esteves and Emmy-award winner Adrian Thatcher, the animated series takes place in a magical world of birthdays. Produced by redknot, production will begin this spring with the series to air on Corus Entertainment’s YTV in Canada and Discovery Kids in Latin America in 2022. The 2D-animated series, aimed at kids 4-8, follows Jesse who inadvertently uses his extra special 10th birthday wish – a super wish – to wish his birthday party would disappear. Now he and his friends must venture through the mystical birthday dimension to track down and undo his wish. Esteves serves as supervising producer, writer and content creator. She’s most recently overseen Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe, Max & Ruby and Ranger Rob.
W Network will debut the new Punky Brewster revival premiering with back-to-back episodes on Thursday, March 4. Punky Brewster will also roll out with a full-season drop on STACKTV on March 4 and an encore presentation March 5 on YTV. Punky Brewster (10x30min) is a continuation of the iconic ’80s sitcom about a bright young girl raised by a foster dad. Soleil Moon Frye reprises the role, now a single mother of three trying to get her life back on track when she meets Izzy (Quinn Copeland), a young girl in the foster system who reminds Punky of her younger self. Cherie Johnson (Cherie) also reprises her role from the original series, with Freddie Prinze Jr., Noah Cottrell, Oliver De Los Santos and Lauren Lindsey Donzis also starring.
Lopii Productions’ My Stay-at-Home Diary, the story of COVID-19 self-shot and told by kids, is headed to Hong Kong where Fantastic TV will premiere the show. Launched on TVOkids this past summer, the show is also airing in the U.S. on PBS and in French Canada on TFO. Singapore-based Bomanbridge Media has been assigned global distribution rights.
Hollywood Suite is the exclusive Canadian broadcaster of The Impact Series – eight socially relevant feature documentary films. Documentaries included in Season 1 include Brett Morgen’s Chicago 10 (2007); NOW (2020) from director Jim Rakete, focused on young activists like Greta Thunberg; and J’Veux Du Soleil! (2019), which follows French journalist François Ruffin – now a Member of Parliament – as he embarks on a journey across France with documentary filmmaker Gilles Perret to visit the infamous Gilets Jaunes (Yellow vests) occupying roundabouts to protest social inequalities. Airing Monday nights, starting March 15, the films will also be available to stream on Hollywood Suite On Demand.
Smithsonian Channel Canada’s new documentary special, COVID: Race Against the Virus (1×60’), chronicles the first critical months of the COVID-19 outbreak from the point of view of leading scientific experts, virologists, modelers and immunologists. The one-hour special airs Friday, Feb. 12 as part of the channel’s nationwide free preview event running until April 4.
MEDIAPRO Canada has acquired the rights to two national team tournaments, the SheBelieves Cup and the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic qualifying tournament. Live coverage of all Canada games will be broadcast on OneSoccer, MEDIAPRO’s dedicated soccer channel. OneSoccer will air live coverage of Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team as they take on the USA, Brazil and Argentina in the SheBelieves Cup, the invitational soccer tournament for women’s national teams hosted by the United States Soccer Federation. The six-game tournament will be held in Orlando with Canada due to play the USA on Feb. 18, followed by matches against Argentina and Brazil. The CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament takes place March 18-30 as Canada looks to secure a place in the postponed Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.