Monday, June 5, 2023

TV & Film News – Schitt’s Creek leads Canadian Screen Awards nominations

Schitt’s Creek leads both the television and overall Canadian Screen Award nominations as the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television released its 2021 nominees across 141 film, television, and digital media categories. The sixth and final season of Schitt’s Creek is followed by CTV’s Cardinal: Until The Night and cancelled CBC Indigenous sci-fi series Trickster in the television category with 15 nominations each. On the film side, Jeff Barnaby horror feature Blood Quantum tops the nominations with 10, while Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy received nine nominations and Charles Officer’s Akilla’s Escape eight. CBC Gem digital series Bit Playas leads digital media nominations with six. Web series Hey Lady!, starring Canadian character actress Jayne Eastwood, earned five nods, while both Avocado Toast the series and Ghost BFF head into the awards with four. Special Awards will also be presented to 11 Canadians including the Academy Icon Award, which will be posthumously presented to Alex Trebek. Read more here.

Schitt’s Creek has been recognized by the Producers Guild of America with the Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television – Comedy. Produced by Not A Real Company Productions (Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Andrew Barnsley, Fred Levy, David West Read, Ben Feigin, Michael Short, Kurt Smeaton, and Kosta Orfanidis), the show’s sixth season was in contention for the honour with Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Flight Attendant, Ted Lasso and What We Do in the Shadows. Find the full list of winners here.

Women in View’s 2021 report indicates that while gender equity initiatives are having an impact, disparity still exists, especially for Black women and Women of Colour. Between 2017 and 2019, there was a 23% increase in the number of TV episodes directed by women at CBC, bringing women’s share of directing at the public broadcaster to 60%. This, in turn, raised the industry-wide percentage of women-directed TV episodes from 2017’s 27% to nearly 50% in 2019 even though women’s share of directing work at Bell and Corus—where similar gender parity initiatives were not adopted— remained quite low. Initiatives to increase the number of women working in TV and film did not have a significant impact on diversity. Of the 43% of women in key creative TV roles in 2019, only 6.44% were Black women & Women of Colour and 0.94% were Indigenous women. The same disparity exists in every measured category. The report looked at two funding cycles: film projects financed by Telefilm Canada between 2017-19 and scripted English language television series funded by the Canada Media Fund (CMF) in the same period.

The Government of Alberta is removing the cap that limited film and television productions shooting in the province to a maximum $10-million tax credit claim as the province makes a bid to attract big budget screen projects. Funds available to the industry have also been increased by $19.5 million to a total of $50 million for 2021-22. The tax credit, which opened in January of last year, has thus far seen 31 medium and large-scale productions approved. The estimated spend attached to those projects is $177.6 million, alongside the creation of 3,300 jobs.

Boat Rocker Media (TSX: BRMI) has reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2020, following the completion of its Initial Public Offering. Q4 2020 revenue was $55.6 million compared with $59.4 million in the same prior year quarter. Full year 2020 revenue decreased by $17.4 million to $226.8 million compared with $244.2 million in the prior year. The decrease for both periods was primarily attributed to declines in the Television and Representation segments, driven by the impact of the pandemic. For the full year, the decrease was partially offset by an increase in the Kids and Family segment which delivered mainly animated content in 2020. Net loss attributable to shareholders for the three months ended Dec. 31 was $2.2 million, compared to $7.1 million in the same period of 2019, a decrease of $4.9 million. The decrease was primarily driven by Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) funds recognized in those three months.

OMNI TV’s Second Jen has concluded its third and final season. A comedy about second generation Canadian twenty-somethings navigating life in Toronto, the series was co-created, executive produced and starred Amanda Joy and Samantha Wan.

 

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Crave has announced that its premiere of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the most-streamed title in the platform’s history, beating out the previous Crave record holder set by the final season of Game of Thrones in 2019. The HBO Max Original film also had more than 1.1 million viewers tune-in on Crave’s linear channels, including Super Écran.

Aaron Abrams

CTV and New Metric Media have announced that Aaron Abrams (Blindspot, Hannibal) has been tapped for one of the leading roles in new half-hour CTV Original comedy Children Ruin Everything, joining previously announced lead Meaghan Rath (Being Human, Hawaii 5-0). In addition, Ennis Esmer (Blindspot, Schitt’s Creek) and Nazneen Contractor (Ransom) have also signed on to join the cast. Created by Kurt Smeaton (Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience), Children Ruin Everything is about living with the worst roommates of all: young children. 

The National Film Board (NFB) is headed to the Annecy International Animation Film Festival with four productions and co-productions selected for the 2021 edition’s Short Film competition. Those selected include filmmakers Joanna Quinn and Les Mills with Affairs of the Art, and Claude Cloutier whose Bad Seeds will screen at the festival. Annecy first-timer Andrea Dorfman with How to Be at Home and Mike Maryniuk with June Night will also present. The festival takes place June 14-19 with details of this year’s format still to be confirmed.

Marie Clements’ award-winning narrative feature debut Red Snow has been acquired by Elevation Pictures and released in the U.S. Following its World Premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival and a limited theatrical run, the film is also now available to own on DVD. Filmed on location in the Northwest Territories (Yellowknife and Dettah) and desert interior region of BC (Ashcroft Band Lands, Cache Creek and Kamloops), Red Snow is the story of a Gwich’in soldier from the Canadian Arctic who is caught in an ambush in Afghanistan. The film features the talents of Tantoo Cardinal, Asivak Koostachin, Mozhdah Jamalzadah, and Samuel Marty and was shot in four languages including Gwich’in, Inuvialuktun, Pashto and English. 

Telefilm is spotlighting Canadian filmmakers with a new Canadian Movie of the Week series on the Apple TV app. Each week, one Canadian film will be featured and available to rent for $0.99. Running through Canada Day, titles in the lineup include Canadian Strain, The Kid Detective, Ricardo Trogi’s 1991, and a 4K restoration of David Cronenberg’s Crash.

And Now Global has picked up seven new producers and 100+ hours of content for international distribution ahead of Digital MIPTV this month. The Vancouver distributor’s slate of newly-acquired series includes Classical Stretch (138x30min HD; a fitness program airing on U.S. Public Television for Adults 50+), Fly Brother with Ernest White II (10x30min HD; a new travel show airing on PBS and Create TV), Camera Gags (26x30min) and Toy Seekers (26x5min animated shorts for kids from Hungary). 

CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution, the international content licensing arm of the public broadcaster, has announced its spring collection of titles, including award-winning documentary Sing Me A Lullaby and Wild Canadian Weather. The distributor’s latest scripted selections include Les Mecs, a sharp single-camera comedy about four male friends, now in their 50s, struggling to stay relevant. New to the children’s programming slate is Do Not Enter! based on the bestselling book of the same name, and 14+ teen series, About Sex which was awarded Best Mixed-Media Series 2021 at the Kidscreen Awards. 

Sportsnet kicks off the Toronto Blue Jays’ Opening Day with a special 1-hour pre-game show April 1 at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT, when the Jays take on the New York Yankees live on Sportsnet, SN NOW, Sportsnet 590 The FAN, and across the Sportsnet Radio Network. Dan Shulman, Buck Martinez, and Pat Tabler have the call for all games on both TV and radio this season, with Hazel Mae, Arash Madani, and Ben Wagner providing reporting and insights. Teeing up each matchup on TV are Jamie Campbell and Joe Siddall with Blue Jays Central, while Jeff Blair and Kevin Barker return with Baseball Central weekdays at 2 p.m. ET and for select pre-game shows on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. For the dedicated radio broadcast, Rob Wong and Shoaib Ali will share hosting duties for Blue Jays games across The Sportsnet Radio Network. Josh Goldberg joins Wong and Ali to co-host the return of Jays Talk, airing on Sportsnet 590 The FAN immediately following every game.

The Banff World Media Festival and Corus Entertainment have launched a call for submissions for the 2021 Corus Apprentice Program: Lifestyle Showrunner. The mandate of this year’s program is to broaden producers’ existing skill sets with a focus on the lifestyle and unscripted genres, with an eye to building the next generation of showrunners in this growing segment of the entertainment industry. The program is focusing on talent from under-represented groups and will look to choose candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. Successful candidates will receive a full-access pass to the BANFF 2021 virtual marketplace and a two-week showrunner internship on a Corus-supported lifestyle production between June 2021 and June 2022. The deadline to apply is April 26.

Kari Skogland

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced an exclusive ‘In Conversation With’ session featuring Kari Skogland, director and CEO of Mad Rabbit, and Kevin Feige, President, Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer, Marvel. Presented June 17 in partnership with the Director’s Guild of Canada (DGC), the conversation will take place between Skogland and Feige, who’ve joined forces as director and executive producer, respectively, of Marvel Studios’ new Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The virtual festival takes place June 14 – July 16. 

Hot Docs has announced the full program of sessions slated for this year’s online industry conference, taking place during the Hot Docs Festival, April 29-May 9. Speakers already announced include an opening keynote by Jenna Wortham, staff writer for The New York Times Magazine and co-host of the Still Processing podcast, and acclaimed filmmakers Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Jennifer Holness, and 2020 Outstanding Achievement Award recipient Stanley Nelson, who will each lead masterclasses discussing their careers and work to cultivate and uplift Black, Indigenous and marginalized voices. Other sessions include I Am a Journalist. This is Why I told My Story as a Documentary, in which journalists Tanya Talaga and Jennifer Ngo will discuss their transition into doc film. Free registration is now open.

The 6th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto (RAFF) will return online May 19-31. The festival showcases Canadian and international shorts, features, and documentaries about deaf and disability cultures by filmmakers and actors with disabilities and/or who are deaf. This year’s event will include online ReelEducation matinees and workshops for grades K-12, the return of the ReelAbilities Comedy Night, and screenings of over 20 short and feature films. Full programming will be announced in the coming weeks.

Super Channel is partnering with Northern Arena as Presenting Sponsor to bring the second annual Canadian Game Awards to gaming fans across the country on GINX Esports TV Canada. The two-hour awards special covering all aspects of the Canadian gaming industry, will air April 9 at 8 p.m. ET, and will also be available via Super Channel On Demand. Viewers can also subscribe to Super Channel and GINX Esports TV Canada via Amazon Prime Video and the Apple TV app.

Raymond James Ltd., the Canadian arm of North American investment dealer Raymond James Financial, has announced that The Wealthy Life television program, hosted by Sybil Verch, will air nationally across Canada on Global TV, premiering April 3. Offering advice on how best to navigate fiscal bumps in the road and make the most of your means, The Wealthy life will air Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. local time in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Toronto and Montreal.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, in partnership with Sound Venture Productions will premiere Re:Location, a series of four 30-minute documentaries highlighting community relocations in Canada from the forced relocation of Halifax’s Africville to the internment and property seizure of Japanese Canadians during the WWII. The four Re:Location episodes will premiere on Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) at 9 p.m. ET over four successive Sundays, starting April 4. The broadcasts will be simultaneously seen on CPAC in both English and French and streamed at cpac.ca.

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