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TV & Film News – Hot Docs launches relief fund for indie cinemas

Hot Docs has announced the launch of the Hot Docs Independent Cinemas Relief Fund. Developed and administered with the Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE), the fund will provide urgent financial relief to Canadian independent cinemas to better prepare them for their eventual reopening. Donations will be collected until the close of this year’s Hot Docs Festival, May 9, on Hot Docs’ website and at the end of the online ticket checkout process. To be dispersed in late spring and early summer, the fund will distribute 14 grants of $2,000 each. All donations are considered charitable and are eligible for a tax receipt. 

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) says its 2021-22 program budget will invest $364M in Canada’s television and digital media industries. CMF has also published Program Guidelines for the coming fiscal year with a summary of changes here. The CMF will continue most of the Flexibility Measures introduced last May to help stakeholders continue adapting until production picks back up to pre-pandemic levels. The CMF is also introducing a four-pronged approach to improve equity and inclusion in the industry, introducing a new Performance Envelope Factor that rewards broadcasters that licence projects from production companies that are owned/controlled by BIPOC indviduals, a new $10.5M Pilot Program for Racialized Communities that will support BIPOC-owned production companies, updated evaluation grid points in Convergent and Experimental Stream Programs, and it will carve out at least 25% of the Conceptualization Program, Predevelopment Program and Early-Stage Development Program for production companies owned/controlled by members of a diverse community. CMF will host two upcoming webcasts April 22 for the French-language and English-language markets.

Telefilm Canada is embarking on a new initiative promoting the discoverability of Canadian content to audiences in the U.S. Via new website, audiences can find out where they can watch Canadian films and series as well as explore new content. At the core of the initiative is the Canada Now microsite, developed in collaboration with Telescope, that features close to 5,000 productions across 150 VOD platforms. In partnership with the Consulate General of Canada in New York and the National Film Board, Canada Now will feature a section each month with New Arrivals, Classic Films and a spotlight called Indigenous Voices. 


Telefilm Canada is currently accepting submissions for its 11th edition of Canada: Not Short on Talent program at Cannes, a curated market showcase presented at the Short Film Corner online. Not Short on Talent is a Telefilm Canada initiative that presents a selection of new Canadian short films at international markets. The selected films will screen at Short Film Corner, a component of the Cannes Market which runs parallel to the Cannes Film Festival. Those selected will have access to training sessions developed by Short Film Corner as well as the market’s online programming. The deadline to enter is April 23.

Streamland Media has announced it’s acquiring Sim Video International’s post production business, Sim Post. Streamland says the strategic acquisition will expand the company’s technical portfolio by increasing its unscripted and scripted content offerings in North America and bolstering Streamland’s existing presence in Los Angeles and Vancouver. It will also give the company a substantial picture and sound finishing footprint in New York City. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of this year with no interruption of services to Sim Post clients. Read more here.

MEDIAPRO Canada has secured an agreement to provide a cloud-based playout solution for REV TV Canada, the 24/7 motorsports network available in over six million Canadian homes, and the new home for the MotoGP World Championships. Mediapro Canada will also be supporting the channel with remote production facilities and live integration for a series of motorsport events across Canada and the US. The company’s playout centre and broadcast facilities in Toronto are part of the wider Grupo Mediapro’s international playout service, which provides customers around the world with self-managed channel playout automation. 

The Fabienne Colas Foundation, which is behind Black Film Festivals in Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Ottawa, is expanding to Calgary. The Calgary Black Film Festival (CBFF) aims to connect authentic Black stories with viewers of all ethnic origins in Alberta, which is home to Canada’s third largest Black population after Ontario and Quebec. The inaugural CBFF will run entirely online, May 26 – 30, with #CBFF21 All Access Passes on pre-sale now on the festival’s website. The inaugural festival program will be announced in early May. CBFF encourages filmmakers to submit their films for consideration by April 20. Eligibility criteria is available here.

Channing Dungey

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced an exclusive ‘In Conversation With’ session featuring Channing Dungey, the new Chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group, Emmy Award-nominated producer Greg Berlanti and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Kaley Cuoco for an in-depth discussion on comedic thriller, The Flight Attendant. The virtual festival will take place online June 14 – July 16.


Hollywood Suite will be the exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the 36th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards. Hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Melissa Villaseñor, the ceremony will air live April 22. New Spirit Awards categories added this year include Best New Scripted Series, Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series, Best Male Performance, Best Female Performance and Best Ensemble Cast. Little America and Unorthodox lead the nominees in the TV categories with three nominations each. Previous Best Feature winners available to watch on Hollywood Suite On Demand include: Moonlight, 12 Years A Slave, Birdman, Little Miss Sunshine, Brokeback Mountain, The Wrestler, and Lost in Translation.

The CRTC has approved the addition of ANC to the list of non-Canadian programming services authorized for distribution. ANC is a 24-hour, English-language news service providing programming of interest to overseas Filipinos and viewers with an interest in the Philippines.

Cogeco Connexion is the latest cable provider to carry all-reality subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming service hayu from NBCUniversal International. The best of reality TV service is available to Cogeco customers on EPICO which offers a combination of internet and television entertainment. EPICO customers will have access to over 300 shows and 8,000 ad-free episodes through their hayu subscription, including shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and series exclusively available in Canada, such as Love Island UK and Australia, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen and more.

Rennata and Georgina Lopez

Youth Media Alliance (YMA) is awarding its Outstanding Achievement Award to Michelle Melanson Cuperus. Melanson Cuperus has 30 years experience in the production business with her first credit was on PBS series Shining Time Station, starring George Carlin. Since then, She’s worked with Nelvana, CBC, Cookie Jar Entertainment, and Radical Sheep Productions, developing, producing and executive producing a wide variety of children’s television including The Berenstain Bears and award-winning Stella and Sam. She’s also the founder of Women Drawn Together, an organization that fosters learning, networking, and mentorship for women in the animation community. YMA’s Emerging Talent Award is being awarded to identical twin TV producers, Rennata and Georgina Lopez, of Lopii Productions. Lopii Productions has already produced the series My Home, My Life! and My Stay-at-Home Diary, as well as two shorts for season 50 and 51 of Sesame Street. They’ll be recognized at a virtual gala to be streamed live from the CBC Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto on May 26.  

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