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TV & Film News – Sinking Ship picks up 12 Daytime Emmy nominations

Sinking Ship Entertainment has picked up 12 Daytime Emmy Nominations with technical nods for Ghostwriter, Endlings and Odd Squad. The 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards will be presented Friday, June 25. Find the full list of nominees here.

Transplant and Schitt’s Creek were among the multiple award winners on the final night of the Canadian Screen Awards recognizing Cinematic Arts. Transplant won Best Drama Series with lead actor Hamza Haq claiming Best Lead Actor, Drama Series. Schitt’s Creek was named Best Comedy series with Catherine O’Hara also winning Best Lead Actress, Comedy. In the film categories, Akilla’s Escape won five awards including Achievement in Casting, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography and Best Original Screenplay. Indigenous horror feature Blood Quantum also claimed five awards: Achievement in Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup, Visual Effects and Editing. Beans won Best Motion Picture, with Tracey Deer also claiming the John Dunning First Feature Film Award. Find the full list of winners here

Convergence Research has released its 2021 Couch Potato Reports. Based on analysis of over 50 OTT services (over 35 providers), led by Netflix, it estimates 2020 Canadian OTT access revenue grew 35% to $2.05 billion, with 32% growth forecast for 2021, continuing to mostly benefit non-Canadian players. The report says Canadian TV subscribers and access revenue are currently not seeing as steep a rate of decline as the U.S., but that could change in the medium term- dependent on new or expanded OTT offers in Canada. It estimates 2020 Canadian Cable, Telco, Satellite TV access revenue declined 3% to $8.14 billion and forecasts another 3% decline in 2021. It estimates a decline of 389,000 Canadian TV subscribers last year, predicting a further drop of 427,000 in 2021. Convergence says as of 2020, 35% of Canadian households did not have a TV subscription with a Cable, Satellite, or Telco TV access provider, predicting this number will rise to 45% by 2023.

Canadian Heritage has announced an increase of $49 million to the Short-Term Compensation Fund (STCF) for Canadian audiovisual productions. The top-up brings the STCF’s coverage capacity to $149 million through March 31, 2022. Canadian Heritage says increased investment in the STCF will allow more productions to make use of the program to meet their shooting schedules, heading into the sector’s busiest seasons of spring and summer. Telefilm Canada, which administers the program, will continue to compensate production companies whose filming is shut down or interrupted as a result of a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis on set or an outbreak among the production team.

Telefilm Canada has unveiled a simplified method to accelerate the drawdown schedules for the Production program and the Theatrical Documentary program, as part of Telefilm’s revised corporate plan mandate to adapt and provide flexibility within its funding programs. Telefilm says the accelerated process will ease the administrative burden on producers and allow for faster disbursement of funds earlier in the production. For Telefilm’s participation of up to and including $500,000: disbursements will be made in two (85% and 15%) or three (60%, 30% and 10%) instalments, based on Telefilm’s risk analysis. Up to and including $1,500,000: disbursements will be made in three (60%, 30% and 10%) or four (35%, 35%, 20% and 10%) instalments, based on Telefilm’s risk analysis. For participation over $1,500,000: disbursements will be made in four instalments (35%, 35%, 20% and 10%).

Telefilm has released program data for the inaugural round of funding for its Development Stream for Racialized Persons. Through the new stream, over $2.5M was invested in 143 projects from 93 companies. Companies could develop up to two projects supported at $18,000 each. Funding for the Racialized Stream in Development was originally budgeted at $500,000 for the fiscal year. To support an industry largely on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Telefilm made a one-time redirect of funds to support all eligible projects submitted to the Development Program. The total funding for the Development Program in fiscal 2020-21 totalled over $11.65M.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) completed another first for Canada’s screen industry by commissioning an in-depth survey of the country’s racialized creators, organizations, and production companies. The survey, conducted online between Dec. 21 and Feb. 16 by IPSOS Research, shows how difficult the situation is for some racialized players: 38% of producers have personal incomes of less than $30,000 a year before taxes; 40% of companies have annual operating budgets of less than $50,000; with average annual operating budgets 28% lower for businesses owned by women. In addition to financial indicators, the report also provides a snapshot of racialized production operations in Canada: half or more of the employees self-identify as racialized individuals in 81% of the companies, most or all of current projects in seven out of 10 companies involve Afro-descendant or other racialized individuals. 90% of companies create content in English, 30% in French, and 40% create in foreign languages. 

Corus Entertainment has announced its slate of premium original content for 2021/22 with 35 greenlights and renewals across its portfolio of specialty networks and streaming platforms. With over 500 hours of content sold this year, Corus Studios broadens its reach with eight new series and 13 returning shows that will debut across Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, and HISTORY. Nelvana has greenlit four brand new animated series and one returning fan-favourite. Corus has also announced its first-ever original series for Adult Swim with Psi Cops (26×11), while popular kids cartoon Toopy and Binoo has been greenlit to return in 2022 as an animated feature film of the same name (1×80).

CTV has revealed a slate of new and returning series for the network’s summer schedule, headlined by reality competition series LEGO Masters, airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, beginning June 1. Hosted by Will Arnett, the series follows teams of LEGO enthusiasts as they go head-to-head with an unlimited supply of LEGO bricks. Also heating things up this summer is The Celebrity Dating Game, airing Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, starting June 14. Hosted by actress and singer-songwriter Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Michael Bolton, the game show features celebrity singles in their pursuit to find love. Additionally, the newly re-imagined version of the extreme obstacle course series, WIPEOUT, hosted by John Cena, Nicole Byer, and Camille Kostek, joins CTV’s summer sched July 11 (with new episodes currently airing Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV Comedy Channel).

ET Canada Presents: Help India, a half-hour fundraising special in support of the Humanitarian Coalition’s emergency response efforts will air Monday, May 31 on Global. The special will feature Canadian celebrities, many of whom are personally impacted by India’s COVID-19 crisis, in addition to supporters like LL Cool J and Nick Jonas. The special will open with entertainment reporter Sangita Patel and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sitting down for a discussion on the global COVID-19 pandemic. Also set to appear are comedian Russell Peters, actress Mindy Kaling, actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Never Have I Ever), actor Rizwan Manji (Schitt’s Creek), actress Sandy Sidhu (Nurses), television personality Anisha Ramakrishna (Family Karma), Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia, and entrepreneur and author Arlene Dickinson (Dragons’ Den).

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is introducing the International Indigenous Screen Industry Summit, aimed at facilitating conversation and empowering Indigenous media professionals. Taking place June 21 and hosted on the festival’s virtual conference platform, the event is timed to coincide with National Indigenous Peoples Day. The day-long event includes panels, round table discussions, networking events and sessions with Indigenous creators. The program was created with the guidance of an advisory board that includes Monika Ille, CEO, APTN; Melanie Hadley, Program Director, WarnerMedia; Kerry Swanson, Associate Director, Indigenous Screen Office; Jesse Wente, Director, Indigenous Screen Office; Jason Ryle, Producer, Curator, Project Manager, Consultant; Naomi Johnson, Executive Director, imagineNATIVE; and Adriana Chartrand, Institute Manager, imagineNATIVE. Find the full agenda here

Jennifer Podemski

Indspire has announced the recipients of the 2021 Indspire Awards and introduced Jennifer Podemski as its new executive producer, heralding a new format for the June 22 broadcast of this year’s show. Twelve Indigenous achievers from a diverse list of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities will be honoured during the broadcast on APTN, APTN lumi, CBC TV,  CBC Gem, CBC Radio One and CBC Listen. The new format will focus heavily on the story of each recipient.

APTN Indigenous Day Live (IDL) returns June 20 to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD) with a lineup pairing Indigenous artists with Canadian music icons to perform a line-up of collaborations in English, French and Indigenous languages. The multi-platform broadcast will take audiences to stages in Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Dartmouth, NS. Hosted by Earl Wood and Janelle Wookey, IDL 2021 will feature performances by Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Tom Wilson, iskwē, Neon Dreams, Julian Taylor, and Charlotte Cardin. Tribute segments for Manitoba’s sesquicentennial and the 25th anniversary of NIPD will be woven throughout the event, portraying the history of Indigenous Peoples and their contributions to Canada.

Pass Through Productions & Bright Shadow Productions have announced APTN lumi original series Querencia from writer/director Mary Galloway will launch on the platform on June 1. The coming of age 2SLGBTQ+ web series that centres on the budding romance between two young Indigneous women will launch, accompanied by a special virtual premiere event hosted by imagineNATIVE. Following the premiere, the entire series will go live on APTN lumi on June 1 at 11 p.m. ET. The first two episodes will also be available as a part of the Inside Out Festival. Querencia began in 2019 when Mary Galloway and Jessie Anthony won the APTN/imagineNATIVE Web Series Pitch Competition. They were also selected by the Canadian Film Academy to submit to the Telefilm Talent to Watch program and awarded further funding to expand the series. Shot in Vancouver, Querencia was backed by a full crew of BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ representation.

CBC TV premieres Our Game, the behind-the-scenes documentary that shows how the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) safely returned to competition just three months after the initial COVID-19 lockdown last March. Premiering May 29 at 1 p.m. ET, in addition to the broadcast, Our Game will be live streamed via CBC Gem, and the CBC Sports app. Produced in partnership with Guelph-based video production company Ward 1 Studios, Our Game is directed by Alex Vander Vlugt, who also serves as co-producer and Garrett Smith (of Ward 1 Studios), with Ansh Sanyal (Director, Brand & Marketing, CEBL) also co-producing. 

CBC says production is underway in Halifax on Season 3 (8 x 60) of Diggstown. CBC renewed the legal drama for a third season last year, with production pushed to spring 2021 due to COVID-19. Joining the cast this season are Antoinette Robertson (Dear White People), Crystle Lightning (Trickster) and Nicole Muñoz (Van Helsing). Jully Black guest stars in the season premiere, playing a long-term Continuing Care Assistant charged with assault and criminal negligence, while Michelle Hurst will guest in a later episode as a client. 

The Kids in the Hall have announced they are finally in production in Toronto on their new series for Amazon. The Canadian Amazon Original series joins All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs, currently in production, and the recently announced LOL: Last One Laughing with host Jay Baruchel.

The Quebecor Fund Board of Directors has announced the Canadian production companies that will receive nearly $2.5 million in financial backing in the 42nd round of the Fund’s Television Production Assistance Program. Of that amount, $225,000 is being granted under the Convergent Production Support component to Productions du Masque inc. for a project that will air on TVA Group. Under the Creation of Intellectual Property Support component, $1,298,880 is being granted to five projects from Untamed productions 4 inc., Productions Lustitia inc., Maki Média inc., Yzanakio and IceWorks Animation inc. Broadcasters backing the development of these projects are TVA Group, Bell Media, Corus and Société Radio-Canada. Under the Production of Intellectual Property Intended for International Markets Support component, launched in partnership with the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Quebecor Fund is contributing $947,700 in this round and the CMF $527,700 for a total of $1,475,400, to be divided among five fiction projects and one documentary project produced by Trio Orange inc., Productions KOTV II inc., Sphère Média inc., Productions Pixcom inc., Encore Télévision inc. and Les Productions Sovimage inc., set to air on TVA Group, Corus and Bell Media.

Open Screenplay, the Toronto-headquartered online screenwriting platform, has issued a statement following an Israeli air strike May 17 that destroyed its satellite offices in Gaza. While none of Open Screenplay’s employees were harmed, the attack resulted in the death of at least four civilians. Open Screenplay had hired a team of young developers in Gaza, graduates of an incubator called Gaza Sky Geeks, created by Mercy Corps, in partnership with Google, the Canadian Government, and Amazon Web Services, to create opportunities in the city which has an unemployment rate of 49%. “Open Screenplay was a place where our Gaza team could dream of building a better future for themselves and their families. With this bombing, their dreams are shattered,” said Founder and CEO Khaled Sabawi. Sabawi is calling for an independent investigation into Israel’s targeting of civilian buildings, including the offices of Open Screenplay.

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