TV & Film News – BANFF Rockie Awards International Program winners announced

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced the winners of the 2021 Rockie Awards International Program Competition. The UK came away with a leading 11 awards, followed by the U.S. with 10. Canada claimed five awards, while Australia and France took home four awards each. Among the Canadian winners were Vancouver podcast production and creative studio Kelly&Kelly, which won in the Podcast: Fiction category for Hindsight, a dramatized series based on world events and produced for Al Jazeera Podcasts. Kelly&Kelly notably won the inaugural Best Podcast honour at last year’s Rockies for This Sounds Serious. Canada-UK co-production Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Associated Producers Ltd., Cornelia Street Productions, UppiTV, Anonymous Content, EPIX), won in the History & Biography category, while Happily Married (C’est comme ça que je t’aime) (Cineflix Media, Casablanca Productions, Ici Tou.tv) claimed the Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content. Read more here.

Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has revealed that the streaming giant will start production on its first Original Canadian feature film later this year and is sponsoring a national rollout of Women in Animation Vancouver’s Animation Career EXCELerator (ACE), as it ramps up activity in Canada. Featured on the opening day of the BANFF World Media Festival, Sarandos talked about lessons learned from the pandemic and the streamer’s plans as it establishes a Canadian headquarters in Toronto after 10 years of doing business on this side of the border. Part of that expanded activity includes acquiring the global rights to Canadian sci-fi sequel Code 8: Part II from Collective Pictures, which will be directed by Jeff Chan and see acting cousins Robbie Amell (Upload) and Stephen Amell (Arrow) reprise their roles. Read more here.

Bell Media has confirmed a Canadian content lineup of more than 75 titles for its 2021-22 season, featuring new original series, documentaries, and specials. Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, The Amazing Race Canada will head back on the road in 2022. Crave has confirmed orders for new scripted comedy Du Me A Favor starring 4YE Original’s Jermaine Richards and Trevaunn Richards; six-part, limited dramatic series Little Bird, created by Jennifer Podemski (Unsettled), who also serves as executive producer, alongside Hannah Moscovitch (X Company), Jeremy Podeswa (Game of Thrones) and Rezolution Pictures/Original Pictures; and Thunder Bay, an investigative series based on the Canadaland podcast, produced and hosted by Anishinaabe journalist Ryan McMahon. As production begins on Seasons 10 and 11 of LETTERKENNY, Crave also confirms upcoming spin-off SHORESY. Reinforcing CTV’s fall schedule are returning and new series, including The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, The Conners, The Masked Singer, Young Sheldon, Home Economics, and Season 3 of CTV Original series JANN. New series include The Wonder Years, The Big Leap, thriller La Brea, hip-hop series Queens, and Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes returns to CBC for a 29th season this fall with an expanded order (24×30). Season 29 also sees the show move to the 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) timeslot Tuesday evenings, premiering Sept. 14 on CBC and CBC Gem. Starring Mark Critch and Trent McClellan, the upcoming season also welcomes Aba Amuquandoh as an official cast member. Ahead of its premiere, the show will be holding auditions for a fourth series regular. CBC says the show continues to expand its reach with content shared over the course of Season 28 receiving more than 32 million views, generating over 100 million impressions, and resulting in nearly 10 million engagements.

CTV Comedy Channel Original Corner Gas Animated returns for a fourth and final season, July 5. The latest chapter in the 17-year long history of the Corner Gas franchise is set to conclude with 13, new half-hour episodes, which will feature cameos from Tantoo Cardinal, Kim Coates, Simu Liu, Mark McKinney, Rick Mercer and Steven Page. Launching in April 2018, Corner Gas Animated debuted as the most-watched series premiere in the history of CTV Comedy Channel. The series has earned 13 Canadian Screen Award nominations, taking home six trophies in the last three years, including back-to-back wins for Best Animated Program or Series in 2020 and 2021; and Best Writing, Animation in 2019 and 2020.

NBCUniversal streamer Peacock has ordered 10 episodes of family comedy, Take Note, from Toronto’s Lambur Productions. Created by Joan Lambur, the series follows a group of tween contestants competing in a fictional reality singing competition. It will star Braelyn Rankins (Doom Patrol); Nadine Roden (Designated Survivor), Broadway actor Aadin Church, and Sebastian Spencer (Overlord and the Underwoods).

marblemedia is developing new one-hour drama series, Persuasion, based on Canadian entrepreneur and TV personality Arlene Dickinson’s best-selling book. marblemedia has optioned the rights with Dickinson to serve as an executive producer on the series, along with marblemedia’s Matthew Hornburg, Mark Bishop and Carrie Paupst Shaughnessy, with Alexandra Zarowny attached to write and executive produce. The fictional series will explore the fast-paced world of marketing and public relations through the lens of a tenacious young mother with no formal education in the 1990s and her transformation into a marketing maven and celebrity in present day. 

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has launched a new website. Directors.ca is an interactive search tool that assists producers, showrunners and other key decision makers in finding a DGC Director for their next project by curating a tailored list of directors that meet their criteria by entering specifics such as language, genre and credits. The list can then be narrowed down further with additional filters like studios worked with and residency. Each director’s profile includes an array of information from a biography to contact info, social accounts, credits and reels.  

CTV Sci-Fi Channel is set to premiere new original series SURREALESTATE, July 16. The 10-episode, one-hour paranormal series is produced by Blue Ice Pictures and shot last summer in St. John’s, NL. The series depicts real estate agent Luke Roman (Tim Rozon, Wynonna Earp, Schitt’s Creek) and his eclectic team of associates who correct unconventional problems in “metaphysically engaged properties.” Joining Rozon is Schitt’s Creek co-star Sarah Levy as a neurotic real estate agent with a secret; Adam Korson (Teachers) as research specialist and former Catholic priest; Savannah Basley (Wynonna Earp) as a no-nonsense office manager; Maurice Dean Wint (Diggstown) as the resident “MacGyver”; and Tennille Read (Workin’ Moms) as client Megan Donovan. Wynonna Earp star Melanie Scrofano also directs two episodes of the series and guest-stars in one.

W SERIES, TSN, and RDS have reached a multi-year media rights agreement making Bell Media’s sports networks the Canadian home of the all-female professional motor racing series. Presented in partnership with FORMULA 1, the 2021 W SERIES schedule features eight events, beginning Saturday, June 26 live from the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria. Live coverage of W SERIES on TSN is led by a broadcast team that includes hosts Lee McKenzie and Anna Woolhouse; lead commentator Alex Jacques; co-commentators David Coulthard and Billy Monger; pitlane reporters Ted Kravitz and Amy Reynolds; and analyst Naomi Schiff.

Spin Master Corp. is launching the Spin Master Future of Play Scholarship program supporting the education and career advancement of individuals from underrepresented communities in the fields of toys, entertainment and digital games. Spin Master is committing $100,000 annually in financial aid as well as mentorship and on the job experience. Spin Master will grant eight scholarships per year: three entertainment, one gaming, and four toy scholarships with two in Canada and two in the U.S. The scholarships are available to individuals from underrepresented communities, including BIPOC, women, LGBTQIA+ and indigent students seeking post-secondary education within the fields of toy design, animation, creative production, digital gaming and app development. In addition to financial support, recipients will have the opportunity to secure an internship at Spin Master and the potential for full-time employment upon completion of studies. The deadline for applications is July 23.

Netflix and Hot Docs have been recognized for their innovative partnership in developing the Hot Docs Canadian Storytellers Project (HDCSP). Business / Arts awarded the project this year’s Community Impact Award at its 2021 Business / Arts Awards, which annually recognize partnerships between business and the arts.

 

TELUS is donating the full cost of movie rentals – up to $15,000 – from the Celebrate Pride collection in its On Demand library to Rainbow Railroad Canada this month. Until June 30, Optik and Pik TV customers can view titles from the collection of 39 films including  Ammonite, Boy Erased, Milk, Moonlight, and Rocketman. Optik and Pik TV customers can also access a curated selection of free titles from TELUS Originals, STORYHIVE, and YouTube playlists available on the Community Connections channel, 345, featuring Canadian films celebrating BIPOC and LGBTQ+ voices.