TV & Film News – Property Brothers, Handmaid’s Tale among Canadian Emmy nominees

Emmy nominations are out with The Handmaid’s Tale among the Canadian shot productions up for multiple awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. “Property Brothers” Jonathan and Drew Scott are also nominated for HGTV’s Property Brothers: Forever Home in the Outstanding Structured Reality Program, while Canadians Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec earned nods as part of the producing team for Shark Tank. O’Leary and Herjavec are also nominees for Best Reality or Competition Host. Emmy winner Dan Levy earned another nomination this year for his hosting turn on Saturday Night Live in February.  

The 2021 Leo Award winners have been announced recognizing excellence in British Columbia film, television and web-based media. Among this year’s multiple award winners are Sniper: Assassin’s End, which won three awards in the Motion Picture category for Sound, Picture Editing and Cinematography. In the Television Movie category, V.C. Andrews’ Ruby captured four awards, while Warrior Nun and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow each won three awards in Dramatic Series.

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has announced the nominations for the 2021 DGC Awards for Television Series, Movies for Television and Mini Series. Among those nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series are Clement Virgo for Grand Army; Tim Southam for American Gods; Anne Wheeler for Firefly Lane; Adrienne Mitchell for Coroner; Danielle Sturk for Edgar; and Berkley Brady for The Secret History of The Wild West. Nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series are Vivieno Caldinelli & Joyce Wong for Baroness von Sketch; Sherren Lee for Kim’s Convenience; Aleysa Young for Workin’ Moms and Justin Wu for Kim’s Convenience.

Telefilm Canada is leading a digitization initiative called Canadian Cinema –  Reignited, along with Hot Docs, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), to reinforce the importance of Canadian films in cinemas, festivals and on digital platforms. The project promises to bring important Canadian feature films to on-demand platforms, as well as the big screen. Digitized film titles will be announced as they are made available.

Telefilm has announced it will be physically present at international festivals and markets, starting with MIPCOM 2021, Oct. 11-14, and will soon open its call for entries for Canadian production and distribution companies wishing to be part of the Canada Pavilion at MIPCOM. The agency says International Promotion Program travel restrictions are under review with an update to be provided by the end of July. Telefilm employees will continue to work remotely with physical offices nationwide to remain closed until at least the fall.

OMNI TV will no longer broadcast Arabic-language program Lama TV following a complaint by B’nai Brith about antisemitic rhetoric used by the program online. Rogers Sports & Media has not broadcast Lama TV since Dec. 2020 for “production reasons,” but has assured B’nai Brith it will no longer be working with the program going forward.

The Public Sector Pension Investment Board has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hackman Capital Partners, a privately-held real estate investment, operating company and owner of The MBS Group, for a long-term ground lease at Downsview in northwest Toronto where HCP will build a film and television production studio facility. PSP Investments says with surging demand for entertainment content, it’s demonstrating its confidence in the industry as a source of growth and value. In 2019, it announced a joint venture with HCP, Square Mile Capital Management, USAA and Teacher Retirement System of Texas for an investment in Amazon Studios’ new HCP-developed campus in Culver City, CA and The MBS Media Campus in Manhattan Beach, CA.

The OASIS Animation Workers Union–CSN, which represents digital animators at Canada’s first unionized animation studio, has signed its first-ever collective agreement. The union is affiliated with the Fédération nationale des communications et de la culture-CSN (FNCC-CSN). Its approximately 20 members, based in Montréal, have been unionized since the fall of 2019. The contract includes seniority clauses that ensure better pay and first callback from layoffs. The union also succeeded in limiting the use of outsourcing. In addition to increasing the accountability of management and giving employees better access to training and feedback, the collective agreement includes significant salary increases of $4 per hour.

Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, together with Telefilm Canada and the Youth Media Alliance have proclaimed July 26 as the first Canadian Children’s Media Day. As part of the celebration, the CN Tower will light up on July 26 in blue and gold, colours inspired by Nelvana’s 50th anniversary. Nelvana will also host a virtual panel event, moderated by The Globe and Mail’s Executive Editor Angela Pacienza, with Nelvana’s Head of Development, Athena Georgaklis, Telefilm’s Vice President, Promotion, Communication and International Relations, Francesca Accinelli, Sheridan College’s Dean of Animation, Arts and Design Ted Gervan, and the City of Toronto’s Program Manager, Film Sector Development, Magali Simard. Ottawa International Animation Festival, Animaze Montreal International Animation Film Festival, and Vancouver’s Spark CG Society, will also host a series of virtual events.

Kyle Charles

Nelvana has announced a first-look deal with award-winning Indigenous writer and illustrator, Kyle Charles. Marking the company’s first, first-look deal in three years, the two-year agreement will see Charles pitch original content to Nelvana for joint development, from TV series to feature films for both kids and adults. Charles is an Indigenous artist, currently living in Edmonton, and a member of the Whitefish Lake First Nation (located about 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton). His previous work includes This Place: 150 Years Retold, Moonshot: Vol 3, Marvel Voices: Indigenous Voices #1 in which he was tasked with illustrating a story of Cheyenne heroine, Dani Moonstar (aka Mirage), and Batman: The Detective.

CBC Kids has greenlit production of a new original show called Ukulele U, by WOW! Unlimited Media Inc. Ukulele U marks WOW!’s debut into live action production with the inclusive musical variety show designed to inspire creativity through song, dance and education. Ukulele U is the brainchild of legendary music producer Bob Ezrin and JUNO-award winning recording artist Melanie Doane. The show sees Ezrin team up with Michael Hirsh, Emmy and Gemini Award-winning founder of Nelvana and WOW! Unlimited Media, who co-created popular preschool show The Doodlebops, and has produced shows like Babar, Max and Ruby, Care Bears, The Berenstain Bears, and Inspector Gadget.

Aba Amuquandoh

marblemedia has started production on its latest competition series, Best in Miniature (10×60), a new original series for CBC, premiering later this year, and on discovery+ in the UK and Ireland in 2022. From the producers of unscripted hits like Blown Away and Restaurants on the Edge for Netflix, the competition series will tap into the viral sensation that is miniatures and has captured over 170 million views on TikTok alone. Hosted by writer and stand-up comedian, Aba Amuquandoh (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), the series will welcome 11 highly-skilled artists from across the world to compete in building their dream home in miniature-form on a 1:12 scale. 

Pamela Anderson

Corus Studios has announced additional greenlights including Hoarder House Flippers (6×60) and Pamela Anderson’s Home Reno Project (working title) (8×60), bringing to 23 the number of original series set to air in 2022. Hoarder House Flippers features real estate investors who take on derelict hoarder spaces and transform them into money-making homes. Pamela Anderson’s Home Reno Project follows the star as she works to transform her late grandmother’s abandoned legacy property on the coast of Vancouver Island. Both series are set to premiere on HGTV Canada in 2022 and available for international sale.

AMI-tv has debuted Beyond the Field, which explores important issues impacting the world of sport and specifically parasport, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Airing Monday evenings, hosts and Paralympians Greg Westlake (AMI-tv’s Level Playing Field) and Travis Murao move the conversation forward through discussions with elite para-athletes, experts and coaches.

Cathy Jones

Cathy Jones won’t be appearing on the upcoming season of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, as confirmed by The Coast in Halifax, where the series shoots. Jones, who has been with the series since Season 1 in 1993, tells The Coast her relationship with the show and its production company “remains positive.” Jones’ name was notably absent from last month’s Season 29 press announcement.

Amanda Brugel

Crave has unveiled the judging panel that will preside over Season 2 of Canada’s Drag Race. Joining Season 1 alum Brooke Lynn Hytes are actor and Season 1 guest host Amanda Brugel; TV personality and celebrity stylist Brad Goreski; and ETALK Senior Correspondent and Canada’s Squirrel Friend from Season 1, Traci Melchor.

Dark Slope Studios, the Toronto-based virtual production and metaverse gaming company, has launched a virtual production fellowship. Announced by CEO Raja Khanna at the Banff World Media Festival, the studio will be accepting format pitches for a technology-driven prime time reality show, starting July 19. Dark Slope Studios is looking for concepts that introduce virtual reality experiences into conventional linear television shows, make use of deep fake facial tracking elements, or combine the use of LED screens and virtual production workflows into a unique, highly original new format of factual entertainment. Three finalists will be recognized, with each to be awarded $5,000 CAD and a chance to negotiate a development deal with Dark Slope Studios. The finalist will retain all rights and is under no obligation to work with Dark Slope. Interested applicants are encouraged to sign up here.