TV & Film News – TIFF launches ‘Every Story’ fund promoting inclusion in film

Alfred Molina

Amazon Prime Video and Left Bank Pictures have announced the start of production on Canadian Amazon Original drama and second original scripted series, Three Pines. Filming in Montreal and rural Quebec until December, the series stars Alfred Molina and is based on Canadian author Louise Penny’s best-selling Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. Directors on the series include Sam Donovan as lead director, Tracey Deer, and Daniel Grou. John Griffin will series produce. Deer is also serving as Indigenous consultant, alongside Katsitsionni Melissa Fox and IllumiNative. Read more here.

TIFF has launched Every Story, a new fund to support initiatives that promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in film. The Every Story fund will support filmmakers and creatives from under-represented groups, focused in three key areas: challenging the status quo by leading important conversations within the film industry and creative communities; celebrating diverse storytellers and building inclusive audiences; and creating opportunities for under-represented filmmakers to share their voice through talent, networking, and project development

WarnerMedia Access Canada has announced WarnerMedia Access Festivals, a new initiative to demystify the festival experience for mid-level filmmakers from underrepresented communities. Launching across Canada, starting with TIFF, the program will provide selected participants with an industry accreditation pass as well as an exclusive opportunity to meet with an experienced filmmaker and to discuss practical strategies with a festival programmer. A curated guidebook will also offer networking advice from WarnerMedia execs on how to prepare, pitch and follow-up on crucial festival connections. Other participating film festivals include Ottawa International Animation Festival, Calgary International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Reelworld Film Festival, Rendezvous with Madness Festival, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, and Fantasia International Film Festival.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) has announced the eight participants selected for the fourth cohort of the Canadian Academy Directors Program for Women, a bilingual professional development program intended to advance the careers of Canadian directors. The fourth edition of the six-month program kicks off with industry accreditation at TIFF. The cohort will then participate in monthly online sessions with key industry players and on-set placement to observe a director on a professional feature film or scripted series. The directors selected for the fourth cohort are: Josiane Blanc (ON), Katia Café-Fébrissy (ON), Joy Haskell (BC), Yuqi Kang (AB), Jules Koostachin (BC), Katerine Martineau (QC), Fawzia Mirza (ON), and V.T. Nayani (ON).

FIN has announced the full program for its first hybrid film festival – FIN Atlantic International Film Festival and FIN Stream – taking place Sept. 16-23. Featuring 158 films, 87 in-cinema screenings and 28 online screenings, the festival will be presented in Halifax at Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane and accessible virtually throughout Atlantic Canada. Kicking off this year’s festival is Opening Night Gala, Wildhood. Written and directed by Bretten Hannam, a Two-Spirit L’nu filmmaker, the film redefines the conventional road movie through an L’nu worldview. The festival’s Closing Night Gala is Spanish comedy, Official Competition, directed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat and starring Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. 

Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) celebrates its 40th edition, Oct. 1-11, with a program that includes more than 110 feature films, 77 shorts, and 20 events. All films will be presented in-cinema, in strict compliance with provincial COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and select titles available for streaming across the province and Canada-wide on VIFF Connect. VIFF’s 40th edition will officially open with an in-cinema screening of inventive biopic The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, from U.K. director Will Sharpe, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Victorian illustrator. The festival will close with an in-cinema screening of Petite Maman, the latest from French director Céline Sciamma

JeanJean, Sylvie DesGroseilliers and Sebastian Demrey

Gospelmania is a new Canadian singing competition show, airing every Sunday on Natyf TV. Juried by Sylvie DesGroseilliers, Sebastian Demrey, and JeanJean, who have the weekly task of evaluating the performances of 18 contestants, special guests from Quebec’s gospel music scene are also featured like the Jireh Gospel Choir and Queenie Clement from Star Académie. The show is hosted by Micherose Philosca and Renée Joseph. The first four episodes are available on Natyf’s mobile app.

CBC/Radio-Canada has lifted its subscriber paywalls ahead of the Sept. 20 federal election to ensure Canadians have greater access to campaign coverage. The public broadcaster’s 24-hour news channels, CBC News Network and ICI RDI, are being made more widely available until Sept. 30 to all subscribers of participating distributors. CBC News Network is also accessible via CBC Gem, the CBC News app, and CBC.ca.

Bell Media will carry extensive multi-platform coverage of the 2021 NFL season, available on TSN, CTV, CTV2, and RDS this fall as the exclusive television broadcast partner of the NFL in Canada. The new season begins with pre-game coverage Thursday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. ET on TSN and CTV2 as Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. The game airs live from Tampa Bay at 8:20 p.m. ET on TSN and CTV. NFL programming is also available for live streaming on TSN.ca and CTV.ca, as well as the TSN and CTV apps. RDS delivers live French-language coverage throughout the season.

AMI original series Four Senses, #IGotThis and Postcards from… are now available on Prime Video as part of the Prime Video Direct self-publishing service in Canada, the U.S., Australia and the UK. In Four Senses, celebrity chefs Christine Ha (MasterChef) – who is blind – and Carl Heinrich (Top Chef Canada) team up with special guests for an exciting cooking show with an accessibility twist. #IGotThis features people who have discovered ways to cope with a physical disability or mental health challenges and move forward with their lives, while AMI This Week’s bureau reporters appear on Postcards from… as they travel across Canada, celebrating diverse cultures and experiences.

The National Film Board (NFB) and Rezolution Pictures International have announced that the NFB has acquired international distribution rights for their Gemini and Peabody Award-winning, 2009 co-produced feature doc, Reel Injun, directed by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond and Catherine Bainbridge. The announcement marks the return of Reel Injun to the NFB’s CAMPUS online streaming platform, where it has been the second-most-viewed title, as well as to its educational sales catalogue for both Canada and the U.S. The return coincides with the groundbreaking Stories of Cinema exhibition at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles in which Reel Injun is featured.