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TV & Film News – Canadian Heritage plans national arts & culture summit

Pablo Rodriguez

Canadian Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez plans to hold a two-day national summit Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 with the arts, culture and heritage sectors at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Rodriguez, who’ll also consult virtually with stakeholders in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montréal and Halifax in January, wants to discuss long-term trends emerging in the Canadian cultural ecosystem and solutions for sustainable recovery, including how to bring back and create new audiences, the role of digital platforms, and the contribution of cultural sectors to reconciliation and a more inclusive society. The summit will take place in a hybrid format with the in-person component dependant on evolving public health guidelines. 

Telefilm Canada has released its 2020-21 Annual Report. Overall, $173.5M in COVID-19 relief funding was administered by Telefilm with projects covered by the Short-Term Compensation Fund (STCF) representing more than half a billion dollars in Canadian production budgets, supporting approximately 4,500 full-time equivalent jobs. To support an industry on hold due to the pandemic, Telefilm redirected funds to finance all eligible projects submitted to the Development Program. Its budget was increased to support 607 projects for $11.5M. The inaugural Development Stream for Racialized Persons (now Black and People of Colour) saw over $2.5M invested in 143 projects from 93 companies. Telefilm will hold its annual public assembly via videoconference, Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. ET on its Facebook page where the Board of Directors and Executive Leadership Team will discuss results as well as priorities going forward.


Boat Rocker has announced that its sci-fi drama series Invasion has been renewed for a second season at Apple TV+. The renewal of the series, from Academy and Emmy Award-nominee Simon Kinberg (X-Men, Deadpool, The Martian) and David Weil (Hunters) arrives ahead of the final episode of Season 1, which premiered globally Dec. 10. Set across multiple continents, Invasion follows an alien invasion through different perspectives around the world. It stars Golshifteh Farahani, Shamier Anderson, Shioli Kutsuna, Firas Nassar, Billy Barratt, Azhy Robertson, Tara Moayedi, Daisuke Tsuji and Sam Neill.

Oxford Economics has released new data demonstrating the economic impact of Warner Bros. Television’s DC drama series Superman & Lois in British Columbia, with over $95 million spent in-province on the first season alone. Their analysis estimates just one season of production stimulated a total of 1,220 jobs in B.C., including 630 direct jobs created on the show. The series is estimated to have contributed approximately $137 million to the provincial GDP in 2020-21. The DC Super Hero drama, based on iconic characters Superman and Lois Lane, is filmed in Surrey, Richmond, and Delta. Read the complete report here.


Cascadoo Films and Give a Hoot Productions have announced that award-winning director Camille Hollett-French is set to shoot SPARK in Vancouver. The short film, which goes to camera in January, received the highest grant possible from the Canada Council for the Arts and will run a paid mentorship program sponsored by TELUS Storyhive for nine mentees. Participants will also receive a professional package including a headshot, industry-specific resume writing, anti-bias training, interview prep and a guided facility tour of William F. White. Hollett-French, whose film FREYA recently won five Leo awards, is directing and producing the film, written by Christina McInulty. McNulty will also star as Roxanne, a disillusioned senior care home worker implicated in the disappearance of lonely scientist Harold – a cantankerous, assisted living resident obsessed with fixing a mysterious machine to find his missing wife. SPARK is being made with the support of Seniors Come Share Society where the film will be shot with a province-wide casting search undeway for the role of Harold. Learn more at

DOC Institute has announced the 8th annual DOC Institute Honours Award winners. Tamara Mariam Dawit, an Ethiopian-Canadian filmmaker and creative sector policy advisor, is the recipient of the DOC Vanguard Award. The Vanguard Award is reserved for mid-career creatives who demonstrate a keen artistic sensibility and forward-thinking approach to the craft and show the potential to lead the next generation of doc-makers. Sylvia D. Hamilton is the recipient of the DOC Luminary Award, given to an individual who embodies the creative spirit of the Canadian documentary tradition and displays generosity by supporting the next generation of doc-makers. Hamilton is an independent filmmaker, professor emeritus at the University of King’s College School of Journalism in Halifax, and a founding member of the DOC Atlantic chapter. Read more here.


Global has announced new series joining its winter programming lineup. Beginning in January, the network welcomes the debut of new medical drama Good Sam (Jan. 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT), historical drama limited series Women of the Movement (Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT), and Global’s latest comedy Abbott Elementary (Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT). New seasons of returning hit competition series I Can See Your Voice (Jan. 5 at 8 ET/PT) and Celebrity Big Brother (Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT) also join the schedule.

CTV kicks off 2022 with a primetime schedule featuring six new series and a roster of returning hits. The network’s first block of mid-season premieres includes crime drama The Cleaning Lady (Jan. 3), starring Elodie Yung (The Hitman’s Bodyguard) and Adan Canto (Designated Survivor), as well as comedy Pivoting (Jan. 9) with Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings), Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time), and Maggie Q (Designated Survivor). Three unscripted series also join the midseason schedule: Gordon Ramsay cooking competition Next Level Chef (Jan. 2); Judge Steve Harvey (Jan. 4), a new one-hour courtroom comedy where real-life people with present cases to Harvey; along with Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer (Jan. 6), based on the original dating series.

CTV presents Celebrating Greatness: Canada’s Walk of Fame 2021, premiering Friday, Dec. 17. Co-hosted by actor and 2010 inductee Eric McCormack and ETALK’s Traci Melchor, the one-hour special honours exceptional Canadians with distinctive accomplishments in philanthropy, advocacy, and contributions towards the greater good. McCormack and Melchor will co-host the broadcast overlooking the Vancouver skyline, with presenters including Carrie-Anne Moss presenting to her Matrix co-star Keanu Reeves; Chris Jericho honouring wrestling champion Bret “Hitman” Hart; 2003 Inductee Robbie Robertson presenting to iconic actor Graham Greene; and Barenaked Ladies celebrating Canadian music legend Bruce Cockburn. The special will be available to stream on Crave, starting Dec. 18.

CTV welcomes the arrival of its new original comedy Children Ruin Everything, airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV,, and the CTV app, beginning Jan. 12. Created by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience), the series follows parents, Astrid (Meaghan Rath, Being Human) and James (Aaron Abrams, Blindspot), as they raise their two young children in the city and struggle to hold on to their pre-kid life. Filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, the first season consists of eight half-hour episodes. As previously announced, Children Ruin Everything joins the Roku Originals programming slate on The Roku Channel in the U.S. in 2022.

CTV Original drama Transplant returns for its second season Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, beginning Jan. 3. Season 2 is produced by Sphere Media in association with CTV and Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group, with the translated French version, Transplanté, joining Noovo’s lineup in 2022. Filmed in Montréal, Season 2 consists of 13 one-hour episodes. Joining Season 2 in recurring roles are Gord Rand (Chapelwaite, Orphan Black) and Nora Guerch (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Zoe), as well as series cultural consultant and actor, Ahmad Meree.

FEATURE: Fairchild Television is celebrating its recent Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) Award win in the Best Television category. Weekly current affairs program, Media Focus, and producer Steve So were recognized for the show’s coverage of a York University study highlighting pandemic racism targeted at the Asian community. Read more here.

Monique Sobey and Debbie VanSickle, Pictou County Christmas Fund Telethon 2021

Eastlink says its community fundraising partnerships helped raise over $1 million for communities and non-profit organizations this holiday season through local telethons broadcast by Eastlink Community TV in 11 communities across the country. Michael Smith, VP, Eastlink TV, says in spite of challenges presented by COVID-19 “cancelling these telethons simply wasn’t an option. We knew we had to find a way to continue to make these happen, however modified they needed to be.”

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