The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) Prime Time conference has cancelled in-person events, due to new restrictions in response to the rise of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant. As a result, the event will start a day early, on Wednesday, Feb. 2 with an expanded virtual opening reception planned, and run through Feb. 11. Admission to the virtual event is once again free.CMPA has meanwhile, unveiled the nominees for its 16th annual Indiescreen Awards, celebrating excellence in Canadian independent feature film production. The winners will be announced at a live virtual event Feb. 11, presented in partnership with Telefilm Canada, as part of Prime Time. The Established Producer Award nominees are: Paul Barkin (Alcina Pictures) – Night Raiders; Jason Brennan (Nish Media) – L’Inhumain; Terry Greenlaw (Picture Plant Limited) – Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor; Anand Ramayya (Karma Film Inc.) – Donkeyhead; and Julia Rosenberg (January Films Ltd.) – Charlotte. The Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer Award nominees are Martin Edralin (Circus Zero Films) & Priscilla Galvez (Silent Tower) – Islands; Kate Kroll, Rylan Friday & Trevor Mack (Portraits From a Fire Productions Inc.) – Portraits From a Fire; Alona Metzer (Leilani Films) – Learn to Swim; Shasha Nakhai (Compy Films) – Scarborough; and Rhayne Vermette (Exovedate Productions) – Ste. Anne.
Canadian Heritage has postponed its arts and culture summit, set to take place Jan. 31 – Feb. 1 in Ottawa. The department says due to recent pandemic developments, it has refocused its attention on the immediate challenges facing Canadian artists and cultural workers. The summit will be rescheduled once public health measures allow face-to-face meetings to occur safely. Over the next couple of weeks, the department says Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez will continue to hold conversations with artists, technical and production workers, creative professionals, producers and presenters to determine how the Government of Canada can continue to provide support.
Hot Docs has partnered with Bell Let’s Talk, Workman Arts and SickNotWeak Charitable Foundation to present the world virtual premiere of Theo Tams: One Last Chance. Directed by Michael & Corey Landsberg, the doc follows the story of Season 6 Canadian Idol winner Theo Tams, and his extraordinary journey with mental health and music. The film will screen nationwide for free on Hot Docs at Home on Thursday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. (EST), and include a live musical performance by Tams and panel discussion hosted by Michael Landsberg. Hot Docs will offer the film for extended free streaming from Jan. 21-26.
TVO Original series FASTER! Humanity’s Quest to Save Time stops to consider the impact of our most popular time-saving inventions, asking do they actually cost more than they save? Each episode focuses on specific inventions and concepts widely adopted around the world, from elevators and highways to microwaves and dishwashers. The eight-part series is airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on TVO, and anytime on TVO.org, YouTube and TVO streaming services.
AMI, in partnership with Nikki Ray Media Agency (Fire Masters, Home to Win), will debut Fashion Dis, hosted by Ardra Shephard, on Wednesday, Feb. 9 on AMI-tv. The makeover show challenges traditional norms that lack inclusion, featuring frustrated style seekers discouraged by an industry that lacks adaptive options. Shephard, who is behind award-winning blog, Tripping on Air, is a leader in the MS community and on a mission to change minds about what it means to live with serious illness and to have disability positively reflected as part of a diverse society. Episodes will also be available to stream on demand on AMI.ca and the AMI-tv App.
Corus Studios’ latest greenlight is Renovation Resort (7×60) which brings together HGTV Canada stars Scott McGillivray and Bryan Baeumler for the first time. The seven-part competition series, produced by McGillivray Entertainment, is slated for production this summer and set to premiere on HGTV Canada in Spring 2023. Corus Studios will distribute the series internationally. It will see McGillivray enlist builder and longtime “frenemy” Baeumler to help get his recently purchased wreck of a lakeside resort into shape. They’re calling in four expert contractor/design duos who will battle it out against each other to bring the forgotten fishing resort back to life. The competition series is currently casting for experienced contractors and designer duos to participate.
Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana and TIME Studios Kids and Family, the recently announced kids and family programming division of Emmy Award-winning TIME Studios, have teamed up to develop new original preschool series Leela’s Island. Marking the first development partnership between the two companies, and the first preschool content deal for TIME Studios, the animated comedy-adventure series features a curious five-year-old who discovers she has inherited a gift that allows her to transform into any animal she wishes and see the world through its eyes. Leela’s Island is created and written by a team of diverse storytellers, including award-winning writer Fracaswell Hyman (Gullah Gullah Island, Taina, Little Bill, The Famous Jett Jackson) and Maria Perez-Brown (Gullah Gullah Island, Taina), developed in partnership with writer Janice Burgess (The Backyardigans).
Prime Video has announced the premiere date for Amazon Original series LOL: Last One Laughing Canada, along with a star-studded cast of Canadian comedic talent that includes Caroline Rhea, Debra DiGiovanni, Dave Foley, Jon Lajoie, Tom Green, Mae Martin, Colin Mochrie, Brandon Ash-Mohammed, Andrew Phung, and K. Trevor Wilson. The first two episodes of the six-episode series launch Friday, Feb. 18, with subsequent episodes to drop on Feb. 25 and March 4. Available on Prime Video in 240 countries, the competition series pits 10 comedic talents against each other in a celebrity showdown with the objective to eliminate others from the house by making each other laugh, while not laughing themselves. The comedian who outlasts their competitors wins the grand prize of $100,000 for their charity of choice. The series, an adaptation of Japanese Amazon Original Documental, became the most watched title of all time on Prime Video in Italy and Germany, and has had successful local versions in Mexico, Australia, India, France, and Spain.
Asian Television Network (ATN) flagship series, ATN’s Tribute to 100 Years of Indian Cinema, is now available for streaming on Crave. The Bollywood Bonanza Collection features 20 episodes from the series, complemented by 20 popular movies in Hindi. The original series, produced at ATN’s studios in Markham, ON, has had a 300-episode run, featuring celebrities and stalwarts from the Indian film industry.
Midsomer Murders, the long-running British detective drama that boasts 22 seasons, is the latest streaming channel available to Roku owners across North America. The free ad-supported (FAST) channel is available as part of The Roku Channel’s Live TV Guide and managed by distributor All3Media, which has plans to expand its availability to other digital platforms early this year.
Bell Media’s Discovery, Animal Planet, Discovery Velocity, Discovery Science, and Investigation Discovery are in free preview, simultaneously for the first time. Featuring a lineup of exclusive Canadian original series as well as returning favourites, the multi-channel freeview runs until Feb 10. Discovery’s complete family of channels is available for free preview through participating television service providers, including but not limited to Bell, Cogeco, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Telus, and participating members of the CCSA.
Telefilm Canada is opening the Indigenous Production Stream for applications, Feb. 7-21. It will host a session on Monday, Jan. 17 to present new changes to the Eligibility Requirements and answer any questions about applying to the stream. Indigenous filmmakers at any level of their careers are invited to join the webinar. RSVP here.
ARRAYCrew, the database developed by American filmmaker Ava Duvernay, is now live in Canada. The equal opportunity platform, also available as an app, is focused on promoting inclusion within the film & television industry for below-the-line professionals from underrepresented populations.