The Canadian Screen Awards have announced this year’s Special Award Recipients across five categories, including longtime Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play announcer Bob Cole, TSN personality Kayla Grey, and CBC TV and radio host Amanda Parris. Cole, who retired after a five-decade sportscasting career in 2019, is receiving a Lifetime Achievement honour. Parris, Grey and Toronto-based writer, editor and producer Kathleen Newman-Bremang are being recognized with Changemaker Awards. Newman-Bremang is currently the Deputy Director, Global at Refinery29 Unbothered, a vertical made for and by Black women. The new Special Award honours those in the Canadian media community using their voice or platform to call out systemic racism and seek structural transformation in media, film, and television organizations that promote values of equity and inclusion. Rassi Nashalik, a retired Inuk media personality who pioneered and hosted Inuktitut daily television newcast, CBC North Igalaaq, is receiving the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism. Over her 19 years at CBC, she travelled extensively telling northern stories and in 2021 became the first Inuk woman inducted into the CBC News Hall of Fame. Read more here.
Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is making plans to safely return in-person to the Rockies, June 12-15, for the 2022 edition of the event under specially developed health & safety protocols. BANFF is offering an exclusive past attendee discount until Feb. 25, in addition to a Virtual Pass, which will be available starting Feb. 28 offering online-only delegate access to BANFF session recordings, select content and virtual networking. BANFF 2022 delegates will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
HISTORY and Hungry Eyes Media Group have announced four-part docuseries, BLK: An Origin Story, will premiere Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The limited series, consisting of four one-hour episodes is executive produced by Jen Holness and Sudz Sutherland and takes viewers on a nationwide journey through time to discover the untold story of Black people in Canada and their legacy, dating back to 1608. Each episode transports viewers to a different Canadian location, including Nova Scotia, Ontario, BC, and Quebec, elevating remarkable Black Canadians previously unacknowledged in mainstream social, academic, and cultural circles.
TVO Original Subjects of Desire, which explores harmful beauty stereotypes targeting Black women, premieres on TVO Feb. 1 at 9 p.m. ET, streaming across Canada afterwards on TVO.org, YouTube and TVO streaming services including Roku and Apple TV. Garnering awards and accolades from Hot Docs, SXSW, and TIFF, Subjects of Desire features interviews with singer-songwriters India Arie and Jully Black, as well as former beauty pageant contestants highlighting the small-but-promising gains that have been made to redefine who can be considered beautiful in media and society. The first feature doc from veteran film and TV producer Jennifer Holness, Subjects of Desire is part of TVO’s Black History Month programming, which will also include the drama series Small Axe from Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen, and the documentaries Black Power: A British Story of Resistance, Subnormal: A British Scandal, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, Becoming Black, and more.
One Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story, a docuseries exploring the legacy of slavery and how our shared history can create a better future, is set to premiere on Smithsonian Channel in Canada and the U.S. on Feb. 7 to kick-off Black History Month. The four-part limited series uncovers the truth of a 1,000-year story of slavery around the world, as actors, celebrities and influencers like Debbie Allen, Valerie Jarrett, Lorraine Toussaint, Soledad O’Brien, CCH Pounder, Senator Cory Booker, Marc Morial and Dulé Hill, among others, confront their personal connection to slavery and its legacy. Slated to air every Monday in February, Courtney B. Vance lends his voice as narrator to all four-episodes of the limited series.
Blink Studios, the recently-launched content venture backed by Endeavor Content, has acquired the rights to “Hold My Girl”, the upcoming novel from emerging Canadian author Charlene Carr. Blink will serve as the studio for the television adaption, which marks the company’s first project since launching in November. Producer Michael London and Shannon Gaulding of Groundswell Productions (Snowfall, The Magicians) will executive produce the series together with Carolyn Newman and Virginia Rankin for Blink Studios. The fiction novel centres around two women whose eggs are switched during IVF, only to be revealed over a year later when one of them has been raising the wrong daughter, and the other has been grieving a stillborn child that wasn’t hers. Inspired by the author’s own life – a Black woman who gave birth to a visibly white child via IVF – “Hold My Girl” will be published by Welbeck Publishing in the UK and Harper Collins in Canada, set for release in 2023. Carr currently lives in Nova Scotia. “Hold My Girl” is her first agented novel.
Corus Studios started the year on a high note with more than 250+ hours of new sales in the first quarter to broadcasters in Germany, Poland, France, the UK and additional deals secured for French Canada. French language rights expand with Quebecor Content acquiring seven Corus Studios series including Fire Masters, Junior Chef Showdown, Rock Solid Builds, Island of Bryan, and adds Family Home Overhaul, Making It Home with Kortney and Dave, and Home to Win to their SVOD offerings. Bell Media has picked up $ave My Reno and Scott’s Vacation House Rules for French Canada.
Sparkly Frog Clan Productions is behind a new Indigenous business competition series set to air on APTN. A call for contestants for Season 1 of Bears’ Lair TV is now open, which over the course of nine episodes will see 18 emerging and established Indigenous entrepreneurs compete for $180,000 in prize money to take their enterprise to the next level. The Bears are an expert panel of four core judges plus an additional guest judge each episode, featuring Indigenous business leaders from across the country, including Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business President and CEO Tabatha Bull of Nipissing First Nation in Ontario; Tuccaro Group of Companies President and CEO Dave Tuccaro of the Mikisew Cree Nation in Alberta; Steel River Group President and CEO Trent Fequet from the Innu community of Pakuashipi in Quebec; and Sparkly Frog Clan Productions Executive Producer and Founder Geena Jackson of Sechelt First Nation in BC.
TSN will return as the exclusive Canadian media partner of the Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club for the 2022 Major League Rugby season. The partnership will see the network deliver the club’s 16 regular season games, as well as potential MLR Championship Series matches, to TSN and TSN Direct subscribers. The Arrows, Canada’s only professional rugby union team, will begin their fourth campaign with a road match against the Seattle Seawolves on Sunday, Feb. 6.
Quebecor and its TVA and CEC Publishing subsidiaries are co-producing Nos Géants, a new series of 45 educational vignettes for TV and the web, in collaboration with the Fondation Lionel-Groulx and the Government of Québec. The series will celebrate significant figures who played important roles in Québec’s history, from New France to present day. Nos Géants is airing weekly on TVA during the Salut Bonjour morning show and will run for three seasons, with 15 episodes per season. In the first season of Nos Géants, Annie-Soleil Proteau, Laurent Turcot, Sophie Faucher, Mario Dumont, Pierre Curzi, France Castel, Pauline Marois, Sophie Thibault, Émile Bilodeau, Marie-Thérèse Fortin, Konrad Sioui, Alice Pascual, Cynthia Wu-Maheux and Sébastien Ricard relay the stories of historical figures like Les filles du Roy, La Bolduc, Samuel de Champlain, Camille Laurin, Gabrielle Roy and Calixa Lavallée. The series will also be used in high school French and history classes.
Cogeco is celebrating 20 years of news on YourTV North Bay this month. Launched in 2002 to fill the void of local television news in North Bay, Cogeco News’ first broadcast was at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 14, 2002. Over the past 20 years, the program has aired over 5,200 episodes, Monday to Friday, showcasing what’s happening in North Bay, in addition to hosting numerous local and national celebrities in-studio from entertainers and athletes to Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau. Founded by Cogeco Regional Manager Brian Winkworth, Clarke Heipel is the show’s producer with Greg Estabrooks serving as host since its inception. Read more here.