TV & Film News – APTN and CBC/Radio-Canada sign landmark agreement

(L to R): Monika Ille, CEO of APTN, Julie Grenier, Chair of APTN’s Board of Directors, Michael Goldbloom, Chair of the CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors, and Catherine Tait, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, at the signing of the first-ever memorandum of understanding between the two organizations during a ceremony in Montreal on March 3, 2022.

APTN and CBC/Radio-Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will see the two broadcasters work more closely on Indigenous productions and news and information programming. The broadcasters say the agreement will result in the creation of more Indigenous content, enhancing the ability of both networks to deliver First Nations, Inuit and Métis programming, and increase access to and awareness of content. The agreement covers collaboration on news and information programming, including sharing content and technical resources like joint feeds, pooled footage and other resources, while both entities would retain editorial control. Read more here.

CBC series Sort Of won the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award at the 20th ACTRA Awards in Toronto on Sunday night. (CBC)

ACTRA Toronto announced the winners of the 20th ACTRA Awards in Toronto on Sunday night with CBC series Sort Of taking the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award. Angela Asher was awarded Outstanding Performance – Gender Non-Conforming or Female Voice for her performance as the Voice of God in the trailer for experimental short, Silver Cord. Joshua Graham won in the Male Voice category as Sam Whippet in Netflix animated series Go, Dog. Go!. Outstanding Performance – Gender Non-Conforming or Female was claimed by Kelly McCormack as Darren in Sugar Daddy, while Outstanding Performance – Gender Non-Conforming or Male went to Dayo Ade for his performance as Anthony in Cinema of Sleep. The inaugural ACTRA Toronto Stunt Ensemble Award went to Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City for a big rig stunt in the horror/action film. Read more here.

Juanita Peters

Juanita Peters has been named this year’s ACTRA National Woman of the Year. Currently the Executive Director of the Africville Museum in Halifax, Peters started her career as a reporter and anchor with CBC News at Six in New Brunswick and AVR in the 1980s and ’90s, going on to host and write CBC’s Doc Side documentary series from 2002-06. An ACTRA member for two decades, Peters has appeared in over 30 films and television series, including Sex & Violence, Forgive Me, Splinters, Hobo With a Shotgun, Cloudburst and the Emmy-nominated Homeless to Harvard. Her directing credits include CBC series Diggstown and Studio Black, as well as 2021 feature film 8:37 Rebirth. Read more here.

The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) has announced the nominees for the 2022 WGC Screenwriting Awards. Now in their 26th year, the awards acknowledge the best in Canadian screenwriting across Canadian-made series, films, documentaries and web series. Among the productions going into this year’s awards with multiple nods are CBC’s Sort Of, which earned four nominations in the Comedy Series category, and The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker – two separate sitcoms about the same newly-blended inter-racial family, with their own storylines. The two series, which debuted on Super Channel in 2021, earned three joint nominations in the Teens & Tweens category. This year’s winners will be recognized at a virtual ceremony April 25. Find the complete list of finalists here.

The Canadian Alliance of Film and Television Costume Arts and Design has announced the nominees for the 2022 CAFTCAD Awards. Among the productions with multiple nods are Star Trek: Discovery, Schmigadoon!, Snowpiercer, and What We Do In The Shadows. The awards will stream live on Saturday, May 7, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Find the full list of nominees here.

Pearlena Igbokwe, Chairman, Universal Studio Group

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is making plans to return in-person for the 43rd edition of the event, June 12-15. Among the speakers confirmed for this year’s BANFF Summit Series are Universal Studio Group (USG) Chairman Pearlena Igbokwe. An exclusive In Conversation With session is also planned featuring global health and pandemic expert Dr. Ashish K. Jha and philanthropist and entrepreneur Frank Giustra discussing the impact of mis- and disinformation and the responsibility of the media and entertainment industry to combat it. BANFF has also revealed this year’s cohort for its BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media. Read more here.

Corus Entertainment and the BANFF World Media Festival have opened submissions for the 2022 Corus Apprentice Program: Young Adult Scripted. The focus of this year’s program is to seek out writers from underrepresented communities interested in young adult live-action television scripting. Candidates are required to submit a resume, a letter of intent that speaks to their commitment to the young adult scripted space and two letters of recommendation from Canadian film and television professionals. A spec script for a half-hour or one-hour existing show, or original concept script is also required. Selected candidates will receive a full-access pass to BANFF 2022 and a two-week internship opportunity in the writer’s room of a Corus-supported young adult live-action production between June 2022 and June 2023. Submissions are open until April 11.

The Government of Nova Scotia is investing $23 million to help the province’s film industry grow sustainably: $8 million toward a 50,000 sq. ft. soundstage that will increase the industry’s capacity, create more jobs and allow productions to continue year-round and $15 million for a new Nova Scotia Content Creator Fund that will benefit local film and television productions. The fund will provide $3 million per year over five years to eligible Nova Scotia-led productions, supporting local directors, writers, actors and performers. Premier Tim Houston and Screen Nova Scotia representatives will also travel to Los Angeles from March 12-16 to meet with decision-makers from Disney, Netflix, NBC Universal and other studios.

The Government of Alberta has announced an expanded film and television tax credit program with $70 million allotted in this year’s budget to support the sector. The annual budget will increase to $80 million by 2024/25 with the province to invest $225M over the next three years. The province says productions already approved for this year are expected to create up to 12,500 jobs. 

Sheri Elwood

Sheri Elwood, the Executive Producer of Lucifer, has struck a first-look deal with Blink49 Studios, the Endeavor Content-backed studio founded by former eOne executive John Morayniss. The studio’s initial first-look deal since its formation last year, Elwood has also executive produced CBC drama Moonshine and created Jason Priestly series Call Me Fitz, which Morayniss executive produced. 

CBC-commissioned original documentary Evil by Design: Surviving Nygard will premiere March 17 on CBC TV and CBC Gem. The three-hour series searches for the truth behind allegations against fashion mogul Peter Nygård, featuring first-hand accounts from survivors, former employees and family members. Based on investigative reporting from CBC News and the landmark audio series from CBC Podcasts, Evil by Design, the new documentary series examines the culture that kept allegations of predatory behaviour hidden.

Stuff The British Stole, a new six-part series based on journalist Marc Fennell’s (Mastermind, The School That Tried To End Racism, The Feed) podcast, is being reimagined as a new six-part television series that will be broadcast by CBC. The Australia-Canada co-production explores the stories of some of the remarkable treasures acquired by the British Empire. Set to air late this year, Stuff the British Stole is co-produced by Wooden Horse, WildBear Entertainment and Cream Productions (Canada) for ABC and CBC. FremantleMedia will distribute the series worldwide.

Global debuts dance competition series Come Dance With Me, Friday, April 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. From creators and executive producers Chris O’Donnell, LL COOL J (stars of Global’s NCIS: Los Angeles) and 3 Ball Productions, the series features gifted young dancers, ages 9-15, who invite one untrained family member to be their dance partner for a chance to strut their stuff for a grand prize. Hosted by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Philip Lawrence, with dancers and choreographers Jenna Dewan, Dexter Mayfield, and Tricia Miranda as judges, each week the duos will learn and perform different styles of dance from hip-hop and ballroom to contemporary and theatrical.

TVO Original series Political Blind Date returns for a fifth and final season, starting March 15. A typical “date” starts with two politicians getting to know each other before heading out to explore the issue of the day. The season opens with a look at systemic racism featuring Liberal MP Greg Fergus and Toronto City Councillor Michael Thompson. Political Blind Date will air at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays and streams across Canada on TVO.org, YouTube, Apple TV and Roku.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) has unveiled its schedule for March featuring a lineup of new and returning programs available in described video for the blind and partially sighted community. The schedule is highlighted by Paralympic coverage from CBC on AMI-tv and AMI-audio and the 2022 Canadian Blind Hockey Tournament, March 25- 27, with Mike Ross, Claire Buchanan, Jeff Ryman, Brock Richardson, Cam Jenkins and ParaSport TV’s Nicco Cardarelli offering play-by-play and analysis throughout the event. 

CHEK TV on Vancouver Island will present the world broadcast premiere of Tzouhalem on March 13, a feature documentary examining the near-mythic former Chief of the Cowichan Tribes who became the most powerful First Nations leader on the West Coast of North America. The story of Tzouhalem is brought to life by incorporating oral histories from Cowichan Elders, interviews with historians, and re-enactments recorded at CHEK’s studios in Victoria. Tzouhalem was produced by Orca Cove Media and co-written and co-directed by Harold Joe, who also stars in the title role. Joe is a member of the Cowichan Tribes and grew up in the shadow of Mt. Tzouhalem, where the legendary chief was banished and later buried.

Chef Heidi Fink

CHEK Media has announced that Chef Heidi Fink will be the new host of Cookin’ on the Coast, which will enter its 10th season this fall. Fink, a Red Seal Chef and award-winning cooking instructor, will bring her down-to-earth teaching style to the show, aimed at giving viewers the confidence they need to cook dishes with West Coast flair at home. With Country Grocer as the show’s sponsor for a fourth season, the series is getting a new logo and kitchen set facelift, as well as new online streaming and social media components.