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WGC asks government to reject CRTC decisions

From a media release:

The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) has filed an appeal to Cabinet about the recent, potentially disastrous CRTC broadcasting decisions 2017-149 and 150. The decisions have created deep concern in the Canadian screenwriting community for good reason: they slash private broadcaster funding to Canadian programs by 40% and could lead to over $200 million in reduced broadcaster spending on Canadian shows over a five-year licence term.

“We appeal to Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly to reject these deeply flawed and harmful decisions which deal a massive blow to Canadian culture by drastically cutting Canadian-created production,” says WGC President Jill Golick. “Screen-entertainment is the most popular cultural medium of our time. Canadian screenwriters are committed to creating shows that connect our histories, share our values, enrich our social fabric and strengthen our country. But if these decisions stand, we will be forced to leave our country in search of employment elsewhere.”

This inevitable talent drain is because Canadian screenwriters occupy a unique position in the industry. They do not work on foreign or “service” productions —primarily U.S. shows shot in Canada, not created by Canadians — as do some industry professionals. Canadian screenwriters’ primary role is to create shows that are commissioned for Canada’s private broadcasters and CBC.

Consequently, the CRTC decisions endanger both Canadian storytelling and its storytellers. It’s a particularly short-sighted choice during Canada 150, a time when Canadians should be able to look to a future where Canada’s cultural output will expand, not shrink. Instead, the CRTC has facilitated the latter, by reducing Bell Media and Corus Entertainments’ minimum spending requirements on “programs of national interest,” (PNI) — drama, documentary, children’s programming etc. — to 5%. Status quo PNI spending levels are 8% and 9% of broadcasting revenues for Bell and Corus respectively, but in standardizing PNI at 5% former CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais chose to disregard the method used to calculate PNI contributions.“Blais ignored precedent and turned away from the existing methodology of calculating PNI,” says WGC Executive Director Maureen Parker. “Instead he

“Blais ignored precedent and turned away from the existing methodology of calculating PNI,” says WGC Executive Director Maureen Parker. “Instead he standardized PNI spending using the lowest common denominator. Where in Canada’s Broadcasting Act does it even imply that standardized contributions are a policy objective? Nowhere. What the Act does say is that the broadcasting system should contribute significantly to the creation of Canadian programming, and maximize Canadian creative resources. These CRTC decisions don’t fulfill either crucial cultural objective.”Heritage Minister Joly’s public, laudable intent has been to bring the best of Canada to the world. The WGC is in complete

Heritage Minister Joly’s public, laudable intent has been to bring the best of Canada to the world. The WGC is in complete agreement, and asks the Liberal government to ensure a place in the Canadian broadcasting system for our own culture: The world needs more, not less, Canada.

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Link: Pride Month: 10 shows that prove Canadian TV does representation right

From Victoria Nelli of The TV Junkies:

Link: Pride Month: 10 shows that prove Canadian TV does representation right
The Canadian TV industry boasts shows that not only featured an LGBTQ character, but also provide them with a stellar platform to evoke change, make waves, and serve as a beacon of hope, and for that, we are extremely grateful! Continue reading.

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Link: Why aren’t we all fuming over the CRTC cuts? Because we don’t see ourselves reflected in TV and film

From Amanda Parris of CBC Arts:

Link: Why aren’t we all fuming over the CRTC cuts? Because we don’t see ourselves reflected in TV and film
The CRTC was renewing the five year licenses for the big three private broadcasters in Canada who deliver much of the television we all watch: Bell, Corus and Rogers. In the renewal, the CRTC announced that they would be decreasing the minimum financial contributions these broadcasters are required to allocate to Canadian content from 9-10 per cent to just 5 per cent. The Canadian content that is supported through these contributions (a.k.a Programs of National Interest, or PNI’s) includes drama, scripted series, documentaries and Canadian award shows.  Continue reading. 

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What’s more Canadian than Air Farce, eh? Celebrated comedy troupe fetes Canada’s 150th, July 1 on CBC

From a media release:

Making Canadians laugh for over four decades, AIR FARCE pulls out all the stops for the country’s 150th birthday, capturing the patriotic spirit of the sesquicentennial celebrations in 60 funny, fast-paced minutes. For its first-ever summer special, and for the first time in AIR FARCE history, the whole country will come together to watch at the exact same time — no delays and no time shifting. AIR FARCE CANADA 150 premieres Saturday, July 1, 2017, at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT on CBC with an encore broadcast on Monday, July 3 at 8:00 PM (8:30 PM NT).

AIR FARCE CANADA 150 embraces what it means to be Canadian, satirizing Canada’s past, present and future. Flashing back through history, the special focuses on the people and events that shaped our nation, including the Vikings landing in Newfoundland, the first hockey game, cottage life with Justin and Sophie Trudeau, and pop culture parodies like Canada: The Musical and an all-new take on the classic NFB animation Log Driver’s Waltz.

AIR FARCE CANADA 150 stars founding troupe members Don Ferguson and Luba Goy, and veterans Jessica Holmes (The Holmes Show, The Itch), Craig Lauzon (Fool Canada, The Ron James Show), Darryl Hinds (My Babysitter’s a Vampire, Little Mosque on the Prairie), and Emma Hunter (The Beaverton, Mr. D). Joining the troupe for the first time are Chris Wilson (from Vancouver’s award-winning sketch duo Peter n’ Chris, The Beaverton, What Would Sal Do, Meet the Family) and Toronto television and stage actress Isabel Kanaan (Haunted or Hoax). The special is directed by Rob Lindsay and Wayne Moss.

Special guest stars scheduled to appear include Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space, Lorne Cardinal (Corner Gas, Into the Forest, Insomnia), Kaniehtiio Horn (What Would Sal Do, Letterkenny, Hemlock Grove), Hélène Joy (Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland, Durham County), Eric Peterson (Corner Gas, This is Wonderland, Street Legal) and Ed Robertson (Barenaked Ladies).

A fan favourite, AIR FARCE is one of Canada’s longest-running television comedies and highest-rated entertainment specials. A total audience of over 2.1 million Canadians watched AIR FARCE NEW YEAR’S EVE last year on CBC. (Source: Numeris TV Meter, Dec. 30, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 3, 2017, CBC Total, A2+, Total Canada, AMA, generated by InfoSys+TV).

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Link: CBC hired external investigator to probe nepotism complaints after executives’ spouses awarded contracts

From Sean Craig of the National Post:

Link: CBC hired external investigator to probe nepotism complaints after executives’ spouses awarded contracts
The CBC hired an external investigator to probe two top television executives after receiving complaints that at least 13 contracts were handed to production companies owned by their spouses. Although the investigator found no breaches of the public broadcaster’s conflict of interest policy, the legal counsel for one anonymous complainant said the findings are “inconsistent with the facts” and the contracts present the appearance of conflict of interest. Continue reading.

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