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William Shatner probes brilliant and creative minds in documentary The Truth is in the Stars

From a media release:

William Shatner, Star Trek’s original captain, examines the impact of the iconic television series on science and space exploration in the new original feature documentary THE TRUTH IS IN THE STARS. Commissioned by Bell Media’s The Movie Network, the documentary debuts Sunday, March 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET, featuring Shatner as he embarks on a journey to interview famous innovators, celebrities, and thought-leaders. Following its television premiere on The Movie Network, the documentary will be available on TMN GO and The Movie Network OnDemand.

THE TRUTH IS IN THE STARS features interviews in incredible locations, including: NASA mission control rooms, Ivy League Campuses, the USS Space Shuttle Enterprise, and Shatner’s own horse ranch. Insights from Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Stiller, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Seth Macfarlane, and Michio Kaku prepare Shatner for his intimate conversation with Professor Stephen Hawking in Cambridge, England.

In association with Bell Media, THE TRUTH IS IN THE STARS is produced by Ballinran Entertainment and White Pine Pictures. Peter Raymont, William Shatner, and Craig Thompson are Executive Producers. The documentary is written, directed, and produced by Craig Thompson.


The Canadian Academy launches new apprenticeship program for female directors

From a media release:

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television today announced the creation of a new Apprenticeship Program for female directors, as part of the organization’s year-round initiatives addressing pertinent issues within the film, television, and digital media sectors. This initiative will receive major support from The RBC Emerging Artists Project and Canada Media Fund (CMF). The Apprenticeship Program will assist early and mid-career female directors in film, television or digital media to identify and achieve their career and project goals, hone their directing skills, and develop a network of allies to springboard the advancement of their work.

“The Academy believes that gender equality in key creative positions shaping story-telling content, is an essential element of a vibrant and profitable media industry,” said Beth Janson, CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. “Homogeneity on ours screens is a missed opportunity to capitalize on the diverse experiences of Canadians. It is this belief that motivates the Academy to develop its own programming to address this industry-wide issue.”

“The CMF is delighted to support this program. Supporting third-party initiatives such as this one is part of the CMF’s broader strategy to increase gender balance in Canada’s screen-based industries,” stated Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, CMF. “We believe that the female talent and skill are out there. We only need to level the playing field, so new opportunities for women can be triggered. I’m certain this and other initiatives being implemented by organizations across our industry will trigger those opportunities.”

Participants will shadow a working director in their own region for six months, while also participating in bi-weekly working sessions with other participants, conducted via Google hangout. These hangouts will include guest speakers who will run working sessions on practical skills that are essential for every director to have in their toolbox. A small honorarium will be provided to the participants.

The Academy will hold an open call starting in May 2017 to recruit participants for the Apprenticeship Program, with the goal of ensuring diverse regional representation and with special attention paid to outreach among Canadian women who are members of typically underrepresented groups in the mainstream media industry, including Indigenous Canadians. Applicants will submit a Statement of Interest, and will be asked to include a sample of their work and a letter of recommendation from a colleague, mentor, or peer.

The Academy will convene a diverse, regionally representative Selection Committee of six established professionals from the industry. These six experts will select the inaugural cohort of participants. Once the six candidates have been selected, the Academy will work with each mentee to understand her goals and to pair each participant with a regionally appropriate mentor who is an established professional working in the film, television, or digital media sector.

In order to ensure a robust, rigorous programme that is truly national in scope, the Academy is building an advisory committee, which will include organization working to promote female directors from all regions. Women in View is the first organization on the committee.  The Academy looks forward to engaging with other industry partners to support the program and enrich the experience of its participants


Announcing the WGC Screenwriting Awards Finalists

From a media release:

The Writers Guild of Canada is pleased to announce this year’s WGC Screenwriting Awards finalists. These are the only awards in Canada to focus solely on screenwriting talent. Screenwriters’ scripts for Kim’s Convenience, Odd Squad, Letterkenny, X Company, Private Eyes, Wynonna Earp, 19-2, Degrassi: Next Class and more are up for awards.

The 2017 awards mark the return of a talented duo: Awards host, screenwriter, stand-up comedian, and actor Laurie Elliott, and awards show writer, screenwriter and stand-up comedian Terry McGurrin.

This year the WGC introduces a new category, Best Script from a Rookie Series. Other awards categories include: Children’s, Documentary, Feature Film, MOW and Miniseries, TV Comedy, TV Drama, and Tweens & Teens.

The WGC congratulates all of our awards finalists. Please see below for the full list of nominated screenwriters and scripts.

Numb Chucks, Season 2 “The Chucks Get Stuck in a Hole”
Written by Josh Gal

Odd Squad, Season 2 “Drop Gadget Repeat”
Written by Tim McKeon

Odd Squad, Season 2 “Failure to Lunch”
Written by Mark De Angelis

Not Criminally Responsible: Wedding Secrets
Written by John Kastner

Quebec My Country Mon Pays
Written by John Walker

Written by Tony Elliott

Written by Sherry White

Two Lovers and a Bear
Written by Kim Nguyen

Bruno & Boots: Go Jump in the Pool
Written by Adam Barken

Odd Squad: The Movie
Story by Mark De Angelis, Tim McKeon / Teleplay by Mark De Angelis, Tim McKeon, Adam Peltzman

Written by Dennis Foon

Letterkenny, Season 1 “Ain’t No Reason to Get Excited”
Written by Jared Keeso & Jacob Tierney

Private Eyes, Season 1 “Family Jewels”
Written by Shelley Eriksen

Second Jen, Season 1 “Couch Surfing”
Written by Amanda Joy & Samantha Wan

Wynonna Earp, Season 1 “Bury Me With My Guns On”
Written by Alexandra Zarowny

Kim’s Convenience, Season 1 “Ddong Chim”
Written by Garry Campbell

Kim’s Convenience, Season 1 “Janet’s Photos”
Written by Ins Choi & Kevin White

Letterkenny, Season 1 “Super Soft Birthday”
Written by Jared Keeso & Jacob Tierney

19-2, Season 3 “Fall”
Written by Nikolijne Troubetzkoy

This Life, Season 2 “Destruction as Creation”
Written by Celeste Parr

X Company, Season 2 “August 19th”
Written by Stephanie Morgenstern & Mark Ellis

Degrassi: Next Class, Season 2 “#CheckYourPrivilege”
Written by Cole Bastedo

Degrassi: Next Class, Season 1 “#TeamFollowBack”
Written by Ian MacIntyre

Degrassi: Next Class, Season 2 “#TurntUp”
Written by Courtney Jane Walker

Degrassi: Next Class, Season 1 “#YesMeansYes”
Written by Alejandro Alcoba


Just for Laughs honoured with Canadian Academy’s Icon Award

From a media release:

Just for Laughs, one of the world’s most acclaimed comedy brands, will receive this year’s prestigious Icon Award as announced by The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television today. The Icon Award will be presented by another comedy icon, seminal comedian Dave Chappelle on Sunday, March 12 at the Canadian Screen Awards, broadcast live on CBC from Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts at 8 pm (9 pm AT; 9:30 pm NT).

Founded in 1983 in Montreal, Just For Laughs has launched the careers of some of the biggest names in comedy including Russell Peters, Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Hart, Louis CK and Dave Chappelle himself. As of late, the festival has added events in Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney and London. The Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival is the most prestigious comedy event in the world, welcoming over 300 artists a year, with an average of 1.7 million visitors to Montreal each summer.

One of television’s leading comedy producers with over 1,000 hours of television standup, scripted and variety programming, as well as the phenomenally successful Gags franchise, Just For Laughs specials and series have aired in over 130 countries, including on all major Canadian, U.S. and International broadcasters including CBC, Comedy, HBO, the CW, Showtime, Fox, BBC Channel 4 and ABC, to name a few.

A true trailblazer and a good friend of Just For Laughs, comedian Dave Chappelle will present this award to JFL founder, Gilbert Rozon and COO, Bruce Hills. Chappelle’s relationship with the festival dates back to 1992 when he did his first set, launching his extraordinary career.

Starting his standup career at the age of 18, Chappelle went on to become one of the most revered and successful comedians in the world. The wildly popular and groundbreaking Chappelle’s Show on Comedy Central became a smash hit in the early 2000s for which Chappelle, who created and starred in the sketch comedy series, received two Emmy Award nominations. He recently signed an unprecedented deal with Netflix for three new comedy specials.

Presented by the Academy Board of Directors, the Icon Award marks important achievements in Canada’s screen industry.


Bell announces executive leadership changes at Bell Media

From a media release:

BCE Inc. (Bell) (TSX, NYSE: BCE) today announced the appointment of Randy Lennox as the new President of Bell Media following the departure of Mary Ann Turcke for a new opportunity with the National Football League.

Randy Lennox
As President of Bell Media effective today, Mr. Lennox leads all strategy and operations for Canada’s largest media company, including conventional, pay and specialty TV, radio, digital media, out-of-home advertising and special projects. He reports to Wade Oosterman, Group President of Bell and BCE, who oversees Bell Media, Bell Mobility, and Bell Residential and Small Business, and also serves as Bell’s Chief Brand Officer.

Mr. Lennox was promoted from his position as Bell Media’s President, Content and Broadcasting, responsible for the CTV Networks; all local radio and TV assets; English-language specialty channels, including Bravo, Comedy, E!, Gusto, Much and Space; all of Bell Media’s in-house and independent English-language content productions; and iHeartRadio Canada, the international brand he brought to Bell Media in 2016.

Previously, Mr. Lennox was President and CEO of Universal Music Canada, where he helped elevate homegrown talent, including Justin Bieber, Drake, Shawn Mendes, The Tragically Hip and The Weeknd, to the international stage while successfully leading Universal through a time of tumultuous change in the music industry. He has been honoured as a member of the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame and sits on the board of directors for Music Canada, CARAS and Canada’s Walk of Fame; the board of governors for Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall; and the culture advisory board of Ontario.

Mary Ann Turcke
Mary Ann Turcke has accepted a position with the National Football League as President, Digital Media and NFL Network, based in Los Angeles. Part of the Bell team for the last 12 years, Ms. Turcke was promoted to President of Bell Media in April 2015 from her previous role as Bell Media’s President, Media Sales, Local TV and Radio.

Joining Bell Canada in 2005 as Vice President, Customer Experience and Operations for Small and Medium Business, Ms. Turcke was promoted to Executive Vice President of Field Operations in 2008, leading Bell’s team of installation and service technicians in delivering Fibe TV, Internet and other Bell residential and business services. She is a member of the Women’s Executive Network Hall of Fame and was named 2015 Woman of the Year by Women in Communications and Technology.