Everything about Little Mosque on the Prairie, eh?

Back for more Canadian TV and films

From a media release:

As of today, Canadian and world audiences will have a renewed access to memorable Canadian film and TV content from years gone by. Key Canadian audiovisual industry organizations announced the launch of a YouTube channel which provides free access – anytime and anywhere – to a wealth of iconic content in the age of digital connectivity. Visit Encore+ at youtube.com/EncorePlusMedia.

The new channel was launched at Google Canada’s offices with talent in attendance that contributed to titles now available on Encore+, including actresses Liane Balaban, Jennifer Dale, Karyn DwyerSheila McCarthy, Cynthia Preston and Michelle St. John; actors Henry Czerny, Aiden Devine, Shawn Doyle, Pat Mastroianni, Tony Nardi, Michael Riley, Michael Theriault, and John Wildman; as well as producers Bernard Lajoie, and Rayne and Bernie Zuckerman.

Encore+ already offers over 300 videos across 100 award-winning feature films and television series in both official languages, including comedies, dramas, children’s and youth shows, documentaries and short films. Every week, dozens of titles will be added as part of an ongoing editorial calendar, including a number of Canadian feature films premiering on Encore+ in newly re-mastered versions. All digitizing, encoding and remastering of works is provided by Deluxe Toronto.

Among the top titles featured on Encore+, audiences will find fan-favourites that transcend generations, including Cornemuse, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Degrassi High, Due South, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, John A: Birth of a Country, La Petite Vie, Le Vieil Homme et la Mer, Little Mosque on the Prairie, Moi et l’Autre, Maman Last Call, Moccasin Flats, Mr. Dressup, New Waterford Girl, The Corporation, The Littlest Hobo, Watatatow and dozens of other exceptional productions reflecting Canada’s history and stories from coast to coast to coast.

Managed by service-provider BroadbandTV (BBTV), Encore+ will generate worldwide exposure and seek to stimulate demand for Canadian content and talent, particularly from young audiences who access media primarily via mobile devices.

Using a non-exclusive approach, Encore+ will complement the offerings of Canadian stakeholders already active in online distribution. This channel is a Canadian content discoverability and visibility tool, at a time when we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Through this industry-wide effort, the presenting partners also seek to ensure that rights holders and Canadian creators are the first to benefit from views of their works on YouTube, as well as test new business models for catalogue content.

Working closely with Canada’s film and television producers, distributors, broadcasters, unions, guilds and other industry associations, Encore+ is spearheaded by the Canada Media Fund (CMF) with support from Google Canada, Bell Media, BroadbandTV (BBTV), and Deluxe Toronto. Telefilm Canada is also a key partner in this endeavor, providing financial and promotional support.

Enjoy hundreds of Canadian productions today. Subscribe at youtube.com/EncorePlusMedia and get the latest updates on Encore+ by following on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

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Zaib Shaikh says farewell to Little Mosque on the Prairie

After six seasons — rare longevity in Canadian television — CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie ends tonight with the “Best of Times” episode.

“The show came into a landscape where nothing of its kind existed, and leaves the landscape having changed it,” said star Zaib Shaikh in a recent TV, eh? interview. “Now it’s up to another show, or a different take on this conversation, but the impact is still clearly being felt on a positive side.”

“The forces of negativity and fear still exist,” he added. “It’s amazing the show got in six seasons in that climate on a global level, where it stands out as a positive in the conversation between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Shaikh points out the show’s purpose “was never to be a message. Its purpose was to have Muslims as characters — ‘look they’re people too.'”

Growing up Muslim in Toronto, he hadn’t seen a character that reflected his own experience before taking on the role of Amaar, the Toronto imam who relocated to Saskatchewan.

“That fish out of water perspective really worked well for the show on a comedic and entertaining level,” he said. “Now he leaves the show a proud member of the community, married into it. He’s not the pompous prick he was coming into it.”

Even with a primary goal to entertain, Shaikh believes the show couldn’t have launched anywhere but on CBC, especially at a time when 9/11 was fresh in the audience’s memory. He believes in a way that the Canadian show was able to begin a conversation that couldn’t happen in the US while they were still in trauma from those events.

“In Canada our supposed tolerance and congeniality led to the idea it could get done here,” he said, saying “that speaks to the country’s values.” Creator Zarqa Nawaz “had a hope — maybe it was a naïve hope” that the show would work, and CBC agreed.

“As a business model it’s a risky take on entertaining, on getting eyeballs,” Shaikh said before pointing out it debuted to 2.1 million people in 2007.

He calls this sixth and final season “a gift to our fans,” and has himself reaped the benefits of the high-profile role, having just filmed Midnight’s Children with Deepa Mehta and Salman Rushdie. “I don’t think I would have gotten that kind of experience if I wasn’t on a show like Little Mosque.”

Listen to the entire Zaib Shaikh interview, including his thoughts on the necessity of supporting the Canadian TV industry, here.

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