TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Links: Little Bird

From Cassandra Szklarski of the Toronto Star:

Link: ‘60s Scoop grief and Holocaust trauma entwine in limited series ‘Little Bird’
“These are extremely triggering stories to tell – not just for Indigenous people and not just for people who experienced the current reality of colonial violence in whatever form that is, which is an everyday reality for us as Indigenous people, but for non-Indigenous people who were realizing the gravity of the situation and feeling guilty.” Continue reading.

From Elisabetta Bianchini of Yahoo News:

Link: ‘Little Bird’ Crave, APTN drama follows Sixties Scoop survivor’s search for home
Famed Canadian producer and actor Jennifer Podemski has taken on the role of showrunner for the new Crave and APTN lumi drama series Little Bird, authentically and honestly telling the story of a Sixties Scoop survivor uncovering her family history, starring Darla Contois. Continue reading.

From Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star:

Link: They woke up with four kids. By the end of the day, they had one. Inside the devastating new ‘Sixties Scoop’ drama ‘Little Bird’
One morning, Patti and Morris Little Bird wake up with their four children. By the end of the day they have one child left, the other three having been shoved into a car and taken away, screaming for their mother. Continue reading.

From Ilana Zachon of The Canadian Jewish News:

Link: ‘Little Bird’ called on Jewish and Indigenous writers and actors to tell the story of a child caught in the Sixties Scoop
“I thought: how is it possible that I’ve lived all my life in Canada… and I didn’t know the story. When I read the script, I just thought this will illuminate a lot of things for a lot of people and it’s very important.” Continue reading.

From Matthew Simpson of That Shelf:

Link: Little Bird Review: A Must-Watch Canadian Story
It is Contois who is the star of this show. Her portrayal of Esther is nuanced and empathetic. The character’s journey in the first episode – from thinking she might have it all to realizing she will never belong – is masterfully performed, almost entirely with body language and tone as she navigates a party to celebrate her happiness. Continue reading.

From Julia Mastroianni for Streets of Toronto:

Link: Toronto showrunner is behind this powerful new Indigenous-led series
“Everything I’ve done as a producer has intersected with historical trauma and colonial violence. There is also a lot of joy, love, rich culture and teaching, but there are so many urgent stories that need to be told as a way to move forward and heal.” Continue reading.

From Crystal St. Pierre of Windspeaker:

Link: New series hits close to home for creator Jennifer Podemski
“It is really the closest thing to me that I have ever done. Even though I’m not adopted, those are my two worlds. Those are the exact worlds I grew up in. And it was the perfect way for me to dive into something in a very personal way because I’ve never really explored both of those sides of my family.” Continue reading.

From David Briggs of

Link: Young Nipissing First Nation actor spreads his wings in Little Bird TV show
Tayton Mianskum recently starred in a soon-to-be-released series on CRAVE television. And, if that’s not remarkable enough, this was Tayton’s first time auditioning or acting, so his first role is in a major television production. Continue reading.

From Louise BigEagle of CBC News:

Link: New series tells story of Sixties Scoop survivor learning about her past
“I just hope people feel the love that was put into this, and I hope that non-Indigenous people feel connected to it because the stories are relatable, but also I guess unique, in the sense that nobody really knows very much about the Sixties Scoop.” Continue reading.


Banff World Media Festival unveils 2023 Rockies Gala recipients

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is proud to announce this year’s exciting lineup of the Rockies Gala recipients. The intimate and glitzy in-person awards show will take place at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada on Tuesday, June 13th at 6:30pm MT.

Hosting the Festival’s flagship honours is actor, singer, musician and comedian Craig Robinson. Executive Producer and star of Peacock’s Killing It, Robinson is best known for his portrayal of ‘Darryl Philbin’ in The Office and has starred in films including Knocked Up, This is the End, Hot Tub Time Machine, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Morris from America, Tragedy Girls, Dolemite is my Name!, Timmy Failure, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, Songbird, and The Bad Guys. He also starred in his own sitcom, Mr. Robinson, as well as Ghosted and hosted The Masked Dancer. Headlining venues and festivals across the country, Robinson does both solo acts and full sets with his band, “The Nasty Delicious.”

Rockies Gala Awards to be bestowed include:

INCLUSION AWARD: Garcelle Beauvais (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
Presented by A+E Networks, the Inclusion Award recognizes an individual whose efforts and vision in media champion and reflect the diversity of the world in which we live.
Past honourees include: Danielle Brooks, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Murray, Elizabeth Vargas and Vivica A. Fox.

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT: Alanis Obomsawin (Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, Rocks at Whiskey Trench, The People of the Kattawapiskak River)
The Career Achievement award recognizes the extraordinary career of someone that has had a significant impact on the screen-based industries.
Past honourees include: Dan Rather, Christine Baranski, Larry King, Ed Asner, William Shatner, James Burrows and David Attenborough.

IMPACT AWARD: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, World of Wonder
Presented by The Hollywood Reporter, this award is bestowed annually to an individual or group that has made a significant and impactful contribution to screen-based entertainment.
Past honourees include: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Shore, accepting on behalf of The Good Doctor; Anthony Anderson, accepting on behalf of black-ish; Justin Simien accepting on behalf of Dear White People, and Bela Bajaria.

Presented by Lionsgate, the Innovative Producer Award recognizes the entrepreneurial excellence and achievements of an independent producer in TV/digital media.
Past honourees include: Sinking Ship Entertainment, Wattpad Studios, Scott Brothers Entertainment, New Metric Media, Wolf + Rabbit, Don Carmody, marblemedia and Eagle Vision.

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: Sharon Horgan (Bad Sisters, Catastrophe)
Presented by Variety, The Award of Excellence acknowledges exceptional achievement through a body of work over an extended period of time.
Past honourees include: Paul Feig, Jeremy Podeswa, Kenny Ortega, Eugene Levy, Carol Mendelsohn and David E. Kelley.

Separately, the coveted CREATIVE VOICE AWARD which is bestowed on an executive or creative talent that has created outstanding work that breaks through, inspiring and connecting global audiences will be presented virtually to Jennifer Podemski (Future History, Little Bird, Empire of Dirt, above) on Sunday June 11th as part of this year’s prestigious Indigenous Screen Summit, which honours and celebrates the talents and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis storytellers and creators within the screen industries.

Additional awards to be presented at the Rockies Gala ceremony in person on Tuesday June 13th include:

SIR PETER USTINOV COMEDY AWARD: The award recognizes a creative talent who has made an outstanding comedic contribution to the media industry.
Past honourees include: Kenan Thompson, Sean Hayes, John Cleese, Tracey Ullman, Bob Newhart, Tantoo Cardinal, John Candy, Bill Hader and Ana Gasteyer.

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR: The Program of the Year award is presented to an outstanding, acclaimed, ground-breaking, and/or highly rated program from within the last calendar year that not only has earned critical and audience success, but which also is provocative and has made an impact beyond the entertainment industry.
Past recipients include: It’s a Sin, This is Us, Handmaid’s Tale, Making a Murderer and Surviving R. Kelly.

GRAND JURY PRIZE: The Grand Jury Prize is chosen by the esteemed Rockie Awards International Program Competition Grand Jury, including: Mo Abudu (CEO, EbonyLife Media), Alice Dickens-Koblin (SVP, Head of Unscripted Programming, Starz), Peter Gal (Chief Creative Officer, Television, DreamWorks Animation), Cynthia Kennedy (VP, Distribution, Incendo & Quebecor Content), Mark Linsey (Managing Director, Scripted, BBC Studios), Jacqueline Sacerio (EVP, Co-Head of Scripted Development, eOne), Beatrice Springborn (President, UCP & Universal International Studios). The Grand Jury’s deliberations focus on the highest scoring projects as scored by the global jury, comprising more than 150 senior industry professionals. Past recipients of the Grand Jury Prize include: I May Destroy You, Fleabag, Big Little Lies, Planet Earth II, Sharp Objects and Help.

In addition, the Rockie Awards International Program Competition, featuring 141 nominees from 29 countries across 27 categories, will take place the evening before the Rockies Gala on Monday June 12th at 5:30pm MT. This year’s competition will be co-hosted by Crystle Lightning and MC RedCloud.


Summer is heating up! AMI-tv announces new and returning original series and documentaries to celebrate the season

From a media release:

Summer at Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) is hotter than ever! Today, AMI-tv unveiled new and returning original series and documentary programming to entertain and inform Canadians of all abilities in the coming months.

It all begins with the Season 3 return of the Canadian Screen Award-nominated By Hook or By Cook, as Bruce Cook (above) and his friend, Christian Bagg, tackle their biggest adventure yet.

The new AMI-tv series Blind Trust: A Guide Dog’s Journey tells the story of the CNIB Guide Dog program. Returning programs to AMI-tv include new seasons of Postcards From, Blind Adventures with Ron Walsh, Our Community and Adaptable Animals and the all-new documentary Everyone Belongs in Nature.

Highlights of AMI-tv’s upcoming summer programming include:

Blind Adventures with Ron Walsh


By Hook or By Cook returns Wednesday, June 14, at 8 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv

Bruce Cook, a stunt motocross rider who is disabled, wants to help others with disabilities enjoy life’s possibilities with unique innovations that he and his friend, Christian, create. In Season 3, Bruce and Christian have spent many years facilitating adrenaline adventures for others. Whether racing on top of mountains or bungee jumping off the highest bridge in British Columbia, they know no fear and no boundaries. What will happen when two people whose passion lies in helping others get an opportunity to do something remarkable for themselves? In addition to this season’s eight episodes are two special instalments. Filmed live in front of a studio audience and moderated by AMI’s Dave Brown, the episodes feature in-depth discussion about representation, responsibility and being a role model when you are a member of the disability community, as well as never-before-seen footage and surprises. Season 4 of By Hook or By Cook is currently in production. By Hook or By Cook is produced by Render Digital Media.

Our Community returns Thursday, June 15, at 8 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv

An all-new season of Our Community once again highlights the people, places, organizations, or things that have made life more enjoyable for Canadians with a disability. Upcoming episodes follow young adults who are partially sighted as they participate in a fashion show, Canada’s first medical daycare for children and The Capital City Condors, a hockey team Canadians of all abilities can play for. Our Community episodes are produced by such companies as Ascent Films, Honey Cut Studios and Bamboo Shoots.

Everyone Belongs in Nature debuts Friday, June 16, at 7 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv

Everyone Belongs in Nature takes a look at the creation of Power To Be’s new world-leading accessible facility through the perspective of Marnie and Adam, two of its participants. Everyone Belongs in Nature is produced by M1 Films.

Blind Trust: A Guide Dog’s Journey


Blind Adventures with Ron Walsh returns Monday, July 17, at 8 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv

Join outdoors enthusiast Ron Walsh, who is blind, as he and his friends explore Saskatchewan and all of the exciting locations the province has to offer. Blind Adventures with Ron Walsh is produced by Thomega Entertainment.

Blind Trust: A Guide Dog’s Journey debuts Tuesday, July 25, at 8 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv

Blind Trust: A Guide Dog’s Journey tells the story of the CNIB Guide Dog program. From being raised on a farm in rural Manitoba, to training in Carleton Place near Ottawa, a guide dog’s journey is quite an adventure! Blind Trust: A Guide Dog’s Journey is produced by HalterMedia.

Adaptable Animals returns Tuesday, July 25, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv

Adaptable Animals looks at the world of animals with disabilities, and the advances in veterinary medicine that provide them with prosthetics, thanks to the specialized work of Janice Olynich. Adaptable Animals is produced by Mountain Road Productions.

Postcards From

Postcards From returns Thursday, July 27, at 7 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv

New host, new adventures! Join Therese Estacion, poet and member of the disability community, as she embarks on a multisensory journey, revealing a secret side to Canada we taste, touch, smell, see and hear for the first time. Postcards From is produced by Black Rhino Creative.

All AMI-tv originals are available post-broadcast on demand at or the AMI-tv App.

About Accessible Media Inc.
AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through accessible media, reflection and portrayal. To learn more visit and


CTV’s original competition series Cross Country Cake Off returns May 26

From a media release:

Oven timers at the ready! CTV’s delicious original competition series CROSS COUNTRY CAKE OFF returns with six all-new episodes, Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT beginning May 26 on CTV,, and the CTV app. Hosts Mary Berg and Andrew Han make another trip across the country, adding two additional stops along the way, to find 40 new cake makers hoping to bake their way to the top prize of $50,000 and the title of CROSS COUNTRY CAKE OFF Champion.

The new episodes see hosts Berg and Han back on the road, making stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montréal, and Halifax for five regional qualifying rounds. In each regional episode, eight bakers present their homemade creations to the judges in hopes of securing a spot in the next round. From there, the top four cake makers from each qualifier move forward to compete in a timed cake challenge in the CROSS COUNTRY CAKE OFF kitchen. At the end of each episode, one baker will advance to the finale where they will bake it out to claim the top prize.

CROSS COUNTRY CAKE OFF culminates in a national finale face-off, airing Friday, June 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV,, and the CTV app, where the final five bakers, each representing their regions, plus a sixth mystery wild card baker, whisk up show stopping creations in hopes of being crowned the CROSS COUNTRY CAKE OFF Champion by the judges, walking out of the kitchen with the $50,000 prize.

Viewers can stream new episodes of CROSS COUNTRY CAKE OFF with no subscription or sign-in required on and the CTV app, which is also home to bonus content including exclusive video content and behind-the-scenes extras. In addition, viewers can follow @CTV’s social channels all season long for highlights and bonus content.

CROSS COUNTRY CAKE OFF is developed and produced by Boat Rocker’s Proper Television, in association with Bell Media. Cathie James and Lesia Capone are Executive Producers and David Donohue and Meredith Veats are Series Producers.


Screen Nova Scotia announces 2023 award winners

From a media release:

Screen Nova Scotia hosted its ninth annual awards gala on Saturday, May 13th, in the Schooner Ballroom at Casino Nova Scotia in front of a sold-out crowd of industry members and supporters. The event celebrates the incredible talent, creativity, and passion that are the trademarks of Nova Scotia’s screen industry. Awards included the ACTRA Maritimes Awards for Outstanding Performances, the Groundbreaking Performance Award, the Film Crew Excellence Award, the Women in Film & Television – Atlantic Best Nova Scotia Director Award, and the Community Recognition Award, along with the Screen Nova Scotia Awards for Best Scripted and Unscripted Television Series, Best Feature, Documentary and Short films, Best Animated Series and Outstanding Achievement in Editing.

The night’s finale was the Screen Nova Scotia Award for Best Feature Film, presented by Tim Halman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change as well as Chair of Treasury Board and Policy Board with the Province of Nova Scotia, which went to Queens of the Qing Dynasty, the sophomore film from Cape Breton filmmaker Ashley McKenzie (Hi-Vis Films). Inspired by two teenagers McKenzie befriended during the casting of her debut Werewolf (2016), the film follows Star (Sarah Walker), a neurodiverse teen recovering from a suicide attempt in a Nova Scotia hospital, and the friendship she develops with An (Ziyin Zheng), a genderqueer volunteer assigned to watch her.

The second season of the Bell Fibe TV1 series Vollies from Canadian Content Studios was crowned the winner of the Best Television Series – Scripted Award. Jonathan Torrens (Trailer Park Boys, Letterkenny, Mr. D) leads a cast of quirky newcomers in this fresh, funny comedy series that follows the Essex-West-Essex Fire Department, a small-town volunteer fire department that never has any actual fires to fight.

The Best Documentary Film Award went to On the Fringe, from producer Nancy Kenny (Broken Turtle Productions) and director Cory Thibert. The road trip doc follows a ragtag crew of performing artists as they journey across the country to perform their work on the Canadian Fringe Festival circuit. The Best Nova Scotia Director Award from Women in Film & Television – Atlantic went to director Jackie Torrens (Peep Media) for the critically-acclaimed feature documentary Bernie Langille Wants To Know What Happened to Bernie Langille.

Two new awards were handed out at the show, including the award for Best Television Series – Unscripted, sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada. The winner was Living in Flow, produced by Gorgeous Mistake Productions and directed by Meaghan Wright (Mirror Image Media Inc.). The VICE Canada docuseries follows six Atlantic Canadian youth facing different mental health challenges.

The new award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing went to veteran editor Kimberlee McTaggart, who was also nominated this year for a Canadian Screen Award for her work on the TV series Moonshine. An editor in the film and television industry for over 25 years, she works in drama, documentary, and comedy. Series credits include Diggstown, Pure, SEED, Call Me Fitz, and This Hour has 22 Minutes.

“Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners,” said Laura Mackenzie, Executive Director, Screen Nova Scotia. “Tonight we celebrate our industry and all those who contributed to bringing authentic and compelling Nova Scotian stories to life.”

Koumbie’s feature film directorial debut Bystanders proved to be a showcase for local talent, with both Taylor Olson and Marlee Sansom taking home trophies from ACTRA Maritimes for Outstanding Performances for their roles in the film. Bystanders (Picture Plant Ltd.) tells the story of six childhood best friends who gather for their annual weekend away, only to discover that one of them is guilty of sexual assault.

The Groundbreaking Performance Award, which celebrates a performer who identifies as diverse and does not yet meet the eligibility criteria for the ACTRA awards for their work in a film or television/web series, went to Greg Vardy in Tracy and Martina: Dirty Deeds. The award recipient is determined by an online voting process, to better engage the wider community outside of the screen industry.

Seven-year-old Briar Mosher took home an ACTRA Maritimes Award for Outstanding Performances for her role in Leah Johnston’s short film Mother’s Skin. Phoebe Rex also won an Outstanding Performances award for playing the teenage Samantha in Jason Eisener’s sci-fi horror feature Kids vs. Aliens, which is now streaming on Shudder. 

Keeper from writer/director Tori Flemming and producer Morgan Salter was the winner of the Best Short Film Award, while season three of The Casagrandes took home the award for Best Animated Series. Produced by Jam Filled Entertainment, the comedy series airs on Nickelodeon and showcases the work of Nova Scotian animators.

This year’s Film Crew Excellence Award went to makeup artist Betty Belmore. A member of IATSE Local 849 – and a previous BAFTA award-winner – Belmore has worked in the Nova Scotia film and television industry for over 35 years and has been a mentor to many. Her Head of Department credits includes large-budget US service productions, as well as local features, TV series, and short films, including Mr. D, The Healer, Jesse Stone, and Haven.

The 2023 Community Recognition Award went to local entertainment lawyer Rob Aske, Partner at Stewart McKelvey. Rob was nominated by several producers for his work in the industry, helping both emerging and established filmmakers navigate the film business, regardless of the project budget. For over 25 years, Aske has also generously volunteered his time and expertise while working with industry organizations/associations, including his countless hours dedicated to the Screen Nova Scotia Board of Directors, since 2015.

The Screen Nova Scotia Awards were made possible this year due to the generous support of many sponsors, including Platinum Partners at  the Directors Guild of Canada, Support4Culture, the Canadian Media Producers Association, IATSE Local 849, and William F. White International Inc. Special thanks to 902 Post and The Hideout Studios for their continued work to ensure another successful event in 2023.

About Screen Nova Scotia
Screen Nova Scotia is a film commission and industry association that promotes and advocates on behalf of Nova Scotia’s screen industry. Our membership includes producers, service providers, local cast and crew, unions, and industry organizations. Screen Nova Scotia is dedicated to building a strong and sustainable future for the province’s production sector. We’re the first point of contact to find out more about locations, production partners, industry resources and infrastructure, and financial incentives.

List of award winners:

Screen Nova Scotia Awards

Best Feature Film
Queens of the Qing Dynasty (Hi-Vis Films)

Best Television Series Scripted
Vollies S2 (Canadian Content Studios)

Best Television Series – Unscripted
Living in Flow (Gorgeous Mistake Productions)

Best Documentary Film
On the Fringe (Broken Turtle Productions)

Best Short Film
Keeper (Tori Flemming, Morgan Salter)

Best Animated Series
The Casagrandes S3 (Jam Filled Entertainment) 

Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Kimberlee McTaggart 

Groundbreaking Performance
Greg Vardy

ACTRA Maritimes Awards for Outstanding Performances

Briar Mosher in Mother’s Skin

Taylor Olson in Bystanders

Phoebe Rex in Kids vs. Aliens

Marlee Sansom in Bystanders

Additional Awards

WIFT-AT Award for Best Director
Jackie Torrens (Bernie Langille Wants to Know What Happened to Bernie Langille)

Film Crew Excellence Award
Betty Belmore, Make-up Artist 

Community Recognition Award
Rob Aske, Partner, Stewart McKelvey