Cineflix Media Inc. has announced it is partnering with celebrated showrunner, director, and producer Adrienne Mitchell and her newly launched production company BentFrame Film & TV.
The partnership gives Cineflix Media the first option to co-produce original content developed by Mitchell, while providing BentFrame with access to development support from Cineflix Studios. In addition, Cineflix Rights will retain exclusive first-look rights to distribute the shingle’s content internationally.
Based in Toronto, BentFrame will develop and produce ambitious, provocative, female-driven dramatic series and feature films for global audiences. The company already has several projects in development with broadcasters and international co-producers. Zach Marcovici, also previously of Back Alley Films, joins BentFrame as Director of Development and Production. The announcement follows Cineflix Media’s recent acquisition of Back Alley Film Productions Ltd.—co-founded by Adrienne Mitchell—along with its library of content IP.
“Adrienne has a powerful vision that aligns with Cineflix Media’s content strategy. We’re delighted to continue our support for Adrienne and Zach through a development and distribution agreement with Adrienne’s new company BentFrame,” said Peter Emerson, President, Cineflix Media.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Cineflix Media to tap into today’s exciting and thought-provoking story landscape. I’m inspired to tell stories with diverse and unique perspectives that shine a light on untold narratives. I look forward to a fruitful collaboration with Cineflix Media in creating landmark television and film that will resonate with Canadian and global audiences,” said Adrienne Mitchell, BentFrame Film &TV.
Adrienne Mitchell is an award-winning film and television director and showrunner who has been creating auteur-driven drama series, and helming them as lead director, for more than three decades. Mitchell’s many achievements include the critically acclaimed series Durham County; the mystery-thriller series Bellevue, starring Oscar®-winner Anna Paquin; and, the WWII-era series Bomb Girls, and the MOW Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy. Mitchell is currently the Executive Producer and a Director on the fourth season of global hit series Coroner. In 2017, she was honoured with the Nell Shipman Award for directorial achievement and for advancing gender equity in the entertainment industry. Mitchell is also the recipient of the prestigious Excellence in Production Award from WIFT Toronto.
BentFrame Film & TV joins Cineflix Media’s growing community of talented creative partners including a recently launched joint venture with Morwyn Brebner and Andrew Akman’s Husk Media.
BentFrame Film & TV is represented by Great North Artists Management Inc.
Cineflix Media Inc. has announced the acquisition of Back Alley Film Productions Ltd., along with the company’s award-winning library of content IP. After a three-decade collaboration creating and producing internationally-acclaimed TV series for Canadian and American networks, Back Alley Films co-founders Adrienne Mitchell and Janis Lundman have decided to explore new opportunities.
Cineflix will absorb Back Alley Films’ operations and acquire its programming assets, including the company’s ownership interest in celebrated series Bellevue starring Oscar® award-winner Anna Paquin, WWII drama Bomb Girls, and the international award-winning Durham County.
The acquisition also includes Back Alley Films’ stake in global hit series Coroner—the highly-rated crime procedural’s fourth season launched on CBC in January. Back Alley Films and Muse Entertainment have co-produced the series with Cineflix Studios since 2019, and Cineflix Rights is the exclusive global distribution partner. A huge international success, Coroner airs in more than 150 territories on networks and platforms including The CW Network (US), NBCUniversal International Networks, Sky Witness (UK), Globo (Brazil), and Nine Network (Australia).
“It has been such a pleasure to collaborate with Janis and Adrienne over the past 20 years as they grew Back Alley Films. I’m such a huge fan of their work that we jumped at the opportunity to acquire the company’s IP and also to continue to support them in any new projects or endeavors,” said Peter Emerson, President, Cineflix Media.
A visionary producer with a track record for delivering award-winning dramatic content, Lundman was the recipient of the prestigious Excellence in Production Award from WIFT Toronto and currently serves as Chair of the National Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC). Lundman will put her 30+ years of industry experience to work as she transitions to her new role as a consultant.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with amazing creatives and network executives over the past three decades and I’m incredibly proud of all the shows Back Alley Films has produced. I can’t think of a better company than Cineflix to take the reins and shepherd in new possibilities for the Back Alley IP — there are plenty of exciting opportunities ahead for us all,” said Janis Lundman
Mitchell is an award-winning film and television producer and director/showrunner who has been creating auteur-driven drama series for over the last 30 years. She received the 2017 Nell Shipman Award for directorial achievement and for advancing gender equity in the entertainment industry as well as the prestigious Excellence in Production Award from WIFT Toronto. Mitchell has launched BentFrame Film & TV, a new production company that will develop and produce ambitious, provocative, and diverse female-driven dramatic series and feature films.
“I am incredibly proud of the body of work that came from my partnership with Janis Lundman under the Back Alley Films banner. Our goals were to push creative boundaries and tell diverse and authentic stories, making for thought-provoking and compelling film and television. I am thrilled that Cineflix Media, an industry powerhouse, has acquired our library and I feel they are the perfect fit to represent our stories for the global marketplace,” said Adrienne Mitchell.
Back Alley Films and BentFrame Film & TV are represented by Great North Artists Management Inc.
I couldn’t get enough of Flashpoint when it was on the air. The characters, the writing and the production values were incredible; every week I knew the writers would throw a storyline my way that would draw me in. And it all started with that iconic opening theme music.
Whether it be instrumental or with words, a TV show’s theme is very often the audience’s first look at a program, and sets the tone for the rest of the broadcast. And, in the case of old shows, the opening strains trigger memories of what you were doing at the time in your life when the show was on.
Here’s a look at some of my favouriteÂ Canadian TV show themes; let me know if you agree, disagree or list your fave in the Comments below.
Why I like it: The mix of brief shots of Toronto’s skyline and that melody hooked me right away, followed by the one-two images of the main cast. But the biggest impact Flashpoint‘s opening theme still has on me is the percussion that ramps up in intensity until the final note, punctuated by the clicking off of the rifle’s safety. That signified to me that the drama was about to begin, and no one was safe from harm.
Why I like it:Traders spotlit the world of investment banking, and the theme reflected that with strings and a vocal section delivering what sounds like a hymn to money. Steady and stately, the rising crescendo plays underneath shots of the lead characters looking serious while lightning crackles, tanks roll and protesters rage.
Why I like it:Â In my house, no one is allowed to fast-forward through the Murdoch Mysteries theme. Robert Carli’s bass-heavy score trundles along with wispy, tinkly, almost supernatural notes above it. That in itself is cool enough, but by adding in those shots of the magnifying glass going over the Toronto Gazette, a hand and its fingermarks and the morgue instruments makes MM an instant classic. (Carli is responsible for a ton of Canadian TV themes, including Remedy, Cracked, Still Life: A White Pines Mystery, Bomb Girls, Good Dog and Wild Roses.)
The Littlest Hobo
Why I like it:Â Hobo was in my wheelhouse as a lad, a weekend staple on my grandparents’ television set when I was over for a visit. Looking back on it now, Hobo is almost crying-worthy in its cheesiness and the theme reflects that. With those memorable first lines,Â “There’s a voice, keeps on callin’ me, down the road, that’s where I’ll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend…” theÂ tune lets viewers know not only that we’re in for an adventure, but that the dog is always on the move and will be getting into scrapes along the way. (And the dog can apparently sing too; the song is written as if the pooch is performing it.) “Maybe Tomorrow,” composed and performed by Terry Bush, can be purchased in the iTunes store. Yes, I checked.
Why I like it:Â No list of Canadian TV themes is complete without The Beachcombers and it was my first real introduction into television outside Sesame Street, Polka Dot Door and Mr. Dressup. And while I don’t really recall any storylines other than every week seemed to pit Nick against Relic, I remember the theme fondly. B.C.’s rugged coast is paired with fast-flying motorboats juxtaposed over a jaunty orchestral production that beckoned me west for adventure … and pie at Molly’s Reach.
The King of Kensington
Why I like it:Â Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of King of Kensington when it was on, but that opening theme always drew me in. AÂ little love letter to Kensington Market, those bustling streets always fascinated me. I always equated Larry King with being like Archie Bunker, the king of his own little neighbourhood, so to see him walking around those streets, slapping backs and shaking hands like a politician held me in thrall. The theme song is pretty straight-forward, introducing Larry, his long-suffering wife Cathy and mother Gladys, who says her son is the “only King around without a buuuuuck.” Good stuff.
Why I like it:Â There might not have been a lot going on in Corner Gas, but the theme sure did. “Not a Lot Goin’ On,” written by Craig Northey and Jesse Valenzuela, not only works as a theme song but a legitimately good tune on its own. Sly nods to the flatness of Saskatchewan are interspersed with shots of the cast of characters toÂ let you know wackiness will ensue. This and the theme from Friends are my favourite “themes that are real songs.”
The Kids in the Hall
Why I like it:Â I didn’t watch The Kids on the Hall on the regular, but I sure loved the theme, “Having an Average Weekend.” Written and performed by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, it’s twangy and fun and comes off more as a music video than introduction to the show. It certainly didn’t give any hint as to the off-the-wall sketches to come.
Hilarious House of Frightenstein
Why I like it:Â Vincent Price at his creepiest + endless crackles of lightning + a Moog synthesizer = classic TV.
Why I like it:Â Thanks to the fact every Canadian (or Ontario) kid is given a recorder in Grade 4, we all learned to play the theme for Friendly Giant. And why not? It was easy and non-threatening, just like the show. As an aside, I always wanted to sit in the rocking chair and look up. Look waaaaay up.
Why I like it:Â I’ve become a big fan of Heartland since I’ve been reviewing it full-time here on the site, and every Sunday this tune worms its way into my brain where it replays at least midway into Monday. Written by Jenn Grant, just the chorus of “Dreamer” is used by CBC’s long-running family drama but it’s enough to let you know the show is about living your dreamâ€”and lifeâ€”to the fullest.
Republic of Doyle
Why I like it:Â Smash cuts of St. Johns’s, cast shots jumping across the screen, the beloved GTO pealing around a corner, the chorus of Great Big Sea’s rocking’ tuneÂ lets you know in scant seconds that you are in for one hell of a fun ride. Oh yeah!
What did I miss? What are your favourite Canadian TV show themes? Let me know below.
The DGC is delighted to announce the 2015 DGC Awards nominees. Selected from over 250 submissions, the nominees in 19 categories represent a cross section of the industry’s outstanding talent working in the screen-based industry. The Awards will be presented at the annual Gala on Saturday, October 24, 2015 at The Carlu in Toronto. Hosted by Arisa Cox and SeÃ¡n Cullen with special guests soon to be announced, the 14th edition of the DGC Awards promises to be a big one. The evening will feature a special Nomineesâ€™ reception prior to the Gala.
Best Direction, Television Series
John Fawcett, Orphan Black
Helen Shaver, Orphan Black
Kari Skogland, Vikings
Best Television Movie/Mini-Series
Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy
The Book of Negroes, Episode 1
Join Greg and Diane every Monday as we debate whatâ€™s on our minds. This week: now that Netflix has helped bring Degrassi and Trailer Park Boys back to life, what are the top fiveÂ Canadian shows we think they should they revive?
I don’t think every show — even every good show — should be revived. There are shows I loved that ran their course, or that petered out until I didn’t love them anymore, or whose time in the zeitgeist has passed. But here are my picks for shows I believeÂ would benefit Netflix and its viewers alike — and in some case, more importantly, benefit me.
Slings and Arrows:Â ThoughÂ it’s been off the air for almost a decade,Â aÂ revival isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. There were recent-ish rumours the creators were talking about a fourth season despite initial reports that it was always intended to be three and done. So good it tops my list of the best Canadian TV of all time, Slings and ArrowsÂ is also so good it gave The Wire‘s David Simon “writer-envy.” (The creators are probably a little more impressed with the latter.) Important to Netflix would beÂ the cult followings of many individual cast members — Paul Gross,Â Â Mark McKinney, Don McKellar to name a few — and the uniquely prestigious veneer and kooky humour of the behind-the-scenes of a Shakespeare festival series. It’s like House of Cards meets Arrested Development meets the Bard. Sounds like a keeper for Netflix to me.
Intelligence: Creator Chris Haddock is a little busy with CBC’s upcoming The Romeo Section, but given the short CBC and Netflix seasons, I have faith he could do both. Intelligence‘s second and last season ended on the cliffiest of cliffhangers, meaning there’s a Netflix-sized audience already eager to find out the fate of Jimmy Reardon. It delved into topicalÂ conspiracies affecting both Canada and the US, meaning a reboot could work well on both sides of the border.
Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: This is the high school horror show I said at the time really, really isn’t for me, but I’m very, very glad it exists. Like Netflix, it knew its audience well Â and delivered appealing content for that specific audience. Since it no longer exists, and would be great fodder for theÂ young male demographic, it’s ripe for a revival.
Endgame: Torrance CoombsÂ might give people whiplash going from Reign heartthrob back to chess geek, but he and Endgame star Shawn DoyleÂ Â have some niche star and sex appeal to add to this crime drama with a twist. Don’t tell Netflix the first season aired on Hulu without hitting big enough for a second — Endgame would fit right in to a streaming service that supplies a steady diet of crime dramasÂ with a twist such as Sherlock, Murdoch Mysteries, The Bletchley Circle, Midsomer Murders, and on and on.
Bomb Girls: The World War II series had decent ratings, butÂ not enough to remainÂ in Global’s minuscule stable of original programming. Decent ratings on broadcast should mean great numbers for Netflix, and Bomb Girls would be a natural binge-watch segue fromÂ The Bletchley Circle as well as Call The Midwife and Land Girls.
Da Vinci’s Inquest: Diane and I are on the same page with regard to wanting updated projects from Chris Haddock’s past on Netflix. I’d be quite happy to see Intelligence there, but would prefer Da Vinci’s Inquest. Maybe it’s because Inquest — about coroner Dominic Da Vinci solving crimes in Vancouver — introduced me to a style of TV writing that I hadn’t experienced up until then. Conversations were full of stops and starts, just like the real thing. Cops were fallible, Dominic was a bit of a slob … everything was authentic.
Forever Knight: Netflix is the home toÂ the quirky and the offbeat, and that’s where Forever Knight comes in. Rather than stick with the dark, serious premise of the original, the updated project can have a little more fun. It still works to have Nick KnightÂ an 800-year-old vampire working as a cop in modern-day Toronto, but rather than hide who he really is, Nick embraces it. He’s not the only vampire around, in fact, and Nick is equally at home collaring human and supernatural criminals. Pair him with a wise-cracking partner — think Remedy‘s Jahmil French — and you’ve updated the show for the Netflix crowd.
Hammy Hamster/Tales from the Riverbank: I’m going to finish off my list with a couple of kid’s shows — the genre is exploding on Netflix — starting with this classic. The stuff the handlers were able to get their rodent stars to do in the original and YTV update were amazing enough, but can you imagine what can be done now? Remote-controlled vehicles, CGI and drones mean Hammy, G.P., Turtle, Owl and the rest can get into more high-stakes adventures.
The Hilarious House of Frightenstein: Time to update this psychedelic orgy of skits, memorable characters and groovy tunes. AsÂ for a Canadian actor to take onÂ the majority of the roles, like Billy Van did? Jim Carrey.