Everything about Coroner, eh?

Morwyn Brebner and Andrew Akman launch Husk Media in partnership with Cineflix Media

From a media release:

Cineflix Media is teaming up with award-winning showrunner Morwyn Brebner and TV executive Andrew Akman to launch Husk Media, a new television production company.

Toronto-based Husk Media will develop and produce programming for broadcasters and streamers worldwide. With Brebner spearheading creative efforts and Akman leading commercial affairs, the company will focus on projects created by Brebner, as well as projects in partnership with emerging and established writers and showrunners.

Cineflix will provide Husk Media with start-up financing and operating support, and has a first-look to distribute the shingle’s content internationally. The new production company joins Cineflix’s growing joint venture lineup which includes Mirage producer Connect3 Media and International Emmy® Award-winning Marcella producer Buccaneer Media.

Most recently honoured as 2021 Showrunner of the Year by the Writers Guild of Canada, Morwyn Brebner has produced premium scripted television for networks and platforms around the world, and is behind some of the longest-running, most successful dramas ever produced in Canada. Brebner’s credits include creating global hit Coroner (CBC/The CW Network/NBCUniversal International Networks), as well as co-creating supernatural medical series Saving Hope (CTV/ION) and police drama Rookie Blue (ABC/Global Television).

Andrew Akman brings more than 20 years of experience in production, distribution, and broadcasting. He has held senior management positions at some of Canada’s largest media and entertainment companies and will be transitioning out of his current role as COO at Cineflix Media.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Canadian Screen Award nominees: Tamara Podemski and Ryan Belleville

It’s Canadian Screen Awards week and we’re celebrating all week long in a very special way. We’ll feature exclusive interviews with the actors and creative folks who are nominated in the television and web series categories.

Today, it’s Tamara Podemski, nominated for 2021 Best Supporting Actress, Drama for Coroner; and Ryan Belleville, nominated for 2021 Best Supporting Actor, Comedy for Workin’ Moms.

Tamara Podemski, nominated for 2021 Best Supporting Actress, Drama for Coroner

How do you feel the Canadian TV industry is faring during these pandemic times?
I think the Canadian TV Industry fared pretty well during the pandemic. I feel like the actor’s union, ACTRA, did a really good job at disseminating information about safety protocols, as well as support programs for people who needed access to health services, financial services, counselling services. If people don’t feel safe going to work, there is no industry. Based on my experience filming throughout the pandemic in Ontario, I can say that I did feel protected and very safe. There’s a lot of value in that. I also think streaming services did very well in the pandemic and CBC Gem offered this amazing, free opportunity for audiences to access so much more Canadian content and all of us storytellers and story makers have benefited greatly from those new viewers.

How have you fared during these pandemic times?
I feel very blessed. I have experienced some serious dry spells in my career and yet, at a time of such suffering and uncertainty, this pandemic has brought me some really exciting and fulfilling work. I feel like opportunity and luck have aligned in the strangest and most marvelous of ways for me right now. During the first lockdown, I was in the middle of shooting my sister’s new TV drama, Unsettled, in North Bay. We were able to resume, safely, in June and then wrapped in September. Then I got to return to Coroner for Season 3, which we shot in the fall. In January, I started filming my new TV show Outer Range in New Mexico. But as much as the work has been plentiful, the real saving grace has been FaceTime dates with friends and family, backyard distance visits, leaving the city and moving to Georgian Bay, and participating in as many virtual gatherings/events as possible. The pandemic has been very isolating and any way that I can stay connected to my larger community has been vital and necessary.

Do you think Canadian TV is stronger than ever when it comes to telling our stories?
Everyone is better and stronger and more impactful when they represent the truth and authenticity of who they are and where they come from. I think Canadian television has a long way to go, but we’re moving in the right direction. Canadians want to see their own communities and their own storytellers on the screen. I want that, too! Every role I take is an act of representation; an act of visibility and inclusion and making my voice heard. Our diversity in this country is more than just ‘quota fillers’ – we are the faces that make up this nation and we are ALWAYS better when we own that and celebrate it.

Does an award nomination/win serve as validation for you or is it just a nice nod that you’re on the right track, career or choice-wise?
Maybe I should answer the question this way … I’ve been acting in Canadian film and TV for almost 30 years and this is my first acting nomination from the Canadian Academy. So obviously, I’ve had to find many other sources of validation and encouragement to get me through those years! Awards are good feeling things, though, and it’s just nice to finally be invited to the party.

What will you wear during the Canadian Screen Awards?
I’m working that night, so I will probably be wearing a Sheriff’s uniform and a cowboy hat.

What will you eat/drink/snack on during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Probably craft services. Veggie cup with hummus is my go-to these days.

Is there someone who served as a mentor when you were starting out in this industry that you’d give a special shout-out to in your acceptance speech if given the chance?
I was lucky enough to follow in the footsteps of women like my sister, Jennifer Podemski, Michelle St. John, Jani Lauzon, Monique Mojica and Shirley Cheechoo. These powerhouses claimed their space on the stage, screen and behind the camera and taught me that community responsibility, cultural accountability and artistic practice are all interconnected. My earliest introduction to professional performance was through these women, so I’m always grateful for their influence and guidance when I was so young and impressionable.

Ryan Belleville, nominated for 2021 Best Supporting Actor, Comedy for Workin’ Moms

How do you feel the Canadian TV industry is faring during these pandemic times?
The Canadian film and TV industry is booming right now. While the U.S. was in the midst of the garbage fire that is COVID, Canadians were heading the PM’s advice and avoiding speaking mostly to each other. The payoff? Every studio in Toronto was slammed, while L.A. was a ghost town. As for actual Canadian content? More people have been watching it than ever. Millions of people around the world were binging Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience and Workin’ Moms, just to name a few. I just finished the most recent season of The Expanse which I know isn’t officially a Canadian show, but it’s full of Canadian talent.

How have you fared during these pandemic times?
My screen time is up so high that my last phone screen time report just read: You are phone now. Seriously though, thank god for technology to get us through this. Zoom, and video games, and streaming. I also live in California, which has completely turned things around, and it almost feels like normal life again … almost.

Do you think Canadian TV is stronger than ever when it comes to telling our stories?
Canadian TV is absolutely having its moment in the sun, and I really hope it continues. We are telling more varied stories, from more diverse viewpoints, and people are watching. Not just in Canada, but around the world. I feel as though we are finally shedding this overly Canadiana hokey point of reference that had to be shoehorned into every show. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding a snow machine in the backcountry, but the overwhelming majority of Canadians live in urban settings and have big-city modern-day problems.

Does an award nomination/win serve as validation for you or is it just a nice nod that you’re on the right track, career or choice-wise?
Ha! I don’t think I’ve ever been confident I’m on the right track. It’s just that this is all I’ve ever known how to do. It is nice to be recognized for the work in the show, especially with my buddy, and fellow Loose Moose Theatre Alumni, Calgarian Andrew Phung.

What will you wear during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Robe … maybe underwear. Wait … can people see me while I watch? In that case, I will wear a nice shirt and a tie … no pants … maybe underwear.

What will you eat/drink/snack on during the Canadian Screen Awards?
I’d like to say I’m going to order some expensive sushi, and drink champagne, but I’m a tired parent with kids who are home all the time, so it’ll probably be pizza flavoured goldfish and a juice box.

Is there someone who served as a mentor when you were starting out in this industry that you’d give a special shout-out to in your acceptance speech if given the chance?
My parents. They are both gifted artists, who taught me the importance of staying true to yourself. I remember watching them as a child when they were on stage and being hypnotized by how they could move an audience.

Stream the Canadian Screen Awards on the Academy websiteTwitter and YouTube.

Check out the list of nominees.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
7 p.m. ET: CTV presents the Canadian Screen Awards – Creative Arts & Performance (Narrator: Tyrone Edwards)

Thursday, May 20, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Cinematic Arts, Presented by Telefilm Canada, Supported by Cineplex (Narrator: Nahéma Ricci)

8 p.m. ET: 2021 Canadian Screen Awards (Narrators: Stephan James and Karine Vanasse)

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Canadian Screen Award nominees: Joseph Kay and Roger Cross

It’s Canadian Screen Awards week and we’re celebrating all week long in a very special way. We’ll feature exclusive interviews with the actors and creative folks who are nominated in the television and web series categories.

Today, it’s Joseph Kay, nominated for Best Writing, Drama Series for Transplant, which is also nominated in the Best Drama Series category; and Roger Cross, nominated for 2021 Best Lead Actor, Drama Series for Coroner.

Joseph Kay, nominated for Best Writing, Drama Series for Transplant, which is also nominated in the Best Drama Series category

Congratulations on your Canadian Screen Award nominations!
Thanks so much!

How do you feel the Canadian TV industry is faring during these pandemic times?
We’ve found ways to make production work despite the restrictions. A shout out to the resiliency of our cast and crew on Transplant’s second season for working in such different ways than we were all previously accustomed. Hopefully in the coming months we hear news across our business of more and more new shows being ordered.

How have you fared during these pandemic times?
Thankfully, I’ve been able to take my pandemic angst and channel it into the writing of a medical series. Although we’re not factoring COVID into the second season of Transplant, we’ve explored themes relevant to the experience which has helped all of our creative team contemplate the way we’re feeling about the year we’ve had.

Do you think Canadian TV is stronger than ever when it comes to telling our stories?
Definitely. It’s been exciting to watch our audiences expand. And while there is still plenty more work to be done to foster this, our creative community is widening to include new voices and points of view.

Does an award nomination/win serve as validation for you or is it just a nice nod that you’re on the right track, career or choice-wise?
I’ve always said that the work is its own reward, and I have to stick to that now or I’ll have been lying all these years! But seriously, the most rewarding part for me is that, win or lose, the nominations help our whole team (cast, crew, networks) feel excited and proud of the work we’re doing together.

What will you wear during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Either a tuxedo or my pajamas. Still deciding.

What will you eat/drink/snack on during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Bourbon and chicken wings, no doubt about it.

Is there someone who served as a mentor when you were starting out in this industry that you’d give a special shout-out to in your acceptance speech if given the chance?
My first mentor in this industry was George F. Walker and I’d be thrilled to get the chance to give him a shout out!

Roger Cross, nominated for 2021 Best Lead Actor, Drama Series for Coroner

How do you feel the Canadian TV industry is faring during these pandemic times?
The Canadian TV industry seems to have recovered and is thriving since the pandemic began.
 
How have you fared during these pandemic times?
Like most, the first few months were a bit uncertain, but I was blessed to spend that quality time with my family! And we’ve since filmed Season 3 of Coroner. I’m currently finishing a feature film Heatwave, I’m about to go shoot A Christmas Letter with my friend David Lipper, then film a great indie film Uniting with a wonderful cast. So, I’ve been blessed during this time.
 
Do you think Canadian TV is stronger than ever when it comes to telling our stories?
Most definitely. Schitt’s Creek is definitely leading the way, and shows like ours are also making great headway in the U.S. and around the world.
 
Does an award nomination/win serve as validation for you or is it just a nice nod that you’re on the right track, career or choice-wise?
I think true validation only comes from within. But of course, this nomination is an honour, and it feels great to be recognized by your peers and the Canadian Academy!
 
What will you wear during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Hmmmmm….Tux up top, boxers down below.
 
What will you eat/drink/snack on during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Pizza and beer. Maybe a glass of wine as well.
 
Is there someone who served as a mentor when you were starting out in this industry that you’d give a special shout-out to in your acceptance speech if given the chance?
Though I’ve never met the man, Sidney Poitier is someone I’ve always looked up to and admired. The dignity and joy with which he carried himself and the kind of roles he chose to do during such troubling times, spoke volumes to me.

Stream the Canadian Screen Awards on the Academy websiteTwitter and YouTube.

Check out the list of nominees.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Children’s & Animation, Presented by Shaw Rocket Fund (Narrator: Eric Bauza)

8 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Digital & Immersive, Presented with the participation of the Independent Production Fund (Narrator: Donté Colley)

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
7 p.m. ET: CTV presents the Canadian Screen Awards – Creative Arts & Performance (Narrator: Tyrone Edwards)

Thursday, May 20, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Cinematic Arts, Presented by Telefilm Canada, Supported by Cineplex (Narrator: Nahéma Ricci)

8 p.m. ET: 2021 Canadian Screen Awards (Narrators: Stephan James and Karine Vanasse)

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Links: Coroner Season 3 finale

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: Adrienne Mitchell and Morwyn Brebner talk Coroner Season 3 and preview the finale
“She is very powerful, as a person and as an actor and can blow people off the screen. It’s not that she wants to. It’s just that’s what she brings. So they met and just had a chemistry that worked.” Continue reading.

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: Adrienne Mitchell and Morwyn Brebner talk the Coroner Season 3 finale
How’s everyone doing after that finale? We’ll have to wait until Season 4 (fingers crossed) to break down that loaded look from Jenny at the end, but to tide you over, here’s the second part of my chat with co-showrunners Adrienne Mitchell and Morwyn Brebner about the other things we can discuss. Continue reading.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Winners: The 19Th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto

From a media release:

ACTRA Toronto is proud to announce the winners of the 19th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto. 

Outstanding Performance – Female Voice 
Bahia Watson as Leshawna in Total Dramarama, “Total Eclipse of the Fart” (Fresh TV Inc.)

Outstanding Performance – Male Voice 
Cory Doran as Manson and Johnny in Doomsday Brothers, “The Real Monster is …You!” (Portfolio Entertainment)

Outstanding Performance – Female
Tamara Podemski as Alison Trent in Coroner, “One Drum” (Back Alley Film Productions/Muse Entertainment Enterprises)

Outstanding Performance – Male
Jesse LaVercombe as Dylan in Violation (DM Films)

For the third year in a row, the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award went to Schitt’s Creek.

Tara Sky presented ACTRA Toronto’s 2021 Award of Excellence to her mother, multi-disciplinary artist Jani Lauzon.

The 19th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto were presented online on ACTRA Toronto’s YouTube channel tonight at 8 p.m. EST. 

“I am blown away by the calibre and diversity of the talented performers nominated this year,” said ACTRA Toronto President David Gale, “Building a star system in Canada has been a little bit of a thing of mine for a while. We will build our strength as a union by raising the profile of our award-winning and rising stars. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.” The president also spoke about protecting performers on set during the pandemic, “As members of the Ministry of Labour’s Section 21 Film and Television Health and Safety committee, ACTRA Toronto is taking a leading role in making sure our sets are safe. After all, performers are the only ones taking our masks off at work.”

The 19th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto were sponsored by: GOLD: Actra Fraternal Benefit Society; Bell Media; CBC; CMPA; Creative Arts Financial, a division of FirstOntario; United Steelworkers. SILVER: Cavalluzzo. BRONZE: HUB International; NABET 700-M UNIFOR; Take 5 Productions; Whizbang Films. 

ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA, representing more than 15,000 of Canada’s 27,000 professional performers working in recorded media in Canada. As an advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven union that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of professional performers.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail