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Six-part Crave original series, Sisters, premieres May 17

From a media release:

Crave announced today that its new, half-hour original dark comedy series, SISTERS, premieres with the entire first season on Wednesday, May 17. Set in Ireland, SISTERS is written by EMMY®-nominee, and Canada’s own Sarah Goldberg (HBO’s BARRY), and Susan Stanley, lead actresses in the series and real-life best friends. SISTERS is directed by EMMY-nominee Declan Lowney (TED LASSO).

Using comedy to explore the series’ themes of family, identity, and culture, SISTERS has already received rave reviews from The Irish Examiner and The Irish Times, with the Examiner comparing Goldberg and Stanley with renowned female screenwriters Phoebe Waller-Bridge (FLEABAG) and Michaela Coel (I MAY DESTROY YOU).

The six-part series explores how the absence of parents can influence adult life in unforeseen ways, and how that void can affect a woman’s relationship to alcohol, men, work, and motherhood (or lack thereof). SISTERS follows Canadian Sarah (Goldberg) and Irish Suze (Stanley), two strangers who find their lives suddenly intertwined with the discovery that they are half-sisters. Determined to connect with their estranged alcoholic birth father, the two embark on a road trip through Ireland to track him down.

Episodic synopses are outlined below:

Episode 1 – They F*** You Up
After the death of Sare’s mother, she decides to travel to Ireland to find her father, but gets more than she bargained for.

Episode 2 – Mind That Child
Suze realises she has run out of options so reluctantly agrees to help Sare find their father.

Episode 3 – This Too Shall Pass
The sisters are on the road but it isn’t long before they find themselves in a compromising position.

Episode 4 – Every Time the Sun Comes up I’m in Trouble
After a betrayal, both Suze and Sare realize they are more alike than they initially thought.

Episode 5 – I Can Change
Suze and Sare are back on their quest to find their father, they travel to Carlingford where they are met by two surprise guests.

Episode 6 – Happy Ever After
In an emotional reunion, the sisters find their father but realize that maybe he isn’t what they needed in the first place.

SISTERS is a Canada/Ireland co-production from Shaftesbury (Canada) and Peer Pressure (Ireland) and in association with Crave, Mermade, Gaze Pictures with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. SISTERS is executive produced by Angela Squire, Richard Cook, Sarah Goldberg, Susan Stanley, Declan Lowney, Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Alexandra Finlay, Kira Carstensen, Melanie Donkers, Ruth Coady, and Justin Healy.


BAFTA award winner Sharon Horgan joins the Banff World Media Festival’s Keynote Summit series lineup

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is proud to announce Sharon Horgan as a Summit Series keynote speaker, a premium lineup featuring the boldest voices and the world’s most influential media leaders and recipient of the Award of Excellence. The highly anticipated session will take place on Wednesday, June 14th. The 44th edition of the Festival will take place in person June 11 – 14 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

“Sharon is one of the top creators, showrunners and performers in the business, and her addition to BANFF’s lineup of keynote speakers underscores the Festival’s prominence on the world stage,” said Kevin Beggs, Chair of the Board of Directors for BANFF and Chair & Chief Creative Officer of the Lionsgate Television Group. “We are privileged to be partnered with Sharon on Motherland for the BBC and are beyond excited about its U.S. adaptation that recently received a pilot order at ABC. I’m thrilled that she will be joining us at BANFF.”

“Sharon is one of the most prolific creators of our time, having produced hit after hit of critically-acclaimed content,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director, Banff World Media Festival. “As an actor, showrunner, writer, producer and director, she’s made a virtue of being a multi-hyphenate and continues to deliver honest, clever and wildly entertaining portrayals of women on screen. We’re honoured to welcome Sharon to the BANFF stage to discuss her career and thoughts on the ever-changing industry.”

The BANFF Summit Series is a curated, future-focused lineup of keynote sessions that was launched in 2019 in honour of the festival’s four-decade legacy. As previously announced, Fremantle’s CEO Jennifer Mullin and George Cheeks, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS and Chief Content Officer, News and Sports for Paramount+ are also confirmed as Summit Series keynotes.

Furthermore, Horgan will be presented with the Award of Excellence at the Rockies Gala taking place on Tuesday, June 13th during the Festival. 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.

In addition to Summit Series keynotes, BANFF will return with an array of provocative panel discussions including the recently announced Universal Studio Group Spotlight session featuring Erin Underhill, President of Universal Television, Beatrice Springborn, President of Universal International Studios & UCP and Toby Gorman, President of Universal Television Alternative Studio. As previously announced, multi-faceted entertainer Lilly Singh and World of Wonder co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato are confirmed to participate in exclusive ‘In Conversation With’ sessions, respectively.

The Festival will again include celebrity master classes and networking opportunities to connect the global media industry to ignite new projects and support business development. Also returning are the Rockie Awards International Program Competition, one of the world’s most prestigious screen industry competitions, with participation from more than 45+ countries annually including an international jury of 150 industry professionals. Category winners, including the Grand Jury Prize, the Rogers Prize for Canadian Content, the Francophone Prize, and other special prizes, will be announced during the Festival on June 12th.

Sharon Horgan is a dynamic, witty, and talented multihyphenate whose exceptional storytelling skills have brought her international recognition. She is an award-winning creator, writer, producer, and actor who portrays the experiences of strong, female-driven stories.

Sharon is the writer, co-creator, executive producer, and star of the ten-part comedy thriller series BAD SISTERS with Apple TV+, where she has an overall deal. The series, which premiered on August 18, follows a group of five sisters (the Garveys) and the promise they make to always protect each other after their parents’ premature death. The series stars Sharon alongside Eve Hewson, Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene, Anne-Marie Duff, and Claes Bang. BAD SISTERS is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 100% critic score and Time has called the series “wickedly funny” and “genuinely poignant.” It has received 29 nominations, some of which include five Baftas, two Critics’ Choice Awards, two WGAs, and 12 IFTAs. She’s currently in production on Season 2.

Up next, she will star in the drama series,  BEST INTERESTS, written by Jack Thorne. It is a story about a family driven to make choices no parent would ever want to make, as well as highlighting the troubled relationship the UK has with disability.  The show will air this year on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Sharon stars opposite Michael Sheen who will play her husband.

Sharon is best known for her multiple award-winning sitcom CATASTROPHE, which she co-wrote and starred in with Rob Delaney.  She won the BAFTA TV Craft Award for Best Writing in a Comedy Series in 2016 and also gained three BAFTA nominations for her extraordinary performance in the show, alongside a Primetime Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. The final season of CATASTROPHE aired in January 2019 (UK) and in spring 2019 (USA). 

She is also the co-founder, alongside Clelia Mountford, of the TV and Film production company Merman. Under the Merman banner, it was just announced that ABC ordered to pilot DROP OFF, the American adaptation of the award-winning British hit MOTHERLAND. Ellie Kemper and Judy Greer will star in the pilot which is currently in production. Sharon co-created SHINING VALE, an eight-part horror comedy series starring Courteney Cox and Greg Kinnear, which premiered on Starz and is currently in production on its third season. Sharon’s other credits for Merman include executive producing and starring in the animated comedy HOUSEBROKEN on Fox, which stars Lisa Kudrow and was co-created by Clea Duvall, Jennifer Crittenden and Gabrielle Allan. Season 2 just premiered in March 2023. Sharon also executive produced FRANK OF IRELAND (Channel 4/Amazon) and co-wrote and executive produced the BAFTA-winning MOTHERLAND on BBC. She was also an executive producer of FRAYED (Sky/ABC), THERE SHE GOES (BBC/Britbox) and THIS WAY UP (Ch4/Hulu), which she also starred in alongside creator Aisling Bea.

Sharon’s further recognition includes the  BAFTA TV Award for Best Short Form Programme (2018) for MORGANA ROBINSON’S SUMMER: DREAMLAND and an Outstanding Achievement Award for her debut short film THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS.  At the National Comedy Awards, Sharon was awarded the Caroline Ahearne Outstanding Achievement Award. She has also received two BAFTA Award nominations and two British Comedy Awards for her iconic BBC show PULLING which she co-wrote and starred in. She also wrote and directed an episode of Amazon’s anthology MODERN LOVE, “Rallying to Keep the Game Alive” and starring Tina Fey and John Slattery.

On the film side, Sharon can be seen starring opposite Nicolas Cage in THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT, which was released last April. She also starred opposite James McAvoy in the Stephen Daldry-directed film TOGETHER for BBC Two and BBC Film. In 2021, she took on the role of Miss Hedge in the BAFTA-nominated feature film adaptation of the West End musical EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE. She also starred alongside Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Kyle Chandler in the critical and commercial hit feature film GAME NIGHT.  In 2020, she starred in MILITARY WIVES opposite Kristin Scott Thomas and the Irish comedy-drama film  DATING AMBER, for which she won an IFTA for Best Supporting Actress.

Sharon’s further acting credits include  CRIMINAL UK (Netflix), BOB’S BURGERS (Fox),  BOJACK HORSEMAN (Netflix), THE INCREASINGLY POOR DECISIONS OF TODD MARGARET (IFC),  ADVENTURE TIME  (CARTOON NETWORK), PSYCHOBITCHES  (Sky Arts), THE BORROWERS  (BBC),  FREE AGENTS  (C4),  DEAD BOSS (BBC) and  BAD SUGAR  (C4), as well as the films  RUN AND JUMP,  DEATH OF A SUPERHERO, and MAN UP.  Sharon also voices Queen Dagmar in the Matt Groening Netflix series DISENCHANTMENT.

Image courtesy of David Levene.


2023 WGC Screenwriting Awards winners announced

From a media release:

In a funny, lively ceremony held this evening at Koerner Hall in Toronto, the winners of the 27th annual Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards were announced. The first in-person WGC Awards ceremony since 2019 (due to COVID-19 precautions), tonight’s gala brought together hundreds of Guild members, industry professionals, and fans—all in celebration of the Canadian screenwriters behind the programming and films viewers enjoy in Canada and around the world.

Some winners of 2023’s top prizes include Clement Virgo (Brother), Marsha Greene (The Porter, pictured above), Kurt Smeaton (Children Ruin Everything), Jason Sherman (My Tree), and Veronika Paz (Astrid & Lilly Save the World). Special awards were also presented to Laura Good, winner of the Sondra Kelly Award, and Adrian Morphy, who was awarded the Jim Burt Screenwriting Prize for his script The 300 Year Old Man. Susin Nielsen, creator and showrunner of Family Law, received the Showrunner Award—the prestigious final prize of the event.

The ceremony was hosted by Vance Banzo, a Saulteaux/Cree comedian, actor, writer, and member of award-winning sketch comedy troupe and series TallBoyz. Awards were presented on stage by showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell (Shelved, Run the Burbs); actress Paloma Nuñez (Shelved); actress and screenwriter Emma Campbell (The Next Step); writer/actor/producer Amanda Joy (Son of a Critch, Amelia Parker); showrunner Emily Andras (Wynonna Earp); writer and producer JP Larocque (Sort Of, JANN); actor and screenwriter Sugith Varughese (Transplant, Fraggle Rock); Amir Kahnamouee (previous WGC Jim Burt Prize winner); and screenwriter and producer Ken Craw (Heartland).


The Guava Juice Show, “Adventure 9000″ Written by Christine Mitchell

Children Ruin Everything, “Road Trips” Written by Kurt Smeaton

My Tree, Written by Jason Sherman

The Porter, “Episode 104” Written by Marsha Greene (pictured above)

Brother, Written by Clement Virgo

Written in the Stars, Written by David Elver

Dino Ranch, “Wings Over Dino Ranch” Written by Ben Joseph & Mike D’Ascenzo

Second Life, Written by Darrin Rose

Astrid & Lilly Save the World, “One Rib” Written by Veronika Paz

Adrian Morphy for The 300 Year Old Man

Laura Good

Susin Nielsen


Production underway on new Crave original comedy, Late Bloomer

From a media release:

Crave, in association with Pier 21 Films, announced today that production is underway in Toronto and Hamilton on the all-new comedy series, LATE BLOOMER. Created by and starring Jasmeet Singh Raina (Jus Reign), the eight-part series, which is inspired by Raina’s life as a Punjabi Sikh millennial and online celebrity, follows burgeoning content creator Jasmeet Dutta as he tries to balance his ambitions for success with his commitment to his family, community, and culture.

Raina is joined onscreen by an ensemble cast including Baljinder Singh Atwal (DES PARDES) and Sandeep Bali as Jasmeet’s parents, Gurdeep and Supinder; Ashley Ganger (GRAND ARMY) as Jasmeet’s sister, Maanvi; Sugenja Sri (THE HANDMAID’S TALE) and Sachin Mahashi as friends, Chippy and Sunny; and Ahamed Weinberg (INSECURE) as cousin, Neal.

Under the moniker Jus Reign, Raina reached global audiences across social media, including YouTube, and was one of Much Digital Studios’ first content creators in 2015. Raina became known for his deadpan comedic style and commentary on race and pop culture, and is part of a group of storytellers who charted the way for increased South Asian representation in mainstream media.

LATE BLOOMER is produced by Pier 21 Films, in association with Bell Media, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, Rogers Cable Network Fund, the Bell Fund, and tax credit assistance from of the Government of Ontario, and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, and is distributed internationally by Cineflix Rights. Jasmeet Singh Raina is Executive Producer, Star, and Creator, and Baljinder Dhawan is Executive Producer. Shebli Zarghami is Executive Producer and Showrunner. Laszlo Barna, Nicole Butler, Karen Tsang, and Vanessa Steinmetz serve as Executive Producers for Pier 21 Films and Robbie David is Series Producer. Lakna Edirisinghe is Co-Executive Producer. Consulting Producers are Russell Peters, Clayton Peters, and Peter Huang, who also serves as Director for the series.


Fremantle’s CEO Jennifer Mullin joins Banff’s Keynote Series lineup

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is proud to announce that Jennifer Mullin, CEO of Fremantle (pictured above left), is confirmed as a keynote speaker as part of its renowned Summit Series lineup. In addition, BANFF has announced two exclusive ‘In Conversation With’ sessions featuring multi-faceted entertainer, actress, producer, writer, creator and New York Times bestselling author Lilly Singh (The Muppets Mayhem, The Bad Guys, Dollface, Battle of the Generations) as well as the World of Wonder co-founders and EPs behind the Emmy Award-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, Oscar-winning The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Emmy-winning Party Monster and owned-and-operated pioneering streaming service WOW Presents Plus, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. The 44th edition of the Festival will take place in-person June 11 – 14 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

“Each of these incredible individuals have changed the face of the industry in unique and important ways,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director, Banff World Media Festival. “Jennifer Mullin no doubt will have us rapt with her vision of what it takes to helm one of the world’s global content powerhouses. Lilly Singh is a Canadian-born superstar, and we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate and explore what drives her talents in front of and behind the screen. And it’s just impossible to quantify the good that Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have put into the world via the legendary global juggernaut that is Drag Race and many other productions. They have changed minds and opened hearts and continue to demonstrate that beauty is about authenticity and joy, that love conquers hate, and that despite horrific efforts to the contrary in many places around the globe, the civil rights and human rights of the LGBTQ+ community must be protected.”

BANFF is the international conference and marketplace where new business partnerships are forged and new TV, film and digital media projects are ignited. With delegates from 50+ countries, the Festival attracts the world’s top creators, producers, showrunners, talent, networks, studios, streamers, press and media companies.

As CEO of Fremantle (part of the RTL Group), one of the biggest production companies in the world, Mullin oversees a business that achieved revenues of €2.3 billion ($2.44 billion) in 2022.

Under her leadership as Fremantle’s first American head, the creative powerhouse behind iconic entertainment franchises such as Idol, Got Talent, and Family Feud, has continued expansion of its high-end global drama and film output, producing the likes of Bones and All, My Brilliant Friend, The Responder and Academy-award nominated The Hand of God. The company has also set ambitious plans to continue its growth in the documentary space.

Fremantle has grown its global footprint through strategic M&A activity welcoming companies including Element Pictures, Lux Vide, 72 Films, Wildstar and Eureka to the Group. The company also continues to enter into high-profile creative talent partnerships with the likes of Angelina Jolie, Edward Berger, Paolo Sorrentino and Michael Winterbottom.

Mullin has served as Group CEO since 2018 having been promoted from her senior leadership role as CEO of Fremantle North America.

Before joining Fremantle, she worked as an executive and producer at such companies as Disney, Paramount and Universal.

Named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Hollywood & Entertainment list, Fast Company’s Most Creative People, and as one of the most influential people on the internet by TIME, Lilly Singh (pictured above right) is an award-winning, multi-faceted entertainer, philanthropist, actress, producer, writer, and NYT-Bestselling author. A leading force in popular culture, she has amassed a global audience of nearly 40 million followers across her social media channels.

Up next, Singh is starring as the human lead and first woman of colour to lead a Muppets project in Disney+ upcoming comedy series The Muppets Mayhem. Singh also hosts and serves as executive producer of CTV’s upcoming primetime quiz series BATTLE OF THE GENERATIONS. In 2022, Singh starred in the DreamWorks Animation action-comedy The Bad Guys, which premiered to a global box office of over $230 million. Singh is also a judge on CANADA’S GOT TALENT, that just returned for Season 2. Singh was the only woman to host a late-night show on a broadcast network television in nearly two decades for her show A LITTLE LATE WITH LILLY SINGH. As an author, she has published the #1 New York Times bestseller “How To Be A Bawse: A Guide to Surviving Conquering Life” and “Be a Triangle: How I Went from Being Lost to Getting My Life Into Shape”, which debuted as an instant best-seller in Canada and India.

Singh struck first-look deals with Universal Television Alternative Studio (unscripted) and Blink49 Studios and Bell Media (scripted) with her Unicorn Island Productions banner that she leads with Polly Auritt, highlighting South Asian storytelling. Debuting from the company in 2023 as a YouTube Original series is the animated series, “The Mindful Adventures of Unicorn Island” in partnership with Headspace Studios. She is also attached to star in a Netflix comedy series which she is developing with Kenya Barris’ Khalabo Ink Society.

In addition to her projects under Unicorn Island Productions, Singh launched “Lilly’s Library” to further her mission of spotlighting South Asian stories for everyone, as well as the Unicorn Island Fund – focusing on girls who continue to be systemically undervalued across cultures and geographies and empowering them to live without limits. UNICEF appointed Lilly as one of their Goodwill Ambassadors, where she’s advocated for gender equity in countries around the world since 2017.

She currently resides in Los Angeles and was born and raised in Scarborough, Ont.

For three decades, World of Wonder has introduced audiences to new worlds, talent and ideas; reshaping international pop culture, while earning 30 Emmys and inspiring Oscar®-winning performances. Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato first met as film students at NYU film school in the mid-80s before becoming creative and business partners in 1991 when they launched World of Wonder. Since then, they have been behind the Emmy® Award-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1/Logo) and “Million Dollar Listing” LA & NY (Bravo) franchises, as well as award-winning subversive documentaries.

Together they have produced more than 250 projects and share nearly three dozen credits as co-directors, including award-winning and critically acclaimed films such as “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” inspiring the Oscar-winning scripted film by the same name; “Monica in Black and White”; “Wishful Drinking”; “Inside Deep Throat”; “Party Monster”; “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures”; “Every Brilliant Thing”; and Emmy® Award-winning “Out of Iraq.” Recent projects include “Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes,” based on Ronan Farrow’s explosive Harvey Weinstein investigation, and “Small Town News,” both with HBO.

Working together as directors in both the scripted and unscripted space, the dynamic duo seamlessly creates culture-shifting projects — a vision characterized by an appreciation for the quirky yet tell-tale details that grant access to a greater truth. Fenton and Randy believe that storytelling is not limited to the size of the screen, but rather it is the dimensions of the story that counts. Whether it is a convention (DragCon), a live show in Vegas, a book (ScreenAge) or a line of cocktails and mocktails (House of Love) – World of Wonder’s library inspires people to proudly and authentically live out their dreams, and give a voice to outsiders and marginalized communities.

Fenton and Randy have been honoured for their trailblazing work with the IDA Pioneer Award, Realscreen’s Global 100 list, Variety’s Reality Leaders List, and Variety’s Reality TV Impact Report, as well as the OUT 100. They have also been named by The Hollywood Reporter as the #1 unscripted producers working in the non-fiction space today. Most recently, World of Wonder was ranked #2 among film and TV powerhouses in Fast Company’s World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.