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CRTC Chairperson and CEO Ian Scott to give keynote at BANFF 2021

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is proud to announce that CRTC Chairperson and CEO Ian Scott, will speak on BANFF 2021’s opening day Monday, June 14, with a virtual keynote session as the Festival launches MARKETPLACE WEEK and a month of curated online programming.

Now in its 42nd year, BANFF is Canada’s international conference and marketplace where new business partnerships are forged and new TV, film and digital media projects are ignited.

“I am pleased to help kick off the world-renowned BANFF festival. In these unprecedented times, we’ve come to appreciate even more the importance of Canada’s high-quality broadcasting and production industries. While we must all adapt to significant changes, including proposed legislative changes that aim to make the broadcasting system more inclusive, this is nevertheless an exciting time for all those involved in the field. I’m certain the festival as a whole will reflect this enthusiasm and I look forward to contributing to this ongoing dialogue,” stated Ian Scott, the CRTC’s Chairperson and CEO.

With delegates from more than 50 countries, BANFF attracts the world’s top creators, producers, showrunners, talent, networks, studios, streamers, press and media companies. The 2021 edition of the Festival is poised to build on the success of last year’s virtual event, with a purpose-built online platform that will connect the global media industry to ignite new projects and support business development.

“Chairperson Scott’s keynote session at the Festival comes at a pivotal time of critical examination and foundational change for the Canadian and international media industry,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director, Banff World Media Festival. “As the place for candid conversations that effect action and point the way forward, we are thrilled to host the head of the CRTC at BANFF 2021.”

In addition to its Festival programming and marketplace, BANFF continues to deliver important fellowships and initiatives including The BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media, supported by the Government of Canada which empowers Canadian women entrepreneurs to launch and grow their own sustainable businesses within the screen-based industries as well as the Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative, a program that jumpstarts and accelerates the careers of up to 100 Black, Indigenous and people of colour producers and creators.

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AMC Networks and Shaftesbury enter into new strategic partnership, further expanding the global audience for Shaftesbury’s content

From a media release:

AMC Networks, the entertainment company behind some of the most popular and award-winning brands in television, streaming and film, and award-winning production company Shaftesbury, announced today they have entered into a new strategic partnership. Through its investment in Shaftesbury, AMC Networks will gain access to Shaftesbury’s award-winning slate and expand its content and development capabilities in Canada. Shaftesbury CEO and Chairman Christina Jennings will continue to spearhead the creative focus of the company and lead the day-to-day operational control alongside Executive Vice President, Scott Garvie. Jennings, Garvie and Shaftesbury board member Michael Levine will remain on Shaftesbury’s Board of Directors. They will be joined by two new AMC Networks directors, Harold Gronenthal, EVP of Programming and Marketing for AMC Networks International, and Matt Graham, GM of the AMC Networks-owned Acorn TV streaming service. Shaftesbury and its shareholders were advised on this strategic investment by RBC Capital Markets.

The new partnership will create growth for Shaftesbury’s existing and future slate of content across all genres, creating more opportunities for Canadian creators in front of and behind the camera. The partnership also builds on AMC Networks and Shaftesbury’s existing production relationship. Shaftesbury is the studio behind some of the biggest titles on Acorn TV, including all 14 seasons of Murdoch Mysteries. In addition to Acorn TV, AMC Networks operates the entertainment brands AMC, SundanceTV, BBC America and the fast-growing streaming services AMC+, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.

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Blue Ant Media announces latest original slate for Cottage Life, T+E, Love Nature and Smithsonian Channel Canada

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media, an international producer, distributor and channel operator, announced from Prime Time Online today a series of greenlights for its suite of lifestyle and factual TV channels: Cottage Life, T+E, Love Nature and Smithsonian Channel Canada. The 2021-2022 programming slate underpins Blue Ant Media’s commitment to create compelling original content that appeals to viewers at home and on a global scale. Overseen by Sam Linton, Head of Original Content (Canada), the lineup includes four world broadcast premieres with several series available for licensing globally by Blue Ant International.

On Cottage Life, Blue Ant Media has greenlit three new series to premiere in spring 2022 during the channel’s nationwide free preview event, two of which are co-productions with APTN, Canada’s national Indigenous television network. The first co-production, Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet (working title) (Season 1; Broadcast Premiere), profiles rural Alberta-based veterinarian and everyday hero Dr. Savannah Howse-Smith as she takes care of animals while also exploring her newly-discovered Métis heritage. Blue Ant and APTN will also co-produce the third installment of Merchants of the Wild (Season 3; Broadcast Premiere), which follows six Indigenous adventurers pitted against the perils of an ancient waterway trade route used by the Syilx People. Blue Ant Media has also acquired from APTN seasons 1 and 2 of the Merchants of the Wild franchise to air on Cottage Life. Finally, Blue Ant Media has greenlit Mysteries from Above (working title) (Season 1; World Broadcast Premiere) for Cottage Life, which is a 10-part original documentary series investigating mysterious phenomena from the vantage point of drones. The series provides an in-depth analysis of never-before-seen drone footage, from lost civilizations to curious animal behaviour.

As the home of paranormal programming in Canada, T+E has lined up two spine-tingling paranormal documentaries to scare viewers across the country. Scheduled to premiere this fall on T+E, the paranormal documentary special Bathsheba (Season 1; World Broadcast Premiere), follows the chilling true story of Bathsheba Sherman, a witch made famous by the hit horror film, The Conjuring. The special delves into the true tales that served as inspiration for the film and unearths the archives of well-known paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who attempted to help the Perron family from being terrorized by Bathsheba’s presence. Also new to T+E, Blue Ant Media has greenlit Eyewitness: UFO (working title) (Season 1; World Broadcast Premiere), an eight-part docuseries that breathes new life into the decades-long conversation as to whether or not extraterrestrials have visited Earth. The series weaves together powerful and credible first-hand accounts of UFO encounters with interviews, authentic visual footage and dramatic paranormal reenactments, while expert contributors explore the world-shattering realities of the witnessed events. The greenlight comes at a pivotal time when skepticism has shifted and people are open to new findings and evidence of interstellar visitors.

New on Love Nature, the 12-part documentary series Battle of the Alphas (Season 1; World Broadcast Premiere) offers viewers insight into the competitive world of animal life, giving an inside look into an important part of animal behaviour. Battle of the Alphas is a Love Nature global commission, slated to premiere in Canada and roll out worldwide on Love Nature’s branded linear and streaming platforms in early 2022.

Finally, on Smithsonian Channel Canada, the documentary special Treasures from the Maya (Canadian Broadcast Premiere), treks deep into the jungle to investigate the mysterious collapse of the ancient Maya civilization. Using the latest science and technology, Treasures from the Maya uncovers how an ancient civilization ruled by god-kings ended in warfare. The special is slated to air next spring 2022.

For a full list of original programming highlights, please see below.

Cottage Life

Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet (working title) (9×30’; HD)
Scheduled for Spring 2022 • Broadcast Premiere
A Blue Ant Media and APTN Co-production • Producer: Wapanatahk Media in partnership with Great Pacific Media
The series follows the adventures of veterinarian Dr. Savannah Howse-Smith as she keeps rural Alberta’s pet and animal population healthy, all while learning more about her recently confirmed Métis bloodline and adjusting to her new cultural identity.

Merchants of the Wild, Season 3 (13×30’; HD)
Scheduled for Spring 2022 • Broadcast Premiere
A Blue Ant Media and APTN Co-production • Producer: Little Bear Big Wolf Pictures/Buck Productions
Merchants of the Wild is a vivid 13-part documentary series mixing culture, survival and adventure, as the cameras follow six Indigenous adventurers pitted against the perils of an ancient waterway trade route used by Interior Salishan People of the Colombia Plateau including the Secwepemc, Syilx, Kitunaxa and Sinixt Nations. In an attempt to reconnect to the land, the adventurers begin their journey with nothing and must survive 25 days in the wilderness using the teachings from Elders and Knowledge Keepers, who will be imperative to their success.

Mysteries from Above (working title) (10×60’; HD)
Scheduled for Spring 2022 • World Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company
Mysteries from Above is a compelling documentary series investigating mysteries from the unprecedented vantage point of drones. From remote, hard-to-reach locations, the drones explore strange geological occurrences, unique man-made structures, curious creatures, and even lost civilizations, revealing fascinating never-before-seen footage to the viewers. Each episode will answer the question “what is that?” with an in-depth analysis from the world’s leading experts. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

T+E

Bathsheba (2×60’; HD)
Scheduled for Fall 2021 • World Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Cream Productions
Inspired by the 2013 horror film, The Conjuring, which scared and scarred audiences worldwide, the paranormal documentary special, Bathsheba dives into the true tales that served as inspiration for the film. The storyline begins in the 1970s and follows the famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, founders of the New England Society for Psychic Research, as they attempt to help the Perron family who are terrorized by an evil paranormal presence, a witch named Bathsheba Sherman, at their remote Rhode Island farmhouse. Responding to the TV industry’s goal to achieve gender parity, Blue Ant Media and Cream Productions are committed to hiring an all-female production team with the aim to create training and mentorship opportunities for women in production. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

Eyewitness: UFO (working title) (8×60’; HD)
Scheduled for Summer 2021 • World Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company
The documentary series tells the stories of the most incredible UFO encounters of the modern era. Combining the most compelling audio and visual evidence of UFOs – mobile phone footage and photographs – with the first-hand accounts of those who were there, Eyewitness: UFO distills the biggest mystery of the modern era into riveting, experiential storytelling. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

Love Nature

Battle of the Alphas (12×30’; HD)
Scheduled for Early 2022 • World Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Yap Films
The battle of the alphas happens across the planet every day: babies compete for their mother’s milk, adolescents play-fight and adults become aggressive when their leadership is challenged or when they’re in search of a mate. From friendly competition to territorial battles, the all-new series delves into the science behind animal conflict. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

Smithsonian Channel Canada

Treasures from the Maya (1×60’; HD)
Scheduled for Spring 2022 • Canadian Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Zoot Pictures
Treasures from the Maya uses the latest science and technology (LiDAR laser imaging) to pull back the veil and help viewers see the ancient Maya civilization as they saw it centuries ago. The documentary special travels deep into the jungle, into ancient tombs and temples, to reveal stories of god-kings and their role in the collapse of the ancient Maya civilization.

Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. We own and operate numerous production companies in North America and Asia-Pacific under the Blue Ant Studios banner, creating content for broadcasters and streaming platforms in multiple genres including factual entertainment, natural history, documentary, adult animation and drama. Our distribution business, Blue Ant International, offers a substantial catalogue of content, including one of the world’s largest 4K natural history offerings. Blue Ant Media operates channels under nine brands including Love Nature, Smithsonian Channel Canada, BBC Earth (Canada) and more. Blue Ant Media is headquartered in Toronto, with nine international offices in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, Japan, London, Dunedin, Washington DC and Beijing. Blueantmedia.com.

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Sid Seixeiro joins Citytv’s Breakfast Television as new co-host

From a media release:

As announced on Sportsnet moments ago, long-time Sportsnet personality Sid Seixeiro is leaving Tim & Sid to join Breakfast Television on Citytv as the morning show’s new co-host.

Beginning March 10, Seixeiro will wake up audiences alongside current co-host and fan favourite Dina Pugliese and the rest of the BT family – Devo Brown, Frank Ferragine (aka Frankie Flowers), Stephanie Henry, Melanie Ng, Nicole Servinis and Tammie Sutherland.

“It’s been a dream to work 20 years in the sports industry, especially alongside Tim Micallef, and express my passion and love for sports on a daily basis. However, I’ve always been curious to explore other areas of the business and this was a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I’m so excited to begin this next adventure with Dina and the BT family,” said Seixeiro. “While I look forward to my next chapter, this news is truly bittersweet for me. It has been an honour coming to work and talking sports with Tim for all of these years. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. To the entire show’s crew and our incredible Tim & Sidizens, thank you.”

Seixeiro marks the end of his long-time tenure as one-half of Sportsnet’s edu-taining duo, Tim & Sid, alongside co-host Tim Micallef. Over the next few weeks, fans of both Breakfast Television and Tim & Sid will see Seixeiro across both Rogers Sports & Media shows.

Seixeiro’s last Tim & Sid air date is scheduled for February 26. Micallef will continue to anchor the 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET timeslot on Sportsnet television and radio, delivering the latest headlines, hot takes and exclusive interviews alongside a rotating panel of friends of the show, until further details are announced.

The recipient of a 2020 Canadian Screen Award for “Best Morning Show”, Breakfast Television has been a constant source of warmth and entertainment, delivering the latest news, weather and traffic to help viewers get ready for their day. BT airs live each weekday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET on Citytv and Citytv.com in Ontario, featuring a national hour available in all Citytv markets starting at 9 a.m.

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Banff World Media Festival announces 2021 virtual edition from June 14-July 16

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is proud to announce this year’s edition taking place between June 14th – July 16th featuring an all-new bespoke online platform that will connect the global media industry to ignite new projects and support business development.

The Festival has invested in building a new virtual industry and event hub – an innovative online meeting and content environment designed specifically for the entertainment business. Via this new platform, BANFF will feature exponentially more formats to connect participants with each other one on one and in groups. The new platform will launch in April with exclusive sneak peeks in the months preceding.

“Great content and successful business ventures are fueled by meaningful personal connections. BANFF has always been about bringing people together, and this year’s Festival will do that on a grand virtual scale,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director, Banff World Media Festival. “We believe our industry must recognize and act on its role in the movements for social, political, and environmental progress. This year’s Festival content will continue to drive conversation and action, highlighting the power that the entertainment industry has to change minds, change policy, and create opportunities for those who have historically been underrepresented.”

From June 14-18, BANFF’s new online platform will bring the Canadian and global media industry together as part of a new initiative called MARKETPLACE WEEK, where participants can virtually meet, screen, pitch, enlighten and socialize all in real time. The renowned Rockie Awards International Program Competition (June 15), as well as the Festival’s signature Summit Series keynotes, high level industry panels and an array of networking, parties and curated events will punctuate this exciting week. The Festival’s vibrant online delegate lounge environments will feature exhibitors and a communal space where individuals can connect for scheduled meetings, special curated events, and serendipitous networking. Companies and delegations will gather in virtual Pavilions featuring multiple meeting spaces, and every delegate has their own customized private video conferencing room. Integrated messaging and scheduling tools will make the virtual meeting and/or pitching experience easy.

BANFF 2021 continues June 21-July 16, premiering a curated series of live and interactive topical panel discussions, celebrity Master Classes, In Conversations, as well as an array of programmed and networking formats. In addition, BANFF MARKETPLACE pass holders will have access to exclusive meeting opportunities including the Festival’s signature Speed Meetings, 30 Minutes With buyer mandates, and group sessions offering unparalleled access to high level showrunners, directors and senior executives from the world’s networks, streamers and media companies.

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