Everything about Mr. D, eh?

Survey says it’s time for Family Feud Canada

The air was immediately electric as I walked into the Studio 40 at CBC headquarters in Toronto. Anyone who’s ever watched an episode of Family Feud knows exactly what the show’s about, whether it was the Richard Dawson era, the more comical years hosted by the late Ray Combs, or the current version with Steve Harvey at the helm. And Family Feud Canada—debuting Monday at 8 p.m. on CBCdoesn’t disappoint; it’s impressive right from the start. From the iconic name tags to those oh-so-familiar sights and sounds, it’s exactly how you remember it—with a Canadian spin.

“We might have a French-Canadian question, you might hear the word ‘hockey’ a bit more, you might get a poutine reference. But it’s not forced,” host Gerry Dee told us during the show’s recent media day. “We had a family from Winnipeg here and they were pumping up the Grey Cup. So there are some very proud Canadians on set because it is our version.”

And because of its Canadian-ness, expect it to be pretty darn nice. “It’s ironic, it’s called Family Feud but there’s no feuding,” laughed Dee. “They really love each other. One team feels bad to beat a team. So far, so Canadian.”

Literally. Nearly 2,000 families across the country applied and the show has received 10,000 emails from those who want to be in the studio audience. All who are surveyed are Canadian, and the questions range from Canadian to more Canadian to super-Canadian. And they’re all vying—albeit, politely—for that $10,000 prize.

Family Feud may be a game show at heart, but because of all the comedy that comes with it, it’s pretty perfect for the actor-comedian. Dee found out that Family Feud Canada was in the works about five months after Mr. D, which ran for eight seasons on the broadcaster, wrapped. “When Mr. D was done, there was nothing. Then this came along and it was perfect.”

Luckily for Dee, he didn’t have to audition as the broadcaster knew what a good thing it had with him. He joked that CBC asked five other people before turning to him but acknowledged, “I think that they probably were looking at all the great choices Canada has and I’m very lucky that they thought of me. It was a pretty cool call to get but it was never on my radar.”

But as far as Dee is concerned, he was never not going to do this. “This is right in my wheelhouse. I’m not saying I’m perfect for it but it’s a perfect fit as far as for me, it is.”

The only difference between Canada’s version and the U.S., Dee points out is, well, him. “Obviously it’s going to be very different with me as the host. Some people will like it, some won’t, and that’s a given. There always is in entertainment.

“The only thing that could be worse is me,” he continued. “That’s the only thing that could be worse. But it might not be. Not sure yet. We’ll find out.”

Family Feud Canada airs Monday to Thursday at 8 p.m. on CBC before moving to its regular timeslot of 7:30 p.m. the following week.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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Screen Nova Scotia announces 2019 award winners

From a media release:

Screen Nova Scotia hosted its fifth annual awards gala on Friday, May 3rd in front of a sold-out crowd at Casino Nova Scotia. The event celebrates the incredible talent, creativity, and passion that are the trademarks of Nova Scotia’s screen industry. Notable awards include the ACTRA Awards for Outstanding Performances, the Film Crew Excellence Award, the Digital Animators of Nova Scotia Award, the Women in Film & Television Atlantic Award, and the Community Recognition Award, along with Screen Nova Scotia Awards for best television, film, and animation.

The event was kicked off by actor/comedian Bette MacDonald, and presenters included producers, directors, crew members and actors, with musical accompaniment from the Bill Stevenson Trio.

The night’s finale was the Screen Nova Scotia Award for Best Feature Film, which went to the indie drama Splinters, from acclaimed director Thom Fitzgerald (produced by Emotion Pictures). The film — which explores interconnections of sexual identity and family, as a young woman reassesses her relationship with her mother following the death of her father — also garnered top prizes for its actors. Shelley Thompson was awarded the ACTRA Maritimes Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Female Role, and Bailey Maughan won Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Male Role.

The final season of CBC’s Mr. D was crowned the winner of the Best Television Series Award. Produced by Topsail Entertainment, Mr. D filmed for eight seasons in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Production on the series generated $126.5 million in economic activity and created over 1,400 jobs.

Kathryn MacLellan took home the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Female Role for her role in the Nova Scotia/Newfoundland co-production Hopeless Romantic, while Jordan Poole won Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Male Role for his role as Luke, Toni Collette’s son, in the movie Birthmarked.

Peep Media’s Bernie Langille Wants to Know…Who Killed Bernie Langille won the Best Short Film Award, with the film’s director Jackie Torrens also taking home the Best Director Award from Women in Film & Television – Atlantic. The Best Documentary Film Award went to The Social Shift, from Mirror Image Media and Common Good Solutions.

Paul Bronfman, Chairman/CEO, William F. White International Inc. received the inaugural Industry Champion Award in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the production services company setting up shop in Halifax, and their continued and unwavering support of the Nova Scotia screen industry.

Digital animation was also spotlighted at the awards, with Teletoon’s Spaceman and Robotron sweeping both animation categories. The series is produced by Connections Productions and animated by Cartoon Conrad.

Greens Master William Gerhardt (IATSE 849) won the 2019 Film Crew Excellence Award. Gerhardt was instrumental in transforming Yarmouth’s Cape Forchu into an island from the 1800s for Robert Eggers’ most recent feature film The Lighthouse — currently screening at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival —  and has worked on multiple productions including The Mist, The Curse of Oak Island, and the Book of Negroes. The Community Recognition Award was presented to long-time industry supporter Bea Renton, Chief Administrative Officer, the Town of Lunenburg, for her tireless efforts to consistently ensure that Lunenburg is a welcoming community for film & TV production.

THE FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS:

Screen Nova Scotia Awards:

  • Best Feature Film: Splinters (Emotion Pictures)
  • Best Television Series: Mr. D (Topsail Entertainment)
  • Best Documentary Film: The Social Shift (Mirror Image Media)
  • Best Short Film: Bernie Langille Wants To Know…Who Killed Bernie Langille (Peep Media)
  • Best Animated Series: Spaceman and Robotron (Connections Productions)

ACTRA Maritimes Awards:

  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Female Role: Shelley Thompson (Splinters)
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Male Role: Bailey Maughan (Splinters)
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Female Role: Kathryn MacLellan (Hopeless Romantic)
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Male Role: Jordan Poole (Birthmarked)

Industry & Community Awards:

  • WIFT-AT Award for Best Director: Jackie Torrens (Bernie Langille Wants To Know…Who Killed Bernie Langille)
  • Film Crew Excellence Award: William Gerhardt, Greens Master
    Community Recognition Award: Bea Renton, Chief Administrative Officer, the Town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
  • DANS Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Animation: Don
  • Pinsent & Team, Spaceman and Robotron
  • Industry Champion Award: Paul Bronfman, Chairman/CEO, William F. White International Inc.

Image courtesy of Michael Tompkins

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Preview: CBC’s Cavendish brings the weird and wonderful

“That’s a weird show, man.” Mark Little says that during an ad for Cavendish on CBC. And though it’s not clear which show he’s talking about as he looks at a television set, the inference is he’s talking about Cavendish. And he’s not wrong.

Premiering Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. on CBC, Cavendish is weird and wonderful, second only to Crawford in its strangeness, creativity and difference from the rest of the network’s winter lineup.

Created, executive produced, showrun and starring Little and Andrew Bush (Carter‘s Garry Campbell is credited as a creator too), the pair play Mark and Andy, brothers who have spent the decades following their parent’s divorce living with their mother in Toronto. Now the pair has returned to Cavendish, PEI, to care for their ailing dad, Rollie (Kevin Eldon), and reacquaint themselves with the community they left behind. (Look for Kathryn Greenwood, Kevin Hanchard, Joe Cobden, Teresa Pavlinek and Carolyn Taylor in Season 1.)

Little is probably best-known for playing Simon Hunt on Mr. D, but he and Bush have extensive backgrounds in writing and performing sketch. These skills are the bread and butter of Cavendish, which begins in Tuesday’s debut with Andy and Mark driving to the red-soiled province. It’s obvious within seconds the personalities at play here; Mark is innocent and looks on the bright side of things while Andy is quiet, morose and to many townsfolk, forgettable. This Ying and Yang results in plenty of funny moments, from Mark wondering if they’ll be able to converse with their Dad or if he’ll be “a husk,” and arguing over Andy’s high forehead.

Oddities rule the day in Cavendish, from the stuffed baby deer, fetus in a jar and sarcophagus—all pieces in their father’s home—to the beast living in the forest that emerges once a year to consume someone and an Anne of Green Gables cult. Yes, Cavendish isn’t like other towns. And Cavendish isn’t like other series.

Cavendish airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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