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Rezolution Pictures announces greenlight for second season of GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land on APTN

From a media release:

Rezolution Pictures is very proud to announce that APTN has greenlit the second season of GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land for a 10-part, half-hour episode series. Pre-production is scheduled to begin in August and shooting commences in Fall 2021, continuing into Summer 2022 in the Mi’gmaq communities of Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land, Season 2, is a documentary series about the Indigenous men and women of Mi’gmagi who work for Indigenous-run commercial fisheries Following larger-than-life characters, we experience the fun and excitement of their lives on and off the water. We also get an inside perspective on how First Nations commercial fishing industries — that were born out of violence and defiance — grew to be a key economic and cultural support for the communities.

The subject is quite topical as two events have been in the news in the last year: The conflicts between Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous commercial fishers and the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s upholding of parts of a lower court ruling that Canada’s regulation and management of regular commercial fisheries unjustifiably infringed on the First Nations fishers’ rights to harvest and sell fish.

The first season of the documentary series about the Mi’gmaq fishers of Listuguj, Que., who make their living on the nearby waters harvesting salmon, crab, lobster and shrimp, was first broadcast in Winter 2021 and the entire season is re-running on APTN now as well as on APTN lumi.

Featuring some of the larger-than-life characters from Season One and introducing some new brave, funny, and robust fishers, biologists, Elders and community members, Season Two will be anchored in Listuguj but also travel to other Indigenous fisheries in Mi’kmaq territory, such as Gesgapegiag, Que., Eel River Bar, N.B., and Sipekne’katik, N.S. It will continue to showcase life on the water, the science and conservation efforts being put forward, and the history, culture, and community of the Mi’gmagi.

GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land is co-executive produced by Ernest Webb (Cree) and Greg Lawrence, produced by Lisa M. Roth. Season 2 combines the directing talent of Ernest Webb, Greg Lawrence, and Courtney Montour (Mohawk). In season 2, Heather Condo (Mi’gmaq) returns as Director Trainee and April Maloney (Mi’kmaq) comes on board as director of photography trainee, with the support of the ISO-Netflix Indigenous Production Apprenticeship Program.


Jesse Fawcett launches independent production company, Fireworks Media Group

From a media release:

Prolific award-winning television producer Jesse Fawcett has launched Fireworks Media Group, a North American-based production company to develop and produce premium unscripted and scripted content.

Fawcett is well known in the entertainment business as a co-founding partner of global content company Essential Media Group where he helmed North American operations until the company was successfully sold to Kew Media in 2018. In 2020, Fawcett and Greg Quail re-acquired the assets of Essential from Kew and relaunched as EQ Media Group. Now, Fawcett is poised to inaugurate his own venture, Fireworks Media Group, together with a cross-border team of veteran production professionals.

Under the new banner, the company is producing the new original series Pamela Anderson’s Home Reno Project (working title) for HGTV Canada with iconic Baywatch star Pamela Anderson returning to her Canadian roots to rebuild the family home of her dreams. The series is executive produced by Brandon Lee, Fawcett and Firework’s new President of Canada, Robert Hardy. Corus Studios will distribute the series internationally. Pamela Anderson is represented by Chris Smith at ICM Partners. Fireworks Media Group has also secured an exclusive first-look scripted development deal with social media sensation Kris Collins, who has amassed over 32 million followers and 1.4 billion likes.

In addition, Fireworks Media Group is currently in production on sophomore seasons of the real estate unscripted series Selling the Big Easy for HGTV in the US as well as Corus Studios’ Big Timber which airs on HISTORY in Canada and Netflix in the US and internationally. A top performer on HISTORY and Netflix, Big Timber. follows the high-stakes work of logger and sawmill owner Kevin Wenstob as he and his crew go to extremes to keep the family sawmill, and their way of life, alive.

Some of the other successful shows completed during Fawcett’s tenure at EQ Media Group include No Demo Reno which recently launched on HGTV as the #1 cable premiere in the Thursday 8-9pm timeslot, multi-season hit series Restored airing on Discovery+, the paranormal reality series Ghost Loop for Travel Channel and 165 episodes of Texas Flip N’ Move, perennial #1 series on DIY Network.


T+E explores the unexplained as new original series Encounter: UFO premieres Tuesday, August 10

From a media release:

A national survey, commissioned by Canada’s leading paranormal television broadcaster T+E and conducted by market research firm Ipsos, reveals one in 10 Canadians claim to have seen an unidentified flying object. Among the 1,000 Canadians polled, more than half (56%) believe in UFOs, while a majority 65% believe intelligent extraterrestrial life exists. The belief that aliens exist is more prevalent among men (70%) than women (61%), and among Millennials (69%) and Gen X’ers (71%) than Boomers (58%).

The survey was commissioned by T+E ahead of the premiere of the broadcaster’s new original series Encounter: UFO. The eight-part docuseries weaves together powerful and credible first-hand accounts of UFO encounters and abductions, authentic video evidence and dramatic paranormal reenactments, while expert contributors explore the world-shattering realities of the witnessed events. The world broadcast premiere of Encounter: UFO airs Tuesday, August 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, exclusively on T+E.

According to the survey results, close encounters of the alien kind are most likely to happen in the Prairies: 16% of Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents claim to have seen a UFO, compared to 10% of Quebecers, 9% of Ontarians, 8% of Albertans, 7% of British Columbians, and just 5% of Atlantic Canadians. Men (64%) are significantly more likely than women (48%) to believe in UFOs and to claim they have seen one (11% vs. 7%).

Acclaimed Canadian science writer, ufologist and expert contributor in T+E’s new series Encounter: UFO, Chris Rutkowski says the survey results are in line with his own research. Rutkowski has collected and analyzed Canadian UFO report data since the 1970s and published the Canadian UFO Survey since 1989. “Canada has a long history of UFO sightings; they are more common than we think. About 1,000 UFO reports are filed in Canada every year, and there were more reports during the pandemic,” says Rutkowski. “When it comes to speculating about aliens visiting earth, most Canadians expect interstellar visitors to be friendly like E.T., and unlike the villainous aliens you see in films like Independence Day.”

Audiences who watch T+E’s all-new original series Encounter: UFO will hear from over 24 eyewitnesses from across the globe who swear they’ve seen unidentified flying objects, high-speed saucers and flashing bright lights in the night sky. One episode explores one of Canada’s most infamous UFO encounters, the case of Stefan Michalak, who reported being burned by a UFO in the wilderness of Falcon Lake, Manitoba, and features an in-depth interview with Stefan’s son, Stan Michalak. Encounter: UFO also delves into Canada’s best-documented UFO sighting in Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia. This paranormal event involves a UFO crash landing in the waters off Shag Harbour that was witnessed by several onlookers and resulted in a series of RCMP reports. UFO researcher and author Chris Styles, who played an integral role in the investigation, speaks about this mysterious incident in the docuseries.

Encounter: UFO is produced by Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company. Michael Kot, Betty Orr, Nick Crowe, Pam McNair and Paul Kilback serve as Executive Producers. Brian Rice is the Director and Series Producer.


Preview: T+E’s Hotel Paranormal checks in with more spooky tales

A little over a year ago, Season 1 of Hotel Paranormal launched on T+E. Narrated by Dan Aykroyd—who hosted PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, whose great-grandfather was a spiritualist and whose father published a book called A History of Ghosts—retraces the terrifying, true stories of those who have come face-to-face with otherworldly hotel guests.

Now the series is back for more scares in Season 2.

Returning Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on T+E with the ominously titled “Touched by Evil,” Aykroyd guides viewers through some twisted tales.

First up is a trip to Jefferson, Texas, in 2018, where new hotel owners Jeromy and Pam learn there are supernatural goings-on in their Jefferson Hotel. Built in the 1850s, the building had seen a lot of history and, apparently, contained some dark tales within its walls. It didn’t take long for Jeromy and Pam to witness clunks, clanks and exploding light bulbs. Were these the hallmarks of iffy plumbing and elderly electrical work or something more sinister? Without giving anything away, things get much, much worse.

As with Season 1, paranormal experts complement the stories told by witnesses, offering suggestions and clues as to what—and why—spookiness is going on. Many believe the fact hotel rooms, which see thousands of guests, are the perfect places to house spirits. 

Tune in to Hotel Paranormal and see if you agree.

Hotel Paranormal airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on T+E.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.


Hosted by Paralympians Greg Westlake and Travis Murao, the AMI original series Beyond the Field debuts Monday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv

From a media release:

With the Paralympic Games in Tokyo just weeks away, AMI is excited to announce the debut of Beyond the Field on Monday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv.

An AMI original production, Beyond the Field examines important issues impacting the world of sport, specifically parasport. Hosts—and Paralympians—Greg Westlake (AMI-tv’s Level Playing Field) and Travis Murao raise awareness and push the conversation forward through discussions with elite para-athletes, experts and coaches.

“I’m proud to bring Beyond the Field to audiences in advance of the Paralympic Games,” says Michelle Dudas, Senior Producer at AMI-tv. “The discussions that Greg and Travis have with their guests shed a light on important issues and challenges that need to be addressed.”

Beyond the Field, hosted by Greg Westlake and Travis Murao, episode premiere dates and synopses:

Monday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Racial Diversity in Sport”
Paralympians Kieran Block and Richard Peter talk diversity in parasport.

Monday, July 19, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Sport”
Paralympian Ness Murby and educator Christine Hsu discuss the growing fight for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports and what can be done for the future.

Monday, July 26, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Mental Health Preparation”
We explore the topic of mental health and mental preparation with Paralympians Alison Levine and Lowell Taylor.

Monday, August 2, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Coaching with a Disability”
Coaches David Willsie and Peggy Assinck discuss coaching in parasport.

Monday, August 9, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Recruitment and Grassroots Support”
We explore the importance of recruitment and grassroots support for athletes of all ages with Variety Village’s Archie Allison and Paralympic curler Sonja Gaudet.     

Monday, August 16, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Life After Sport”
Paralympian-turned-lawyer Josh Vander Vies and nurse-turned-Paralympic hopeful Sarah Anne Cormier talk life after sport.

Additionally, the companion podcast Beyond the Field: Uncut offers deeper discussions with Greg, Travis and their guests. Download Beyond the Field: Uncut from your favourite podcasting platform.

In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, Season one of Beyond the Field features Integrated Described Video (IDV) making it accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.

Host Greg Westlake
Para ice hockey team captain Greg Westlake helped Canada to the silver medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

At the World Para Ice Hockey Championships in Gangneung, South Korea, in April 2017, Greg, a forward, helped Canada defeat arch-rivals U.S.A. to win a record fourth world title for the Canadians. The win marked his third world championship gold: Greg was on teams that won in 2008, 2013 and 2017.

Greg competed at his third Paralympic Games in 2014, in Sochi, and collected a second career Paralympic medal as Canada won the bronze. Greg finished the Sochi Paralympic Games tournament with four points in five games, including an assist on Billy Bridges’ insurance goal in the bronze medal game 3-0 victory over Norway.

Host Travis Murao
Travis Murao was introduced to wheelchair rugby by Duncan Campbell, one of the inventors of the sport. He started playing while still in G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre and quickly became hooked on the intellectual side of the sport.

Travis is known for his sense of humour and his love of reading. He’s blogged about wheelchair rugby and starred in the humorous web series “Wheelchair Rugby Talk with Trav n’ Trev,” with teammate Trevor Hirschfield.

Travis’ passion for both English Literature and wheelchair rugby took him to Tucson, where he studied English at the University of Arizona and won a United States Quad Rugby Association national championship title with the Tucson Pterodactyls. Now, Travis is living in Toronto and training full-time in the hopes of capturing gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Beyond the Field debuts Monday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv. Stream episodes post-broadcast on AMI.ca or using the AMI-tv App.