Everything about Reality, Lifestyle & Documentary, eh?

Link: Canadian TV Is Alive And Thriving: The Caregivers Club

From James Bawden:

Link: Canadian TV Is Alive And Thriving: The Caregivers Club
“There have been several touching documentaries on Alzheimer’s victims,” filmmaker Cynthia Banks is telling me on the phone. But she wanted to look at the people who have to look after them often for long periods of time.

“My mother, Phyllis, started the ball rolling in 2015 when she phoned me for help. When I got to the hospital my dad was tied down to the bed and extremely agitated. And for the first time I watched this strong woman crying. She’d always been the most resilient in my family.”

Thus began the journey that filmmaker Banks turned into the remarkable personal account The Caregivers;’ Club which premieres on CBC-TV Sunday night at 9. Continue reading.


A Life on the Line: Manitoba filmmaker returns to rural roots for feature doc, premiering on APTN

From a media release:

Sam Karney left his small western Manitoba town to pursue an education and career in the city. Little did he know the road would one day circle back, return him to his rural roots, and reveal the secrets of one of Canada’s oldest professions.

A Life on the Life is the story of a young man returning to the fur-trapping life he turned his back on. The one-hour documentary premieres on APTN this month:

Ø January 14 @ 7:00pm Eastern
Ø January 16 @ 11:00am Eastern (rebroadcast)
Ø January 19 @ 5:00pm Eastern (rebroadcast)

Watch the trailer here: www.alifeontheline.com

Even though Canada today has largely forgotten about the fur trade, there are still men and women dedicated to preserving this way of life, and passing it down to the next generation. A Life on the Line explores this important part of Canadian history, set against the stunning backdrop of Manitoba’s rugged boreal forest.

“For as long as I can remember, fur trapping has been in my life,” says Karney, a Métis filmmaker from Roblin, Manitoba, who is making his feature documentary debut with A Life on the Line.

“My dad Chuck started working on a trapline when I was very young, so to me, the sights and smells became everyday things. But as I got older and moved away for school and work, the trapline got further and further away.”

“A few years ago, through my work at a TV station, I was given the opportunity to produce short documentaries. I pitched the idea of spending a weekend on my dad’s trapline, documenting the activities, and exploring the challenges in a modernized world. After that, I began thinking there was something bigger here.”

And he was right. What turned out to be ‘something bigger’ was the story of Sam returning to his roots, and reconnecting with his father. The idea eventually turned into A Life on the Line, Sam’s first full-length documentary as a filmmaker, and the first time turning the camera on himself.

“Never have I had any desire to be in front of the camera, but with my father as the subject, I figured the best way to give this film the life it deserved was to immerse myself fully and actually learn what it takes to maintain the line. Needless to say, it was not easy.”

Chuck Karney is a fur trapper with over 20 years of experience. Though not Indigenous himself, he married a Métis woman and spent the better part of his life living a traditional “on the land” existence.

Growing up, Chuck’s son Sam had little interest in trapping. In fact, like many typical teens, he had little interest in most things his father tried to teach him. So he left behind his rural home to seek an education and career. After a decade of living in cities, Sam felt compelled to return to the wilderness. In particular, he felt drawn to his father’s trapline.

Throughout the 2016-2017 trapping season, Sam spent time with Chuck, learning what it takes to run a trapline. From bone chilling cold to the gruesome realities of the job, Sam went hands on – and all in – every step of the way. For the successes, and failures.

“No matter how macho you think you are living in the city, there are things that happen on the trapline that make even the strongest men wilt,” says Sam.

Often humorous and occasionally heartwarming, A Life on the Line shows a father’s desire to teach his son a dying way of life, and passing on traditional knowledge that would otherwise be lost. The documentary also takes a look at Sam’s Métis roots, on his mother’s side.

“It’s kind of funny actually,” says Sam. “Here’s my dad, a full-fledged Ukrainian, living a traditional Métis lifestyle. It’s quite something.”

A Life on the Line is co-produced by Winnipeg-based production companies Ice River Films (www.iceriverfilms.com) and Wookey Films (www.wookeyfilms.com). It is directed by Sam Karney, produced by Andrew Wiens and Jérémie Wookey, and executive produced by Janelle Wookey, with Rudy Gauer as director of photography.

The documentary has been produced with support from APTN, Canada Media Fund, Manitoba Film & Music, and the Canadian Film or Video Tax Credit Program.

Image courtesy of A Life on the Line.




Preview: Season 2 of Heavy Rescue: 401 drives back onto Discovery

I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff during my decades driving the 400 series highways in southern Ontario. There was the jackknifed tractor-trailer I observed sliding sideways on the northbound 427 as I drove southbound, spinning cars bouncing off one another on the 403 in Hamilton and an elderly woman walking down the offramp onto the 404. I can only imagine the wide range of things witnessed by the police, firefighters, EMTs and tow truck drivers during their careers.

A mere taste of those experiences are featured in Season 2 of Heavy Rescue: 401, returning Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery. The No. 1 specialty program in its timeslot—from the producers of the equally engaging Highway Thru Hell—once again takes cameras into the cabs and onto the roadways of the province’s 400 series highways including the 401 (the busiest stretch of freeway in North America), documenting the heroics and characters keeping those routes clear.

Tuesday’s first episode sets the stage for what’s to come, as Ontario Provincial Police officer Sgt. Kerry Schmidt outlines how everyone has to be vigilant at all times for road conditions to change. And, minutes later, it does just that. A sudden snowstorm—blowing in earlier than expected—turns the 401 at Yonge St. into a sheet of ice. Salters are on high alert. They’re not fast enough, however, and cars start spinning out. It’s here that Heavy Rescue: 401‘s producers really shine; their relationship with the Ministry of Transportation’s massive control centre—the eyes that watch and manage the highways—means they have access to the centre’s camera system and can show real footage as accidents (and drama) unfolds. As interesting as it is to learn about the people who work the highways and arrive at the scene of a collision to show the cleanup, the COMPASS cameras tell the story of how it happened.

The COMPASS cameras capture key footage the following day as a dump truck driver’s box—in the up position—drives straight into a bridge, causing traffic chaos. Enter Steve’s Towing driver Sonny Subra, who rushes to the scene but is hogtied by traffic. Meanwhile, in Barrie, Ont., Classic Towing & Storage’s James is under the gun to clear a unique and surprising breakdown before the next band of snow hits highway 400.

Additional stories covered this season on Heavy Rescue: 401 is the complete shutdown of the 401 twice (once for over 30 hours); more time spent with the OPP and their tales, including an organ transplant run and airborne highway patrol; and Kingston, Ont. being included in episodes.

And with a third season already in production, fans can look forward to more Heavy Rescue: 401 stories in 2019.

What accidents and/or experiences have you had on Ontario’s 400 series highways? Let me know in the comments below.

Heavy Rescue: 401 airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.




The Baeumlers jumpstart 2018 with two new projects on HGTV Canada

From a media release:

HGTV Canada is kickstarting the new year with two exciting projects from fan-favourite duo Bryan and Sarah Baeumler. First, last year’s #1 highest rated series,* Bryan Inc. (13×60), is back for a second season on Sunday, January 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT with Sarah taking on client builds for the first time ever. HGTV Canada also announces today the greenlight of Island of Bryan (WT), a brand new series following the Baeumler family as they embark on a tropical paradise adventure: overhauling a vacant resort in the Bahamas. The new 13×60 series is slated to start production in early 2018 and premiere in 2019.

After Bryan Inc. broke records last fall as the highest rated series premiere in the past five years on HGTV Canada (2+),** season two promises more of Bryan and Sarah’s signature banter as they battle over differing visions to renovate six residential properties for six different families. The series showcases stunning home-reno reveals, plus the delicate balancing act between Sarah’s greater responsibilities at work and a bustling home life. This season, clients include first-time homeowners, single-parent households, and multi-generational dwellers looking to upgrade their family headquarters. The premiere kicks off with Bryan and Sarah testing the waters of their new work-relationship, as their clients deliver high expectations and conflicting requests.

Viewers can get even more of the Baeumlers with exclusive Bryan Inc. content at HGTV.ca including behind-the-scenes design tips from Sarah, expansive reveal galleries of the final looks, and unvarnished moments from the series’ production and the family themselves, as there is never a dull moment with the “B Team,” the Baeumlers’ four active kids: “Q” (12), Charlotte (10), Lincoln (7) and Jojo (5).

New episodes will be available On Demand and at HGTV.ca each week after broadcast. Fans can catch up on the first season of Bryan Inc. by tuning into HGTV Canada’s full season marathon on Saturday, December 30 beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

Bryan Inc. and Island of Bryan (WT) are produced by Si Entertainment in association with Corus Entertainment’s HGTV Canada.




Food Spin with Chef Aleem wheels and deals tasty treats on AMI-tv

I’ve been really impressed with the programming AMI-tv is offering. From folks with disabilities struggling to find a job in Employable Me to an all-out culinary competition featuring blind or low vision home cooks, the network is spotlighting truly inspirational people.

The same is true for the channel’s latest offering, Food Spin with Chef Aleem. Debuting Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on AMI-tv, cameras track Toronto’s Aleem Syed from the moment he wakes up to the time he shuts it down at The Holy Grill, his Halal food truck. The hook? Syed is in a wheelchair, but that hasn’t slowed down his passion. A 2008 shooting incident left him paralyzed from the waist down but hasn’t deterred Syed from following his passion; viewers learn that right away as he goes through his culinary education and work ethic.

Syed’s mother is a big part of his life and in the first of 13 episodes we see the duo bicker good-naturedly before getting down to business: Syed wants to re-create his mother’s classic dessert into something he can sell from the truck. After jumping behind the wheel of his car—yes, he drives himself around—Syed hits up a spice shop in Kensington Market to land spices.

Offered in integrated described video for blind and low vision viewers, Food Spin with Chef Aleem‘s production and entertainment value would be equally at home on Food Network Canada and is a testament to the work AMI-tv is doing with their original productions.

Food Spin with Chef Aleem airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on AMI-tv.

Image courtesy of AMI.