Why are you blind? Do you ever use your disability to skip the line? What’s wrong with your face? Can you have sex? They’re the questions we’re sometimes afraid to ask. But they are asked—and answered—on You Can’t Ask That.
Debuting Thursday, June 20, at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv, the eight-part documentary You Can’t Ask That, from Pixcom Productions, confronts prejudices and breaks down societal taboos in an authentic and relatable way. Each week, Canadians with disabilities—whether they are blind, wheelchair users, little people or have a physical or neurological condition—read questions from an anonymous public out loud before answering them. Looking directly down the camera lens, the answers may be funny, serious or sad, but they are delivered honestly and candidly.
The English-language version of You Can’t Ask That follows the French-language Ça ne se demande pas, which premiered on AMI-télé this past winter.
In Episode one, viewers meet participants from across the country who share their challenges, frustrations and benefits related to being wheelchair users. Future instalments of You Can’t Ask That explore blindness, little people, facial differences, Down syndrome, Tourette syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, You Can’t Ask That utilizes Integrated Described Video (IDV) to make episodes accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.
Season one episodes of You Can’t Ask That air Thursdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv beginning June 20. The series can be watched post-broadcast on demand at AMI.ca or via the free AMI-tv App.
Summer at Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) is hotter than ever! Today, AMI-tv unveiled new original and acquired television series and documentary programming to entertain and inform Canadians of all abilities in the coming weeks.
Additionally, AMI is excited to announce Season three of Mind Set Go begins filming soon, and Anaïd Productions is casting new participants. The series—featuring Canadians transforming their lives physically, emotionally and mentally with help from Paralympians—seeks individuals of all ages and abilities to share their life-changing journey. Those who are interested, and live in the Vancouver and Lower Mainland area, can send a recent photo and paragraph about themselves to email@example.com. Casting closes May 25.
In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, AMI’s original series and documentaries utilize Integrated Described Video (IDV) so they are accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.
Highlights of AMI-tv’s upcoming summer programming include:
Sea School Marine Science Camp (Friday, May 24, at 7 p.m. Eastern) AMI This Week Bureau Reporter Grant Hardy joins a group of blind and partially sighted high school students as they travel to the remote village of Bamfield, B.C., to learn about the sea—and the world beneath its waves—at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.
Level Playing Field (Friday, May 31, at 7 p.m. Eastern)
Hosted by Greg Westlake, Level Playing Field showcases and celebrates the power of sport by introducing audiences to the athletes, community groups, healthcare professionals and grassroots innovators who demonstrate a desire to help drive positive social change through sport. In Episode 2 of this AMI original, viewers meet Keely Shaw, who had a promising future in hockey until a brain injury almost robbed her of everything. Keely openly discusses dealing with partial paralysis and an eating disorder on the road to becoming one of the Top 5 Para-cyclists in the world.
The Systemic Effect (Saturday, June 1, at 8 p.m. Eastern) How important is the link between oral health and general overall well-being? Interviews with accomplished oral health care practitioners reveal that treating the neglected oral health care of elderly residents brings both challenges and positive results. The findings uncovered in The Systemic Effect can set Canada’s course towards better, more economical health care and longer, healthier lives. The Systemic Effect is produced by Thomega Entertainment Inc. in association with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Saskatchewan Oral Health Coalition.
Accidental Activist (Friday, June 21, at 7 p.m. Eastern) Accidental Activist is an in-depth and captivating look at the life of Paul Vienneau, one of Halifax’s most compelling and effective disability advocates. The original documentary charts Paul’s journey from injury to recovery and disability rights activism. Through intimate interviews with Paul, his friends, family and fellow activists, the documentary paints an unflinching portrait of a complicated man who unintentionally discovered his true calling and has had a huge impact on his community.
Sound Insight (Friday, June 28, at 7 p.m. Eastern) Sound Insight explores the impact sound has on the lives of people with disabilities. Host Alex Smyth, alongside Mark Zillman and Daniel Kish, describes the different ways hearing has shaped their lives. Zillman, a piano tuner who is blind, shows how his exceptional hearing helps him keep notes perfectly accurate. Kish, who had his eyes removed in childhood, uses echolocation to “see” his surroundings. And Alex, a hearing aid user, shares growing up with hearing loss through visits to his audiologist and family.
Double Tap TV (Wednesday, July 31, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern) Double Tap Canada is joining a new platform! Building on the popular AMI-audio brand, Double Tap TV brings the same cutting-edge discussions on everything tech, with news, reviews and interviews—all with an eye on accessibility—to television. Join hosts Steven Scott and Marc Aflalo, alongside contributors Shaun Preece, Joeita Gupta and Jennie Bovard, as they help viewers better understand how technology can help in everyday life. Produced by Marc Aflalo Communications.
The Achieveables (Friday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. Eastern) In this project from Render Digital, a group of adventurers with disabilities challenge stereotypes through feats of courage. The group will spend three days on the Kootenay River—known for its wild rapids, changing weather and stunning scenery—to tell a story of tenacity, community, pain and triumph in the face of obstacles.
All AMI-tv originals are available post-broadcast on demand at AMI.ca or the free AMI-tv App.
The snow is melting, the days are growing longer, and Canadians are excited about the arrival of spring. Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) is too. Today, AMI-tv unveiled new original and acquired television series and documentary programming designed to shake off the cold, invigorate and motivate.
In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, the original series and documentaries utilize Integrated Described Video (IDV) to make them accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.
Highlights of AMI-tv’s upcoming spring programming include:
Heart to Heart (Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m. ET) We love a good love story and Heart to Heart has them. This AMI original special tells the tale of three couples—Olivia and Carolyn, Terry and Anne, and Brian and Krista—who all share something in common: one of the partners has a disability. Offering an honest, insightful and light-hearted dive into what love can look like, Heart to Heart proves one thing: love is awesome.
Reflect and Renew with Kevin Naidoo (Saturday, March 16, at 9 a.m. ET) Prepare yourself for mind and body rejuvenation through Reflect and Renew with Kevin Naidoo. Those with all levels of mobility can join host Kevin Naidoo on a journey through thoughtful meditation and yoga practices. These will lay the groundwork for mental and physical wellness and positivity providing clarity, focus, balance, inner strength, and greater mobility. Start your day with this AMI original to see and feel a new you!
Our Community, “Paralympic Sports Association” (Thursday, March 21, at 8:30 p.m. ET) Based in Edmonton, the Paralympic Sports Association (PSA) is a charitable, volunteer-driven organization that provides sport and recreation opportunities for children, youth, teens, adults and seniors of all abilities. In this episode of the AMI original, Our Community, participants and volunteers explain why programs like this must exist, and we explore how the Paralympic Sports Association has created a community within its walls for over 30 years.
Level Playing Field (Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m. ET) This AMI original documentary series, hosted by Greg Westlake, showcases and celebrates the power of sport by introducing audiences to the athletes, community groups, healthcare professionals and grassroots innovators who demonstrate a desire to help drive positive social change through sport. This month we travel to Kelowna, BC, to meet Rob Shaw, an international wheelchair tennis champ from North Bay, ON, who is ranked Top 10 in the world in quad wheelchair tennis.
Without Limits: Australia (Saturday, May 18, at 8 p.m. ET)
This inspiring two-part BBC documentary observes ex-army Captain Martin Hewitt as he leads a team of British and Australian ex-servicemen and women with disabilities as they embark on an extraordinary nearly 1,000-mile expedition across Western Australia’s remote Kimberley region.
Seen & Heard (Friday, May 24, at 5 p.m. ET)
Filmed in English, American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ), Seen & Heard follows a troupe of actors and stage crew —who are Deaf and hearing—as they present a unique Deaf-themed version of The Little Mermaid. Many of the cast and crew have little or no theatre experience, and most of the Deaf actors use LSQ and are unfamiliar with ASL or English. Will the group unite and pull off this once-in-a-lifetime performance? The special presentation of the acquired program Seen & Heard leads into AMI-tv’s Friday night movies.
All AMI-tv originals are available post-broadcast on demand at AMI.ca or the free AMI-tv App.
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announces its newest series What Happened to Holly Bartlett, debuting Thursday, March 28, at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv.
Holly Bartlett, a 31-year-old Dalhousie University graduate student who was blind, was found unconscious under the MacKay Bridge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, early one morning in March of 2010. She died in hospital the next day from injuries identified as blunt force trauma, and hypothermia. While local authorities determined Holly’s death was accidental—stating she simply became disoriented and fell—there remains several unanswered questions, compelling evidence, and many theories about how she may have died.
Each of the six episodes—hosted by orientation and mobility specialist Peter Parsons—include interviews with family, friends and subject matter experts. The series uses computer animation and dramatic recreations to explore the various theories about what may have happened.
Additionally, the companion What Happened to Holly Bartlett podcast will be available on Apple iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher and other podcast catchers immediately following each new television episode. Hosted by investigative journalist Maggie Rahr, the podcast digs deeper into the inquiry and paints a full picture of Holly’s life and the uncertainty surrounding her death.
In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, What Happened to Holly Bartlett utilizes Integrated Described Video (IDV) to make episodes accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.
Season one episodes of What Happened to Holly Bartlett air Thursdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv. The series can be watched post-broadcast on demand at AMI.ca or via the free AMI-tv App.
I truly relate to the participants of AMI-tv’s documentary series, Mind Set Go, which kicks off its second season on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life and have had to deal with the mental blocks that kept me from achieving my health and fitness goals. Over the past few years, I changed my focus from short-term fixes to a long-term wellness plan, and I’ve lost around 50 pounds. Despite that success, it’s still a daily challenge, and I often have days when I have to battle negative thoughts.
As it so happens, overcoming negative thoughts is the entire point of Mind Set Go, which follows the journeys of eight overweight Canadians as they attempt to change their lives for the healthier.
“It’s all about the brain, and it’s all about your mindset,” supervising producer Sophie Morgadinho explains during a phone interview from Toronto. “It’s not like a diet. It’s stopping the behaviours that are causing you to be unhealthy, and it really starts with changing the way you think about yourself and what you’re doing every day.”
Helping the show’s participants to transform their outlooks and bodies are fitness and health experts Julie and Lowell Taylor (The Amazing Race Canada) and a group of Canadian Paralympians. One of those Paralympians is Para Hall of Famer and retired para-alpine skier Karolina Wisniewska, who says she was thrilled to take part in the series.
“I think the thing that appealed to me most of all was this opportunity to be in a position to kind of inspire or help someone based on the things I learned as a high-performance athlete,” she says. “And on another maybe more personal level, I retired from alpine skiing in 2011 due to a concussion, and after my retirement, I too had struggled with maintaining my fitness. So I could really relate to what maybe some of these participants on the show were experiencing themselves.”
Each expanded, one-hour episode of the show follows a participant as he or she attempts to get fit and triumph over some of the mental hurdles that have tripped them up in the past. For self-professed “sugar addict” Dana, who is featured in the season premiere and paired with Paralympian powerlifter Ness Murby, that means confronting the grief she tried to suppress with food after her father died. For formerly fit Darryl, who is featured in the sixth episode and paired with Wisniewska, that means coming to grips with a degenerative hearing condition that left him profoundly deaf.
“My strong feeling with Daryl was that he just really needed somebody to bounce ideas off of and to talk him through it and to kind of think about what was resonating with him,” says Wisniewska. “The second aspect, I think, is that he did need a bit of a kick in the butt.”
Wisniewska was more than happy to provide that kick. While she says her history of concussions makes her very empathetic towards those who are facing adversity, being born with cerebral palsy makes her want to push able-bodied people to meet their full fitness potential.
“I’m someone who was born with a disability, and I’ve never understood able-bodied people who take their bodies for granted,” she says. “So that’s where my competitive athlete side comes out, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my god. Stop making excuses. You have no excuse, just do it.'”
At the beginning of their journeys, Dana, Darryl and the other participants all choose a physical challenge to complete at the end of their three-month transformations. These challenges, which include a mountain climb and a long-distance bike ride, are designed to provide a measuring stick for the physical and mental progress each person has made. While the Taylors and the Paralympians are a key part of the process, in the end, the participants have to look inside themselves for the inspiration they need to succeed–a situation Wisneiwska is very familiar with.
“At the end of the day, in ski racing, you’re at the top of the hill, you have to kick out of the start gate, and you have to race that race,” she says. “Nobody else is going to do it.”
According to Morgadinho, watching people overcome their mental demons and achieve their health goals was a motivating experience for everyone involved with the series.
“Working on the show, I have to tell you, it’s been really inspiring because I see people make transformations in their lives,” she says. “And it’s not like Biggest Loser. You’re not going to see someone come back 100 pounds lighter. It’s not about that. But you see a difference in their confidence and their happiness, and they’re healthier, they look better.”
She continues, “For me, it’s very inspiring to look at the things that I can change and go, ‘I know I’m in control of this. I have to change how I look at the problem and how I look at the solution.’ I hope that viewers are also inspired to make positive, healthy changes.”
Upcoming episodes of the series feature Canadian Paralympians Michelle Stilwell, David Willsie, Ina Forrest, Pamela LeJean, Shawna Ryan and Andrew Haley.
Mind Set Go airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on AMI-tv.