Tag Archives: AMI

AMI announces production is underway on Season 2 of Fashion Dis, hosted by Ardra Shephard

From a media release:

AMI, in partnership with Nikki Ray Media Agency (Fire Masters, Home to Win), is pleased to announce that principal photography has started on six Season 2 episodes of AMI-tv’s Fashion Dis in Toronto.

Called “groundbreaking” by Postmedia, Season 2 of Fashion Dis promises to be a game-changer in the makeover space, challenging traditional norms that lack inclusion. Each episode of Fashion Dis celebrates the head-to-toe overhaul of a frustrated style seeker discouraged by an industry that lacks adaptive options.

Utilizing innovative fashion design and transformative beauty techniques provided by partner companies, the Fashion Dis expert team reveals the latest in fashion-forward thinking and shows those ready to rock their best body exactly how to do it.

“Universal design is exploding and it’s such an exciting moment in fashion and beauty,” says show creator and host Ardra Shephard. “Season 2 is stacked with more engaging and fun participants. I can’t wait to see the looks we create for these individuals and for the disability community at large.”

Meet the Season 2 experts:

Ardra Shephard, host
Ardra is an influential Canadian blogger, speaker, leader in the Multiple Sclerosis community and host of the Tripping On Air podcast.

Bella Strange, makeup artist
Bella is a makeup artist catering to the LGBTQ+, disability and special effects communities.

Susan Shipley, hair stylist
Susan is a master stylist with extensive experience in accessible hair care services.

Izzy Camilleri, style expert
Izzy is one of Canada’s leading fashion designers and a pioneer in adaptive clothing.

Melonie Lawrence, art director
Melonie is a fashion stylist who believes great style can be achieved regardless of size, colour, creed or cash flow.

Alkan Emin, photographer
Alkan is an award-nominated photographer.

Returning partners to Fashion Dis include Guide Beauty, June Adaptive, ByAcre, Rollz, MagnaReady, BILLY Footwear, Liberare, Slick Chicks and Cheekbone Beauty.

New Fashion Dis partners include Will & Well, BeedleBug, Consonant Skincare, Elba London, Aille Design, MIGA Swimwear, Blue Dahlia, The Vault By Volpe Beringer, Chamiah Dewey Fashion, It Actually Fits, Auf Augenhoehe, Crease Piece, Deafmetal, Amaterasu Beauty, Sweet LeiLani, Elate Beauty, EazyHold, Roncy Packs, Ambutech and Sahajan.

About Nikki Ray Media Agency
Nikki Ray Media Agency (formerly known as Architect Films) is a world-class creator of original mass-audience content. Since 2010, Nikki Ray has produced hundreds of hours of content that has been sold in territories all around the world. Titles include Fire Masters, The Big Bake, Great Chocolate Showdown, Hot Market, Extreme Ice Machines, Donut Showdown, Sugar Showdown and Home To Win.

About Accessible Media Inc.
AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through accessible media, reflection and portrayal. To learn more visit AMI.ca and AMItele.ca.

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AMI’s Kelly and Ramya debuts January 9, 2023, on AMI-tv

From a media release:

New name. New platform. Same great hosts. Today, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) pulls back the curtain on Kelly and Ramya.

Beginning Monday, January 9, 2023, Kelly and Ramya launches on AMI-tv while continuing to be a staple of AMI-audio and podcast platforms, where over 1,500 episodes have been broadcast as Kelly and Company.

Airing weekdays from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern from AMI’s state-of-the-art new production studio in Toronto, Kelly and Ramya gives a dynamic and compelling voice to the disability experience in Canada.

On Kelly and Ramya, viewers join hosts Kelly MacDonald and Ramya Amuthan for the latest on lifestyle and entertainment, community events across the country and thoughtful discussion on issues that impact the disability community. Joining the duo are over 30 contributors, who share expert advice on everything from assistive technology to human rights, employment, health and wellness, all through a disability lens. Additionally, eight community reporters from across the country—all from the blind and partially sighted community—share local events and happenings viewers and listeners should be aware of.

“I look forward to being able to smile at our audience every day and share with them the joy I feel about coming into their homes,” Kelly MacDonald says. “I can’t wait for new viewers to meet our amazing contributors, learn from them and to see how diverse and inclusive Kelly and Ramya is.”

“Moving to TV directly involves us with the conversations, and actions, around descriptive video and accessible TV experiences,” Ramya Amuthan says. “I’m very opinionated and vocal about my own TV-watching—what makes good descriptive video, where it can be improved, how we can make experiencing TV better and easier for people with disabilities—so I’m thrilled that I have a full-on opportunity to voice my lived experience and thoughts through this transition to TV.”

Kelly MacDonald
Kelly MacDonald’s radio career began in the dorms of the W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind in Brantford, Ontario, with a Mr. Microphone and an FM transmitter. His love for radio only grew, earning himself a HAM radio ticket and call sign (VE3ONA) at the age 14, and later attending Fanshawe College’s Broadcasting program. Kelly has been a part of AMI since the company’s fledgling days as VoicePrint, where he joined as a studio producer. A ubiquitous presence in the blind and partially sighted community, Kelly launched Kelly and Company in 2016 to share a wealth of information, entertainment and thoughtful discussion on disability issues. His jovial persona makes every minute of Kelly and Ramya fun and inclusive!

Ramya Amuthan
An alumna of Seneca College’s Broadcasting – Radio program, Ramya Amuthan is a second-generation broadcaster following her mother, an acclaimed Tamil radio and TV personality. Ramya is also a talented jazz vocalist, voice over artist and avid volunteer. Her efforts in the community as Board Member of PAL Reading Services and Co-Chair of Fighting Blindness Canada’s Young Leaders Program have created programs that connect people with disabilities across the country. Soon after becoming an intern at AMI in 2017, Ramya joined Kelly and Company as a contributor in the early days of the show. Ramya began mentoring Kelly and Company’s team of contributors and took up the co-host seat a year later, where she has offered blind and partially sighted audiences her unique brand of quick-witted humour and insightful perspectives as a woman of colour with low vision.

Beginning Monday, January 9, 2023, Kelly and Ramya airs weekdays from 2-4 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv and AMI-audio. Download the podcast version of Kelly and Ramya on demand from your favourite podcasting platform.

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AMI-tv announces its fall 2022 programming schedule

From a media release:

Today, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) unveiled its AMI-tv schedule for the 2022 fall broadcast season, with a lineup of exciting new and returning AMI originals available in described video for the blind and partially sighted community in Canada.

AMI original productions are the centrepiece of AMI-tv’s schedule, broadcast in the coveted 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. timeslots from Monday to Friday.

Double Tap TV is back for Season 5! Returning on Tuesday, September 13, at 8 p.m. Eastern, Double Tap TV brings viewers discussions on everything tech—all with an eye on accessibility—to television. Each week, join hosts Steven Scott, Marc Aflalo and a range of contributors as they help viewers better understand how technology can assist in everyday life.

Debuting on Wednesday, September 14, at 8 p.m. Eastern is the new series Healthy at Home. Produced by Honey Cut Studios (#IGotThis), fitness instructor Bobbi Janzen guides viewers through a home workout that tones and strengthens for everyday living. As someone who is a member of the blind and partially sighted community, Bobbi gives step-by-step detailed instruction and often focuses on the muscle groups overused when using a white cane or guide dog. This quick workout is the best way to start or end your day and can even be done on the go!

In addition to Double Tap TV and Healthy at Home, viewers can catch up on previous seasons of AMI originals Dish with MaryBeyond the Field#IGotThisOur CommunityMind Your Own Business and the award-winning Employable Me.

Complementing AMI’s original programs are a slate of acquired series offered in described video.

Weekday afternoons boast family drama with Seasons 1-6 of When Calls the Heart—which follows the adventures of a young teacher who swaps big-city life for a small coal-mining town in 1910 Canada—at noon Eastern, followed by Seasons 9-15 of Heartland—the multi-generational drama set in Alberta and starring Amber Marshall, Michelle Morgan, Shaun Johnston and Chris Potter—at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Sundays on AMI-tv include a comedy block consisting of Season 1 of Son of a Critch—the heartfelt family sitcom based on the life of comedian Mark Critch—at 6 p.m. Eastern followed by Seasons 5-8 of Mr. D, starring stand-up comedian Gerry D as a hapless elementary school gym teacher, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

Past seasons of award-winners Murdoch MysteriesCoronerBurden of TruthSchitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience continue on AMI-tv. Other returning favourites include American Greed, Attitude and Frankie Drake Mysteries. Saturday and Sunday nights on AMI-tv boast the biggest feature films out of Hollywood, featuring described video.

“I’m very excited about AMI’s upcoming broadcast season,” says John Melville, Vice-President, Content Development & Programming, AMI-audio/AMI-tv. “We’re honoured to bring a wide range of programming to the blind and partially sighted community in Canada.”

AMI programming features Integrated Described Video (IDV), making it accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted. 

All dates subject to change. Additional fall programming will be announced in the coming weeks. Stream past episodes of AMI original programming on demand post-broadcast on AMI.ca or via the AMI-tv App.

AMI-tv’s fall returns and debuts (all times Eastern)

Mondays
9 a.m. – NOW with Dave Brown (Mon.-Fri.)
Noon – When Calls the Heart (Mon.-Thur.)
1 p.m. – Heartland (Mon.-Fri.)
4 p.m. – Schitt’s Creek (Mon.-Thur.)
4:30 p.m. – Kim’s Convenience (Mon.-Wed.)
8 p.m. – Beyond the Field
8:30 p.m. – #IGotThis
9 p.m. – Murdoch Mysteries (Mon.-Fri.)

Tuesdays
8 p.m. – Double Tap TV (Season 5 debuts Sept. 13)
8:30 p.m. – Mind Your Own Business

Wednesdays
8 p.m. – Healthy at Home (Debuts Sept. 14)
8:30 p.m. – AMI originals

Thursdays
8 p.m. – Our Community
8:30 p.m. – Dish with Mary

Fridays
Noon – Frankie Drake Mysteries 
8 p.m. – AMI originals

Saturdays
3 p.m. – Coroner
4 p.m. – Burden of Truth
8 p.m. – Employable Me
9 p.m. – Saturday Night Movie

Sundays
6 p.m. – Son of a Critch 
6:30 p.m. – Mr. D 
7 p.m. – Murdoch Mysteries
8 p.m. – Attitude
9 p.m. – Sunday Night Movie

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AMI announces the Accessible Writers’ Lab

From a media release:

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), in partnership with ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto and the Miles Nadal JCC, and sponsored by the Canada Media Fund (CMF), is pleased to announce that submissions are now being accepted for the Accessible Writers’ Lab.

Designed and led by Ophira Calof, the Accessible Writers’ Lab is an innovative, national lab for writers with disabilities and established showrunners/senior writers to experiment with what an accessible TV writers’ room might look like, breaking down barriers and creating pathways for creatives in the disability community to thrive in the Canadian television industry.

Right now, writers’ rooms, both in-person and virtual, are largely inaccessible for creatives with disabilities. There are barriers in communication modalities, sensory needs, structure, process and stigma. These barriers become glaringly evident in the recent Writer’s Guild of Canada Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Report which showed that only 0.3% of Guild membership identified as a person with a disability, and writers with disabilities only accounted for 1% of TV writers across Canada in 2019, despite people with disabilities making up approximately 22% of the population.

The initiative is designed to address those barriers by focusing on collective accessibility, fostering relationships and knowledge sharing and culminates in a case study report that will be distributed industry-wide.

The Accessible Writers’ Lab is open to applicants who:

  • Are Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Are 18 years of age or older
  • Identify as Disabled, d/Deaf, chronically ill, neurodiverse, Mad or sick*
  • Have storytelling experience (this may or may not be screenwriting)
  • Are interested in writing for the Canadian television industry
  • Are excited about collective accessibility and experimenting with unique writing methods

The Accessible Writers’ Lab will be shaped, in part, by the needs and interests of selected writers.

Location: Virtual, with the possibility of hybrid meet-ups, depending on interest, geography and availability

Timeline: September-November, with approximately 20 hours of scheduled programming, along with discretionary time spent developing a scene or script individually or with a partner

Payment: This program is free of charge, and each participant will receive a $1,350 honorarium

Deadline for submissions: August 4, 2022

More information: Check out the program webpage

Apply now: Fill out the Google document

Questions about the lab and application support: accessiblewriterslab@gmail.com

About Ophira Calof
Ophira Calof (pronouns: she/they) is a multi-award-winning disabled writer, performer and consultant who works to “crip the script,” centring disability knowledge and experience throughout process, production and presentation. Their credits include TallBoyz (CBC), Kids In The Hall (Amazon Prime), Generally Hospital (Canadian Comedy Award Nominee) and their solo show Literally Titanium (Next Stage Theatre Festival). Ophira has also created a number of disability arts projects, including Making Space: Stories of Disabled Youth Past and Present (Myseum Toronto/RAFFTO) and Dis/Play (MNJCC/RAFFTO/ArtWorxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022).

Additionally, Ophira was the accessibility process lead for AccessCBC, the curatorial committee lead for the 2022 ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto, and has taught workshops internationally on storytelling, writing, music, accessibility and disability narratives. They have created the courses Sketch Comedy with Ophira Calof and Crip Storytelling, a series in partnership with Centre of Independent Living Toronto and the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre.

*The program’s understanding of disability embraces The Accessible Canada Act definition, which is inclusive of visible and invisible disabilities, permanent, temporary or episodic in nature. We will honour the language writers use to self-identify, acknowledging that ablesim, audism and sanism can be experienced regardless of your relationship with the word “Disability.”

Presenting Sponsor: Canada Media Fund
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit cmf-fmc.ca.

Industry Partner: Accessible Media Inc.
AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through accessible media, reflection and portrayal. To learn more visit AMI.ca and AMItele.ca.

Presenting Partner: ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto
Presented by the Wagner Green Centre for Access & Inclusion at the Miles Nadal JCC in Toronto, the ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto is dedicated to showcasing the work and stories of Deaf and/or disabled communities and filmmakers from around the world.

For questions about the program and application support, please contact: accessiblewriterslab@gmail.com

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AMI announces the opening of the Disability Screen Office

From a media release:

AMI, in partnership with the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Telefilm Canada, is excited to announce the launch of the Disability Screen Office (DSO).

With our commitment to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, AMI is currently facilitating the creation of this industry office with funding from the CMF and Telefilm Canada.

The DSO will provide services that:

• increase accurate and meaningful disability representation on and off-screen throughout the Canadian media landscape

• expose and eliminate accessibility barriers to create a more inclusive and accessible industry for all

• support and amplify the creative voices of Canadians with disabilities nationally and internationally

Background
For the past year, AMI has been leading roundtable discussions with diverse groups of individuals in the disability community that are working in or with the screen industry. The groups include creators, writers, directors, producers, performers and representatives from academia. The objective of these roundtables was to obtain unfiltered feedback on the accessibility of the media industry to the disability community, and to identify barriers and brainstorm solutions with a view of developing programs to increase industry accessibility.

To do this, all roads lead to the formation of a new organization, now known as the DSO.

“It became apparent that there is currently no single program, incentive or regulation that can cause the screen industry to be fully inclusive for people with disabilities,” says Andrew Morris, Manager, Independent Production, AMI-tv. “The only way to create meaningful real opportunities for people with disabilities in the media industry is to address the systemic barriers relating to education, industry regulations, insufficient and/or inaccurate representation, public beliefs and attitudes, and full accessibility throughout the media industry.”

“As part of CMF’s growth and inclusion strategy, we’ve introduced new measures to support creators with disabilities,” says Tamara Dawit, Vice-President, Inclusion and Growth, CMF. “Helping establish the Disability Screen Office to support and amplify the creative voices of Canadians with disabilities, both here in Canada and beyond our borders, is part of that strategy. We’re delighted to partner with AMI and Telefilm to achieve this important goal.”

“The creation of the Disability Screen Office will be a significant advancement for meaningful representation, advocacy, and change for creators on both sides of the camera,” said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director and CEO at Telefilm Canada. “The DSO will further contribute to breaking down barriers and shaping a more accessible and equitable screen-based industry within Canada.”

Next steps
• With funding from CMF, AMI has begun the development phase of a national, bilingual research endeavor that will culminate in the creation of the Best Practices Guide for Disability Engagement in the Canadian Film and Television Industry. This document will be the foundation of the DSO.

• Meanwhile, Telefilm Canada has provided startup funding to enable the DSO to recruit a board of directors and open the office within the year.

• Both Telefilm and CMF have also contributed funding for innovative programs to help make writers’ rooms in Canada accessible to screenwriters in the disability community, to be announced this summer.

About Accessible Media Inc.
AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through accessible media, reflection and portrayal. To learn more visit AMI.ca and AMItele.ca.

About the Canada Media Fund
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit cmf-fmc.ca.

About Telefilm Canada
As a Partner of Choice, Telefilm Canada is a Crown corporation dedicated to the success of Canada’s audiovisual industry, fostering access and excellence by delivering programs that support cultural resonance and audience engagement. With a lens of equity, inclusivity and sustainability, Telefilm bolsters dynamic companies and a range of creative talent at home and around the world. Telefilm also makes recommendations regarding the certification of audiovisual coproduction treaties to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and administers the programs of the Canada Media Fund. Launched in 2012, the Talent Fund raises private donations which principally support emerging talent. Visit telefilm.ca and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Telefilm_Canada and on Facebook at  facebook.com/telefilmcanada.

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