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2020 Rockie Awards International Program Competition winners announced

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 Rockie Awards International Program Competition. Hosted by Aurora Browne, Carolyn Taylor and Jennifer Whalen of the award-winning Canadian sketch comedy Baroness von Sketch Show, the virtual edition of the Rockie Awards International Program Competition was streamed live celebrating excellence in television and digital media content from around the world.

One of the largest awards programs of its kind and juried by an esteemed panel of 150 international industry professionals, the Rockie Awards International Program Competition presented awards in twenty-six (26) categories spanning Documentary & Factual, Arts & Entertainment, Children & Youth, Scripted and Podcast. In addition, special gala awards were presented including Innovative Producer Award, A+E Inclusion Award, Canadian Award of Distinction, Francophone Prize, $25,000 Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content and the Grand Jury Prize.

The competition featured 128 nominations from 35 countries including the UK, USA, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, China and Switzerland.

International Program Competition winners include:

Drama Series: English Language
Gentleman Jack
BBC, HBO, Lookout Point
UK, USA

Comedy Series: English Language
Fleabag
all3media, BBC Three, Two Brothers Pictures
UK

Limited Series
Chernobyl
HBO, Sister, Sky Atlantic, The Mighty Mint, Word Games
Lithuania, UK, Ukraine, USA

Drama Series: Non-English Language
Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame)
BBC Two, Netflix, Sister
Japan, UK

Comedy Series: Non-English Language
Mytho
ARTE France, Netflix
France

Children & Youth Fiction Series
Hardball
ABC iview, ABC ME, Australian Children’s Foundation, Northern Pictures
Australia, UK

Lifestyle Program
Employable Me
Accessible Media Inc., all3media, Thomas Howe Associates Inc.
Canada

Comedy & Variety Program
Baroness von Sketch Show
CBC, Frantic Films
Canada

Science & Technology Program
Science Fair
Muck Media, National Geographic, Univision
USA

History & Biography Program
Free Solo
Image Nation, Itinerant Media, Little Monster Films, National Geographic, Parkes+MacDonald
USA

Docusoap & Docuseries
Who Are You Calling Fat?
BBC, Love Productions
UK

Sci-Fi & Genre-Based Series
His Dark Materials
Bad Wolf, BBC, HBO
Canada, UK, USA

Podcast of the Year
This Sounds Serious
Castbox, Kelly&Kelly
Canada, USA

Innovative Producer Award
Winner: Wattpad Studios
The Innovative Producer Award recognizes the entrepreneurial excellence and achievements of an independent producer in TV/digital media.

A+ E Inclusion Award
Winner: Niecy Nash
The A+E Inclusion Award is presented in recognition of visionary work in media that champions and reflects the diversity of the world in which we live.

Canadian Award of Distinction
Winner: Aurora Browne, Carolyn Taylor, Jennifer Whalen & Meredith MacNeill of Baroness von Sketch Show
For the first time, this year the award is presented to a group whose body of work exemplifies outstanding achievement in the entertainment industry.

Francophone Prize
Winner: MAMMOUTH 2019
The Francophone Prize is awarded to the jury’s highest-scoring French-language video submission.

Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content
Winner: Baroness von Sketch Show 
The $25,000 Rogers Prize is awarded to the highest-scoring Canadian program or property in the Rockies International Program Competition across two rounds of independent jury review.

Grand Jury Prize 
Winner: Fleabag
The Grand Jury Prize recognizes the “best in show” from all Rockies International Program Competition winning entries.

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Burden of Truth: Kristin Kreuk reflects on her past and looks to the future

Kristin Kreuk has, literally, grown up on television. The Vancouver native, who landed roles on both the Canadian teen drama Edgemont and The WB/The CW superhero series Smallville in 2001, has seen steady work since.

Her current role? Playing Joanna Hanley on CBC’s Burden of Truth, where she also serves as an executive producer. With Season 3 of the CBC legal drama in production for a winter return, we sat down with Kreuk during the Banff World Media Festival, where she received the Canadian Award of Distinction.

How do you view it when it comes to women being represented either in front of the screen or behind the scenes? Obviously, there’s an issue. Do you feel as though it’s getting better?
Kristin Kreuk: Absolutely. Are we there yet? No. We’re not. I’ve said this many times, but prior to, I think I’ve worked with two female directors on my seven and a bit years on Smallville. Maybe one more than that. So going from that to, I worked with a few more on Beauty and the Beast, and with Burden, we don’t get a lot of directors but for our first two seasons it was like 50:50. Now it’s not, but a part of the reason why it’s not is that so many women are hired across the board until mid-2020. So that’s great. It just means that there are spaces now for the young ones to come up and fill that void. And they need to be supported to do that. And given the chances.

But yeah, I think that it is changing. And in Canada, I feel like we may be a little further ahead and I don’t know for 100 per cent because I haven’t worked in the States for a while, but from what I hear anecdotally you can still end up in a writers’ room in the U.S. and it isn’t even close to par. It’s very much weighted towards male voices. So I know that they’re working on it too.

It feels as though, to me, this has been a natural evolution for you, to move towards being an executive producer. Has it been a conscious decision?
KK: It was a conscious decision for me. I was just joking with these guys. I have been saying for years that I’m done with acting. I want to produce. And I’m moving in that direction. And so it was a decision I made because A, some of this is very practical. I have no other skill sets. I’ve been doing this since I was 17 years old. I understand, I’m going into my 19th season as lead on a television series, which is so insane to me. So I have all this experience with storytelling and I’ve seen how you start a story and I can kind of imagine where it’s going to go and how it might fail or what might happen to it. So all of that lends itself to moving into a more creative producing role.

A woman looks off into the distance.It’s still hard for me to make the transition. I think that it will be a process over time to the point where I can take on a show more on my own and not have other producers that I need. I will always have people, I think because I’m not a money person and just it’s not my skill set yet. Maybe it will be one day. As of now, I don’t feel like I have the entire skillset required to do the job, but I think that I’m getting closer and closer.

Directing? Does that interest you at all?
KK: You know what, it doesn’t. And I wish it freaking did. I wish that’s what I wanted to do. I think I’m a visual person. I think I’m just uncomfortable handling a set. I think that it’s a very specific environment that I just don’t… And it’s not even out of fear. I just don’t want to do that. I don’t think. I mean, never say never, I suppose. But I have friends who are like, ‘Yeah, I want to direct,’ and they’re former actors who are moving into other fields. Women especially want to move out of acting because as you get older, sadly, you sort of age out a little. Which we can also change when we’re in positions of power. But yeah, I wish, I wish, wish. Directing, I wish, directing.

It was interesting watching those Season 1 and Season 2 clips again this morning because, specifically the Season 2 clips that I made note of, where the camera was in tight. I feel like that’s different from season one.
KK: It’s new. We made a conscious decision to change the look of the show between Season 1 and Season 2. And then Thom Best, who was our Season 2 director of photography, and director Grant Harvey got together and kind of pitched a whole look. And they were like, ‘We want to get more intimate close-ups of the characters,’ which we had certainly not done and I’m always like, ‘Blah, I don’t want to be that close.’ But it really was effective. Really effective.

Not only that, they shift compositionally. So they changed the compositional palette of the show and the colour palette, too. The whole thing is a little more cinematic versus season one, which was also beautiful, but much more like small-town and warm and glowy and I think that the shift was really great for the story that we were telling for season two.

You mentioned Edgemont so I have to ask you about that. It’s on Encore+. Have you gone and looked at any old episodes?
KK: God, no. I can’t do it.

Isn’t that incredible that this show that you made is now available on YouTube for people to stream any time they want?
KK: It is so bizarre to me that Edgemont was and continues to be popular. It was so popular. Not just in Canada. In France, it was massively popular. I would get recognized for Edgemont in France. So funny. And I was on Smallville simultaneously. I did both those jobs at the same time. And I think that it’s great. It’s such a fun small little show and we did five seasons of that show. And it was great. I loved it. I mean, I hated it at first because I had no idea what I was doing and I felt so uncomfortable, but I grew to love it.

A woman, looking angry, talks to a man.What would you have told your younger self?
KK: I would’ve told myself to take classes. I would’ve told myself to make an effort to develop a deep relationship with acting because I didn’t have one and I didn’t understand it. I had only done theatre. So when I started acting, I didn’t know how to be smaller. And then when I did smaller, I lost all of my feelings. And so it was this weird thing and instead of just going like, ‘I’m uncomfortable and I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just going to go and work really, really, really hard.’ I got scared. And I was like, ‘I’m not doing this any more.’ And it turned out that I just kept doing it and I never really gave myself the time to develop a craft. And I did it all on set. Which is fine, I guess, in the end, but it put me through a lot of discomfort of being like, ‘God, I suck, I suck, I suck, I suck, I suck.’

There are just so many things I would’ve told myself. Also, ‘Don’t stress so much,’ is great too. I think the big lesson, too, is getting over the hump of caring too deeply about what people think of you in a negative sense, because when we started on Smallville, there were no social media. Thank God. But there were forums on the Internet and, I forget, there’s actually a technical term for it, but when you’re drawn to reading the worst things you can about yourself.

It was just something that I was compelled to do. It was almost like I was trying to numb myself to this thing. But why did I care what these people thought? If they thought my eyes were too far apart or they thought that I looked too young or they thought whatever. Or that I was this or that. I’m like, ‘Why was I obsessed over this?’

Season 3 of Burden of Truth returns in winter 2020 to CBC.

Feature image courtesy of Kristian Bogner. Other images courtesy of CBC.

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Workin’ Moms: Juno Rinaldi recalls going from shining shoes to a dream role

I’ve spoken to many Canadian actors who augment their incomes—and fill hours between gigs—by waiting tables in a restaurant. Why not? With flexible hours, it makes total sense. But shining shoes? That was a new one for me.

That’s what Juno Rinaldi was doing when she landed the role of Frankie Coyne on Workin’ Moms. The Vancouver native was trying to make connections in Toronto with casting agents—and having zero luck—and was working in the city’s underground mall system when she was hired by Catherine Reitman. With Season 4 of the CBC comedy heading into production for a winter return, we sat down with Rinaldi during the Banff World Media Festival, where she hosted the Rockie Awards International Program Competition.

Catherine Reitman has always had this vision for what the show would be. Did you ever think that you would be beginning Season 4?
Juno Rinaldi: No. Honestly, I feel like the last four years of being on the show has completely changed my life in a way. Before I started the show, I was shoe shining in the PATH, in downtown Toronto …

Wait, really?
JR: I was shoe-shining shoes in the PATH [at Penny  Loafers Shoe Shine Company] in downtown Toronto, and auditioning. Nobody knew me because I’d come from Vancouver. It was a different transition, so I was trying to make some connections. But none of the casting directors would see me because they didn’t know who I was. I had a body of work but nothing that was super splashy.

Then, getting this job, I had to send in a self-tape and then I got to get in the room with Catherine. Then actually booking the gig really changed everything for me. So then I went back to the PATH a year later and they had a big ad of Frankie and Jenny all just in Union Station. I was walking through those doors with my big mug on it, where I would go to shine shoes.

Three women stand, talking.I speak with to so many actors and actresses, writers, directors that are trying to break in L.A., that are from Toronto, and say, ‘I can’t get a break in L.A.,’ so it’s interesting to speak to somebody from Vancouver that was having a hard time breaking in Toronto. But I have learned over the years how different those thousands of kilometres can be for people when they’re auditioning.
JR: Absolutely, very, very, very different. I think, for me, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. So, in Vancouver I was so supported. They saw me go through theatre school, and they saw me grow up in the business. I had a very clear idea of who I was and what I could do. Then when I moved to Toronto and nobody knew who I was. So that was kind of a nice, sort of fresh start in a way, just change it up.

Being given this opportunity … I love Frankie. I love the writing. I love everything about it.

Did it strike you from the beginning this is something different?
JR: Yeah. From the first read, when I got the sides. I was like, ‘Oh, shit. This is funny. This is good.’ Yeah. You read a lot of stuff as an actor for all your auditions, that you’re like, ‘Yeah. I could make this work.’ Or you’re like, ‘Geez, this is going to be a tough one,’ or, ‘This is really great,’ or, ‘Oh, shit. I think this is amazing, but I don’t know if I’m the right fit.’ But reading those Frankie sides, I was like, ‘This is like a glove. This fits, for me, like what I wanted my whole thing.’

It’s interesting the way that Frankie has evolved over these seasons. The breakup with Giselle, now with Bianca on the scene. She’s been through so much in this short amount of time. As an actor, obviously, you love it when a storyline is shaken up. You get to play with different people in a different sandbox. 
JR: I’ve gotten to play with so many people. Olunike Adeliyi as Giselle, Aviva Mongillo as Juniper, who I love. We have a lot of great chemistry, her and I, and Tennille Read as Bianca. Frankie’s really gotten that option to try and figure out where she fits. It’s all of us, too, trying to find a community or family. When it looks a little different, like after the breakup with Giselle it looked different, so she’s really trying to figure out where she fits. Now she’s got this relationship with Bianca where it has the religious bent on it.

We were talking about this [recently], ‘Would you stay with somebody if you had such fundamentally different beliefs?’ So, that’s kind of the question, I think, for us moving forward. I don’t actually know the answers to what’s happening to Frankie. That would be an interesting thing. Is this something that the two of you can see eye to eye on?’

Season 4 of Workin’ Moms returns in winter 2020 on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Kristin Kreuk and Jonathan and Drew Scott win 2019 Rockie Awards

Canadians Kristin Kreuk and  Drew and Jonathan Scott were among the winners celebrated during the Rockie Awards gala on Tuesday night at the Banff World Media Festival.

Hosted by Jann Arden—who kept the night light and upbeat with tales of bad relationships and once suffering from diarrhea onstage during a performance in Berlin—the festival honours outstanding talent and executives from the industry.

“We want to extend a giant thank you to all of the people who made this possible for us,” Jonathan Scott said. The pair were given the Innovative Producer Award, which recognizes the entrepreneurial excellence and achievements of an independent producer in TV/digital media. The Scott Brothers have amassed an empire of television programs through Property Brothers and spinoffs, as well as launching programs under their production banner like Menu Match-up, Reno, Set Go and Half Price Paradise. Past honorees of the Innovative Producer Award include New Metric Media, Wolf + Rabbit, Don Carmody and marblemedia.

“The reason that I am standing here today is in large part due to luck/privilege and other people who could see more of the playing field than I could,” Kreuk said. The star and executive producer of CBC’s Burden of Truth was given the Canadian Award of Distinction for a body of work that exemplifies outstanding achievement in the entertainment industry. Past honorees include Sheila Hockin, Just For Laughs, Eric McCormack and Kim Cattrall.

“I never really set out with a plan to do any of this, and along the way, I have made some good decisions and some terrible ones,” Kreuk said. “There are times that I just wanted to leave and times I’ve been devasted by the toxicity of this business. And without good, solid people around me, professionally and personally, I would not have made it this far.”

Here is a complete list of the winners:

CANADIAN AWARD OF DISTINCTION:
Kristin Kreuk (Burden of Truth, EuroTrip, Smallville)

INNOVATIVE PRODUCER AWARD:
Scott Brothers Entertainment Inc.

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR:
Surviving R. Kelly

THE GRAND JURY PRIZE:
Sharp Objects

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE:
Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Freaks and Geeks, Ghostbusters, The Heat)

SHOWRUNNER OF THE YEAR:
Jed Mercurio (Bodyguard, Line of Duty)

A+E INCLUSION AWARD:
Kitti Jones, survivor and author, Brie Miranda Bryant, SVP and Executive Producer, Lifetime, dream hampton, executive producer, Tamra Simmons, executive producer (Surviving R. Kelly)

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER IMPACT AWARD:
Justin Simien (Dear White People)

SIR PETER USTINOV COMEDY AWARD:
Bill Hader (Barry, Trainwreck, Saturday Night Live)

Image courtesy of Kristian Bogner.

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Banff 2018: Anne with an E’s Moira Walley-Beckett and New Metric Media among Rockie Gala Award winners

Anne with an E showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett, Letterkenny and Bad Blood production company New Metric Media, and veteran producer Sheila Hockin were among the Canadians feted during the Rockie Awards gala on Tuesday night at the Banff World Media Festival.

Hosted by Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth—who began the show by munching ketchup potato chips and Timbits and closed with a stirring rendition of “The Prayer”—the evening also saluted Canadians who’ve made good in Hollywood. Jeremy Podeswa captured the Award of Excellence for his body of work as a director of such programs as Game of Thrones, Queer as Folk, The Tudors and The Pacific. David Shore was on hand to accept The Hollywood Reporter Impact Award for his hit medical drama The Good Doctor.

“Support is at the heart of innovation,” Mark Montefiore, New Metric Media’s president and executive producer of Letterkenny, Bad Blood and What Would Sal Do?, said upon receiving the Innovative Producer Award. “One can dream big all day long, but without the support of countless people, those ideas would simply remain as big dreams and not realities.”

Hockin was given the Canadian Award of Distinction for producing such shows as Vikings, The Handmaid’s Tale, Penny Dreadful, The Borgias, The Tudors, Canada’s Next Top Model and Queer as Folk.

Walley-Beckett accepted the Showrunner of the Year Award for her work on Anne with an E, set to return for Season 2 on Netflix next month and CBC in September.

“[Showrunning] is like conducting a full orchestra to play a symphony that you composed,” she said on-stage. “At the end of every season, I celebrate that I’ve lived to tell the tale. I love my work. Sleep is overrated. So is sanity.”

Here is the complete list of winners:

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Jeremy Podeswa

INNOVATIVE PRODUCER AWARD
New Metric Media

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER IMPACT AWARD
The Good Doctor

A&E INCLUSION AWARD
Elizabeth Vargas

CANADIAN AWARD OF DISTINCTION
Sheila Hockin

SHOWRUNNER OF THE YEAR
Moira Walley-Beckett

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR
This Is Us

SIR PETER USTINOV COMEDY AWARD
Sean Hayes

COMPANY OF DISTINCTION
NBCUniversal

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