Tag Archives: Blue Ant Media

Preview: Makeful’s Blown Away celebrates gorgeous glass creations

There are a plethora of competition shows on television. Some involve folks racing around Canada, while others feature people cooking intricate recipes. Even more spotlight everyday Canadians making clothing or living together in the same abode for weeks on end. I thought I had seen everything the competition genre had to offer.

And then came Blown Away.

Debuting Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Makeful—during the specialty network’s free previewBlown Away pits 10 rookie glass blowers against one another. The grand prize? A residency at the world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York. It’s one heck of an interesting twist on the reality genre and, from the get-go, a lot of fun to watch.

According to Blown Away‘s host, YouTube star Nick Uhas, glass blowing dates back to Roman times. Not a lot has changed since then: a furnace is heated to thousands of degrees and a gob of molten glass is attached to a tube. Once affixed, air is blown into the blob, which expands. But Blown Away isn’t about who makes the roundest sphere of glass. It’s about intricacy and creativity. The set—called “The Hot Shop”—is expansive and there are obvious safety issues here. High temperatures and working with glass means there is always a chance someone could get hurt. I imagine the producers, marblemedia, had cartons and Band-Aids and pump bottles of Polysporin at the ready.

The 10 competitors vying for the title, and $60,000 US, are a mixture of glass artists, visual artists, sculptural artists and people who worked in the medium in their pasts. Aside from the competition itself, Blown Away is an education into the glass blowing industry for a newbie like me. The job of different tools, punties, annealers and—ahem—personal glory holes are all explained along the way, as is the science and timing involved in adding colour to glass and the myriad ways to shape it. Gravity, heat and cold all play important parts too.

In Wednesdays debut, the competitors are tasked with using six hours to create something that is a snapshot of who they are. For 22-year-old Edgar, that means showing how small we really are in this world. For Kevin, it’s recreating a surfing experience and the calm he feels doing that. For Momo, it’s thanking those who have helped her on her life journey with a classic glass piece. With renowned glass blower Katherine Gray as the show’s resident judge, alongside guest judge Chris Taylor, executive director at Pilchuck Glass School, the 10 present their creations.

The direction, camera work and cinematography is top-notch on Blown Away. Glowing furnaces and dancing sparks are contrasted by the inner glow of molten glass, and the gleam of a sweaty arm or a finished piece of art. It’s a truly visual, educational and inspiring series I can’t wait to see more of.

Blown Away airs Wednesdays t 9 p.m. ET/PT on Makeful.

Images courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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Blue Ant Media greenlights Life Below Zero: Canada

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media, an international producer, distributor and channel operator, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with BBC Studios to be the first to license the series format rights for the international hit Life Below Zero. In the U.S., the series recently celebrated its 100th episode on the National Geographic Channel, being one the most-watched programs, where it takes up the largest portion of the channel’s programming lineup. BBC Studios production arm in Los Angeles first launched the series in 2013.

Blue Ant Media’s newly acquired Saloon Media is starting production this month on Life Below Zero: Canada (8 x 60 minutes). The new documentary series is being shot on location in Canada with a focus on Canadian people and stories and is set to air on the Cottage Life channel in 2020. A special 30-minute, sneak peek documentary episode will premiere on the channel this April.

Based on BBC’s successful format, Life Below Zero: Canada is an observational documentary series about people who live off the grid in remote regions of northern Canada. The series follows a diverse group of people from different backgrounds, including first nations, giving viewers an unfiltered glimpse into their rugged day-to-day activities that range from makeshift problem solving to traditional survival practices. From long, dark, frozen winters, to sweltering, bug-infested summers, these Canadians grapple with deadly weather and limited resources to find food, water, and shelter.

Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. From our production houses around the world, we create content for multiple genres including factual, factual entertainment, short-form digital series and kids programming.

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Blue Ant Media grows originals slate with six new commissions for its roster of Canadian specialty channels

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media, an international content producer, distributor and channel operator, announced today six new original commissions as well as a raft of digital content to air on its platforms in Canada, including Cottage Life, T+E and Makeful. The announcement supports Blue Ant Media’s ongoing commitment to the creation of Canadian series, also showcased through the company’s last round of Canadian original commissions and recent acquisition of Saloon Media announced earlier this year.

For Cottage Life, production has started on a brand new, documentary series, The Bryk Cottage, in which designer and contractor Danielle Bryk rebuilds her family cottage from the ground up. The channel will also see a new season of Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast that introduces four never-before-seen Australian vets to viewers. Additionally, new digital content featuring Cottage Life fan favourites, The Brojects, will roll out on Cottage Life’s online platforms. Slated to premiere on T+E, See No Evil delves into murder mysteries with surveillance video and gritty recreations, and fan favourite series Paranormal Survivor will return for a fifth season. The Makeful channel will see two new original series including Coolest Places to Stay, a documentary series about the current trend of turning everyday homes into short-term rentals, as well as Landscape Artist of the Year, a Canadian format of the popular British fine art competition series.

Blue Ant Media’s original programming slate includes:

The Bryk Cottage (6×30’;HD) is a documentary series that follows designer and contractor Danielle Bryk as she takes viewers on the real-life rebuild of her family’s old dilapidated cottage into a stunning vacation home that the entire family can cherish for generations. In this new documentary series, Bryk and a team of local Georgian Bay contractors undertake to complete this ambitious project. The Bryk Cottage is produced by Saloon Media and distributed by Blue Ant International. Danielle Bryk will appear at the Spring Cottage Life Shows in Toronto and Ottawa in March 2019.

Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast (10×60’;HD) Fan favourite series Bondi Vet has been revamped and will introduce four new Australian vets from across the continent Down Under who offer a myriad of exciting animal stories, ranging from the exotic and wild to our favourite domestic creatures. Meet exotic animal expert Dr Peter Ricci, emergency specialist Dr Alex Hynes, private practice owner Dr Lewis Hunt and recent graduate Dr Danni Dusek as they continue Bondi Vet’s tradition of telling great stories about Australia’s unique population of pets, and the lengths that dedicated vets will go to care for them in their hour of need. This new commission is the product of a treaty co-production between Saloon Media in Canada and WFTN in Australia. Bondi Vet will be broadcast on Channel Nine in Australia and will premiere exclusively in Canada on the Cottage Life Channel in Spring 2019.

See No Evil, Season 5 (16×60’; HD) tells spine-chilling stories of murderers caught on tape. Using genuine CCTV and other secured surveillance footage from a variety of sources, each episode will seamlessly mix elements of real footage and gritty recreations to give viewers a shocking front-row seat to the darkest depths of our not-so-secret lives. See No Evil is co-produced with Saloon Media in Canada and Arrow Media in the UK. See No Evil will premiere on T+E in Canada in spring 2019 and on Discovery ID in the U.S.

Paranormal Survivor, Season 5 (10×60’; HD) is the latest season of the popular series about spirits that features survivors of harrowing supernatural experiences who share their hair-raising tales on screen. Produced by Our House Media, each episode will take a deep dive into the eerie encounters, depicted with a mix of real testimonials and dramatic re-creations. The series will air on T+E in Spring 2019 and is distributed by Blue Ant International.

Coolest Places to Stay (working title) (6×30’;HD) is an exciting new documentary series that explores the trend of regular people turning their homes into short-term rentals for travellers on the go. In each episode, self-taught house flipper and design enthusiast, Katie Herbert, explores unique spaces that centre around a common theme to discover interesting and unusual approaches to crafting the perfect respite for vacationers and locals alike. Coolest Places to Stay is produced by Architect Films and will air on Makeful during the channel’s freeview in April 2019. The series will be distributed by Blue Ant International.

Landscape Artist of the Year aims to uncover new artistic talent in a competition open to both professional and amateur artists in Canada. The original series, which is a fan favourite on Makeful, is coming to Canada and modelled after the UK format, which will see one talented competitor be crowned Canada’s Landscape Artist of the Year. The group of painters take on different landscape painting challenges, which showcase their unique artistic talents. Throughout the painting sessions, expert judges circulate among the artists, assessing their talents and skills and each week a winner will be chosen to progress to the semi-final. Time-lapse segments ensure viewers will not miss a moment in each artist’s thoughtful and creative progression from blank canvas to finished work. The UK format is distributed by Banijay Rights.

New DIY Online Content for Cottage Life

Coming Spring 2019, there will be a plethora of brand new original DIY-themed content for the Cottage Life website financed in support from the Canadian Media Fund. This includes 30 short form videos, 70 non-video content items and 15 episodes of a web series featuring the Brojects, Kevin and Andrew Buckles, produced by Farmhouse Productions, with some of the webisodes in partnership with Timber Mart.

Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. From our production houses around the world, we create content for multiple genres including factual, factual entertainment, short-form digital series and kids programming. Our distribution business, Blue Ant International, offers a catalogue of 3,000+ hours of content, including the largest 4K natural history offering on the market. Blue Ant Media’s international channel business offers a portfolio of media brands such as Love Nature (International), ZooMoo Networks (International), Smithsonian Channel Canada, BBC Earth (Canada), Blue Ant Entertainment (International), Blue Ant Extreme (International) and HGTV (New Zealand). Blue Ant Media is headquartered in Toronto, with operations in Los Angeles, Singapore, Auckland, Dunedin, London, Washington, Sydney, Beijing and Taipei.

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Blue Ant International announces first crop of international sales for Look Mom! Productions’ scripted, adult animation series, Gary and His Demons

From a media release:

Blue Ant International, a transatlantic distributor of premium content and division of Blue Ant Media, announced at Content London today a raft of international sales for adult animation series, Gary and His Demons (Look Mom! Productions; 16×11’) from the division’s Scripted and Digital Studios offering. New licences include ABC Comedy (ABC) for Australia; CBC in Canada for its streaming service; and Comedy Central in the UK and Republic of Ireland for their prime time slot.

Gary and His Demons is an animated comedy about a cantankerous, aging demon slayer who has nothing left to lose. Burdened by his “chosen one” status and backed by a team of specialists he can’t relate to, Gary struggles to keep interest in the Earth-saving duty he never asked for and doesn’t want.

The series is created by Mark Little, known for his work on Picnicface, Mr. D. and the upcoming Cavendish, and has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Little also serves as Head Writer, Co-Director and the voice of Gary. Gary and His Demons is Executive Produced by Josh Bowen (Executive Producer and Creative Director, Look Mom! Productions,); and Wendy Willis and Pia Chikiamco (Mondo Media). Lou Solis serves as Co-Director on the series, with Solis Animation providing animation production services.

Blue Ant International will showcase this content and more at Content London 2018.

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Colin and Justin return to their roots in Great Canadian Cottages

Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan’s recent Canadian television programming has seen them up to their elbows in rotten wood, bugs and questionable style choices in three seasons of Cabin Pressure. In that series, the duo purchased and renovated their own cottages while offering tips and tricks to DIY projects.

Now the pair is back with a new series—Great Canadian Cottages, debuting Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life—that harkens back to their early days in the business.

“This is really us going back to Colin and Justin, Stage 1,” McAllister says over the phone. “Our background is newspapers and magazines and we’ve interviewed stars and celebs about their homes. We’ve always been in the market to listen to people and share their stories. We’ve done it in print media for years but this gave us the opportunity to do it on-camera.”

McAllister says Great Canadian Cottages is a natural evolution from Cabin Pressure. In that program, episodes followed their story from destruction and renovation to completion. Great Canadian Cottages turns the cameras on other cottage owners as they explain the inspiration for their getaways and digs deep into the nuts and bolts of building outside of big cities. There are also experts on hand who weigh in on some of the construction choices made. In Episode 1, that includes the windows utilized in a shimmering glass block built for a professional photographer so he could make the most of natural light.

Each 30-minute episode finds McAllister and Ryan telling the stories of distinctive cottages with amazing architectural flair, uncovering the carefully crafted design features of each home and learning more about the geographic regions they are built upon. (Fans of the pair can meet them in person at the 2018 Cottage Life Show in Toronto this weekend. Click here for more details.)

There have been plenty of surprises in Season 1. Among them are a getaway made out of straw and clay that has no 90-degree angles and the abode built by former Toronto Maple Leafs great Wendel Clark. It turns out the gritty goal scorer has a knack for gardening and a flair for fashionable homes.

“He’s a real bruiser, so we figured [his cottage] would be like a sports bar with a giant TV,” McAllister recalls. “We get to this beautiful house and gardens that you would pay money to visit. Wendel and his wife, Denise, are the most humble, down-to-earth lovely people. He talked us through the house they made, the garden that they do themselves with their own four hands. And he talks about transitional furniture and just bloody owns it.”

“Colin and I walked away from that saying, ‘If a hockey player can become an interior designer, do you think an interior designer can become a hockey player?” he continues. “I think it’s time for Colin and Justin to take up the puck!”

Great Canadian Cottages airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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