Tag Archives: CBC Gem

Schitt’s Creek says goodbye with tear-filled Best Wishes, Warmest Regards

“It’s a double cry night.”

That’s the promise delivered by Amy Segal, describing Tuesday’s series finale of Schitt’s Creek at 8 p.m., on CBC and the one-hour documentary that follows it, Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell, at 8:30 p.m. Segal knows of what she speaks since she’s been working on Schitt’s Creek from Day 1, having produced and directed all 52 scripted webisodes, as well as Behind the Episodes. 

Segal, who got her start on CTV’s etalk before segueing to The Hills Aftershow, met and became friends with Schitt’s Creek co-creator Daniel Levy. Now, with the final episode of six seasons upon us, we spoke to Segal about her experiences working on Schitt’s Creek, and what fans can expect when they tune in to Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell.

What are the unique challenges that you run into when you’re filming the Behind the Episodes segments?
Amy Segal: The Behind the Episodes were fun. We ended up shooting them all day, and by the end, we were exhausted. But they talked for a solid 20 to 30 minutes for each show, and I had to pare it down two and a half, three minutes. I know, it’s difficult, but it’s fun. I always have a good time.

Are you making notes while they’re talking and saying, ‘OK, I think this might make for a good soundbite or short conversation.’ Or do you wait until you’re in the editing suite after? How does that work?
AS: I’m always listening and I’m asking them questions and leading the conversation a little bit. I definitely take notes, but I think it comes down to see how it flows in the edit. I edit everything myself, so it’s sort of picking and choosing what I like and having to get rid of things that I do like because it’s too long. But I’m just really making sure that I know I have content before we finish wrapping up. I definitely take notes and I go in with, so I know what parts I want to highlight.

What were some of the logistics behind filming Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell? How much filming did you do for that?
AS: So much. I originally wanted to do the 44-minute version, and then an actual documentary length version. I’m hoping that will maybe find its way somewhere, eventually, because like I do with the behind the episodes, I had to cut so much gold and it crushed me. You want to get in the important things, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for longer moments and pauses, and that was hard for me to get over.

It’s a celebration of the show and the fans and the cultural impact that the show has had. So there was a lot to say, and at the same time, I really wanted to show what it was like to make a final season of a show. Because it’s not easy. We started in the writer’s room in Los Angeles, in their incubation room in November 2018. And then we shot for almost a year and a half.

Who floated that idea of there being a farewell documentary?
AS: It was Dan and I. It’s always been my dream to make a documentary and we were talking and I said, ‘What if we do something for the last season?’ Because we were fans of Girls and they did a miniature, not really a documentary, but like a little clip show kind of thing. Originally, the intention was a look back, interviewing the cast and just their favourite moments, highlights, whatever. And then it ended up turning into a much bigger beast, a celebration of the show and just seeing the process of it.

You’ve been with the show since Day 1. How does it feel to be for this all to be ending on Tuesday?
AS: Oh gosh. It’s devastating. It’s a huge part of all of our lives. And it’s weird because now is the time we usually go back to set and start prepping for the next season. And it is sad. The last shows started airing, and I’ve been so preoccupied with making this that I haven’t really had a moment to think. But now that it’s winding up, it’s kind of a surreal moment. But, yeah, very sad.

I’ve been a fan of Schitt’s Creek from the very beginning and have been getting a lump in my throat as we get closer to the end and to the wedding. What’s the cultural impact from your standpoint that Schitt’s Creek has had on us?
AS: That was another reason I wanted to make the documentary. In Canada, we’re so removed from Hollywood and that world and the first four seasons were just like any other television show that we’ve worked on. The fan base just started to get really into it. Dan would show me messages that he had gotten from fans and people even messaged me, which is so nice.

The fans are just so lovely and there were so many stories that were so positive and beautiful … kids coming out to their parents … and then I met fans on the tour … their parents have embraced them because they watched Johnny and Moira embrace David.

Amy, can you pretty much guarantee that if you’re a fan of the show, that someone like myself is going to cry after watching this special?
AS: You will 110% be bawling at the end. A good, therapeutic cry. You’ll cry at the end of the episode as well. It’s a double cry night.

Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell airs Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Filming in Winnipeg has begun on Entertainment One’s Burden of Truth Season 3 for CBC

From a media release:

Entertainment One (eOne), ICF Films and Eagle Vision today announced that cameras are rolling on Season 3 of CBC original drama series Burden of Truth (8×60). Following attorney Joanna Chang (Kristin Kreuk; Smallville, Beauty and the Beast), Burden of Truth continues production in Winnipeg until late October. Burden of Truth airs on CBC in Canada and the CW in the US.

In Season 2, corporate attorney Joanna Chang was dragged into the shadowy world of hackers and activists in a case that threatened her life. In the new season Joanna and Billy Crawford are working together in their new boutique law firm, Crawford Chang, when an old friend abruptly re-enters Joanna’s life in desperate need of help. To save her friend, Joanna must take on an impossible-to-win case and confront a long-buried secret from her childhood that may threaten her relationship and partnership with Billy. After this case, nothing will be the same again.

Reprising their roles for Season 3 are Peter Mooney (Rookie Blue, Saving Hope) as Billy Crawford, Millwood’s local attorney; Star Slade (Emerald Code) as Luna Spence; Meegwun Fairbrother (Mohawk Girls, Hemlock Grove) as Officer Owen Beckbie; and Anwen O’Driscoll (Emerald Code, Flint) as Taylor Matheson.

A CBC original series, Burden of Truth is produced by ICF Films, Entertainment One and Eagle Vision. The series is created by Brad Simpson (Rookie Blue, King). Adam Pettle (Saving Hope, Nurses) returns as showrunner and will also write on Season 3. Burden of Truth is executive produced by Ilana Frank (Saving Hope, Rookie Blue, The Detail), Adam Pettle, Linda Pope (Saving Hope, Rookie Blue, The Detail), Brad Simpson, Jocelyn Hamilton (Mary Kills People, Cardinal), Kristin Kreuk and Eagle Vision’s Kyle Irving (Taken, Ice Road Truckers, Lovesick). Co-Executive producers are Lisa Meeches (Taken, Ice Road Truckers) and Tyson Caron (Lovesick, Wynter). For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Trish Williams is Executive Director, Scripted Content; Helen Asimakis is Senior Director, Scripted Content; and Sarah Adams is Executive in Charge of Production.

BURDEN OF TRUTH is produced with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and Manitoba Film and Music, and with the assistance of the Government of Manitoba – Manitoba Film & Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the Canadian Film or Video Tax Credit. eOne holds worldwide distribution rights to the series.

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Preview: Save Me doles out excellent new episodes on CBC Gem

I was instantly enthralled with the first season of Save Me. Created, written and directed by Fab Filippo, the dark comedy follows Toronto EMT Goldie (Filippo) and his assorted partners (Amy Matysio and Suresh John are two), as they arrive on the scene of 911 calls.

The twist in the storytelling is Goldie et al. are the through line connecting those making an emergency call rather than being the mains. That’s not to say we don’t get some back story into Goldie and his fellow EMTs lives, but they’re not the focus.

The second chunk of new episodes have landed on CBC Gem—produced by Lisa Baylin—and they’re as strong as the first. The Canadian Screen Award-nominated program is in fine fettle, boasting not only great scenarios for EMTs Goldie, Dogf***er (John), Kevlar (Matysio) and Bizemmingway (John Bourgeois), but a plethora of guest performances by Schitt’s Creek‘s Emily Hampshire, Frankie Drake Mysteries‘ Rebecca Liddiard, Bad Blood‘s Lisa Berry, Kim’s Convenience‘s Andrew Phung, Hudson & Rex‘s Kevin Hanchard, Scott Thompson and Nicholas Campbell.

In the first instalment, it’s all hands on deck as the EMTs—including rookie Hubcap (Heartland‘s Kataem O’Connor)—are called to the scene of multiple ecstasy overdoses suffered by aging couples looking for some fun. Watching Thompson, Hanchard and Fiona Highet tripping out is something to behold. But where there is comedy, tragedy follows, and how each of the paramedics deals with it is also what makes Save Me so engaging. In just a few short minutes in each episode, the web series is able to jump from laughter to tears, while exploring the PTSD first responders experience.

In Episode 2, two men choose to trim some hedges using a lawnmower. It has the predictable, bloody, result, but also reveals a shift in the tale I didn’t see coming. You never know what’s going on in the lives of the folks calling 911; Save Me goes there with spectacular results.

Season 2 of Save Me is on CBC Gem.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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Supinder Wraich’s superb digital series The 410 debuts on CBC Gem

Supinder Wraich began writing The 410 because she wanted to educate herself on the world her family is a part of. She learned a lot.

The three-part digital series, available now on CBC Gem, focuses on Suri (Wraich), a young South Asian woman who goes from social media influencer to drug dealer after her truck driver father (Gugan Deep Singh) is arrested for trafficking drugs. Wraich, who wrote The 410, based the show’s premise on news stories about Indo-Canadian truck drivers being arrested for allegedly smuggling drugs. Her family runs a truck driving school, and Wraich was surprised at how readily people shared stories about the crimes.

“There was a nonchalance with how I got the information,” Wraich says. “There wasn’t shame about it, which I was surprised by. It was, ‘Yes, this happened and this is the information that you’re looking for.'” Wraich got a lot of detail from her father, who had been approached early in his career to hide drugs in his truck. The 410‘s content didn’t hold up production either; the community opened its doors to filming in a gurdwara because they wanted the story told.

“My goal is to get this out to the community, to watch it and to say, ‘Yeah, it’s OK if somebody you know is in jail or if someone you know is suffering from depression, or you don’t have a strong relationship with your father,” Wraich says. “It’s very important for us to see ourselves on screen, so our personal issues don’t feel so isolated.”

A woman kneads bread dough.When viewers first meet Suri, she’s cocky, self-absorbed, dressed up and posting a video with the city as her backdrop. By the end of the first instalment, she’s stripped bare emotionally and physically, stunned by her father’s secret life and the hundreds of thousands in bail money she must raise. Caught in the middle is Nani (Balinder Johal), Suri’s maternal grandmother, who shuffles around her home, making chai and questioning her granddaughter’s life choices. Throw in cop ex-boyfriend JJ (Jade Hassouné) and a mysterious dude named Billa (Cas Anvar), and there are plenty of folks to complicate Suri’s plans.

Aside from the compelling storyline and performances is The 410‘s look, feel and soundtrack; it has the vibe of a music video, something Wraich credits to director Renuka Jeyapalan. She stresses the project was a true collaboration from Day 1, with producer Anya McKenzie, writer Hannah Cheesman and executive producer Matt Power all helping out immensely. That help extended to Wraich’s family too; she filmed in her parents’ Rexdale, Ont., home and things didn’t always run smoothly.

“We took over their house for eight or nine of the 12 days of production and worked around them,” she recalls. “There were times  where my dad had fallen asleep on the couch and was snoring, so we had cut a take and I’d say, ‘Dad, wake up!’ And then we’d go back to filming.”

Season 1 of The 410 can be streamed on CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Detention Adventure bursts on to CBC Gem

I had the honour of moderating the panel for a very cool new series that’s debuted on CBC Gem. On Friday, May 3, cast, crew, friends and family of Detention Adventure packed Toronto’s vintage theatre, The Royal, to watch the first five episodes of the digital series on the big screen.

Co-created by Joe Kicak and Carmen Albano, written by Kicak, Albano and Karen Moore, executive-produced by Moore, Lauren Corber and produced by Ryan West, Detention Adventure summons Goonies, Stand By Me and the Harry Potter franchise in its tone. Legend says inventor Alexander Graham Bell built a secret lab under a school attended by three nerds. Raign (Simone Miller), Joy (Alina Prijono) and Hulk (Jack Fulton) are determined to find the entrance, which is supposed to be located somewhere in the old library that now serves as a detention room. The trio’s plan? Get into trouble, go to detention and find that entrance. The problem? Raign, Joy and Hulk have to include the school bully, Brett (Tomaso Sanelli), in their plans.

I’ve been a fan of Detention Adventure since last spring when Kicak, Albano and Moore were seeking Independent Production Fund money to help get it made. Now, one hot summer later, and the 10-episode spectacle is available for all to see

And truly enjoy.

Detention Adventures is touted as CBC’s first original kids scripted series for CBC Gem and is aimed at the tween crowd. That makes sense; after all, a quartet of kids putting teachers and a principal in their place and solving cool puzzles rates with that crowd. But there is a lot for adults to like as well. The writing is razor-sharp, the performances spot-on and the production values are stellar. Detention Adventure is chock-full of Easter eggs adults will revel in, including a nod to The Shining.

The science used in the series is sound (Hulk’s science class antics are what land him in detention) and the sets are incredible (the show’s tunnel sets were built in a high school gymnasium), but it’s the message that most impressed me. Everyone is different, everyone comes from a different background, but we can all work together to solve problems.

Detention Adventure is available for streaming on CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC and Joe Kicak.

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