Tag Archives: Cineflix

Morwyn Brebner and Andrew Akman launch Husk Media in partnership with Cineflix Media

From a media release:

Cineflix Media is teaming up with award-winning showrunner Morwyn Brebner and TV executive Andrew Akman to launch Husk Media, a new television production company.

Toronto-based Husk Media will develop and produce programming for broadcasters and streamers worldwide. With Brebner spearheading creative efforts and Akman leading commercial affairs, the company will focus on projects created by Brebner, as well as projects in partnership with emerging and established writers and showrunners.

Cineflix will provide Husk Media with start-up financing and operating support, and has a first-look to distribute the shingle’s content internationally. The new production company joins Cineflix’s growing joint venture lineup which includes Mirage producer Connect3 Media and International Emmy® Award-winning Marcella producer Buccaneer Media.

Most recently honoured as 2021 Showrunner of the Year by the Writers Guild of Canada, Morwyn Brebner has produced premium scripted television for networks and platforms around the world, and is behind some of the longest-running, most successful dramas ever produced in Canada. Brebner’s credits include creating global hit Coroner (CBC/The CW Network/NBCUniversal International Networks), as well as co-creating supernatural medical series Saving Hope (CTV/ION) and police drama Rookie Blue (ABC/Global Television).

Andrew Akman brings more than 20 years of experience in production, distribution, and broadcasting. He has held senior management positions at some of Canada’s largest media and entertainment companies and will be transitioning out of his current role as COO at Cineflix Media.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Preview: HGTV’s Rock Solid Builds is a party on The Rock

I’ve written a lot about home renovation shows over the years.

As such, I can get bored with the usual “take an old house, be surprised by shocking electrical or plumbing behind the walls, wonder if the job will come in on time and budget, and marvel at the final results” formula. It can get as tired as peeling wallpaper.

But Rock Solid Builds is like nothing I’ve seen before.

Debuting Thursday at 10 p.m. Eastern on HGTV Canada, Rock Solid Builds is as quirky as the location it’s set in: Brigus, Newfoundland. It’s there we meet up with Randy Spracklin of Newfound Builders and his team of equally entertaining folks renovating and building homes on The Rock. This third-generation builder—dad Scott is also part of the crew—takes on projects in one of the most beautiful places in the world. But also one of the most rugged and hard to get to; delayed shipments of supplies from the mainland are regularly faced by Newfound Builders.

Yes, the jaunty fiddle-heavy music and accents are the first thing to set Rock Solid Builds apart from, say, Backyard Builds or Save My Reno, but it adds to the charm exuded by Randy Spracklin, who tackles weather, design and construction issues with a crooked smile and quip.

In Thursday’s debut, Randy, Scott, Nikki and Paul document putting the finishing touches on one home, adding two additions to another, and beginning work on a 200-year-old home. It’s that last home, dubbed Earle House, that intrigued me. After all, adding another foot to ceilings isn’t something you see every day. The first three layers of flooring are peeled back to reveal the original, 200-year-old beams, which Randy explains were probably cut close by and squared off. Floorboards were attached with square nails forged locally.

It’s a heck of a history lesson not only in home building but building in a fabulous, unique part of the country. I can’t wait to see more.

Rock Solid Builds airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. Eastern on HGTV.

Image courtesy of Cineflix.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Pure: Creator Michael Amo on the return of Season 2 and a favourite character

Spoiler alert: Do not continue reading unless you have watched the first episode of Pure, Season 2.

Pure‘s second season premiere was notable for a few reasons. It introduced Hector Estrada (Victor Gomez), the drug dealer who demanded Anna Funk re-start the Mennonite cocaine pipeline. And, just to give her the little push Anna needed to do that, took Isaak (Dylan Everett) as collateral. When we last saw Isaak, he was naked, caged and (rightfully) screaming for his mother. Last Tuesday’s return also brought a favourite character back from the grave. It turns out Noah’s (Ryan Robbins) brother, Abel (Gord Rand), suffered merely a flesh wound when Eli Voss shot him; the siblings shared an emotional reunion.

With so much going on not just with the characters but the show itself, we got Michael Amo on the phone to discuss it.

What were your thoughts when you were told by CBC that the second season of Pure wasn’t going to be happening with them?
Michael Amo: [Laughs.] I remember being surprised because I think we averaged over 700,000 viewers per episode which, for a freshman drama on CBC, is pretty good. But, I guess it wasn’t on brand for them. I did move on to other things and developed some other shows. It was really Cineflix. It was Brett Burlock and Peter Emerson, who are our Ontario production partners, were the ones who said, ‘You know what? It’s not going to die so easily.’ They’re the ones who engineered the deal between WGN America and Super Channel and put their own kind of equity into it as well.

Three people, dressed in black, stand next to each other.Was there a phone call to you to say it had been greenlit?
MA: For me, it was me talking to Brett about some things I was working on and him saying, ‘Not so fast, Pure isn’t dead yet.’ But I’ve got a family to feed and said, ‘I welcome the opportunity to do more of Pure.’ I hung up the phone and went about my business. Months went by and, behind the scenes, Brett and Peter were working feverishly to make it happen. So, when you get the call and are told your baby has been brought back to life, it’s a happy day indeed.

You’ve spent at least one full episode keeping Noah away from his family. What was the thinking behind that?
MA: Actually, we keep Noah away from Anna until Episode 3 because I don’t want to make it easy. [Laughs.] The audience should be rooting for this family to get back together and they can’t do that if they’re together from the get-go. It was challenging to keep them apart for so long, but I did put them on a collision course to tie in with the law enforcement angle of the show. It was a challenge to do that. Season 1 was all about their fall from grace and expulsion from paradise and Season 2 is about them, all in their own way, trying to get back to paradise and the innocence they lose along the way.

How has being on Super Channel Fuse changed the tone of the show? What have you been able to do that you couldn’t on CBC?
MA: There were fans of the show, to begin with, so when they took it on, they said, ‘We’re a premium cable network, so feel free to play in that space.’ I didn’t go too crazy because I, personally, am not a huge fan of vulgarity and the show really never had the creative bandwidth for sex. But we could push the elements that were already in the show a little harder.

Hector Estrada is, literally, taking no prisoners. What’s it been like to create this guy?
MA: In Season 1 we had Eli Voss, who had very specific spiritual views that were in opposition to Noah’s. In Season 2, I really wanted to do something different, from a character point of view for the villain, so Hector is all about the here and now. He does not believe in an afterlife, he does not believe there are any consequences for his actions in this world whatsoever. He is all about the material pleasures, but he’s sort of lonely too. So, he bonds with Isaak and that’s his Achilles heel in a way. [Actor] Victor Gomez is both extremely charming and when he wants to be, ice cold.

I was surprised to see Gord Rand returned to Pure. In Season 1, Abel was shot by Eli and left for dead. Were you always intending to bring the character of Abel back?
MA: [Laughs.] I’m going to be honest and say perhaps not. What happens is, you fall in love with these characters, and the actors who play them, and you say, ‘Oh my goodness, I have to find a way to keep Gord in the picture.’ I’m glad I did.

Pure airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Super Channel Fuse.

Images courtesy of Super Channel.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Class action lawsuit a big step toward fairness in factual and reality TV

From a media release:

The Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada is welcoming a $35-million class action lawsuit [http://www.cavalluzzo.com/factual-televison-classactionfiled by law firm Cavalluzzo on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers who have worked at Cineflix Canada, which produces such TV shows as Property Brothers and Mayday.

The legal action follows a five-year campaign by CMG and its parent union CWA Canada to bring fair working conditions to this part of the entertainment industry.

“Reality and factual TV are the wild west of the entertainment world,” said Lise Lareau, a co-ordinator of the CMG’s Fairness in Factual TV campaign. “People working in this area of production are cut out of labour laws. They don’t have the rights of other employees, and historically they’ve been left out of union contracts enjoyed by the rest of the entertainment industry.”

Most reality and factual TV production companies make their workers set up their own corporations or sign contracts saying they are “independent contractors” and then don’t provide overtime pay, vacation pay and paid holidays. The failure to pay these basic entitlements is the basis for the Cavalluzzo class action lawsuit.

The statement of claim for the suit is based on the experience of Anna Bourque, a production worker whose most recent contract at Cineflix was September 2017 to February 2018.

“Picture editors and story editors work together taking hundreds of hours of footage and sharpening it into 43 minutes or so of entertaining television, but as schedules get squeezed our hours expand and there is never compensation for that, so our pay becomes inversely proportional to the hours worked,” Bourque said.

The ‘Fairness in Factual TV’ campaign began five years ago when a group of reality and factual TV workers decided enough was enough and sought the support of the Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada. More than 400 people have signed up as supporters since the campaign began.

“Since these workers aren’t covered by union contracts, production companies often use them as a way to create less expensive but still lucrative programming,” said CMG organizer Denise O’Connell, who has spent 20 years in the industry.

Kat Lapointe, an organizer with CMG / CWA Canada, said the fact that you sign a contract that calls you an independent contractor does not mean that you are not entitled to basic minimum employment standards.

“It is not that simple. Treating people as outside of employment laws keeps people vulnerable and unable to build sustainable careers.  It means they’re forced to deal one-on-one with the company — putting each individual worker at a disadvantage — rather than having a collective voice to win fairness and respect at work.”

The Guild is urging people in the industry to talk about this issue at work and join our campaign www.fairnessinfactualtv.ca. If you feel your work conditions have been unfair, contact the union at factualtv@cmg.ca. Write a few lines about your experience and attach a recent contract. It will be held in complete confidence.

Those who have worked at Cineflix, Boat Rocker Media, Insight Productions or other companies who want more information about class action lawsuits can visit the Cavalluzzo LLP website at [http://www.cavalluzzo.com/factual-televison-classaction] or email factual-televison-classaction@cavalluzzo.com.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Additional casting confirmed as Muse, Back Alley and Cineflix start production on CBC original drama Coroner

From a media release:

With production now underway in Toronto, Ontario, Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios today revealed additional casting for new CBC original drama CORONER (8×60), set for a winter 2019 broadcast and streaming premiere on CBC, the CBC TV app and cbc.ca/watch. Inspired by the best-selling series of books by M. R. Hall and created by Morwyn Brebner (Saving Hope), the series centres on newly appointed coroner Jenny Cooper as she investigates suspicious deaths in Toronto.

CORONER stars Serinda Swan (InhumansBallers) as Jenny Cooper, a brave, determined yet vulnerable coroner, former ER doctor, and recently widowed mother, driven by an intense desire for the truth. She loves her son more than life itself and strives to support him while also trying to take care of herself. The passing of Jenny’s beloved husband has unlocked a primal connection to death, tied to a secret in her past that is only now coming to the surface.  With storylines based on real-life cases, Jenny is a coroner for our time, an advocate for the dead even when it’s inconvenient for the living, and a defender of those who are powerless or in peril.

Joining the series are Roger Cross (The X-Files) as Donovan “Mac” McAvoy, a police detective who partners with Jenny; Éric Bruneau (Blue Moon) as Liam, Jenny’s new neighbour; and Ehren Kassam (DeGrassi: Next Class) as Ross, Jenny’s 17-year-old son. Also joining the cast are Tamara Podemski (Rabbit Fall) as Alison Trent, Jenny’s eccentric colleague; Allison Chung (UnReal) as Taylor Kim, a smart, junior homicide detective; Lovell Adams-Gray (Second Jen) as Dr. Dwayne Allen, an idealistic young pathologist; and Saad Siddiqui (Madame Secretary) as Dr. Neil Sharma, Jenny’s insightful psychiatrist.

A CBC original series, CORONER is produced by Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios. Morwyn Brebner is creator, executive producer and showrunner, Adrienne Mitchell (Durham County, Bellevue) is lead director and executive producer for Back Alley Films, Jonas Prupas is executive producer for Muse Entertainment with Peter Emerson and Brett Burlock executive producers for Cineflix Studios. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Helen Asimakis is Senior Director, Scripted Content; and Sarah Adams is Executive in Charge of Production. Cineflix Rights has the exclusive worldwide distribution rights to CORONER.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail