Tag Archives: Documentary

Flat Out Food highlights Saskatchewan food, farmers and chefs

From a media release:

A new, made-in-Saskatchewan docuseries is putting homegrown ingredients, and everyone from local farmers, chefs and foragers, to Indigenous food sovereigntists in the spotlight.

Flat Out Food is a six-episode documentary series that traces unique Saskatchewan ingredients from the field (or forest) to the plate, hosted by journalist and author Jenn Sharp. Flat Out Food is based on her 2020 book, Flat Out Delicious: Your Definitive Guide to Saskatchewan’s Food Artisans.

The docuseries visits a regenerative grain farmer, a beekeeper and even mushroom foraging chefs in an adventure that spans the province while exploring Saskatchewan’s diverse agriculture and local food scene. Each episode ends with a stunning meal created using the highlighted ingredient.

Saskatoon chefs Jenni Lessard (Wanuskewin Heritage Park) Thayne Robstad and Beth Rogers, owners of Hearth and Regina’s Milton Rebello (Skye Café & Bistro) are a few of the local chefs that join Sharp on her quest to gain a deeper appreciation for ingredients like lentils, chanterelles, fiddleheads, nettles, bison and more.

Flat Out Food is produced by Regina-based HalterMedia, owned by Adrian Halter. The series was filmed in over a dozen locations all over the province. Nearly the entire production and post-production team are from or are living in Saskatchewan.

The first episode airs February 24 at 10 pm CST on Citytv Saskatchewan and streams online at citytv.com. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as food-lovers across the country celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day and food producers on February 23.

Flat Out Food is produced by HalterMedia Inc. in association with Citytv Saskatchewan and Rogers Media Inc. with assistance from the Canada Media Fund and Creative Saskatchewan.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Blue Ant Media announces latest original slate for Cottage Life, T+E, Love Nature and Smithsonian Channel Canada

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media, an international producer, distributor and channel operator, announced from Prime Time Online today a series of greenlights for its suite of lifestyle and factual TV channels: Cottage Life, T+E, Love Nature and Smithsonian Channel Canada. The 2021-2022 programming slate underpins Blue Ant Media’s commitment to create compelling original content that appeals to viewers at home and on a global scale. Overseen by Sam Linton, Head of Original Content (Canada), the lineup includes four world broadcast premieres with several series available for licensing globally by Blue Ant International.

On Cottage Life, Blue Ant Media has greenlit three new series to premiere in spring 2022 during the channel’s nationwide free preview event, two of which are co-productions with APTN, Canada’s national Indigenous television network. The first co-production, Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet (working title) (Season 1; Broadcast Premiere), profiles rural Alberta-based veterinarian and everyday hero Dr. Savannah Howse-Smith as she takes care of animals while also exploring her newly-discovered Métis heritage. Blue Ant and APTN will also co-produce the third installment of Merchants of the Wild (Season 3; Broadcast Premiere), which follows six Indigenous adventurers pitted against the perils of an ancient waterway trade route used by the Syilx People. Blue Ant Media has also acquired from APTN seasons 1 and 2 of the Merchants of the Wild franchise to air on Cottage Life. Finally, Blue Ant Media has greenlit Mysteries from Above (working title) (Season 1; World Broadcast Premiere) for Cottage Life, which is a 10-part original documentary series investigating mysterious phenomena from the vantage point of drones. The series provides an in-depth analysis of never-before-seen drone footage, from lost civilizations to curious animal behaviour.

As the home of paranormal programming in Canada, T+E has lined up two spine-tingling paranormal documentaries to scare viewers across the country. Scheduled to premiere this fall on T+E, the paranormal documentary special Bathsheba (Season 1; World Broadcast Premiere), follows the chilling true story of Bathsheba Sherman, a witch made famous by the hit horror film, The Conjuring. The special delves into the true tales that served as inspiration for the film and unearths the archives of well-known paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who attempted to help the Perron family from being terrorized by Bathsheba’s presence. Also new to T+E, Blue Ant Media has greenlit Eyewitness: UFO (working title) (Season 1; World Broadcast Premiere), an eight-part docuseries that breathes new life into the decades-long conversation as to whether or not extraterrestrials have visited Earth. The series weaves together powerful and credible first-hand accounts of UFO encounters with interviews, authentic visual footage and dramatic paranormal reenactments, while expert contributors explore the world-shattering realities of the witnessed events. The greenlight comes at a pivotal time when skepticism has shifted and people are open to new findings and evidence of interstellar visitors.

New on Love Nature, the 12-part documentary series Battle of the Alphas (Season 1; World Broadcast Premiere) offers viewers insight into the competitive world of animal life, giving an inside look into an important part of animal behaviour. Battle of the Alphas is a Love Nature global commission, slated to premiere in Canada and roll out worldwide on Love Nature’s branded linear and streaming platforms in early 2022.

Finally, on Smithsonian Channel Canada, the documentary special Treasures from the Maya (Canadian Broadcast Premiere), treks deep into the jungle to investigate the mysterious collapse of the ancient Maya civilization. Using the latest science and technology, Treasures from the Maya uncovers how an ancient civilization ruled by god-kings ended in warfare. The special is slated to air next spring 2022.

For a full list of original programming highlights, please see below.

Cottage Life

Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet (working title) (9×30’; HD)
Scheduled for Spring 2022 • Broadcast Premiere
A Blue Ant Media and APTN Co-production • Producer: Wapanatahk Media in partnership with Great Pacific Media
The series follows the adventures of veterinarian Dr. Savannah Howse-Smith as she keeps rural Alberta’s pet and animal population healthy, all while learning more about her recently confirmed Métis bloodline and adjusting to her new cultural identity.

Merchants of the Wild, Season 3 (13×30’; HD)
Scheduled for Spring 2022 • Broadcast Premiere
A Blue Ant Media and APTN Co-production • Producer: Little Bear Big Wolf Pictures/Buck Productions
Merchants of the Wild is a vivid 13-part documentary series mixing culture, survival and adventure, as the cameras follow six Indigenous adventurers pitted against the perils of an ancient waterway trade route used by Interior Salishan People of the Colombia Plateau including the Secwepemc, Syilx, Kitunaxa and Sinixt Nations. In an attempt to reconnect to the land, the adventurers begin their journey with nothing and must survive 25 days in the wilderness using the teachings from Elders and Knowledge Keepers, who will be imperative to their success.

Mysteries from Above (working title) (10×60’; HD)
Scheduled for Spring 2022 • World Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company
Mysteries from Above is a compelling documentary series investigating mysteries from the unprecedented vantage point of drones. From remote, hard-to-reach locations, the drones explore strange geological occurrences, unique man-made structures, curious creatures, and even lost civilizations, revealing fascinating never-before-seen footage to the viewers. Each episode will answer the question “what is that?” with an in-depth analysis from the world’s leading experts. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

T+E

Bathsheba (2×60’; HD)
Scheduled for Fall 2021 • World Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Cream Productions
Inspired by the 2013 horror film, The Conjuring, which scared and scarred audiences worldwide, the paranormal documentary special, Bathsheba dives into the true tales that served as inspiration for the film. The storyline begins in the 1970s and follows the famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, founders of the New England Society for Psychic Research, as they attempt to help the Perron family who are terrorized by an evil paranormal presence, a witch named Bathsheba Sherman, at their remote Rhode Island farmhouse. Responding to the TV industry’s goal to achieve gender parity, Blue Ant Media and Cream Productions are committed to hiring an all-female production team with the aim to create training and mentorship opportunities for women in production. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

Eyewitness: UFO (working title) (8×60’; HD)
Scheduled for Summer 2021 • World Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company
The documentary series tells the stories of the most incredible UFO encounters of the modern era. Combining the most compelling audio and visual evidence of UFOs – mobile phone footage and photographs – with the first-hand accounts of those who were there, Eyewitness: UFO distills the biggest mystery of the modern era into riveting, experiential storytelling. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

Love Nature

Battle of the Alphas (12×30’; HD)
Scheduled for Early 2022 • World Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Yap Films
The battle of the alphas happens across the planet every day: babies compete for their mother’s milk, adolescents play-fight and adults become aggressive when their leadership is challenged or when they’re in search of a mate. From friendly competition to territorial battles, the all-new series delves into the science behind animal conflict. Distributed by Blue Ant International.

Smithsonian Channel Canada

Treasures from the Maya (1×60’; HD)
Scheduled for Spring 2022 • Canadian Broadcast Premiere
Producer: Zoot Pictures
Treasures from the Maya uses the latest science and technology (LiDAR laser imaging) to pull back the veil and help viewers see the ancient Maya civilization as they saw it centuries ago. The documentary special travels deep into the jungle, into ancient tombs and temples, to reveal stories of god-kings and their role in the collapse of the ancient Maya civilization.

Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. We own and operate numerous production companies in North America and Asia-Pacific under the Blue Ant Studios banner, creating content for broadcasters and streaming platforms in multiple genres including factual entertainment, natural history, documentary, adult animation and drama. Our distribution business, Blue Ant International, offers a substantial catalogue of content, including one of the world’s largest 4K natural history offerings. Blue Ant Media operates channels under nine brands including Love Nature, Smithsonian Channel Canada, BBC Earth (Canada) and more. Blue Ant Media is headquartered in Toronto, with nine international offices in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, Japan, London, Dunedin, Washington DC and Beijing. Blueantmedia.com.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Indigenous songwriters take centre stage in APTN’s Amplify

I’m a huge fan of music documentaries and count Soundbreaking, It Might get Loud, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage and Sonic Highways among my favourites. I’ll add Amplify to the mix.

Debuting Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern on APTN, Amplify was created by Métis writer, director, musician and cinematographer Shane Belcourt, and focuses on Indigenous songwriters and those that have inspired them. What sets Amplify apart is not only the subject matter—songwriter Cheryl L’Hirondelle (above) and author Robin Wall Kimmerer are showcased in Episode 1—but the look of each of the 13 episodes. Rather than simple talking heads inter-cut with performances, the series’ cameras pause on flowers waving in a breeze, a tumbledown barn in a field, or ripples on a pond.

We spoke to Shane Belcourt about how Amplify came about, and what he hopes viewers will experience as they watch it.

What made you create Amplify?
Shane Belcourt: The producers that I work with wanted to make a music documentary series. The default for that kind of music documentary series is usually the biography series, ‘Here’s the musician, here’s what they’ve done.’ I mean, sure I like them, but I want to watch a TV show that has some artistry behind it, that has some kind of uniqueness that I can’t get anywhere else. I was quite inspired by Dave Grohl’s HBO documentary series, Sonic Highways, as well as the Netflix series, a very popular one, Chef’s Table.

I thought, ‘There’s something about both of these documentaries, the way that they’re structured and the pacing and the points that they bring out.’ But the other big one was when you think about going to musicians and saying, ‘Hey, you’re great. Tell me why you’re great. Rolling,’ they’re going to be like, ‘Uh, no thanks.’

Shane Belcourt

But if you said, ‘Hey, what’s something that you’ve read recently or thought about, or something in our Indigenous world that you’re really excited to explore and think about that’s really shaped you? Will you tell me about that?’ And, of course, every musician is like, ‘Oh yeah, hey, you should read this and I love this part and that part. And here’s what it means to me.’ Through that micro focus, you get the macro feeling of who this person really is. So you get the biography, you get the feeling of who this person is through focusing on one thing that they’re excited to talk about.

One of the things that struck me were the times you’re showing a barn in a field or some flowers. Clearly that was a conscious decision on your part to make this different.
SB: Yeah. I’ve got to really tip my hat to the broadcaster, APTN. I sold them originally from the lookbook and from the pitch deck. I said, ‘Listen. I want to do something that has the pacing, like Chef’s Table, that’s very meditative, that takes time to linger on a shot. We’re in no rush.’

And to their credit, they said, ‘Great.’ One of my friends has this great saying. He’s actually musician. He said, ‘When the world runs, walk slow. When the world goes slow, start running. If you want to stand out, do the opposite.’ And so I think that there’s a history now of documentaries. There’s so many good documentaries. And I’m inspired by the visual treatment that we’re all pushing to.

How did you decide on the songwriters you were going to include?
SB: I work really closely with producer Michelle St. John, and she knows everybody. She’s great. We thought, ‘OK, well, we know what the recipe of the show is: Songwriter + inspiration = an episode.’ So we thought, ‘OK, well, who are 13 songwriters that we’d love to spend time with who we know are articulate, and also a mix between somebody who’s known like iskwē and someone who’s less known like Lacey Hill?’ We definitely wanted to make a list that had a lot of Indigenous female performers. So that was also a juggling act. You make your big list.

Author Robin Wall Kimmerer

And I would say 80 per cent agreed right off. We called them. They’re like, ‘We love this idea. Totally interested. We’re in.’ And while we made that list of songwriters, we also then made a parallel list of what director would be perfect to work with that songwriter.

One of the things that I enjoyed is you had each person introduce themselves in their Indigenous language.
SB: Yeah. So much of welcoming and greeting yourself and introducing yourself to the space or to the people who you’re sharing that space with is to express who you are and where you’re from and what your community and nation is. Who holds you, what group has brought you forward as opposed to, ‘I’m this isolated person named Dale or Bob or whatever.’ That was something that we wanted, too. It just made sense to do that. And the other thing too, is that the musicality of the language was something that we just love to hear. It just gives them a little flavour of something that just to me, sounds a little sweeter and pulls the audience in a little further as they read the subtitles, but hear the sound for most of the people who don’t speak Ojibway.

When people tune in and watch Amplify, what are you hoping that they do? Do you want them to hit up iTunes and look for this music and start Googling these artists and the people who inspired them?
SB: That’s just it. You just nailed it right there. The hope that someone watching the show is that for a half-hour TV block, they get to sit down and be transported into a place that has these unusual and new characters and voices and sounds. And then at the end of it, they’re just thinking a couple of things. One is, for something like in the pilot, ‘I have to go buy a copy of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book. I want to read it.’ That’s what you hope because it’s such a great book. And then, ‘Oh, I want to check out Cheryl L’Hirondelle. I love the sound of her stuff. It’s so interesting.’ I’m someone who as an artist, I guess ultimately whenever I watch a great movie or a great show, I want to make something. It inspires me to be creative and do what I do. So I hope, ultimately, people watch it and go, ‘I want to sit down and write a song,’ or whatever it is that they do to get out there and just be creative.

Amplify airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on APTN.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Link: CBC’s Girls’ Night Out is a patronizing, fact-adverse travesty

From Leah McLaren of The Globe and Mail:

CBC’s Girls’ Night Out is a patronizing, fact-adverse travesty
Vaguely based on the book Drink: The Deadly Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston, the documentary takes a complex and multilayered topic and reduces it to an episode of Girls Gone Wild narrated by church ladies. Girls’ Night Out is a patronizing, fact-adverse travesty, the broadcast equivalent of TMZ’s never-ending gallery of D-list actresses staggering out of nightclubs, lipstick and bra straps askew. Continue reading. Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Comments and queries for the week of November 6

The Nature of Things explores obesity and our guts

Just doing a little fact checking, and the host of the show states there are more microbes in our gut, 100 trillion, than there are stars in the sky. Conservative estimates of the number of stars are around a billion trillion, and a new study from researchers at Harvard and Yale suggests there are a mind-blowing 300 sextillion of them, or three times as many as scientists previously calculated. That is a 3 followed by 23 zeros. Or 3 trillion times 100 billion. I wonder if this was just a slip, or is it an indication of a lack of understanding of very large numbers? —Dave

Will this show on obesity and the gut rerun? —Reta

All of the past The Nature of Things episodes can be re-watched on the show’s website.


Georgina Reilly: Why I left Murdoch Mysteries

Dear Miss Reilly: Excuse the pun but, thank-you for “Gracing” us with your performances on Murdoch Mysteries. The show has always been excellent right from the first season, but when your character made her first appearance a few years ago, the fans took notice and endeared you to their hearts both as Emily and Georgina Reilly. Thank you, and I hope you come back someday. Take care. —Rob

Well I can’t wait to see her back as a special guest star and I don’t care that they went off the books a bit … it is still a good show. —Brenden

It’s great that they didn’t choose to kill her off and left the door open for future guest appearances or perhaps a recurring role. As much as I would love for it to, MM won’t last forever. I am sure the entire cast ponders on what they will so when this show ends and how much further they would like to go. Emily can always return in the end. Perhaps for George. I am an avid fan of them as a couple after all. :) —Tibou

I m glad to see Miss Reilly leave Murdoch Mysteries as she was the weak link of the show; best of luck to her. I have watched all the episodes of Murdoch Mysteries and love all the Canadian content. Thanks to the writers and producers for such a good show; Murdoch is my favourite character along with Inspector Brackenreid. —Dee

 

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? greg@tv-eh.com or via @tv_eh.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail