Tag Archives: Featured

Mary’s Kitchen Crush, Canada’s Drag Race and Lisa LaFlamme win during Night 1 of the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards

Mary’s Kitchen Crush and its star, Mary Berg, along with Canada’s Drag Race and its hosts and CTV National News with Lisa Laflamme were among the individuals and programs to win during Night 1 of 2021 Canadian Screen Awards Virtual Presentations.

The first portion of the stripped-down celebration focused on News and Documentary, narrated by journalist Ginella Massa, followed by Lifestyle and Reality categories narrated by Canada’s Drag Race Season 1 winner Priyanka.

Here are the winners in Monday’s key categories:

Best News or Information Series
CBC News: The Fifth Estate

Best News Anchor, Local
Dwight Drummond, CBC News Toronto at 6

Best Local Newscast
CityNews at 6

Best News Anchor, National
Lisa LaFlamme, CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme

Best National Newscast
CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme

Best Biography or Arts Documentary Program or Series
Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell

Best History Documentary Program or Series
Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Best Factual Series
You Can’t Ask That

Best Documentary Program
Hockey Mom

Best Talk Program or Series
CBC News: Power & Politics

Best Performing Arts Program
We’re Funny That Way: The Virtual Pride Special

Best Morning Show
Breakfast Television

Best Host, Lifestyle
Mary Berg, Mary’s Kitchen Crush

Best Host or Presenter, Factual or Reality/Competition
Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Stacey McKenzie, Canada’s Drag Race

Best Lifestyle Program or Series
Mary’s Kitchen Crush

Best Reality/Competition Program or Series
Canada’s Drag Race

For the complete list of winners, visit the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television website.

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Major Upcoming Sporting Events: How to Watch in Canada

As summer quickly approaches, there is much to look forward to when it comes to viewing important competitions in real-time. In this article we outline a few, starting with the highly anticipated football event, Euro 2020. When it comes to this competition, historically the most successful teams have been Spain and Germany who each hold three titles. However, this year both England and France are looking good with top odds for the win and fans are eager to see where this may lead.

In this article we take a look at where exactly Canadian fans can watch this special event and several others from the comfort of their own living room televisions. After all, the opportunity to tune into major sports competitions is an invaluable aspect of fandom. Even when supporters may not be able to make it to an event in person, watching the live action surrounded by friends at home can sometimes be just as exciting an experience.

Euro 2020
With a total of 51 matches taking place across 11 major European cities, the Euros are this summer’s premier football event. The series, which is held every four years, has been in circulation since 1960 with 2020 being the first year of its cancelation. This summer, the UEFA Euro 2020 will celebrate its 60th birthday. The format of the 2020 Euros will mirror that of 2016 in which the top two countries in the final groups will proceed as well as those four who finish in third place.

Although the first game is not set to take place until June 11th, fans are already preparing themselves for an intense group of matches and picking their own personal favourites for the Henri Delaunay Trophy.

For Canadian-based supporters, they can tune into the either Bell Media or TVA television network to catch all the international football drama.

NBA Finals
The NBA is no stranger to Canadian-born sports enthusiasts and players. In 1995, the league expanded into the Great White North with two organizations, one being the Toronto Raptors who are still playing today in the Eastern Conference. Since then, the Raptors recently won their first NBA Championship in 2019 which was also the very first by a franchise not based in the U.S.

For all these reasons and more, basketball fans are prevalent in Canada and will most likely be highly interested in tuning in to this year’s Finals series, which is set to begin on July 8th. Right now, the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are Eastern Conference leaders, and the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns are shaking up things in the West.

Additionally, with sporadic injuries affecting some of the league’s top-performing playmakers like Lebron James, this season has been full of twists and turns. Fans can watch all regular and playoff matches as well as the Finals Championship games on Canada’s premier sports network, TSN. For non-cable holders, there is always the option to live stream the face offs or purchase an official NBA League Pass.

French Open
Moving onto tennis, the French Open will begin before the Euros, starting on May 30th and ending on June 13th. The Grand Slam tournament will be held in Paris at the Stade Roland Garros sports complex, the same venue it has occupied since 1928.

Tennis fans are well aware that Spanish born champion, Rafael Nadal is the event’s reigning king, having won each championship since 2017. Currently, he holds the most consecutive titles for men’s singles, an achievement that has earned him both national and international praise and recognition.

Canadians interested in watching one of tennis’ main events can see Nadal and others compete in real-time on TSN if that is included in the fan’s cable package. Both French and English commentary will be available. There is also the option to live stream the event or purchase an VPN if you happen to be out of the country but still want to watch.

Stanley Cup
As ice hockey is one of Canada’s, if not the most celebrated sport in the country, it’s safe to say that there are more than a few hockey enthusiasts residing in various parts of the nation. The NHL currently has seven different franchises which are Canadian based. They represent nearly all ten provinces, including Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto.

When it comes to important games, there’s no doubt that one of professional hockey’s best is the historic Stanley Cup. Having been around for well over 100 years, the competition awards the prestigious Stanley Cup to the first franchise to win four games in the series. Right now the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights are favoured, but Canada’s own Maple Leafs could definitely pull through for the North Division.

However, determining the final victor will be a long wait for fans as the Stanley Cup series won’t take place until sometime in July. Until then, residents in Canada can watch the games on Sportsnet and CBC. This goes for Cree fans as well, since the network announced in 2019 that it would begin broadening its services to provide Cree-language NHL broadcasts for Canadians.

Royal Ascot
Speaking of historic sports events, the Royal Ascot horse racing competition is one of Britain’s oldest and most prestigious. In fact, it is a centerpiece of the country’s history with the sport and has always been a symbol of elegance and class.

This year, the five-day extravaganza will take place between June 15th and June 19th. Normally, seven races are set to take place each day as fans venture from various parts of England and abroad to enjoy the glamorous show. It is also one of the most important events on the calendar year for punters and bettors as experts weigh in on the best stallions and their odds of finishing first.

For those outside of the UK, the best way to view all the nail-biting action is by purchasing a VPN and streaming the event through the country’s network, ITV. This channel and its accompanying mobile app provides detailed coverage throughout the entire week.

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Canadian Screen Award nominees: Sharron Matthews and Vanessa Matsui

It’s Canadian Screen Awards week and we’re celebrating all week long in a very special way. We’ll feature exclusive interviews with the actors and creative folks who are nominated in the television and web series categories.

First up: Sharron Matthews, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Drama for Frankie Drake Mysteries, and Vanessa Matsui, nominated for Best Lead Performance, Web Program or Series for Ghost BFF.

Sharron Matthews, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Drama for Frankie Drake Mysteries

How do you feel the Canadian TV industry is faring during these pandemic times?
The beginning of the pandemic was…strange, to say the least…but after our first lockdown, I went straight into TWO writers rooms, so we just kept doing what we always do in the arts…creating through adverse times. Artists and arts administrators are used to calamity and since the TV and Film industry doesn’t perform in front of large groups of people, we collectively did some recon, and kept going, kept creating. Then I feel like the TV and Film industry really pulled together and figured out a safe, secure way to physically make TV in the face of great challenges. This is what I love about the arts, it always finds a way to survive and thrive. Shout out to the stage and live theatre makers, who have pivoted and found innovative ways to express themselves and have their work be seen.

How have you fared during these pandemic times?
I’m grateful beyond measure that I had Frankie Drake Mysteries and the animated show Rebecca Liddiard (Mary Shaw on Frankie), Carmen Albano (Detention Adventure) and I created with Shaftesbury (Mary and Flo on the Go), to work on from almost the beginning of the pandemic. I spent most of the time up until we went to camera on both Frankie and Mary and Flo, writing and developing scripts for both shows, so I kept myself singularly focused on work … away from the uncertainty of the world around me. I have done my VERY best to stay positive. Some days have been better than others.

Do you think Canadian TV is stronger than ever when it comes to telling our stories?
I believe that Canadian writers and creators have become braver in expressing our unique comedic and dramatic voices. With worldwide successes such as Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Moms, and even Frankie Drake Mysteries (if I may) it feels like we have realized that we don’t have to morph our visions to fit the gaze of other countries. Stories told from a Canadian perspective with a distinctly Canadian sense of humour or pathos have become sought after, which is thrilling and has laid the groundwork for an exciting and fertile future.

Does an award nomination/win serve as validation for you or is it just a nice nod that you’re on the right track, career or choice-wise?
Oh my gosh … I would be lying if I said being nominated by a group of your peer wasn’t validating. It is. It really is. I am thrilled.

What will you wear during the Canadian Screen Awards?
I will be watching all the nights with my bubble pal, Mike Bickerton (nominated for his showrunning work on Canada’s Drag Race) and I’m fairly sure we’ll be wearing caftans. Large, billowing caftans. So, basically? We will be dressed in something we bought off the internet.

What will you eat/drink/snack on during the Canadian Screen Awards?
I’m a Hamilton girl forever, so I’m not too fancy. Chips and wine. I’m a simple gal.

Is there someone who served as a mentor when you were starting out in this industry that you’d give a special shout-out to in your acceptance speech if given the chance?
If I had the chance to give an acceptance speech, the first person I would thank is the indomitable Christina Jennings, head of Shaftesbury and producer of Frankie Drake Mysteries. She’s been a supportive force in my life since the day I started on Frankie. Since then, she’s answered every question I have asked about writing and producing, encouraging me to not have limits when it comes to creating. She sets an example not just for female producers but for producers in general, about how to be tenacious and think big. She’s taught me to give pause, time and energy to ideas that spark the soul, because if they don’t work out … there is a good chance those ideas may lead to greater, more fulfillable ideas. Christina leaves no piece of energy or innovation wasted. THANK YOU, CHRISTINA!!!

Vanessa Matsui, nominated for Best Lead Performance, Web Program or Series for Ghost BFF

Congratulations on your Canadian Screen Award nomination!
Thank you!!

How do you feel the Canadian web series industry is faring during these pandemic times?
Shooting, in general, is challenging right now, so indie filmmaking is particularly challenging because so much of your budget is going to COVID precautions. Which I completely understand and appreciate. Also, I think we are going to see a surge of creations post-pandemic. Especially during that first wave, I’ve heard that so many writers and creators, myself included, finally had the time to write that thing that they’ve been wanting to write. So there may be some unintended POSITIVE consequences to shutting down the industry for a season.

How have you fared during these pandemic times?
Ha! Well, it’s been a roller coaster, to say the least. I feel like each wave came with its own challenges. I’m a mom, so losing my ‘village’ has frankly been traumatic. And I’m a lucky one! I have a home and a partner and I was able to go back to work relatively quickly compared to so many. But in some ways, I’m incredibly grateful for these times. I’m a different person now and I look back on pre-pandemic Vanessa as almost a child. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m definitely a better, more me person now.

Do you think Canadian web series is stronger than ever when it comes to telling our stories?
Yes! There are so many incredible web series right now that I’m such a big fan of. Band Ladies and Bit Playas come to mind immediately.

Does an award nomination/win serve as validation for you or is it just a nice nod that you’re on the right track, career or choice-wise?
It’s a really nice nod. I’m so happy that Kaniehtiio [Horn], Jean [Yoon], and Angela [Asher] were also nominated. I think four actresses being nominated for one show is just fabulous.

What will you wear during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Ha! Sweatpants. Sorry, not sorry.

What will you eat/drink/snack on during the Canadian Screen Awards?
Pizza and wine!

Is there someone who served as a mentor when you were starting out in this industry that you’d give a special shout-out to in your acceptance speech if given the chance?
An early supporter of Ghost BFF was Ana Serrano. I don’t think this show would have gotten as far as it did without her initial support. Also, my late acting teacher, Jacqueline McClintock, who always encouraged me to write and create my own work. She is in my heart whenever I step onto set.

Stream the Canadian Screen Awards on the Academy websiteTwitter and YouTube.

Check out the list of nominees.

Monday, May 17, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – News & Documentary, Presented by CBC (Narrator: Ginella Massa)

8 p.m. ET: CTV presents the Canadian Screen Awards – Lifestyle & Reality (Narrator: Priyanka)

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Children’s & Animation, Presented by Shaw Rocket Fund (Narrator: Eric Bauza)

8 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Digital & Immersive, Presented with the participation of the Independent Production Fund (Narrator: Donté Colley)

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
7 p.m. ET: CTV presents the Canadian Screen Awards – Creative Arts & Performance (Narrator: Tyrone Edwards)

Thursday, May 20, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Cinematic Arts, Presented by Telefilm Canada, Supported by Cineplex (Narrator: Nahéma Ricci)

8 p.m. ET: 2021 Canadian Screen Awards (Narrators: Stephan James and Karine Vanasse)

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Canadian Screen Awards’ Beth Janson: “We are focusing on the content”

Last year, the pandemic played havoc with the Canadian Screen Awards. Originally scheduled for the last week of March in Toronto with the usual in-person fan and industry events capped off by a gala, it was all delayed, ultimately going virtual last May.

Now the Canadian Screen Awards are back and, once again, being handed out virtually. But, with a year of experience at this sort of thing, Beth Janson, CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, says the Academy is ready to deliver.

Congratulations on another Canadian Screen Awards. You all have become veterans now because you’ve had a year of the pandemic under your belt to pull this off again.
Beth Janson: Yes. I know. It’s not really an expertise I would have chosen. But we are excited that we have done everything, start to finish, virtually, this year. So it’s been very, very strange, but successful. So, we’re happy about that.

In all seriousness you have had more than a year to plan for this, whereas, last year, you had moving targets all the time. How did you tackle things this year? Did things go more smoothly, what were some things that you decided you wanted to do this year that maybe you weren’t able to do last year?
Yes, last year was very much, a not ideal scenario. This year, we really were able to take more time to think about the creative behind the shows. We hired a creative producer. It’s all original music in our shows. I think it allowed us to take more care with the details. We’re still not having a Zoom acceptance speech award show because, despite everything we’ve seen this whole quarantine or pandemic, we don’t feel like that makes for a very exciting viewing experience.

We still are focusing on the content, so we’re taking more time. We’re playing clips. So much of our awards is about discoverability. And even people who are in our industry sometimes don’t realize the breadth of what’s out there. We’re able to sort of let them breathe more and sort of have it be more of a creative exercise, than a panic exercise.

Is focusing on the creative side of it maybe one of the positives of this situation?
I certainly think that it will change the way we do our shows once we’re back in person because it really is something that resonates. Our model before this was huge events. I mean, we had four galas before and the broadcast was 1,500 people. The galas before were up to 1,000 people. It’s going to be different when we’re able to gather again, and I think that’s going to be OK. I think it’s made us better and stronger for sure.

I was talking to someone recently who complained about the length of the U.S. awards shows. I said, ‘Folks could take a note from the Canadian Screen Awards,’ because you run a tight ship for that gala. It’s an hour long, in the traditional sense when it was on TV, giving out the top awards, and get in and get out.
Well, thank you for saying that, first of all. That’s really, really nice to hear. I think that when you do confine yourself, you have to get creative about how you’re doing things, and every single moment counts. Right?

I think award shows are going to get better after this pandemic, just in general. I know that ratings have been going down, and everyone’s questioning award shows in general in the industry. It’s got some new, fresh energy into the production. Even though the Oscars were not successful, in the viewership it certainly was a completely different show than what we’re used to. And I think that’s good, because you had to make these massive changes, and now you can take what worked there and take the best parts of the big, live show and combine them.

Let’s get into some of the trends. Blood Quantum, 10 nominations. Only in a country like Canada, can you have a zombie horror movie, starring an Indigenous cast and written by someone who is Indigenous, can you have that. I love that about this country.
Yes, me too. You’ll also see that Possessor was also in the mix there. And it’s nice that our members are honouring genre film because we have a huge, long, successful history in that genre. I thought it was really, really great that it was being acknowledged. It’s really exciting that the work that’s nominated this year is probably the most audience-friendly fare that I’ve seen in a long time. It’s good to see because I want as many people to see these films as possible, so I get excited when it’s mixed up, and you have very different films in the mix. It’s not all sort of similar stories.

Looking at the television categories, and Schitt’s Creek with 21 nominations, Canada’s Drag Race has seven nominations. You can’t help but be proud of the storytelling.
Our industry really has a responsibility, a unique responsibility, and an opportunity to contribute to diversity and equity. And I think the direction is really positive. I think there’s a lot more work to do.

But, especially when we’re talking about our industry, what we produce and who we empower to tell the story shape the way so much of the country and the general public perceives experience. It’s really important. You can see it, even in the time that I’ve been here, these programs that seek to fund gender parity. Now we’re moving into funding more diverse creators. It has an impact. I hope that it’s systemic, but I think we’re sort of looking at the right ways to change.

What do you want people to experience during this week of celebrations for the Canadian Screen Awards?
I want everyone to have at least one moment of discovery when they’re watching the show, like, ‘Huh, that looks really interesting,’ and to seek it out.

Stream the Canadian Screen Awards on the Academy website, Twitter and YouTube.

Check out the list of nominees.

Monday, May 17, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – News & Documentary, Presented by CBC (Narrator: Ginella Massa)

8 p.m. ET: CTV presents the Canadian Screen Awards – Lifestyle & Reality (Narrator: Priyanka)

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Children’s & Animation, Presented by Shaw Rocket Fund (Narrator: Eric Bauza)

8 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Digital & Immersive, Presented with the participation of the Independent Production Fund (Narrator: Donté Colley)

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
7 p.m. ET: CTV presents the Canadian Screen Awards – Creative Arts & Performance (Narrator: Tyrone Edwards)

Thursday, May 20, 2021
7 p.m. ET: Canadian Screen Awards – Cinematic Arts, Presented by Telefilm Canada, Supported by Cineplex (Narrator: Nahéma Ricci)

8 p.m. ET: 2021 Canadian Screen Awards (Narrators: Stephan James and Karine Vanasse)

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Drew Hayden Taylor is Going Native on APTN

I first saw Drew Hayden Taylor in the CBC POV documentary “Searching for Winnetou.” Available on CBC Gem, the episode followed Taylor as he explored the German obsession with Indigenous North Americans. The curious and entertaining documentary stuck with me for awhile. So, I was pleased to learn he was back on TV, this time as the star of his own series.

Going Native—debuting with the first of 13 episodes on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on APTN—finds the celebrated Anishinaabe humorist and author exploring how Indigenous Peoples have changed the world, and are re-shaping their culture today. Each instalment represents at theme; Saturday’s “Going Horse” tracks the history of the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and equines, and includes interviews, stunning vistas and footage of Taylor scrambling to mount a horse.

“One of the problems I’ve personally had—as an Indigenous humorist—is a lot of the media coming both from the Indigenous community and about the Indigenous community, like novels, movies, etc., deal with a darker aspect of the First Nations communities dealing with the oppressed, depressed and suppressed nature of a lot of our stories and history,” Taylor says. “Having traveled to over 150 Indigenous communities across Canada and the United States, I’ve always been greeted with a laugh, a smile and a joke. It’s always been my firm belief that it’s been our sense of humour that has allowed us to survive some of those darker periods of our history.

“I know we have a sense of humour,” he continues. “We have a sense of whimsy, a sense of enjoyment of life that is not frequently witnessed by the dominant culture and that was one of the things I wanted incorporated into this series.”

That humour and enjoyment is shown in the sidelong glances between horse experts helping Taylor scramble onto a regal horse or the wonder in his face as he learns Indigenous Peoples were tracking their place in the galaxy for likely before Europeans were. Future episodes investigate architecture, music, food, fashion, business and pop culture, all delivered by Taylor, who has a twinkle in his eye and wonderment at the information he learns.

“The depth of knowledge that was available to our ancestors is truly stunning,” Taylor says. “I grew up in the Indigenous culture and I’m still learning so much about my own culture.”

Going Native airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Ice River Films.

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