Tag Archives: Shaftesbury

Female-led web series Ghost BFF returns for Season 2

From a media release:

Creator, producer, and star Vanessa Matsui alongside producers Katie Nolan and Lindsay Tapscott of Babe Nation Films today announced Ghost BFF will return to Shaftesbury’s KindaTV for its second season on July 7. Ghost BFF, which stars Matsui (The Handmaid’s TaleShadowhuntersThe Smurfs 2) and Kaniehtiio Horn (Barskins, Letterkenny) in the lead roles, launched in 2018 and received two Canadian Screen Award nominations in 2019 for Best Web Series, Fiction and Best Lead Performance in a Digital Program or Series (Matsui). Award-winning actors Angela Asher (Bad Blood), Jean Yoon (Kim’s Convenience) and Dani Kind (Workin’ Moms), along with Steve Lund (Schitt’s CreekBitten), Yani Gellman (The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Pretty Little Liars), and Thomas Colford (Backstreet) join season one regulars Jane Moffat (Backstage), Dan Beirne (Workin’ MomsMurdoch Mysteries) and Rick Roberts (Fortunate SonThis Life), as part of this season’s stellar cast.

Filmed in Toronto, the fully female-led dark comedy Ghost BFF continues its exploration of mental health as it follows two best friends, Amy (Matsui) and Tara (Horn), one alive, one dead, across planes of existence, as they struggle to find themselves and right past wrongs following Tara’s suicide. Season Two delves deeper into Amy’s struggles as she addresses unemployment, singledom, unexpected challenges, and the grief of missing her friend. Tara returns once again as a ghost to find closure with her mother (Asher), to help Amy heal, and to gain a better understanding of her own narrative of what happened the day she died.

As part of the Ghost BFF experience, eight mental health PSAs have been created by the production team to accompany the eight series’ episodes and will be launched in parallel as a supportive element to discuss mindfulness, depression, anxiety, boundaries, and self-care.

Created and written by Vanessa Matsui, the series is produced by Katie Nolan and Lindsay Tapscott of Babe Nation Films, and is directed by Lindsay MacKay (Wet BumRunning with Violet). Matsui, who is a recent fellow of the Sundance Institute | YouTube New Voices Lab Program where Season Two was developed, also acts as Executive Producer and directs episode #6. Produced with the assistance of the Ontario creates, Bell Fund, Telus, Canada Media Fund. Shaftesbury holds worldwide distribution rights, excluding the U.S.

Season One is currently available on KindaTV.


Links: Dead Still

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: Studios aren’t the only thing Dead Still on TV today
One of the most curious TV shows promoted at the most recent Television Critics Association press tour back in January was Dead Still. Continue reading.

From Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star:

Link: He shoots dead people: Acorn TV’s delightful ‘Dead Still’ blends the macabre art of post-mortem photography with period mystery
Google the words “post-mortem photography” and your screen will fill with sepia-toned family portraits in which something seems a little off. Look more closely and you may discern why: if it’s a true post-mortem photo, one of the subjects is dead. Continue reading.

From Kaila Hale-Stern of The Mary Sue:

Link: Dead Still is the darkly comic Victorian murder mystery series you didn’t know you needed
Dead Still is unique not just in its subject matter—which zooms in on practices of grieving that can feel profoundly alien to a modern audience—but in its co-mingling of dark humour, ghastly pastimes, and tongue-in-cheek period representation. Continue reading.

From Tracy Palmer of Signal Horizon Magazine:

Link: Acorn TV’s Dead Still is the morbidly hilarious series you can’t miss
The series succeeds because of these actors. So achingly determined, Logan exudes sincerity. O’Higgins gives just enough innocence to Nancy that even when she is insufferable, you still like her, and Smiley is a revelation. Continue reading.


Shaftesbury’s Dead Still premieres Friday, May 15 on Citytv

From a media release:

Take yourself to a whole other place and time with Dead Still, a six-part one-hour Victorian-era drama, premieres Friday, May 15 on Citytv at 10:00 p.m. The Canadian/Irish co-production by award-winning Shaftesbury (Murdoch Mysteries, Frankie Drake Mysteries) and Deadpan Pictures (Moone Boy, Trivia) brings us to 1880 Dublin. The cameras are cheap and the country is flourishing with photo studios. However, the practice of post-mortem photography is not doing so well.

Enter Brock Blennerhasset, renowned memorial photographer. Together with his assistant Conall Molloy and estranged niece Nancy Vickers, they are struggling to revive his business, but it appears someone more sinister is getting in on the death photography game. When a string of strange murders that appear to be attached to Blennerhasset take place, Detective Frederick Regan is on the case. Regan suspects that a killer may be cashing in on a developing taste for a different type of memorial imagery, in this case, pictures of people in their death throes. As the body count begins to escalate, Blennerhasset and his team have to stop a murderer intent on ruining not just their business, but their lives.

In the first two episodes:

“Photochemistry” – Blennerhasset, Conall and Nancy are thrown together in a story of a family feud, a vengeful husband and a stolen photograph.

“Development” – Blennerhasset and Molloy are trapped in a coastal town during a storm where some ghostly occurrences make them feel most unwelcome.


Shaftesbury Kids expands development and production slate and commences virtual writing rooms for four new series

From a media release:

Shaftesbury, the award-winning production company behind the global hit TV series Murdoch Mysteries, is expanding the Shaftesbury Kids production and development  slate to include four new series: Mary and Flo: On the Go!, Life With Luca, Miikshi and Stinky Science. This ambitious slate, led by Jennifer McCann, Executive Producer, Shaftesbury’s Kids and Family, has united key creatives from across Canada and established virtual writers’ rooms for each series.

About the four new series:

In development
Life With Luca – (26 x half hrs) – Life With Luca is a live-action spin-off comedy series based on the long-running hit Life with Derek. The series picks up 15 years later, as Derek and his “Type A” personality daughter Skyler prepare to move in with aunt Casey and her extended family. What makes things complicated is that Derek’s daughter is way more like her aunt, and Casey’s “Type Z” personality son way more like his uncle. As Derek and Casey’s stepsibling dynamics are reignited, Skyler tries to adjust to her new life with an aunt she barely knows and FOUR cousins. But the biggest adjustment of all will be living with Luca, a charming yet rebellious prankster. The series is being developed with funding assistance from the Shaw Rocket Fund and the Canada Media Fund.

In production
Stinky Science (26 x 3 mins) – In pre-production. With animation from Smiley Guy Studios, this smart and gleefully gross series explores the science behind why things stink. Vibrant animation, loveable characters, smelly songs and stink-loads of comedy blend together in this magazine-style show, produced, performed and hosted by the characters from the acclaimed Stinky Science books written by Ed Kay with illustrations by Mike Shiell. The series is being produced with funding assistance from the Shaw Rocket Fund.

Mary and Flo: On the Go! (9 x 7-mins) – Inspired by Shaftesbury series Frankie Drake Mysteries, with animation by Smiley Guy Studios, this animated series is currently in production and follows beloved characters Mary and Flo as they travel the world encountering famous women and men of the 1920s. Part buddy caper, part history lesson, these two fearless heroines solve problems, resolve mysteries and help people everywhere with a healthy dose of girl-power to fuel their adventures. The series was co-created by its two stars Rebecca Liddiard (Mary) and Sharron Matthews (Flo) along with Carmen Albano (Detention Adventure). The series is being produced with funding assistance from the Shaw Rocket Fund and the Canada Media Fund.

Miikshi – (10 x 7 mins) – In pre-production. From creators Lindsay and Justin Lee, Miikshi follows the adventures of a shy but genius sheep scientist who saves the world one day at a time… quietly. Using her quick, resourceful mind and scientific smarts, this live-action puppet series provides a strong and unique female role model for a generation of STEAM-loving kids. The series is brought to life through hand puppets and model miniature effects. The series is being produced with funding assistance of the Independent Production Fund and the Shaw Rocket Fund.

Shaftesbury has released its full library of new and legacy kids programming on the Shaftesbury Kids YouTube channel, to provide families with free and easy access to entertaining and educational content. Some of these series are also available on CBC Gem and Citytv in Saskatchewan. The programming available includes The Solutioneers (released Monday, March 30, with new episodes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday), Life with Derek (all four seasons on CBC Gem) as well as the all-new series, ClearWaterKids Challenge, also launching on CBC Gem in May.


Shaftesbury and Company Pictures option Birder Murder Mysteries

From a media release:

Shaftesbury, the award-winning production company behind the global hit TV series Murdoch Mysteries, is partnering with the BAFTA-winning U.K. producer Company Pictures (Wolf Hall, Inspector George Gently, Shameless) to option Canadian author Steve Burrows’ book series Birder Murder Mysteries. The international partnership, which will bring together a roster of both Canadian and U.K. screenwriters, is the first joint venture for the two production companies.

The series’ protagonist is Domenic Jejeune, a Canadian detective and avid birdwatcher who has been transplanted to the town of Saltmarsh, in Norfolk, U.K. Domenic has become a poster boy for the U.K. police service, using clues from the world of birding to give him a unique perspective on the most complex crimes.