Tag Archives: Sphere Media

CBC and BET+ original series The Porter now in production

From a media release:

The highly anticipated start of production for Inferno Pictures and Sienna Films’ THE PORTER (8×60), a CBC and BET+ original series, is now underway in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Shooting across various locations as well as in studio, THE PORTER continues until mid-September.

Exciting new additions to THE PORTER cast include Oluniké Adeliyi (Titans, American Gods) and Loren Lott (American Idol, Tag). They join Aml Ameen (I May Destroy You, Yardie), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Star Trek: Discovery, Pretty Hard Cases) and Mouna Traoré (Self Made, The Umbrella Academy) who were announced earlier this year. Plus, series originators Arnold Pinnock and Bruce Ramsay take on series regular roles of ‘Glenford’ and ‘Dinger,’ respectively.

Adeliyi portrays ‘Queenie’, the savvy, seductive and sinister crime boss in Chicago whose lavish lifestyle and power appeals to Junior, but at what cost?; while Lott plays headstrong ‘Lucy,’ a talented performer who yearns for the spotlight as she battles shadeism and an instinct for music that’s out of step with the times.

Set in the roaring 20s, THE PORTER offers a dramatic and compelling look at the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal — known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North”. The story is told through the eyes of two Black train porters taking very different paths to liberation. One pushes to create the first Black union in existence, the other chases power on the wrong side of the law, but both have the same goal: to free themselves and their families from oppression. They’re young, gifted and Black, from Canada, the Caribbean, and the U.S., and they find themselves thrown together north and south of the color line. In an era that boasts anything is possible, if change isn’t coming for them, they will come for it.

From Montreal to Chicago and at every stop in between, in a time of extraordinary social and political change, THE PORTER tells the story of the people who fought to ignite the civil rights movement in North America.

A CBC and BET+ original series, THE PORTER is originated and created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon, Travelers) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2, Cardinal), with Annmarie Morais (Killjoys, Ransom, American Soul), Marsha Greene (Ten Days In The Valley, Mary Kills People) and Aubrey Nealon (Snowpiercer, Cardinal), and produced by Winnipeg-based Inferno Pictures Inc. and Sphere Media’s Sienna Films. Morais and Greene are showrunners and executive producers. Charles Officer (Akilla’s Escape, Coroner) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot, Utopia Falls) will direct the series, and are executive producers. Pinnock also serves as an executive producer, and Ramsay a co-executive producer. The series is written by Morais, Greene, Andrew Burrows-Trotman, Priscilla White, Pinnock and Ramsay, with Thorne participating in the writers’ room. The series is funded with the support of the Canada Media Fund and Manitoba Film & Music and is distributed internationally by Abacus Media Rights (AMR) and Sphere Distribution.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

BGM Sphere announces new pre-school series “Gabby’s Farm” to debut on TVOkids on May 17

From a media release:

Premiering May 17, 2021 on TVOkids, Gabby’s Farm is an engaging new preschool series from award-winning production company BGM, part of Sphere Media. TVOkids has also greenlit BGM’s Backyard Beats for a second season. This Canadian Screen Award-nominated music and arts series will be hosted again by Monica Brighton of That TVOkids Show.

TVOkids Original Gabby’s Farm (30×7) guides young viewers who are three-to-five years old through the world of farming and agriculture, encouraging their curiosity about nature, food, animal care and more. Hosted by Gabby, an adventurous six-year-old girl who’s passionate about farming, her family, and learning about all about the exciting things that happen on the farm, the series will give viewers a close look at all of the animals, equipment and activity that Gabby encounters on her family farm. Gabby’s Farm will introduce preschoolers to Gabby’s friends and neighbours, as well as farm activities like milking cows, riding tractors and exploring beehives.

Gabby’s Farm will be accompanied by the short-form series Count with Gabby! (20×2), which explores Gabby’s love of math and counting while exploring the farm.

BGM and TVOkids are also pleased to announced That TVOkids Show host Monica Brighton will return for season two of the Kidscreen Award-winning and Canadian Screen Award-nominated series Backyard Beats. Picking up on the fun and games from season one, Brighton will show school-age kids in Grades 1-3 how to create their own DIY “craft-struments” using common household items. She’ll also be joined by professional musicians who demonstrate their skills on various instruments.

Watch Gabby’s Farm on TVOkids and the TVOkids YouTube channel starting May 17, 2021. Season two of Backyard Beats will premiere Late Fall 2021.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Aml Ameen, Mouna Traoré and Ronnie Rowe Jr. set to star in CBC’s The Porter

From a media release:

The first round of casting for CBC and BET+ original series THE PORTER (working title, 8×60) has been confirmed, with Aml Ameen (I May Destroy You, Yardie), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Star Trek: Discovery, Pretty Hard Cases) and Mouna Traoré (Self Made, The Umbrella Academy) to co-star in the 1920s drama. With the series set to start production in Winnipeg, Manitoba later this spring, more additions to the cast will be announced in the coming weeks.

Inspired by real events and set in the roar of the 1920s, THE PORTER follows the journeys of an ensemble of characters who hustle, dream, cross borders and pursue their ambitions in the fight for liberation – on and off the railways that crossed North America. It is a gripping story of empowerment and idealism that highlights the moment when railway workers from both Canada and the United States joined together to give birth to the world’s first Black union.

Ameen will portray ‘Junior Massey,’ an intelligent, smooth, ambitious and fearless risk taker and war veteran employed as a porter with the Transcontinental Railroad; alongside Rowe Jr. as fellow porter ‘Zeke Garrett,’ Junior’s friend and war buddy, who is calm, thoughtful and persistent to a fault in his fight for integration. Traoré will play ‘Marlene Massey,’ Junior’s wife who works with the Black Cross Nurses, an offshoot of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, risking resources and reputation to help her community and reach her full potential.

Set primarily in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit as the world rebuilds after the First World War, THE PORTER depicts the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal – known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North.” They’re young, gifted and Black, from Canada, the Caribbean, and the U.S. via the Underground Railroad and through the Great Migration, and they find themselves thrown together north and south of the color line, in an era that boasts anything is possible – but if change isn’t coming for them, they will come for it. By any means necessary.

A CBC and BET+ original series, THE PORTER is originated and created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon, Travelers) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2, Cardinal), with Annmarie Morais (Killjoys, Ransom, American Soul), Marsha Greene (Private Eyes, Ten Days In The Valley, Mary Kills People and Aubrey Nealon (Snowpiercer, Cardinal), and produced by Winnipeg-based Inferno Pictures Inc. and Sphere Media’s Sienna Films. Morais and Greene are showrunners and executive producers. Charles Officer (21 Thunder, Ransom, Coroner) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot, Utopia Falls) will direct the series, and are executive producers. Pinnock and Ramsay are co-executive producers. The series is written by Morais, Greene, Andrew Burrows-Trotman, Priscilla White, Pinnock and Ramsay, with R.T. Thorne participating in the writers’ room. The series is funded with the support of the Canada Media Fund and Manitoba Film & Music and is distributed internationally by Abacus Media Rights (AMR) and Sphere Distribution.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Transplant receives Media Award from MPAC’s Hollywood Bureau

From a media release:

Sphere Media, a leader in the field of creation, adaptation, production and distribution of television and cinematographic content, is proud to announce that Transplant has been named an Honoree at the 29th edition of the Media Awards that took place on March 20.

MPAC’s annual Media Awards celebrates members of the entertainment industry, artists, and activists who promote inclusion and social justice through their craft. Honorees have done so by advancing authentic portrayals of Islam and Muslims, increasing understanding by reflecting the realities of our world today, and by inspiring action and movements for social change.

Transplant is the story of Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq), a talented doctor and Syrian refugee who fled to Canada with his younger sister and earned a second chance to practice Emergency Medicine at York Memorial Hospital in Toronto. The series features realistic and nuanced portrayals of the challenges faced by refugees, and the trauma of those struggling to survive in war zones.

Developed at CTV, Transplant is produced by Sphere Media in association with CTV and NBCUniversal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group. All distribution rights are handled by NBCUniversal Global Distribution, with the series airing on NBC in the U.S.

The first season of the critically acclaimed series saw Transplant become the most- watched Canadian series among total viewers, with an average audience of 1.4 million on CTV.

The second season of Transplant is currently in production and will consist of 13, one- hour episodes. The series is also set to air on Noovo in a translated French version.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Transplant’s Laurence Leboeuf: “Something is about to happen that I don’t think people are going to see coming”

Medical shows are a dime a dozen. As such, it takes a special kind of show in that genre to make me perk up, take notice and—most importantly—tune in every week.

Transplant is that special kind of show. Created by Joseph Kay, Transplant is a medical drama with a twist—a Syrian refugee and his sister come to Canada where he works in a Toronto hospital—filled with characters that are flawed, complex and, thankfully, memorable. There is a reason the show is No. 1 in this country and was recently picked up to air on NBC. Yes, it’s that damn good.

Actress Laurence Leboeuf is an integral part of Transplant‘s success. Leboeuf, who I saw last on Bell Media’s equally excellent cop drama 19-2, plays Mags Leblanc, a workaholic resident who—as the season has progressed—has become quite close with newbie Bash (Hamza Haq).

We spoke to Laurence Leboeuf ahead of Wednesday’s season finale, which promises to be a nailbiter if CTV’s synopsis is to be trusted: Bash and Mags race to save a woman with mysterious symptoms who was nearly killed by their team’s medical error, Dr. Bishop and Claire face a devastating realization, Theo tries to help a gravely ill teen and his family deal with the possibility that medical hope has run out, and June finds a mystery patient unconscious in the waiting room and goes to battle to save him.

Give me your origin story. How did you get involved? Did you have to audition for the character of Mags or because of your relationship with Sphere Media Plus; did they already have you in their stable of talent?
Laurence Leboeuf: Yeah, exactly. It was through that beautiful gang of people that I knew from 19-2 and then they, I guess read this role and they were like, ‘We think Laurence would be great for that.’ And I met with Joseph Kay, whom I didn’t know before, so I met him through FaceTime and talked about the character and the journey for Mags. That was it. I was part of the show. It was an amazing way to be cast.

She’s a fascinating character, she’s loyal and hard-working and she’s smart but she’s also seeking approval. She lives at work and she’s very complicated. She must be a fantastic and exciting character to play because there are so many levels to her. She isn’t a one-note character.
LL: Yeah, definitely. That’s such a great gift as an actor to have a great character like that to play and to play around with. And her complexity and her devotion to her work is just, that’s how she works. She’s giving it her all and she lives for that. And at the same time, she’s realizing that it might get the best of her. She doesn’t find that balance. And that’s really interesting to play and to play something that’s so far away from my life and my reality, like a doctor. It’s just amazing to dive into that world with her and her passion and devotion are just really nice to play with.

Are you the type of actor that likes to know the arc for a character, or are you happy with just reading the scripts as they come in?
LL: I don’t actually. It’s true that I like some backstory but it is nice to discover the character as we go along. And sometimes we even find different directions as we go along and we’re like, ‘Oh, this would be extremely interesting for this character…’ We’re not stuck in anything and I like that. I mean, there’s a base for everything but I like that openness and the fact that we can just play around with the character.

It’s alluded to that maybe there might be something between Mags and Bash that might not be just professional. Is that a logical progression for those characters?
LL: I think so, in a way. Since the arrival of Bash things have changed for Mags. The way that he works is so different from hers, that she was completely thrown off guard by his arrival. And I think she was really intrigued and admired his talent and could see that he had that raw medical talent and that same passion as hers to save their patients at all costs. They share that. She’s always been attracted and intrigued by this man that just got into the hospital. Yeah, I think there’s definitely some attraction there.

He’s so mysterious, too.
LL: Yeah, exactly. And I think, she likes that, too. I think it’s going to force her, maybe, to open up more or to go and reach out more because she’s also shut down all of that part of her life. The hospital is her boyfriend.

Let’s discuss the medical jargon. Was there a boot camp that you had to go to, to learn about processes? 
LL: Yeah, we did. On the weekends, we would get together with our onset doctor, Dr. Zachary Levine, and our nurse, Mike Richardson. We had these boot camps with them to coordinate the big scenes that we had to do. Like the double traumas that we had to do and how we were going to handle that. And that was amazing to have them around and to be able to help us with looking natural when we do our manipulation at the same time as we talk that crazy jargon and have to be believable. We had to pretend that we were so confident in what we were doing that it looked like we know what we’re doing. The boot camps were amazing for that.

That tracheotomy that you did in the elevator looked pretty convincing to me.
LL: Oh, my god.

I think you could do it.
LL: Yeah, right. Oh, my god. I’m wouldn’t want to try. I had a hard time doing it on a fake neck because I was so stressed out. Oh, yeah. But Mags did good, though.

Can you tease Transplant’s season finale? Is it going to be a cliffhanger? Is it going to be shocking?
LL: I think so. I think there’s going to be a bit of a mix of all that. Definitely, we’re going to be left with a cliffhanger and something is about to happen that I don’t think people are going to see coming. We’re going to have those surprises coming our way.

Transplant‘s season finale airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail