Tag Archives: Sudz Sutherland

History and Hungry Eyes Media present a groundbreaking exploration of Canada’s Black history in BLK: An Origin Story, premiering February 26

From a media release:

HISTORY® and Hungry Eyes Media Group announce the groundbreaking four-part docuseries, BLK: An Origin Story, premiering Saturday, February 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The limited series, consisting of four 60-minute episodes, reveals the deep historic impact of Black presence in Canada. Executive produced by Jen Holness and Sudz Sutherland, BLK: An Origin Story is helmed by Hungry Eyes’ award-winning production team, who takes viewers on a nationwide journey through time to discover the untold story of Black people in Canada and their legacy, which dates back to 1608.

BLK: An Origin Story is steeped in riveting, enduring, and multi-faceted historical Black Canadian narratives. Each episode transports viewers to a different Canadian location, and provides chronologically significant insights into the consequences of Black presence in the areas. Featured outposts include Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. The series also highlights the legacy of Black contributions to the larger story of Canada itself, dating back to when explorer Mathieu de Costa first set foot on shore, more than 400 years ago. BLK: An Origin Story acts as an immersive and informative chapter of Black Canadian history, elevating remarkable Black Canadians previously unacknowledged in mainstream social, academic, and cultural circles, normalizing their unique stories as a matter of general record. 

BLK: An Origin Story elevates the unsung heroes who substantially contributed to Canada’s nation-building and to Black Canadian history. The series shines a spotlight on the origins of diverse and deeply entrenched Black Canadian experiences, which range from being transported, escaped, or freely traveled within Canada. Part history book, part geography lesson, each of the four episodes leverages compelling footage, art, locations, archival materials, and interviews from some of the country’s best known and under known experts of Black Canadian lore, facts, and pedagogy. The list of authors, academics, musicians, historians, community leaders, activists and elders include George Elliot Clarke, Lawrence Hill, Charmaine Nelson, El Jones, May Q Wong, and Stephanie Allen, among others. 

Episode Synopsis:

Episode 1: Three Epic Migrations, One People (NS)
Descendants of The Black Loyalists, Jamaican Maroons and The Black Refugees represent Canada’s largest Black population today. Their incredible story begins in Nova Scotia in the 1700s and challenges our understanding of what should be considered a distinct society.

Episode 2: John “Daddy” Hall (Owen Sound, ON)
Born free of an Ojibwe father and an escaped-slave mother in Upper Canada, John “Daddy” Hall fought in the war of 1812, was captured and sold into slavery. Thirteen years later he makes a daring escape and finds his way back to Canada.

Episode 3: Hogan’s Alley (Vancouver, BC)
Before Urban Renewal, before displacement, and before dispersal, there was life. For many years Hogan’s Alley was the heart of Vancouver’s Black community. But that community began in the 1850s, when James Douglas, (the father of British Columbia) invited Blacks to settle Vancouver Island in an effort to stave off American annexation.

Episode 4: Little Burgundy (Montreal, QC)
Tucked between Griffintown and St. Henri in Montreal’s Sud Ouest is Little Burgundy, home to a Black population led by Black men who worked in Canada’s railway industry as sleeping car porters. They were the first Black trade union to organize in North America and were among the leaders in the struggle for civil rights.

BLK: An Origin Story is produced by Hungry Eyes Media in association with Corus Studios for HISTORY. Executive Producers are Jen Holness and Sudz Sutherland. For Corus Studios and HISTORY, Kathleen Meek is the Executive in Charge of Production, Rachel Nelson is Vice President of Original Scripted, Factual and Kids Content, and Lisa Godfrey is Senior Vice President of Original Content and Corus Studios.


Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland return to TV with Shoot the Messenger

Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland have been creating gritty, thought-provoking projects for television for years. There was 2009’s Guns, a two-part miniseries for CBC about Toronto detectives following a 23-year-old gun trafficker. Before that was 2006’s Doomstown, a TV-movie documenting the violence in a housing project. Now the writers and executive producers (and real-life couple) are back with Shoot the Messenger.

Debuting Monday, Oct. 10, at 9 p.m. on CBC, the eight-part series stars Elyse Levesque as Daisy Channing, an entertainment reporter at Toronto’s fictional newspaper The Gazette, who’s finally got her big scoop since transferring to the news department: the death of a young Somali man. Eager to impress her editor Mary Foster (Alex Kingston), Daisy makes a rookie mistake, throwing her into a foreign world she’s unprepared for, and turning to co-worker Simon Olenski (Lucas Bryant) for guidance.

“She wants to be in investigative journalism and prove herself,” Levesque says alongside Bryant during a break in filming. “She is massively ambitious to a fault, and receives a phone call about a huge tip that will blow the lid off this town.” Levesque and Bryant just finished filming a scene outside, where Daisy and Simon met to discuss the latest regarding the story. Standing on the top of a high-rise (in real life the TIFF Bell Lightbox complex) with Toronto below them, the danger of what Daisy uncovered hit home. Why was this young man killed? Who is involved in the conspiracies? The only thing she knows for sure is she’s in way over her head.

Lyriq Bent and Elyse Levesque

Complicating things for Elyse even more? She’s romantically involved with the detective on the case, Kevin Lutz (Lyriq Bent). That causes problems during the investigation and could jeopardize his career.

“Kevin wants to be an ordinary dude,” Bent says. “He wants to have a normal life away from work. He’s caring, considerate and thoughtful. And I think his relationship with Daisy is refreshing for Canadian TV and definitely for CBC.”

Shoot the Messenger‘s supporting cast is a whos who of the Canadian television world, including Nicholas Campbell, Ron Lea, Kim’s Convenience leads Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon, as well as appearances by The Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson, the Toronto Raptor’s Jamaal Magloire and ex-NBAer turned television star Rick Fox.

“He is my dickhead cousin,” Bryant says of Robertson’s role. “He’s a sports agent and he’s really good. I was a huge Barenaked Ladies fan and was looking forward to meeting him and he was humble, funny and fantastic. He told me that all he ever wanted to do when he was growing up was be a rock star and star in one of Sudz’ movies.”

Shoot the Messenger airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Links: Shoot the Messenger

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

“[Creators Sudz Sutherland and Jennifer Holness]created all these different characters that force [Daisy] to have to behave differently [with each of them]. She has some deep-seated issues. She’s a survivor. She knows how to play people, especially in the work environment.” Continue reading.

From John Doyle of The Globe and Mail:

CBC’s Shoot the Messenger is not grubby enough

It starts with sexy stuff. Young woman on top of a guy in bed. “You know we gotta stop this,” he says. “That’s what you said the last time,” she says with a smile, which is all she’s wearing.

Next thing, a phone call compels her to leave. She’s a reporter and it’s a source calling. On TV, this is always when sources call newspaper journalists. People who write TV shows have very vivid imaginations about the personal lives of newspaper writers. Anyway, off the young woman journalist goes, pronto. After all, the source says, “This is going to put you on the front page of the world, Miss Daisy.” Continue reading.

From Ellen Brait of The Globe and Mail:

Link: CBC’s Shoot the Messenger pulls drama straight from the headlines
A fast-moving, sexy, timely, action-packed thriller … set in a newsroom? It sounds a bit far-fetched, but Lucas Bryant, a star of the new CBC drama Shoot the Messenger, says that’s just what the series delivers. “It’s just good TV,” he says, “Period.” Continue reading. 

From Bill Harris of Postmedia Network:

Shoot the Messenger uses Rob Ford story as inspiration for CBC thriller
Just to be clear, Shoot the Messenger is not about the Rob Ford crack-video scandal.

However, if you even are vaguely familiar with that scandal, some of this is going to ring a bell. At least in terms of the complex relationships between reporters and their sources and the police and politicians. And how that all gets even muddier when blackmailers are involved. Continue reading.

From Victoria Ahearn of The Canadian Press:

Shoot the Messenger is not about Rob Ford, say creators of the CBC series
A co-creator of the new CBC-TV crime drama “Shoot the Messenger” insists it’s not a story about Rob Ford.

But Sudz Sutherland does admit he was inspired by the saga of the late former Toronto mayor as he helped craft the series, which stars Elyse Levesque as a newspaper reporter caught up in a web of gangs, murder, sex, drugs and politics in Toronto. Continue reading.

From Sheri Shefa of The Canadian Jewish News:

Canadian actor happy to star in new CBC series
“Sam Charles is the attorney general of Ontario who is being groomed to be the next prime minister,” said Cohen, who is part of the cast of CBC’s eight-part series, Shoot the Messenger, which will begin airing on Oct. 10.

“He’s kind of a playboy, very smart. He’s a Rhodes scholar. I don’t want to say he was modelled on Justin Trudeau, but certainly he was one of the inspirations… He’s kind of, in some ways, a composite of Justin, [but] there are elements of Bill Clinton in there,” he said, adding that the show’s creators, Sudz Sutherland and Jennifer Holness, were also inspired by U.S. President Barack Obama. Continue reading. 

From Stew Slater of St. Mary’s Journal Argus:

New TV drama judged worthy of praise by St. Marys actor
With a cast filled with people of various ethnic backgrounds as well as several strong female characters — including a potential candidate for the Supreme Court of Canada played by St. Marys-based actor Brenda Bazinet — a new hour-long drama series is set to premiere on CBC Television on Monday, Oct. 10.

Shoot the Messenger, with an eight-episode main story arc exploring the aftermath when a young female journalist following a news tip happens upon a murder, was filmed in Toronto and Hamilton between August and November of 2015. Bazinet, who moved to St. Marys eight years ago after three decades living in Toronto, says she was proud to be involved in a production that consciously aimed to mirror the diverse ethnic kaleidoscope that the city has become. Continue reading.

From Ramin Ostad of the Edmonton Examiner:

Raising the Barr of Canadian TV
Ian Barr never used to want to write for television.

The Edmonton-based screenwriter has worked on multiple TV shows in his nearly 16-year career, including the widely acclaimed Tiny Plastic Men, and is a writer/producer of an upcoming 10-episode serial crime drama, Shoot the Messenger. Continue reading.
From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:
Link: Shoot the Messenger: Not Your Standard Crime Drama
“We are partners, but I am a gal and I’ve been watching TV just like everybody else with male protagonists at the center of things. I’ve always been in favor of supporting women, women’s stories and to put women at the center of things. I have an awesome partner that actually believes that.” Continue reading. 


Link: Shoot the Messenger’s creative duo fights to bring diversity to Canadian TV

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Shoot the Messenger’s creative duo fights to bring diversity to Canadian TV
“I’ll be honest with you. Trying to get into this business as a 6 foot tall black man was very hard. It was very hard. It was like a wall. It was like a monolith.” Continue reading. Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail