Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Media production company, announced today it has acquired the rights to Shaun Hamill’s highly-reviewed, debut novel, A Cosmology of Monsters. The scripted and factual producer will adapt the book into an ongoing one-hour dramatic series (8×60), expanding the company’s growth into scripted development.
A Cosmology of Monsters follows the Turner family as they operate an immersive haunted house experience. While struggling to keep their business afloat, dealing with the challenges of adolescence, and fighting to keep their family united, the Turners begin to realize there is something more sinister at their door … real monsters.
Named one of the best books of 2019 by Esquire, The Nerd Daily and The New York Public Library, Shaun Hamill’s horror debut received critical acclaim with Stephen King’s endorsement: “If John Irving ever wrote a horror novel, it would be something like this. I loved it.”
Serving as Creator and Executive Producer on the series is Caitlin D. Fryers (Wynonna Earp, Endlings, Private Eyes). Fryers is best known for writing on all four seasons of SYFY’s fan favourite Wynonna Earp. She was the first Canadian to win the Sir Peter Ustinov Award for Scriptwriting from the International Emmys. Nominated for two Writers Guild of Canada Awards, Fryers has written for SYFY, Lifetime, Global, CBC, Hulu and Hallmark. Fryers is represented by Meridian Artists. Also serving as Executive Producer are Melissa Williamson and Michael Kot of Saloon Media and author, Shaun Hamill.
Shaun Hamill received his BA in English from the University of Texas at Arlington and his MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut novel, A Cosmology of Monsters, was published in 2019 and his second novel, The Dissonance is forthcoming from Pantheon books. Hamill is represented by Echo Lake on behalf of Kent Wolf of Neon Literary.
Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Media company, is a leading producer of scripted and unscripted content. Based in Toronto, Canada, Saloon Media has an international track record for delivering successful, award-winning programs.
Wynonna Earp‘s Tim Rozon, Transplant‘s Ayisha Issa, Letterkenny’s Kaniehtiio Horn and Tallboyz were among the individuals and projects to win during Night 4 of 2022 Canadian Screen Awards Online Presentations.
The first portion of the live streaming celebration focused on Drama & Comedy Crafts categories hosted by Akiel Julien, followed by the Scripted Programs & Performance categories hosted by Ennis Esmer.
Here are the winners in Thursday’s key categories:
Best Writing, Variety or Sketch Comedy Tallboyz, “You’re the Dads Now”
Best Writing, Comedy Bilal Baig, Fab Filippo, Sort Of, “Sort of Gone”
Best Writing, Drama Series Joseph Kay, Transplant, “Free For What”
Best Writing, TV Movie Barbara Nance, I Was Lorena Bobbit
Best Guest Performance, Drama Series Tamara Podemski, Coroner, “Spirits”
Best Supporting Actress, Drama Ayisha Issa, Transplant
Best Supporting Actor, Drama Tim Rozon, Wynonna Earp
Best Lead Actress, TV Movie Samora Smallwood, Death She Wrote
Best Lead Actor, TV Movie Luke Humphrey, I Was Lorena Bobbitt
Best TV Movie I Was Lorena Bobbitt
Best Guest Performance, Comedy Michael Bublé, Jann, “No Drama”
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Andrew Phung, Kim’s Convenience
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Kaniehtiio Horn, Letterkenny
Best Performance, Sketch Comedy (Individual or Ensemble) Guled Abdi, Vance Banzo, Tim Blair, Franco Nguyen, Tallboyz
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) announced today the nominees for the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards in 145 film, television, and digital media categories. The awards will be presented over six days during Canadian Screen Week, including the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards show, which will be broadcast on CBC and CBC Gem on Sunday, April 10 at 8:00 PM (9:00 PM AT / 9:30 PM NT).
The inaugural season of the CBC series Sort Of leads both television and overall 2022 Canadian Screen Award nominations with 13, followed by CBC’s Pretty Hard Cases and CTV Sci-Fi Channel’s Wynonna Earp with 11, and CBC’s Coroner and Kim’s Convenience with 10.
In film, Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson’s Scarborough and Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders top nominations with 11 per film, while Michael McGowan’s All My Puny Sorrows sees eight and both Bretten Hannam’s Wildhood and Ivan Grbovic’s Drunken Birds | Les oiseaux ivres receive six.
21 Black Futures and For the Record both lead digital media nominations with eight, followed by The Communist’s Daughter with six.
With hosts and live acceptance speeches, the majority of the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards will be presented in a nine-part series of genre-based virtual shows throughout Canadian Screen Week 2022, all streamed live on Academy.ca — as well as the Canadian Academy Twitter and YouTube channels — from Monday, April 4, 2022, to Friday, April 8, 2022.
The week will culminate in the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards show on CBC and CBC Gem. With a selection of prominent categories and tributes to this year’s Special Award recipients, the show will be a star-powered, creatively curated treat for fans of our homegrown entertainment, highlighting Canadian content and its notable moments that made us laugh, cry, and reflect over the past year. Featuring the talents of the multi-award-winning sketch comedy troupe TallBoyz (Guled Abdi, Vance Banzo, Tim Blair, and Franco Nguyen), this promises to be an award show like you’ve never seen before, with an eclectic variety of artists coming together for the love of storytelling and a deep appreciation for the power of our film, television, and digital media — and everyone who enjoys it.
The full schedule for the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards is as follows:
Monday, April 4 7:00 PM ET – The Broadcast News Awards
8:30 PM ET – The Documentary & Factual Awards
Tuesday, April 5 7:00 PM ET – The Sports Programming Awards, presented by CTV
8:30 PM ET – The Digital & Immersive Awards
Wednesday, April 6 7:00 PM ET – The Children’s & Animation Awards, presented by Shaw Rocket Fund, supported by 9 Story Media Group
8:30 PM ET – The Lifestyle & Reality Awards, presented by CTV
Thursday, April 7 7:00 PM ET – The Drama & Comedy Crafts Awards
8:30 PM ET – The Scripted Programs & Performance Awards, presented by CTV
Friday, April 8 8:30 PM ET – The Cinematic Arts Awards, presented by Telefilm Canada, supported by Cineplex
Sunday, April 10 8:00 PM (9:00 PM AT / 9:30 PM NT) – 2022 Canadian Screen Awards on CBC and CBC Gem
The 2022 Canadian Screen Awards will also pay tribute to the 2022 Special Award recipients, a group of eight Canadians who have had a tremendous impact on our media industry. Honourees include Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Bob Cole, Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism recipient Rassi Nashalik, Radius Award (presented by MADE | NOUS) recipient Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and the inaugural recipients of the Changemaker Award: Kayla Grey, Kathleen Newman-Bremang, and Amanda Parris.
The 2022 nominations were chosen by voting members of the Canadian Academy and by nominating juries, conducted virtually with representatives from the film, television, and digital media industries. The membership will now cast their votes between Tuesday, February 15, 2022, and Friday, March 4, 2022, to determine the winners.
There’s a certain amount of scrutiny that comes with making the jump from one landmark TV show to another. For Tim Rozon, you can’t help but wonder if that scrutiny was even more intense.
After all, the Montreal native most recently starred on Schitt’s Creek, Vagrant Queen and a little show you may have heard of called Wynonna Earp. I’m happy to say that he’s hit a home run with SurrealEstate.
Airing Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV Sci-Fi Channel, George Olson’s creation is a perfect vehicle for Rozon, an opportunity to stay in the genre space while playing a very different character. His Luke Roman runs The Roman Agency, a real estate company whose team helps sell homes that are haunted and therefore tend to stay on the market. Along for the ride are co-stars Sarah Levy, Adam Korson, Maurice Dean Wint, Savannah Basley and Tennille Read.
We spoke to Tim Rozon about SurrealEstate, which films in St. John’s, haunted houses and his co-stars.
Was this a career path that you expected, that you’d follow one show with demons on it to a show with other demons on it? Tim Rozon: In a way, yes, because I remember the moment I had this conversation with my wife and I said, ‘My dream is to be on a show that goes to Comic-Con, like one of these supernatural shows, I would just love that. And fast forward a year later, there we were, Wynonna Earp, at San Diego Comic-Con, and since then I’ve got to be on Vagrant Queen, and now SurrealEstate, so surreal is the feeling.
Had you considered at any point maybe taking a break after being on several seasons of Wynonna, or was the thinking the opposite, ‘I got to strike while the iron is hot’? TR: A hundred percent. At the end of the day, we’re actors, actors want work. To be honest, I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been. It’s pretty difficult, I’ll tell you, there’s so much competition and so many great actors, and I feel very fortunate and I don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure. And then, especially on great shows that you really want to be a part of, I’m very fortunate in that sense, I’ve got to work a lot, but I’ve also got to work on shows that I really loved being on, and that’s from Instant Star to Schitt’s Creek, Wynonna Earp, Vagrant Queen, right into SurrealEstate, so I’ve been very fortunate.
I really like the humour George has established in the world of SurrealEstate. TR: Yeah, we really lean into it as we start going. I think we really figured out what George’s vision was around Episode 3. We get it right off the bat, but I don’t think we really leaned into it until after, because he’s such a good writer, sometimes it’s so subtle, and at first we just showed up, we don’t know… You don’t know what show we’re making right off the bat. How do you not lean into the humour when you have someone like Sarah Levy there?
You couldn’t have picked a better location for your next project. Had you been to St. John’s before? What was it like shooting there? TR: It was incredible. I’m lucky that I had been there before, when I was much younger, filming a movie called Screamers: The Hunting, and we filmed that all over St John’s and across the island down in the mines on Bell Island. So I was all over, and also I was Screeched In at that time, which is great because I don’t think I could have handled it now. Before we started [filming SurrealEstate], I was in no way a believer in ghosts at all. After filming in St. John’s, so many guest stars experienced something with ghosts at the hotel that production had them staying at. It was this old Victorian house where they brought in all the guest stars, and they would do their quarantine there and start filming.
But, supposedly, this house was haunted, and the crew and everybody are just like, ‘Yeah, all Newfoundland… all things are haunted, we all know that. I’ve got a ghost in my house. I got a ghost over here. My mom’s house has a ghost.’ It’s like the norm.
And I’m a non-believer, but after hearing the experience of so many guest stars, Sarah and I are like, ‘I don’t know, there’s got to be something, I don’t think anybody’s lying to us.’ Some guest stars actually left that house, they wouldn’t stay there. They had negative experiences with ghosts, and some of the people that I talked to had said they had had experiences before, and other people were kind of like me, it was their first experience. Now, saying all that, I didn’t have an experience while I was in there for mine. I personally didn’t, but it’s tough to call everybody a liar.
You already mentioned Sarah, and the great cast for this show. I haven’t seen Adam Korson in a while, so it was great to see him onscreen. Maurice Dean Wint, a legend in Canadian television and in film. Talk a little bit about this cast of characters that you got to play with. TR: Yeah, I’m so happy you brought it up, because this truly is an ensemble piece, and the magic of the show is that group. Each episode we go into a new house, which means we get into a new ghost, which is super fun, but it’s the relationships between that group of people and how they deal with it that I think is the real magic of the show. Starting with Sarah Levy, I found out she was cast right away, and that was it, then I knew, ‘OK, I need to do this project because, A) she’s a great actor and B) she’s a great person.’ So I just couldn’t wait to work with her again. You just knew, both of us were like, ‘OK, this is going to be so good and chill.’
And so, you got to spend five months together, you want it to be with someone you really like. And then, as far as everybody else, I literally asked George and [director and executive producer] Danishka [Esterhazy] after, ‘How did you manage to do this?’ Because this was during COVID, and we didn’t have screen tests and chemistry tests. We didn’t get to meet because of COVID, there were no read-throughs or anything, so we met on set and our first scene was in the big room, the Roman Agency with everybody meeting Susan for the first time, and right there and then it felt like magic. It really did it, just immediately you could sense everybody’s character, and we all could connect and figure each other out, and it was great.
And then, for 10 episodes, we got to create that bond and chemistry. I can’t say enough about the cast, as people and actors.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about a couple of guest stars, Art Hindle and Jennifer Dale, playing Luke’s parents. TR: Yeah, they knew each other, which was great, and I knew Art because I used to watch his show, E.N.G., when I was a kid. I knew that show, trust me, I only had two channels, we didn’t miss E.N.G., that was on in my house. So I knew exactly who he was, he was great. And Jennifer… I won’t get into too much, because of what I’m allowed to say or not say, but of course I knew who that was too, so incredible. And they obviously know each other, which was very nice.
Surreal Estate airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV Sci-Fi Channel.