Canada scores 17 noms for Banff prizes

Little Mosque, Rick Mercer, Sophie Paquin make the shortlist for the 28th annual Banff World Television Awards

With strong showings in lifestyle, comedy and interactive categories, Canada is headed to the 28th Banff World Television Festival with 17 nominations, pinned against competitors from 37 other countries and territories for the fest’s annual awards. The U.S. earned the most nominations at 27, with the U.K. a close second at 26. The fest announced this year’s shortlist on Sunday from the MIPTV market in Cannes.

Canucks dominate the lifestyle category, with three out of five nominations, for shows including Life’s a Trip: Japan, from Toronto’s Tricon Films and Television, which aired on specialty channel Travel + Escape. Also in the running is Force Four Entertainment’s Making It Big: Music Video Directors, seen here on Slice, and the W Network makeover series Style By Jury, from Toronto prodco Planetworks.

For the second year in a row, CBC’s The Rick Mercer Report is named in the best comedy category, up against first-season nominee Little Mosque on the Prairie, from Regina- and Toronto-based WestWind Pictures, which also airs on the pubcaster. They will square off against The Knights of Prosperity — which has struggled on U.S. caster ABC in its first season — and U.K. shows including Channel 4′s Green Wing, the BBC’s Pulling, and The Vicar of Dibley: The Handsome Stranger from Tiger Aspect Productions.

Xenophile Media’s alternate reality game Fallen and Zinc Roe Design’s kid-aimed Zimmer Twins are up for best interactive program, running against titles from Finland and Belgium.

Other notable Canuck nominations include Cookie Jar’s Arthur, up for best animation against an episode of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants, among others, and the Canada/France copro Prisoners of Beckett, up for best arts documentary.

Meanwhile, Toronto-based prodco marblemedia scored nominations in two categories, including best children’s program for the preschooler series This Is Emily Yeung, and best mobile program enhancement for Shorts in Motion: The Art of Seduction, which it coproduced with the National Film Board and BravoFACT.

In the continuing series category, high-profile U.S. shows are nom’ed including ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, which airs here on Global, and NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which airs on CTV, and which is on shaky ground following below-expectation audience response. Those shows are up against episodes of ABC’s Dirt, HBO’s The Wire, the U.K.’s The Street, and Les hauts et les bas de Sophie Paquin from Montreal’s Sphère Média Plus.

‘We have an incredible selection of nominees this year, representing the best from around the world,’ said program competition director Kerry Stauffer in a release.

The winners will be announced June 11, day two of the four-day festival in Banff. Among the special jury prizes being handed out that day is the Playback-sponsored award for best Canadian program, which is chosen out of shows nominated in other categories.