Weekly Roundup: Awards, sales and announcements

Awards at the Gimli Film Fest, Tricon sales, a renewal for docu-soap Grand Benders (pictured) and industry programs with looming deadlines.

The following is a brief compendium of newsy bits to come Playback‘s way in the last week.


Wrapped on July 29, The Gimli Film Fest in Manitoba handed out two short film awards and $1,000 cash prizes during the festival. Mike Maryniuk and John Scoles won Global Winnipeg’s Best Manitoba Short Film Award for The Yodeling Farmer, and Nadav Kurtz’s Paraiso won Global Winnipeg’s Best Short Film for Artistic Achievement.

Also during the festival, the first-ever $10,000 RBC Emerging Filmmaker Award was given to Manitoba filmmaker Justina Neepin. She will use the cash award towards production on her short film Mark, which she will co-produce with her sister, Jenna Neepin.

In addition, Justina Neepin received a story-editing mentorship with NSI Canada, a year of mentoring from a Manitoba production company, one-year membership to On-Screen Manitoba and a premiere screening of her film at the 2013 Gimli Film Festival.

Elsewhere, The World Before Her, the documentary directed by Nisha Pahuja and produced by Storyline Entertainment, won a Special Jury Mention at the Guanajuato International Film Festival in Mexico (the fest ran July 20 to 25).


Metal Evolution, Game Changers and Catfight are among the 100 hours of factual titles that Toronto-based Tricon Films & Television has sold to broadcasters and DVD licensing partners.

The 11 x one-hour heavy metal music series has been acquired by IMusic TV in Germany, Viacom18 India and MusiquePlus in French Canada.

Tricon has also partnered with Atlantic Films Sweden for Scandinavia, Polyband for Germany and Beyond Entertainment for Australia and New Zealand on the DVD rights for Metal Evolution.

The feature-length doc Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage was acquired by Noga Communications in Israel and Viewcom in Belgium, with Viewcom having also acquired the one-off doc Garbage!, on an urban family who explores where their garbage goes.

Discovery EMEA and National Geographic Channel in Italy have picked up Game Changers, an eight-part factual series on the minds behind inventions that might change the world, while TVNZ in New Zealand picked up a 13-part doc series on the fashion world, Cover Stories, hosted by fashion insider Jeanne Beker.

A documentary on the capsizing of a ship off the coast of Brazil, Abandon Ship: The Sinking of the SV Concordia, has been sold to Canal+ in France, while Iran-based Press TV picked up Among the Missing,  a doc on the activist movement to bring home U.S. POWs and MIAs from Vietnam.

Lastly, MVD Entertainment Group licensed DVD rights for Catfight, a one-hour doc looking at female competitiveness.

(Tricon sales write-up from Realscreen; by  Kelly Anderson)

Festival Lineups

John L’Ecuyer’s The Riverbank, produced by Paul Stephens and filmed in Sudbury, Ont., is the opening gala presentation at Cinefest Sudbury, which runs Sept. 15 to 23.

Cinefest Sudbury announced highlights of its festival lineup this week, also including screenings of Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children and Michael McGowan’s Still.

Other Canadian films to screen include Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell in the special presentations lineup, and in the Canadian film program, Jason Buxton’s Blackbird, Shandi Mitchell’s The Disappeared, Darlene Naponse’s Every Emotion Costs and Dominique Cardona and Laurie Colbert’s Margarita.

And films from international directors will include Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone (which will screen at TIFF the week before, along with some of the titles mentioned above) and Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt.


Boosting its Hindi cinema offerings for Canuck viewers, Canadian South Asian broadcaster Asian Television Network International (ATN) on Aug. 1 launched Movies OK, a 24-hour Bollywood movie channel from New  Corp’s Star Network, a move which ATN president and CEO Dr. Shan Chandrasekar says he expects will boost ATN’s subscriber base in Canada.

The broadcaster will populate ATN Movies OK with titles from the Star catalogue and through its movie library acquired from Viacom.

In other Bollywood business, Canadian multicultural broadcasting and distribution co Ethnic Channels Group has partnered with Indian Zee TV Group to launch Zee Cinema in Canada. The channel’s library features more than 5,000 hours of Bollywood movies.

The company at tonight’s Punjabi International Film Academy Awards in Toronto will also announce the launch of Zee Cinema on Rogers and Telus, as part of their bundled channel offerings.


Another turn around the Bend: bpm:tv has renewed docu-soap series Grand Benders for a second season.

The second season will feature 24 online episodes and eight half-hour on-air eps, along with extra video content produced by MDF Productions and GreenHat Digital.

“We are particularly excited about MDF Productions’ plans to develop enhanced online content that will help draw fans deeper into the show’s ongoing story,” said VP program acquisitions and business affairs for Stornoway Communications (bpm:tv’s parent company) Victoria Fusca.

Production on season two of MDF-produced Grand Benders began in the Ontario vacation community of the same name in May, and it will premiere in spring 2013, featuring returning original cast members.

Premiere Dates

Saskatchewan-produced teen web series “My Lupine Life” by Louis Pine hit the web Aug. 1. The series, funded by the IPF, SaskFilm and the now-defunct Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit, stars Arom Tomori and Julia Sarah Tone, and focuses on the life of a teenage boy as he preps for what he thinks is his imminent transformation into a werewolf.

Deadlines looming

TIFF Studio Program (see related story)

Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC) 2013

WGC programs: Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program – Western Canada session

WIFT programs: Crystal Awards Nominations, Deluxe Producer Internship, Picture Box TV Distribution Mentorship (see related story)

NSI courses: Features First, Lifestyle Series Producer