Playback Summer 2019: Behind Cancon’s newfound optimism

Playback's summer issue breaks down the burst of positivity from producers and creatives in the industry and pays tribute to Indigenous film and TV icons.
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In Playback’s first Banff issue since the departure of long-time editor and content director Katie Bailey, the editorial team takes you behind the pages of its Summer 2019 magazine.

Jordan Pinto

Optimism in Canada’s film and TV sector can be the most fickle of things. One day, everything is on track – the future looks bright, manageable and sustainable, and the smaller breakthroughs are adding up to more significant progress. The next, without rhyme or reason, things begin to come apart at the seams. Progress is slow and the future is uncertain.

Putting together the Banff issue and our annual Indie List brings Playback’s editorial team closer to that laugh-cry dynamic than any other time of year. And, this year, I’m pleased to say there’s no shortage of positivity about where things are headed.

Maybe it’s the 2019 Indie List (page 16) – where the number of respondents describing opportunities as “better than ever” has lifted significantly – or increased funding flexibility for Canadian producers and creatives (page 22). Or maybe it’s the return of a wildly popular Canadian format after five years (page 11), or hearing from Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism Pablo Rodriguez about how the infectious passion of this industry has rubbed off on him (page 10). The outlook, dare I say it, seems really good.

As the industry hurtles toward a critical next phase that includes legislative reviews, a federal election and the promise of escalating disruption, let’s hope things remain that way.

Kelly Townsend

When we began the interviews for our showrunner feature (page 24), we asked: “Why stay in Canada?” It was almost an after-thought. The expectation was that every showrunner would give a variation of “because my family is here.” Instead, we heard thoughtful responses outlining what it is that’s so exciting to be working in Canada right now. It’s part of what helped shape the theme of this issue.

Between the international success stories of Canadian TV (page 6) and evolving funding avenues, creators are feeling confident in the opportunities to be found here. In spite of the uncertainty caused by the wave of SVODs, there’s a sense of real Canadian pride that can’t be overshadowed by the siren call of sunny Los Angeles. It’s something the industry should be proud of.

Lauren Malyk

We hope this optimism carries throughout our summer issue as we celebrate the achievements of renowned filmmaker, visual artist and Brock University Chancellor Shirley Cheechoo.
The Playback team is honoured to induct Cheechoo (page 34) into our Hall of Fame. Throughout an astonishing career, her passion for collaboration and dedication to mentorship has paved the way for so many vital Indigenous voices. Our industry owes her a collective debt of gratitude for her remarkable contributions.

We also take a moment to recognize the 20th anniversary of APTN (page 28). The first Indigenous national broadcaster in the world, it has served Indigenous communities and given their stories a crucial platform. It was a mission and relationship clearly demonstrated during its first-ever Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcast in Plains Cree with Sportsnet this March – an important milestone for Canadian television. Here’s to many more.

Jordan Pinto, Lauren Malyk & Kelly Townsend
Playback

STORIES FROM THE ISSUE:

CBC retools Battle of the Blades for 2019 return

Programmer profile: Blue Ant Media

Indie List 2019: a tumultuous year in review

Indie List 2019: How increased funding flexibility is creating forward momentum

Indie List 2019: Domestic prodcos stretched thin under talent crunch

The modern Canadian showrunner: Part One and Part Two

APTN @ 20: How the broadcaster found its footing

APTN: Giving the Indigenous community a voice

Michelle Lovretta isn’t afraid of moving on