Dream Street, Temple Street, 9 Story win Rocket Prize

DanielTigersNeighbourhood2013

Halifax-based Dream Street Pictures, Temple Street Productions and 9 Story Entertainment are the winners of this year’s Shaw Rocket Prize.

Each company wins $25,000 as part of the $75,000 annual award, presented to the best independently produced Canadian kids programs. A jury of industry experts selects a shortlist of projects, which are then voted on by a jury of Canadian kids across the country.

Dream Street’s two-hour MOW The Phantoms was the winner in the youth and family category. The Phantoms, directed by Sudz Sutherland, is based on the true-life aftermath of a 2008 road accident that killed seven Bathurst, New Brunswick high school basketball players and the coach’s wife. The story focuses on the town’s triumph and healing after the tragedy, as the rebuilt basketball team goes on to win the provincial championship the following season.

“This award is extra special since the Rocket Prize is voted on by teens, the very audience for whom we made our movie,” said Dream Street producer Timothy M. Hogan in a statement.

Written by Andrew Wreggit, the project also recently received an International Kids Emmy nod.

Dream Street, headed up by Hogan and Rick LeGuerrier, also won the Shaw Rocket Prize in 2009 for family film Sticks & Stones.

Temple Street’s The Next Step took the prize in the children’s category. Exec produced by Ivan Schneeberg, David Fortier and Frank van Keeken, the series follows a troupe of young dancers at The Next Step Dance Studio as they audition to take part in a regional dance competition. The series, which airs on Family Channel in Canada, began production on its second season in July. The first season premiere drew more than one million viewers to the channel.

And in the pre-school category, 9 Story Entertainment’s Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood (pictured) took the prize for best pre-school series.

The animated pre-school series features a shy but brave four-year-old tiger who lives in the Neighbourhood of Make Believe. With the help of his family, friends and neighbours, he learns key skills for school and life.

The series is inspired by a character from Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood. It airs on CBC in Canada and PBS Kids in the U.S. Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood has also been sold internationally, to territories including France, Australia, Germany and Israel. It was also sold in June to Disney Channel in Russia and Disney Junior in Latin America and Southeast Asia. According to PBSKids.org, the series averages 35 million streams per month.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood is exec produced by Vince Commisso, Steven Jarosz, Samantha Freeman Alpert, Kevin Morrison and Angela C. Santomero.