Sort Of set for U.S. debut on HBO Max

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HBO Max revealed it was a co-commissioner, alongside CBC, on the comedy, while TIFF today added the Sienna Films-produced series to its Primetime lineup.

HBO Max has revealed that it was a co-commissioner on the half-hour comedy Sort Of, which was first unveiled as part of CBC’s upfront presentation in June.

The U.S.-based streaming service will debut the show this fall, though it hasn’t set an exact date for its premiere. In Canada, the 8 x 30-minute series will debut on CBC Gem on Oct. 5. More than a month later, on Nov. 9, it will make its linear debut on CBC’s main network.

Playback Daily understands that HBO Max has been involved with the Sienna Films-produced title from an early stage but was not ready to announce its involvement until recently. After a teaser was shot in November 2019 and the project was shopped in early 2020, CBC ordered the series and HBO Max quickly followed suit, completing the financing.

There was more good news for the series on Friday (Aug. 13) as TIFF announced that Sort Of will have its North American premiere in its Primetime lineup. The series will have high-profile company, lining up alongside the world premieres of Ava DuVernay and Colin Kaepernick’s Colin in Black and White, and Netflix’s Korean original series Hellbound, helmed by Train to Busan director Yeon Sang-ho.

Created by Toronto-based playwright Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo (Save Me), Sort Of follows a genderfluid millennial (played by Baig) who is in transition in all aspects of their life.

The project was one of the centrepieces of CBC’s 2021 upfront in early June, with its trailer generating buzz and attracting international eyeballs. The comedy is set to make its world premiere at France-based television festival Séries Mania, where it will compete in the International Panorama competition. The event runs from Aug. 26 to Sept. 2.

CBC first announced the greenlight in October 2020, with production taking place in Toronto. Baig and Filippo are co-showrunners on the series. The pair also serve as executive producers alongside Sienna’s Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny.

Starring in the series alongside Baig are Gray Powell (Hudson & Rex), Amanda Cordner (Baroness Von Sketch Show), Ellora Patnaik (Kim’s Convenience), Grace Lynn Kung (Transplant), Supinder Wraich (Crawford), Gregory Ambrose Calderone (Salvation), Alanna Bale (Cardinal) and newcomers Kaya Kanashiro and Aden Bedard.

The writing team includes Jenn Engels (Transplant), Nelu Handa (Baroness Von Sketch Show) and Ian Iqbal Rashid (How She Move), while Filippo and Renuka Jeyapalan (Kim’s Convenience) are directing. Abacus Media Rights holds international sales rights.