National Newswatch

Leading CCMA Awards nominee Tenille Townes on ‘silver lining’ of a ‘strange’ year

Sep 23 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Tenille Townes is making waves in Nashville, but the Alberta-raised musician says her heart will be back home this weekend for the biggest night in Canadian country music. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Grande Prairie, Alta., is the leading six-time nominee at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards on Sunday where she'll also perform.  […]

‘Schitt’s Creek’ Emmy wins offer dose of optimism to other Canadian comedies

Sep 22 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Canadian television producer Mark Montefiore says the historic Emmys sweep by "Schitt's Creek" has "blown the doors wide open" on the possibilities for the next generation of homegrown TV creators.  The "Letterkenny" executive producer watched last weekend as the beloved comedy scooped up one Emmy after another, ultimately pulling in nine trophies this […]

Shawn Mendes sets record with five wins at SOCAN Awards

Sep 22 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Nothing was holding Shawn Mendes back from making history at this year's SOCAN Awards. The Pickering, Ont.-raised pop star took home five trophies during the delayed celebration of Canadian songwriters and composers, held for the first time online. Organizers say that makes the singer-songwriter the most-awarded creator in a single year at the […]

Gord Downie’s final solo album ‘Away is Mine’ set for October release

Sep 21 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Nearly three years after Gord Downie's untimely death, a new double album of solo material will be released next month. "Away is Mine" is a 20-track collection of what Toronto record label Arts & Crafts calls "Downie's final solo recording." The project was laid down at the Tragically Hip's studio in Bath, Ont., in July 2017, three months before […]

Michelle Latimer wins twice at TIFF awards, ‘Nomadland’ grabs people’s choice

Sep 20 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Chloe Zhao's poetic drama "Nomadland" is riding high after being voted the People's Choice Award winner at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, while Canadian filmmaker Michelle Latimer picked up two prizes for her documentary "Inconvenient Indian." The TIFF awards closed the curtain on 10 days of cinematic celebration that unfolded in historic times as […]

Canadian documentary ‘Underplayed’ looks at ‘shocking’ lack of female DJs

Sep 17 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Documentarian Stacey Lee doesn't want to shame the electronic dance music industry, but they're still woefully behind the times on gender equality. She points to Billboard's Top 100 DJs list as a sign of lack of progress in the male-dominated club industry. In its annual rally of the 100 biggest moneymakers in the genre, only five women made […]

‘Trickster’ actor Joel Oulette on the ‘overwhelming’ rise of CBC’s new series

Sep 15 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — When it comes to career milestones, actor Joel Oulette considers his passing appearance during a commercial break on "Hockey Night in Canada" to be one of the coolest so far. Sure, the 18-year-old wasn't skating on the rink, but when a promotional spot for his upcoming CBC series "Trickster" aired on the national broadcast it felt like a […]

With TIFF facing a tough year, Netflix makes a swift exit from festival season

Sep 13 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Netflix and the Toronto International Film Festival have been an inseparable power couple for years, mastering the ways to get moviegoers talking, but during the pandemic their storied Hollywood relationship is on a break. When Netflix marks its 10th anniversary in Canada later this month, it'll celebrate without a single film showing in the TIFF lineup, part of a […]

TIFF kicks off pandemic film festival with ‘American Utopia’ drive-in screenings

Sep 11 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Under the stars of a pandemic skyline, the Toronto International Film Festival kicked off Thursday night with a sea of moviegoers inside their vehicles instead of a darkened cinema. It was a TIFF opening night celebration unlike any other, with outdoor screenings of "David Byrne's American Utopia" playing at three separate spots across the city, including at two drive-in […]

Faced with a pandemic-altered festival, TIFF makes big compromises with sponsors

Sep 6 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — When the Toronto International Film Festival unfurls its red carpets each year, executives at Visa expect moviegoers in the hundreds of thousands to see the credit card company's name in glowing lights, but in the midst of a global pandemic the usual marketing playbook has gone out the window. Less than two months before the festival was set […]

Kardinal Offishall joins Universal Music Canada staff to launch Black youth scholarship

Sep 2 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Kardinal Offishall and employees at Universal Music Canada have banded together to launch a new scholarship program supporting Black high school students in their post-secondary education. The Canadian record label says it's formed BLACK Label Coalition in partnership with the Pinball Clemons Foundation, an effort that will see Universal commit $250,000 to promising young Black leaders over […]

Leonard Cohen rep says estate specifically declined use of ‘Hallelujah’ at RNC

Aug 29 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Representatives for Leonard Cohen's estate say they're considering legal action after the singer's "Hallelujah" was used without permission during this week's Republican National Convention. Michelle Rice, a lawyer for Cohen's estate, says the Republican party made a "rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit" the Montreal poet laureate's iconic song after being explicitly told they didn't have the […]

Leonard Cohen rep says estate specifically declined use of ‘Hallelujah’ at RNC

Aug 29 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Representatives for Leonard Cohen's estate say they're considering legal action after the singer's "Hallelujah" was used without permission during this week's Republican National Convention. Michelle Rice, a lawyer for Cohen's estate, says the Republican party made a "rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit" the Montreal poet laureate's iconic song after being explicitly told they didn't have the […]

Saskatchewan native Andy Shauf among Canadians on Obama’s summer playlist

Aug 21 2020 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Andy Shauf has landed a spot on Barack Obama's coveted summer playlist. The breezy track "Neon Skyline," from Shauf's newest album of the same name, joined a selection of songs from powerhouse acts that include Billie Holiday, Sheryl Crow, Billie Eilish and Beyonce. Each summer, the former U.S. president unveils a selection of his favourite songs of […]