National Newswatch

Canadian doc ‘Nature’s Big Year’ shows how wildlife has adapted during the pandemic

Nov 9 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, wildlife ecologist Jason Fisher and his colleagues at the University of Victoria predicted there would be fewer people in nature and that animals would take back their territory. But in setting up cameras in the forest of Alberta's scenic Bighorn Backcountry, they found human activity […]

‘Overlord and the Underwoods’ showrunner hopes it will ‘make way for more diversity’

Oct 28 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — When casting the family of CBC Gem's new sitcom "Overlord and the Underwoods," about an alien living with human relatives in a Canadian suburb, showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell says it was a "pretty colourblind" process. "We wrote all the scripts in advance, not knowing what the family was going to look like," the […]

Screen world ponders future of guns on sets after ‘Rust’ shooting

Oct 24 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Thursday's shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by a prop revolver during filming for the Alec Baldwin Western "Rust" has the screen industry pondering the future of guns on sets. Toronto producer Martin Katz of Prospero Pictures says the tragedy near Santa Fe, N.M., raises the question of whether the industry should start […]

Denis Villeneuve on the Canadian collaborators who helped build the world of ‘Dune’

Oct 20 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — As he took on the colossal task of building "Dune" for the big screen, filmmaker Denis Villeneuve turned to close Canadian collaborators, including fellow Montrealer and production designer Patrice Vermette. The two had already worked together on several films, including the 2016 alien-invasion drama "Arrival," which earned both Vermette and Villeneuve Oscar nominations. […]

Docuseries ‘Darkness in Daylight’ to explore Christine Jessop murder case

Oct 19 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — The creator of an upcoming docuseries on the 1984 murder of an Ontario girl says the project will allow her family to finally tell their whole truth. Toronto actor and producer Folklaur Chevrier says she has exclusive rights to the story of nine-year-old Christine Jessop and is developing "Darkness in Daylight" with permission […]

‘Schitt’s Creek’ star Noah Reid to make Broadway debut in comedy ‘The Minutes’

Oct 15 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — "Schitt's Creek" star Noah Reid is set to make his Broadway debut. Producers say the Toronto actor and musician, who played Patrick on CBC's "Schitt's Creek," has joined the cast of the Tracy Letts play "The Minutes." The Steppenwolf Theatre Company production, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, is set to begin performances at […]

‘Schitt’s Creek’ star Noah Reid to make Broadway debut in comedy ‘The Minutes’

Oct 15 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — "Schitt's Creek" star Noah Reid is set to make his Broadway debut. Producers say the Toronto actor and musician, who played Patrick on CBC's "Schitt's Creek," has joined the cast of the Tracy Letts play "The Minutes." The Steppenwolf Theatre Company production, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, is set to begin performances at […]

Hot Docs hires former CBC exec Heather Conway as executive director/co-president

Oct 13 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Former CBC executive Heather Conway is taking on a leadership position at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. The Hot Docs board of directors has announced Conway as the Toronto-based organization's new executive director and co-president.  Conway left her five-year post as executive vice-president of CBC's English services at the end of […]

‘Night Raiders’ filmmaker Danis Goulet explores colonization through sci-fi lens

Oct 7 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — While writing her new Indigenous sci-fi thriller "Night Raiders," Danis Goulet says she approached one broadcaster for funding and walked away with a "tiny example" of the barriers facing Indigenous filmmakers. It was June 2015, the same month the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report, when the broadcaster sent […]

Actors Shamier Anderson and Stephan James sign first-look deal with Boat Rocker

Oct 5 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Canadian actor-brothers Shamier Anderson and Stephan James are set to develop and produce original television projects for Toronto-based global entertainment company Boat Rocker. The Toronto stars have struck a first-look deal with Boat Rocker under their Bay Mills Studios banner. Both already have a relationship with Boat Rocker, with Anderson starring in its […]

‘Drunken Birds’ chosen as Canada’s contender for international film Oscar

Oct 4 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — "Drunken Birds," about a lovestruck Mexican drug cartel member who becomes a seasonal migrant worker in rural Quebec, will represent Canada in the Oscar race for best international feature film. A pan-Canadian committee of about 20 voting delegates chose the project — which includes dialogue in French, Spanish, English and Mandarin — out […]

‘Sort Of’ is about transition in all walks of life, says star/co-creator Bilal Baig

Sep 30 2021 — Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — In deciding to not only co-create but star in a comedy series about a gender-fluid millennial nanny in Toronto, Bilal Baig was nervous. The queer, transfeminine, Muslim playwright says they trained as an actor in theatre school but "have a very complicated relationship to performance" and "struggle with visibility and being looked at." […]