SHORTS: Strange Empire cancelled; Amanda Tapping honoured; Northwest Horror Show

-CBC has cancelled the locally produced series Strange Empire after one season. Shot in Langley and employing a long list of Vancouver actors and actresses (including Terry Chen, April Telek, Ali Liebert (whose name pops up in another news item below) and Anne Marie DeLuise), Strange Empire aimed to tell stories that hadn’t been told in the Western genre (including those of women and minorities), and was CBC’s attempt at darker episodic content. But its demise doesn’t spell the end for a BC presence on CBC Television: CBC’s 2015-2016 season will include The Romeo Section, an espionage thriller from veteran Vancouver showrunner Chris Haddock (Da Vinci’s Inquest).

-Vancouver actress Ali Liebert took home a Canadian Screen Award (CSA) for Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Program or Series for her work on Global’s Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy. The CSAs were handed out over a couple of evenings in Toronto earlier this month. Orphan Black was the big winner in the TV category, taking home 10 CSAs; on the film side, Xavier Dolan’s drama Mommy won nine awards, including Best Motion Picture and Best Director.

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-Vancouver actor Richard Harmon will be a series regular when The 100 – The CW’s hit post-apocalyptic drama – returns for its third season.

-ACTRA has named sci-fi icon Amanda Tapping its Woman of the Year. The Vancouver-based actress, director, and producer was recognized for her groundbreaking roles on Sanctuary and Stargate SG-1, as well as for the charity work performed by her non-profit organization, Sanctuary for Kids.

-Project Limelight – the busy non-profit that provides valuable performing arts opportunities to Eastside kids – presents a special afternoon screening of its short film, The Review. Directed by Michelle Ouellett (Afterparty), the short stars the Project Limelight kids and a bevy (or is it a gaggle?) of local film & TV industry pros, including Louis Ferreira (Motive, Breaking Bad), Erica Carroll (Supernatural, When Calls the Heart), and Adam Greydon Reid (Gracepoint, Continuum). Watch for a special live presentation by the Project Limelight performers. 2pm, March 22 at Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema at SFU Woodward’s (149 West Hastings). www.projectlimelightsociety.org

-Netflix has acquired the rights to Some Assembly Required. The kid-centric sitcom – about a group of teenagers who run a toy company – is produced by Vancouver’s Thunderbird and shot in front of a live audience in Burnaby. The deal with Netflix will see all episodes of Some Assembly Required exclusively available in all Netflix territories outside of Canada, where the show was commissioned as an original production for YTV and is currently #1 on the network.

-The Vancouver International Film Festival has opened up submissions for its 2015 edition. Submissions will be accepted until July 3. Details at http://www.viff.org/festival/submission-details.

-Hey, Whistler Film Festival is accepting submissions, too – from now until Aug. 31. Peruse the details at http://whistlerfilmfestival.com/festival-info/submissions.

-Here’s how VIFF describes the upcoming Northwest Horror Show fest on its website: “Northwest Horror Show takes us back to the 1970s and 80s, an era of grindhouse thrills and spills, when underground auteurs gleefully trampled taboos under foot, creating an exploitation aesthetic that was at once gross, offensive, subversive, and sometimes inspired.” Featuring eight full-length, mostly uncut, 35mm cult and grindhouse films, including Brain DamagePieces, Trailer Apocalypse, and Gone with the Pope. Also on the schedule: the highly controversial (and oft banned) Cannibal Holocaust, and a dozen local and international short films. March 20-22 at Vancity Theatre. Details at http://viff.org/theatre/series/northwest-horror-show.

-Did you catch Game of Homes when it premiered on March 17? Hosted by actor Cameron Mathison (All My Children54), the Vancouver-based series follows four teams of two amateur home renovators as they compete for the prize of a lifetime: a house and a plot of land to put it on. “Game of Homes is the biggest series of its kind for W Network,” said John MacDonald, Vice President, Television, Head of Corus Women and Family, Corus Entertainment, in a recent press release. Competitors are joined by guest judges Drew and Jonathan Scott (AKA The Property Brothers), and Jillian Harris and Todd Talbot of Love It or List It: Vancouver, in their pursuit of the final prize. Game of Homes airs Tuesdays at 10pm on W Network.

-Voting is now open in TELUS’ Storyhive web series competition. Fifteen locally produced web series pilots are competing for $50,000: Enough cash to fund an entire season. View the pilots and vote for your favourite at http://www.storyhive.com/web-series. Contest closes March 26. 

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