All Eyes on 2022
This year, Xavier Dolan will make his mark on the small screen, Julianne Côté will present a new groundbreaking series, a group of twentysomething gay men will go looking for sugar daddies, and a powerful stream of content celebrating diversity will drop online. Here are eight (of the many) eye-openers worth waiting for.
Day in and day out, Mathieu Chantelois keeps his eye on all the new stories coming to our screens, which is exactly what you’d expect from Canada Media Fund’s Vice-President of Communications and Promotion.
Mathieu is now on parental leave caring for his new baby girl, the second little one to join his family since the pandemic began. Between feedings and diaper changes, he’s agreed to share some of the must-see content he’ll be streaming while his new protégés are getting their beauty sleep. What do all these exciting audiovisual projects have in common? They highlight the incredible work coming from Canadian LGBTQ2S+ creators today. Here is his list:
If children are open books, then it is our job as adults to fill their blank pages with lessons of love, tolerance, and empathy. This is exactly what the award-winning children’s program 16 Hudson does each and every episode.
Set in a charming, big city apartment building, this animated series tailored to preschoolers features kids and their pals learning all about one another’s diverse cultures and traditions.
The children’s parents, including two gay dads, come from all over the world (Iran, China, and the Philippines to name a few of their countries of origin) and the series features families celebrating holidays such as Diwali, Norooz and Chinese New Year.
The new season consists of 21, 7-minute episodes airing on TVOKids, along with five new 16 Hudson shorts. Season 3 will also air on SRC-Radio Canada.
Avocado Toast the series (Season 2)
Avocado Toast the series returns for a second season of hilarious and heartbreaking storytelling focusing on middle-grade teacher Molly (Heidi Lynch) and her introduction to the world of bisexual dating, while her best friend and former creative director Elle (Perrie Voss) deals with a serious case of burnout. And if that’s not enough, the millennial pals are still learning way too much about their parents’ sex lives.
Show creators Lynch and Voss bring a sex-positive spin to their dramedy celebrating a wide range of identities and desires. Especially gratifying is the way the show celebrates the sex lives of older women, whose stories are rarely explored onscreen.
This season also boldly examines issues of mental health and physical illness, adding deeper layers to this laugh-out-loud dramedy.
All 10 of the 15-minute episodes will be available on OUTtv’s digital streaming platform, OUTtv.com
In the 1953 classic How to Marry a Millionaire, three lovely ladies (Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall) set out to land three rich men.
Take that premise, flash forward almost 70 years and give it an oh-so gay spin and you’ve got Sugar Highs. This dramedy series follows a group of twentysomething friends who would rather party than work menial low wage jobs, so they set out to find themselves sugar daddies to pay their bills.
But this brand of “wallet love” comes with all kinds of complications — good and bad — that makes for fascinating, fun, and sexy viewing.
Stellar actors Samuel Davison, Adam Fox, Joey Beni and Michael Ayres star as the resourceful sugar babies, with guest sugar daddies and sugar mamas that include Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall), Jennifer Whalen (Baroness von Sketch Show) and Brian MacQuarrie (Picnicface).
Look for Sugar Highs on OUTtv.
The Colour of Music
Being a female musician is a challenge in the male-dominated music industry, but it’s painfully difficult for Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (QTBIPOC) women+ artists.
In this eye-opening documentary, director Han Nguyen takes us inside Ottawa’s live music scene, where venues and music programmers predominantly book white, cisgender male acts.
The doc introduces us to queer Black folk musician Kimberly Sunstrum, Sri Lankan-born folk artist Amanda Lowe Warnakulasuriya and Anishinaabekwe singer-songwriter Larissa Desrosiers. They are all joined by DJ Jayel, a masculine-presenting woman of colour. Through interviews, home movies and powerful performances, we learn how these artists are fighting to be seen and heard in a music scene designed to silence them.
Systemic barriers have profoundly affected the musicians’ mental health and well-being, but as the film ultimately reveals, it’s their love of music that sustains them through hard times.
The Colour of Music will air on CBC.
De Pierre en fille
After making a name for herself in Le Chalet, Féminin/Féminin, and Le Phoenix, actress Julianne Côté is bringing us an exciting new project inspired by her own life—and her very first series as creator.
De Pierre en fille tells the story of 24-year-old Daphné (played by none other than the creator herself), a character who throws herself into the relationships she has with women. As a motherless child, Daphné lives her life without concern for society's conventions, much to the displeasure of her father (the always splendid Patrice Robitaille), who’s recently moved to Montreal in the hope of putting a love affair gone bad behind him.
Female love and friendship come with unexpected twists and turns in this story. In addition to living with her best friend (Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse), Daphné rekindles a tumultuous relationship with an ex-lover (Karelle Tremblay).
Marie-Claude Blouin (L’Académie, Le Chalet) directs the eight 30-minute episodes available on ICI TOU.TV EXTRA.
La nuit où Laurier Gaudreault s’est réveillé
Cinema’s enfant terrible Xavier Dolan makes his first foray into television with his adaptation of playwright Michel Marc Bouchard’s hit play, La nuit où Laurier Gaudreault s’est réveillé (The Night Laurier Gaudreault Finally Woke Up), with most of the original cast from its staging at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde two years ago. In typical fashion, Dolan wears a number of different hats—author, director, producer, and actor.
Like the original play, the TV series follows an internationally renowned thanatologist (Julie Le Breton) on her return to her hometown in the early 1990s to embalm her mother. She’s reunited with her brothers (Patrick Hivon, Éric Bruneau, and Xavier Dolan) and over the course of their conversations, laced with resentments, old wounds, and reconciliations, we discover a family deeply divided by dark secrets.
It’s Dolan’s second adaptation of a Bouchard play—his first was Tom à la ferme—and once again everyone’s favourite filmmaker flirts with horror, mystery, and gallows humour.
The five 60-minute episodes are presented exclusively on Club illico before lighting up screens for our French cousins at Canal+.
Six degrés (Season 2)
With his incredible writing, Simon Boulerice had us laughing and crying throughout the 13 episodes in Season 1 of Six degrés. Viewers of all ages fell in love with lead character Léon (recent Gemini award winner Noah Parker), a teenager whose vision is limited to just six degrees, or about the size of the hole in a straw.
In Season 2, Léon is more determined than ever to follow in the footsteps of his late mother (Catherine Trudeau) by becoming a writer. When Léon gets his hands on some of his mother’s old letters, he uncovers a love affair she had with another woman, who suddenly broke it off without explanation.
Hervé Baillargeon directs this gem with the winning formula that’s made him famous. Six degrés will be broadcast first on ICI TOU.TV EXTRA, before moving to ICI TÉLÉ.
Y a une étoile
Trans non-binary artist Xavier Gould is part of a new generation of Acadians creating groundbreaking content for francophone audiences. After participating in the CBC documentary series Canada’s a Drag, Gould worked on a feature-length documentary with Moncton director and screenwriter Julien Cadieux.
In this emotional and uplifting road-trip movie, Gould meets up with other francophone queer folks determined to live their differences out in the open in their Acadian hometown. The goal of Gould's project is to debunk the myth that everyone in the LGBTQ2S+ community would be happier if they moved to urban city centres.
The crew also takes their cameras into an Indigenous community to illustrate the added difficulty of trying to embrace queerness inside an already underrepresented group.
Audiences will be deeply moved by this inspired and inspiring work, interspersed with the music of the late and highly acclaimed Acadian singer Angèle Arsenault. Through Gould's film, audiences will come to understand that a queer Acadia does in fact, exist.
We will watch Y a une étoile on TV5Unis.