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CBC Gem May 2023 Highlights

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CBC Gem May 2023 Highlights

CBC Gem is Canada’s streaming service, offering more than 6500 hours of live and on-demand Canadian programming and a curated selection of acclaimed, best-in-class content from around the world, including more than 800 documentaries, 500 hours of ad-free content for kids and tweens, and a collection of over 200 Canadian feature films. CBC Gem is available free as an app for iOS and Android devices and online at CBCGem.ca, and on TV screens via Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Xbox.

ACCLAIMED INTERNATIONAL SERIES

HARLOTS Season 1 (8×60, Drama, Monumental Pictures, UK)

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Begins streaming Friday, May 5 

Featuring an award-winning creative team and all-star cast, HARLOTS is a powerful drama set against the vibrant, cosmopolitan backdrop of 18th century Georgian London, offering a bold new take on the city’s most valuable commercial activity – sex. Inspired by the stories of real women, and the men who surround them, this provocative character-driven series centres on the formidable Margaret Wells (two-time Oscar™ nominee Samantha Morton, Sweet and Lowdown, In America) and her daughters (Jessica Brown Findlay, Downton Abbey, and Eloise Smyth, Cyn) as she struggles to reconcile the role of mother with brothel owner. When her business comes under attack from Lydia Quigley (BAFTA and Oscar™ nominee Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread), a rival madam with a ruthless streak, Margaret will fight back, even if it means putting her family at risk. Combining wit with high drama, this fast-paced tale of family, power and brutal economics shines a light on the extraordinary businesswomen who helped to build the London we know.

ANIMAL CONTROL (12×30, Comedy, Fox Entertainment, USA)

Begins streaming Friday, May 12

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*Exclusive Canadian Premiere*

As a former cop whose effort to expose corruption led to his firing from the force, Frank (Joel McHale, Community) now leads the charge as an Animal Control officer with a cynical and curmudgeonly outlook. While he may be a bit rough towards humans, Frank does know animals. Joining him for the fun is new partner Fred “Shred” Taylor (Michael Rowland), Emily Price (Vella Lovell), Amit Patel (Ravi Patel), Victoria Sands (Grace Palmer), Dr. Summers (Alvina August), Dolores Stubb (Kelli Ogmundson), and Templeton Dudge (Gerry Dee).

“Animal Control has all the makings of the next comedy great”

Tania Hussain, Collider

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EVERYTHING YOU LOVE (7×25, Drama, The Oslo Company, Norway) 

Begins streaming Friday, May 19 

*Exclusive Canadian Premiere*

Sara and Jonas run into each other by coincidence when a subway train must be evacuated in the centre of Oslo. Strong feelings arise between them, but soon Sara discovers that Jonas has a dark secret: he is being radicalized into a right-wing extremist group. His search for a community of like-minded people online and in real life is in stark contrast to his loving relationship with Sara. Jonas tries his best to lead a double life, but the deeper he gets into the right-wing extremist community, the harder it becomes.

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DOCUMENTARIES

FIDDLER’S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN (1×88, Documentary, directed by Daniel Raim, USA)

Begins streaming Monday, May 1 – Jewish Heritage Month

*Exclusive Canadian Premiere*

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The fall of 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof, the film Pauline Kael (The New Yorker) called “the most powerful movie musical ever made.” Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, FIDDLER’S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN captures the humour and drama of director Norman Jewison’s quest to recreate the lost world of Jewish life in Tsarist Russia and re-envision the beloved stage hit as a wide-screen epic. Oscar™-nominated filmmaker Daniel Raim puts us in the director’s chair and in Jewison’s heart and mind, drawing on behind-the-scenes footage and never-before-seen stills as well as original interviews with Jewison, Chaim Topol (Tevye), composer John Williams, production designer Robert F. Boyle, film critic Kenneth Turan, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, and actresses Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh, and Neva Small (Tevye’s daughters). The film explores how the experience of making Fiddler deepened Jewison as an artist and revived his soul.

“[A] gleefully reverent documentary”

Natalia Winkelman, The New York Times

ON MY WAY OUT: THE SECRET LIFE OF NANI AND POPI (1×40, Documentary, directed by Brandon Gross and Skyler Gross, Canada)

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Begins streaming Monday, May 1 – Jewish Heritage Month

*Canadian Premiere*

Executive produced by Howie Mandel and produced by Barry Avrich, ON MY WAY OUT: THE SECRET LIFE OF NANI AND POPI tells the remarkable life story of Roman and Ruth Blank. This is a story of what happens when love and marriage collide with deeply held, explosive family secrets. As Holocaust survivors who tragically lost family members, their lives have been filled with darkness. But somehow, their remarkable spirits allowed them to persevere and “succeed” in America. Ultimately, ON MY WAY OUT: THE SECRET LIFE OF NANI AND POPI connects with the core values of what makes us human beings: the need and desire to love and be loved. Nominated for Best Short Documentary at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards.

**** “At 40 minutes long, the documentary is beautifully, skillfully sparse. You want more of this family.”

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Zosia Bielski, The Globe and Mail

THE REAL CROWN: INSIDE THE HOUSE OF WINDSOR (5×45, Docuseries, 72 Films, UK)

Begins streaming Wednesday, May 3 – The Royal Treatment collection 

*Exclusive Canadian Premiere*

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For seventy years The Queen saw herself as the protector of the crown, through every era, through every scandal. The Real Crown is the gripping inside story of The British Royal Family told only by the people who really know. From the Former Head of The British Army, to Princess Margaret’s Lady in Waiting. Spanning over six decades of British history this epic family saga offers behind the scenes revelations and intimate insights into the stories we think we know – the celebrations, tragedies and scandals that made headlines around the world – alongside the assassinations, bomb plots and kidnappings that are an intrinsic part of royal life.  This powerful real – life human drama unfolds in glossy and immersive archive from across the decades, bringing the family’s history to life like never before.

MALCOLM IS MISSING (88 mins, documentary Channel original, directed by Robert and Jari Osbourne, Canada)

Begins streaming Friday, May 5 

In October 2018, Brooke Mullins packed a light bag and flew to Mexico. Not for a vacation. Five days earlier she’d received word that her father, Malcom, was missing. With a strong feeling that something was definitely wrong, Brooke went looking for him. It took her only a few days to discover he’d probably been murdered. She found a grainy “smoking gun” video of her father being drugged, a GPS tracker on her father’s car showed it spent hours in a remote jungle location the night he went missing, and several disturbing emails demanding money. She turned it all over to the Mexican police and believed her amateur sleuthing days were done. But three years and $200,000 later, she’s been forced down some bizarre and terrifying rabbit holes and it’s still not over. Yet despite the emotional and legal challenges, Brooke has fought on, fueled by two goals – finding her father’s remains and seeing his killers are brought to justice. Some would say taking on the famously corrupt Mexican justice system is a long shot for the slightly built, 42-year-old single mother of two from Port Hope, Ontario. Brooke Mullins dismisses those thoughts and continues to fight.

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LOVE, LEYMO (12mins, directed by Randall Okita, Canada) – commissioned through AccessCBC: A CBC Initiative for Creators with a Disability, the national pilot program from CBC and the ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto presented by the Miles Nadal JCC

Begins streaming Wednesday, May 10

Leymo Mohammed, a young autistic Black man, narrates a visual letter to his late mother who passed away in the early days of the pandemic. In his letter, Leymo tells her about his struggles, achievements and dreams as he comes to understand the world around him and his place in it. LOVE, LEYMO was written by Leymo Mohammed, an AccessCBC short documentary program participant, and produced by Mohammed and Amita Zamaana.

CBC GEM ORIGINALS

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digi-ART (6×15, CBC Arts, Docuseries)

Begins streaming Monday, May 29 

Hosted by Taelor Lewis-Joseph, digi-ART looks to the horizon to see what’s possible with tech and art – charting a course led by creatives and innovators towards new worlds and ways of creating. The timely docuseries is a spirited exploration of the tech innovations that are helping artists digitize, disrupt, and reimagine their creative visions.

ASIAN EXCELLENCE Collection for Asian Heritage Month

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HIDDEN LETTERS (1×86, Documentary, directed by Violet Du Feng, China/USA/Germany/Norway)

Begins streaming Monday, May 1

*Canadian Premiere*

Women in China were historically forced into oppressive marriages and forbidden to read or write by their households for thousands of years. To cope, they developed and shared a secret language among themselves called Nushu. Written in poems or songs with bamboo pens on paper-folded fans and handkerchiefs, these hidden letters bonded generations of Chinese women in a clandestine support system of sisterhood, hope and survival. Spanning between past and present, from sunken rice fields and rural villages to bustling metropolitan cities, HIDDEN LETTERS follows two millennial Chinese women who are connected by their fascination with Nushu and their desire to protect its legacy. In Jiangyong, Hu Xin works as a Nushu museum guide and aspires to master the ancient script following the breakup of her marriage. In Shanghai, Simu is passionate about music and Nushu, but marital expectations threaten to end her pursuit of both. Influenced by Nushu’s legacy of female solidarity, the two women struggle to find balance as they forge their own paths in a patriarchal culture steeped in female subservience to men. Winner of Audience Award and Best Documentary Feature at the 2022 Austin Asian American Film Festival and nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature at the 2023 Oscars™.

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HOUSE SPECIAL (5×22, Docu-series, Black Rhino Creative, Canada)

Begins streaming Monday, May 1

Paris meets prairie, when upscale designer and chef Jackie Kai Ellis goes out of her comfort zone to learn more about her people’s story on a plate. On the tails of her own self-discovery and bestselling memoir, Jackie is on a journey to explore the rich and colourful world of roadside Chinese-Canadian restaurants. Putting her own identity into question, this is a character-driven series serving up crispy visuals from buffet to BBQ and offers a delicious new perspective on the origins of makeshift railway chop suey. Along the way, she’ll get a taste of kitchen table wisdom, culture and community. HOUSE SPECIAL explores how Chinese immigrants had to overcome discrimination and carve out a culinary niche that has become as Canadian as a Tim Hortons double-double.

RAVI PATEL’S PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS (4×60, Docuseries, CNN, USA)

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Begins streaming Monday, May 1

*Exclusive Canadian Premiere*

Join actor, humanitarian, and documentarian Ravi Patel on a trip around the world as he investigates societal norms in search of answers to some of life’s most pressing questions. Each episode finds Ravi exploring local traditions and having honest, sometimes difficult conversations with the loved ones he brings along for the ride in hopes of achieving a more fulfilling life for his family, friends, and audience. Diving into loaded topics like growing old in Mexico, overparenting in Japan, workaholism in South Korea, and immigration in Denmark, the four-part docuseries is driven by Ravi’s commitment to constant learning and growth, offering an earnest look at his personal experiences with universal struggles.

LUCKY GRANDMA (1×87, Drama/Comedy, directed by Sasie Sealy, USA)

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Begins streaming Wednesday, May 3

In the heart of Chinatown, New York, an ornery, chain-smoking, newly widowed 80-year-old Grandma (Tsai Chin) is eager to live life as an independent woman, despite the worry of her family. When a local fortune teller (Wai Ching Ho) predicts a most auspicious day in her future, Grandma decides to head to the casino and goes all in, only to land herself on the wrong side of luck…suddenly attracting the attention of some local gangsters. Desperate to protect herself, Grandma employs the services of a bodyguard from a rival gang (Corey Ha) and soon finds herself right in the middle of a Chinatown gang war.

**** “…full of unexpected comic touches.”

Ellen E. Jones, The Guardian

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FEATURE FILMS

TULIPANI: LOVE, HONOUR & A BICYCLE (1×90, Comedy/Drama, directed by Mike van Diem, The Netherlands/ Italy/Canada)

Begins streaming Friday, May 19 

Directed by Mike van Diem, an Oscar™ winner for Best Foreign-Language Film for Character (1998), TULIPANI tells the story of a romantic Dutch farmer named Gauke (Gijs Naber) who, after losing his farm during the floods of 1953, is determined to never have wet socks again. He cycles to the sizzling hot south of Italy to start a new life and ends up at the outskirts of a small village in Puglia. Due to his fairylike and miraculous tulip trade, his passionate love life and his turbulent scuffles with the dubious local business practices, he becomes a living legend – to then suddenly disappear. Thirty years later, an Italian police inspector (Giancarlo Giannini) attempts to unravel the story, but struggles to distinguish fact from fiction. With the help of the young Canadian woman Anna (Ksenia Solo), he discovers what truly happened. Winner of the Audience Choice Award at the 2018 Sonoma International Film Festival and winner of Best Feature at the 2018 Victoria Film Festival.

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LIFESTYLE 

JAMIE: KEEP COOKING AND CARRY ON (20×30, Lifestyle, A Fresh One Production, UK) 

Begins streaming Wednesday, May 17

Jamie brings us his most ingenious, delicious ways to use up those kitchen cupboard staples and back-of-the-freezer forgotten finds. He teaches us how to make great use of what we already have in our fridges and cupboards, and where we can make swaps in recipes when we have missing ingredients. More pragmatic and enjoyable than ever, Jamie demonstrates simple ways to make surprisingly delicious meals out of pantry classics. With two mouth-watering meals per episode, this is Jamie at his most cheerful, laidback, simplest and best.

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COLIN & JUSTIN’S HOTEL FROM HELL (4×60, Lifestyle, Ricochet Television, UK)

Begins streaming Friday, May 26

*Exclusive English Canada Premiere*

In the riskiest and most ambitious venture of their lives, Scottish interior designers Colin and Justin have bought a run-down hotel clinging to the edge of the Atlantic in Nova Scotia. In this series, we follow the boys as they attempt to transform the tired decor and turn the old-fashioned hotel into a high-end boutique destination in time for a big reopening event.

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Each episode is packed with daily problem solving and big decisions – about everything from hiring staff to choosing menus – in addition to visiting local suppliers and showcasing intriguing transformations and addictive reveals. But alongside that runs another layer. With beautiful landscapes cut against the reality of a town down on its luck, the series is a mirror to small town living, the strength of community and a charismatic couple following their dream.

THE BEST OF CBC

The Canadian streaming home of past and current seasons of hit CBC series including HEARTLAND, KIM’S CONVENIENCE, MURDOCH MYSTERIES, THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW, SCHITT’S CREEK and WHEN CALLS THE HEART, plus ARCTIC VETS, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW, MR. D, PRETTY HARD CASES, THE PORTER, RUN THE BURBS, SKYMED, SON OF A CRITCH, SORT OF, STILL STANDING and TALLBOYZ, and classic CBC hits like BEING ERICA.

COMING IN JUNE

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CASA SUSANNA

DEAR FLORA (POUR TOI FLORA)

LOVE ME SEASON 2

MARIE ANTOINETTE

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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