We’re celebrating 11 individuals and companies that made a mark in a chaotic year for the screen industry.
As the year comes to a close, Playback is once again celebrating the companies and individuals who entertained and inspired us.

The last 12 months have certainly seen some trials and tribulations within the global screen industry, including multiple strikes and broadcaster cuts, but they’ve also hinted at some promising regulatory changes that will modernize the broadcasting system.

With that in mind, we’re closing out on a high with our annual Best of the Year lineup, which is out in our Winter 2023 issue on Wednesday (Dec. 13). Stay tuned as we roll out profiles of all 11 celebrated organizations and individuals online in the lead-up to the year-end, which will be free to view for non-subscribers.

For now, here is a look at who Playback has selected as our Best of the Year for 2023:

Production Company of the Year
Lark Productions topped the list thanks to landing series at four of Canada’s major broadcasters, including CBC’s Allegiance and Citytv’s Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent.

Kids Production Company of the Year
Sinking Ship Entertainment is recognized for its work to expand the company footprint outside of North America in order to stay competitive in the kids space.

English-Language Film of the Year
Clement Virgo’s film Brother had a record-breaking run at the Canadian Screen Awards, showing how the duo of Virgo and Damon D’Oliveira are just hitting their stride.

French-Language Film of the Year
Louise Archambault’s Le temps d’un été stood out in part due to its $2.3 million box office run this summer, leading a wave of financial wins for distributor Immina Films.

Franchise of the Year
Spin Master Entertainment’s PAW Patrol surged ahead for its ability to turn the preschool series into a smash success – including spinoffs, features, and billions in retail sales.

Director of the Year
Filmmaker R.T. Thorne has been recognized for his work in bringing CBC’s The Porter to life, expanding the Directors Guild of Canada’s inclusivity work, and making major inroads in his anticipated feature film debut, 40 Acres.

Executive of the Year
Bell Media’s Justin Stockman was named for his strategic plays to keep Crave growing to ensure the company can keep investing in Canadian content.

Showrunner of the Year
Leslie Norville topped the list due largely for her remarkable ability to lead the charge in the creation of CBC’s ambitious eight-part documentary series Black Life: Untold Stories, unpacking 400 years of the history of Black Canadians.

Changemaker of the Year
The National Screen Institute’s Joy Loewen is recognized for her steadfast work developing and executing impactful programs for emerging and mid-level professionals in the industry.

Dealmaker of the Year
Blue Ant Media’s Jamie Schouela stood out thanks to his role as a global innovator in the free, ad-supporting streaming TV (FAST) channel space.

Show of the Year
Finally, Crave and APTN lumi’s Little Bird lead the charge due to its emotional and resonating story on the Sixties Scoop in Canada, which inspired global distributor Fremantle to champion the tale on the international stage.

For more, be sure to pick up the latest issue of Playback magazine.