Degrassi: The Next Generation wins first ever $50,000 Shaw Rocket Prize:

Degrassi: The Next Generation wins first ever $50,000 Shaw Rocket Prize:
Inaugural winner of award celebrating excellence in Canadian children’s
television was chosen for its provoking storylines and realistic
portrayal of teen life

TORONTO, May 26 /CNW/ – The Shaw Rocket Fund announced that Degrassi: The
Next Generation (TNG) produced by Toronto’s Epitome Pictures, is the first
ever recipient of the $50,000 Shaw Rocket Prize at an event last night in
Toronto. The Prize was established to recognize and celebrate excellence in
Canadian children’s television. This year marks the first of three years that
the prize will be awarded.

Four finalists for the Shaw Rocket Prize were selected by an independent,
international jury of leaders in children’s TV from the U.K., U.S., Australia,
Germany and Canada from submissions made by Canadian producers. A jury of
close to 400 students in grades seven through nine, participating in the Royal
Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) program in public
schools across Canada, reviewed the finalists’ programs and voted
independently for the winner of the $50,000 prize on a dedicated, secure
website.

Jim Shaw, CEO, Shaw Communications, and leading supporter of Canadian
children’s television, presented Epitome Pictures with a winning rocket
sculpture by Vancouver artist Booth Milton.

“Winning the Shaw Rocket Prize is thrilling. We are producing youth
television because we believe in it, and it is fantastic to be judged by and
honoured by our audience,” said Linda Schuyler, creator and executive
producer, Degrassi: TNG. “Having the support of the Shaw Rocket Fund is so
important for Canadian producers to be able to continue producing world
renowned programming.”

“Degrassi: The Next Generation is an outstanding example of high quality
youth television programming produced in Canada. The winning votes from our
knowledgeable young jury demonstrates this,” said Annabel Slaight, Chair, Shaw
Rocket Fund.

One student jury member remarked, “I thought Degrassi had plot integrity,
sophistication and depth. It also had realistic conflicts and was definitely
thought provoking.”

Degrassi: The Next Generation is a dramatic take on real-life issues of
high school students. It is the sequel to the popular Degrassi series of the
1980’s. Airing on CTV, this year marks the fifth season for Degrassi: TNG and
the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Degrassi franchise.

The other three finalists were:
– Franny’s Feet – Produced by Decode Entertainment Inc., Toronto
– Poko – Produced by Halifax Film Company, Halifax
– Shoebox Zoo – Produced by Shoebox Productions Inc., Calgary

The international jury for the 2005 Shaw Rocket Prize was:
– Deirdre Brennan, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC TV),
Australia
– Frank Dietz, Super RTL, Germany
– Michelle Henderson, The Children’s Group, Canada
– Bob Higgins, Cartoon Network, USA
– Theresa Plummer-Andrews, Plum Trees TV Limited, UK

Shaw Rocket Prize
The Shaw Rocket Prize is the first prize of this kind in Canada. Open to
all independent Canadian producers, the prize will be awarded annually for
three years. The selection process is independent of the fund, and program
entries do not have to receive funding from the Shaw Rocket Fund to be
eligible.

Shaw Rocket Fund
The Shaw Rocket Fund is a permanent, independently governed, not-for-
profit corporation that provides financing for the production of high quality
Canadian children’s, youth and family television programming. Since its
inception in 1998, the Shaw Rocket Fund has invested more than $40 million in
quality Canadian children’s television. Prior to October 2004, the Shaw Rocket
Fund was known as the Shaw Television Broadcast Fund. Contributors to the Fund
are Shaw Communications, Shaw Pay Per View Ltd., a division of Shaw
Cablesystems GP, Star Choice Television Network Inc., EastLink Cablesystems,
and Delta Cable Communications Ltd.
For more information on the Shaw Rocket Prize and Shaw Rocket Fund, visit
http://www.rocketfund.ca.

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