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Finalists For $50,000 Shaw Rocket Prize Announced

The Shaw Rocket Fund announced the 2005 finalists for the $50,000 Shaw Rocket Prize. The four finalists were selected by an international jury of leaders in childrens TV from the U.K., U.S., Australia, Germany and Canada. The finalists are:

* DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION Produced by Epitome Pictures Inc., Toronto A topical live-action youth drama airing on CTV, the characters deal with real life challenges of becoming an adult.

* FRANNYS FEET Produced by DECODE Ent. Inc., TorontoThis animated program, airing on The Family Channel, takes preschoolers on exciting adventures to different cultures when Franny tries on fascinating magical footwear.

* POKO Produced by Halifax Film Co., HalifaxPOKO is an animated preschool series on CBC that features a little boy, his dog and his stuffed toy monkey, and how they deal with day-to-day challenges and emotions.

* SHOEBOX ZOO Produced by Shoebox Prods. Inc., CalgaryThis modern-day fantasy for nine to twelve year olds, combines live action and animation, which follows 11-year-old Marnie McBride on her quest to recover the Book of Forbidden Knowledge. This program airs on CBC and BBC Kids Canada.

The first award of its kind in Canada, the Shaw Rocket Prize is a winner-take-all $50,000 prize to be awarded on May 25, 2005 to the best independently produced Canadian television program targeting a childrens, youth or family audience.

Congratulations to the Canadian industry, said Frank Dietz, head of acquisitions and co-productions, Super RTL, Germany and international jury member. The high standards, variety and originality in the programs submitted validates why Canada is among the top three players worldwide in childrens television production.

Juror Deirdre Brennan, ABC Kids programmer, Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC TV), Australia, added, Canada is producing high quality children's programming for all ages, and not only for Canadian kids, but children internationally. There were strengths in every genre we looked at, and I was impressed by the overall production quality, innovative concepts and excellent execution.

The Shaw Rocket Prize international jury includes: Brennan; Dietz; Michelle Henderson, president, The Childrens Group, Canada; Bob Higgins, svp PROGRAMMING & DEVELOPMENT, Cartoon Network, U.S.; and Theresa Plummer-Andrews, managing director, Plum Trees TV Limited and former head of acquisitions & co-productions for Childrens BBC, U.K.

A jury of grade seven to nine students from across Canada will choose the winner from among the finalists. The children are students of the Royal Conservatory of Musics Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) program, an arts-based education program that uses the arts to teach core subjects. After assessing the programs in-class, the students will vote for the winner on a dedicated, secure website.

The Shaw Rocket Fund is a permanent, independently governed, not-for-profit corporation that provides financing for the production of Canadian childrens, youth and family television programming. Since its inception in 1998, the Shaw Rocket Fund has invested more than $35 million in quality Canadian childrens 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, visit www.rocketfund.ca.

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Rick DeMott
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