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Shaftesbury/Smokebomb’s digital series pitch competition returns to the Banff World Media Festival for a second year

Winner to receive a development deal to produce an original scripted female-driven comedy or dramedy digital series targeted to female millennials

TORONTO, March 11, 2016 — Following its successful inaugural year in 2015, Shaftesbury and its award-winning digital studio, Smokebomb Entertainment, are teaming up with the Banff World Media Festival to bring back scripted digital series pitch competition The AMP (Audience Metrics Partnership) Accelerator ( The top three finalists will be sent to Banff to pitch their projects in front of a live industry audience, and following the Festival, one or more projects will be selected to move into development with Shaftesbury/Smokebomb.

More than 100 pitches were submitted to The AMP in 2015. All three digital projects from last year’s finalists are currently in development with Shaftesbury/Smokebomb, including nail salon drama DID by Hannah Cheesman and Mackenzie Donaldson (Orphan Black; Whatever, Linda); feminist comedy book review Slutty Book Club by comedians Nikki Saltz and Sara Starkman; and Korean drama Lenny Falls In Love from Ryerson University RTA School of Media graduate Angelica Mendizabal.

“We saw a phenomenal response to last year’s pitch competition that went beyond our expectations, and want to continue to empower emerging storytellers to develop high-quality digital series for female millennial audiences,” said Jay Bennett, SVP, Creative & Innovation, Shaftesbury/Smokebomb. “We look forward to seeing what Canadian creatives pitch us for the 2016 edition of The AMP.”

“Working with Jay Bennett along with the supportive and creative thinkers at Smokebomb last year was not only a pleasure, it helped refine the vision, story, and target audience of DID,” said Hannah Cheesman, 2015 AMP Accelerator finalist. “We investigated and distilled answers to the questions: why make this digital project, and for whom? With Smokebomb’s help, we crafted a smart, insightful pitch, and put our money where our mouth was. A worthwhile experience.”

To enter The AMP Accelerator, Canadian resident applicants are invited to submit an English-language pitch for an original scripted female-driven comedy or dramedy digital series, targeted to the 16-24 millennial female demographic. Most importantly, applicants must also explain why they feel their pitches are better suited for digital than television. Brands and products should not be incorporated into the storytelling and pitch.

Following the submission deadline of Monday, March 28, 2016 at 5 PM ET, a Shaftesbury/Smokebomb jury will review the first round of pitches, after which a shortlist of applicants will be selected to move onto the second stage of submission. By early May, three finalists will be chosen to receive an all-access pass, travel and accommodations to the 2016 Banff World Media Festival, where they will pitch their projects to a panel of industry experts in front of a live Festival audience. In the lead-up to the Festival, Shaftesbury/Smokebomb will work with the finalists to hone their pitches. 

After the Banff pitch session, at least one of the three finalists’ projects will be selected to move into development with Shaftesbury/Smokebomb. The company’s branded entertainment agency, shift2, will also explore potential brand partnerships for the project.

Submissions are now open at the Banff World Media Festival website. For more details and to submit a pitch, please visit

The AMP Accelerator Social Links:



@ShaftesburyTV (

@Smokebomb_Ent (

@BanffMedia (

About Shaftesbury/Smokebomb
With offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, Shaftesbury is an award-winning creator and producer of original content for television and digital platforms, sold in 120 countries worldwide. Shaftesbury’s slate includes David Shore’s new series Houdini & Doyle for Sony Pictures Television, Shaw Media, ITV and Fox; thriller series Slasher for Super Channel and NBCUniversal’s Chiller; nine seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for CBC, UKTV and ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment; and hit Kids’ CBC series The Moblees. Shaftesbury’s digital and technology arm, Smokebomb Entertainment, produces original digital, convergent and branded entertainment projects including the hit YouTube series Carmilla, funded by U by Kotex®; mystery series V Morgan Is Dead, brought to life by RBC; fashion comedy series MsLabelled, produced in partnership with Shaw Media and the Tetley tea brand; and the Emmy®-nominated Murdoch Mysteries: Curse of the Lost Pharaohs. In June 2014, Shaftesbury and Smokebomb launched shift2, an innovative agency that helps brands explore their millennial voice using scripted series and social media to drive measurable results.

About the Banff World Media Festival
The Banff World Media Festival is the world’s largest and most important gathering of entertainment industry and digital media executives dedicated to media content development, production, broadcast and distribution within TV and digital media. BANFF provides a platform for the evolving media industry to develop its creative and business objectives – it serves as the leading destination for co-production and co-venture partners and is an unparalleled marketplace for over 2,000 international decision-makers to connect with new partners, learn from industry leaders and execute new business deals. The 37th annual BANFF World Media Festival will take place June 12-15, 2016 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Canada.

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For more information:

Emily Claire Afan – PR Manager, Digital & Brand