How much has been invested in the making and creation of the Canada Remembers documentaries and Teachers Guide?
Over the past 22 years, through the partnered support of government agencies, broadcasters, public support, private individuals and thousands of volunteer hours, the estimated amount of the creation of the six documentaries including the Canada Remembers International airshows (back drop to the series) is 8.7 million dollars, 1995 to 2018 .
Some of the organizations and participants over the years include: Veterans Affairs Canada , Department of Defense (Combat Cam), Canadian Heritage, Canadian Millennium Partnership Project, Canadian Audio Visual Certification Office, Global Televison Network, AMI, CTV, Vision, City TV, SCN
It important to note, that each Thomega Canada Remembers program has received CRTC assigned number/approval and status. This confirms that each show is produced as a 100% certified Canadian made production.
The producers have made it a mission to reinvest into the ongoing development and production of further productions, utilizing existing and new content for the continuation of the project, designed to reach out to schools and communities oversees in 2019 to 2022.
What do the programs cover?
Army (WWII) and (Afganistan) , Airforce (WWII), Navy (WWII), NATO missions world wide, Korean War
Which Television Networks have broadcast Thomega Canada Remembers programs?
PBS New York
Who is Anthony J. Towstego and what is his connection to war documentaries?
Anthony Towstego is an accomplished internationally acclaimed television and feature film producer. Owner of Thomega Entertainment Inc. since 1988 (founder) see IMDB.
His uncle (Steve Towstego) served in the Korean War Second Battalion PPLC and his service influenced Anthony’s desire to access and produce programming options related to the Veterans, service, sacrifice and achievements in all wars. Both broadcast and educational avenues were pursued which resulted in dissemination of Canadian Veterans stories related, coast to coast to millions of viewers over a twenty year span.
In the role of producer, director, and writer Anthony felt a deep passion to document and preserve the stories of War Veterans, in, 1997 his first documentary about the Muskeg Lake Veterans in Saskatchewan (We Remember Them) aired on APTN nationally.
In 1996 Anthony’s work and ground breaking success in the film industry was recognized in House of Commons, Parliament, were he received a Hansard “Standing Order”. He was also called a “Film Maverick” in Hollywood Variety Magazine. In 2000 he was a Canadian film rep quest at the Canadian consulate, invited to by the Los Angeles Consulate General of Canada.
In 2001, Canada Remembers A Veterans Reunion was nominated in the New York Independent Film Festival. Anthony received many other awards and acclimation’s since. His company received a nomination at the Houston International Documentary Festival a well.
His success is further recognized through his strong presence in the provincial and national film and television industry as a past producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a Juror for the Gemini Awards, an Ambassador and Film Industry advisor, council member with the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, and a past five year member of the Board of the Saskatchewan Motion Picture Association and 1996 Showcase chairman.
He is past Treasurer and founding member of the Saskatchewan Film Producers Association (SFPA). In 2001, Anthony was appointed to the Provincial Film Agency (SaskFilm) Advisory Board. Anthony regularly attends numerous film and television market events throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe.
Anthony Towstego is an honorary member of the Korean War Veterans Association and a long time member/volunteer of Royal Canadian Legion Nutana Branch#362 and proud to be a co creator of the Thomega Canada Remembers Commemorative School Project, with a mission towards advancement of national and internationally Remembrance legacy.
What is the Canada Remembers International Air Show?
In 1995 the Government of Canada launched a National campaign called ‘Canada Remembers’ as a nationwide salute to the 50th Anniversary of the end of WWII. A number of Saskatoon and area Veterans along with members of the Canadian Armed Forces, met with Brian Swidrovich (and Saskatchewan Place Arena) to help create ‘something’ to honour that milestone. The Canada Remembers Int. Air Show was born and recognized VE Day on May 7th, 1995. Since then, the Air Show and accompanying Tribute Events, including this Documentary Series, are the only non-Federally produced programs sanctioned to carry the Canada Remembers title.
By the year 2000, the project was Nationally recognized as one of the top 10 Outdoor Attractions in Canada and has secured numerous Regional, National and International accolades and awards.
Aside from being at the traditional site of the Saskatoon Airport, the annual Air Show was the first in the World to be held at an Arena ‘and’ the first at an oval raceway. Providing an industry-first, unique backdrop to the Canada Remembers Educational Documentary Series, ‘all’ six (currently produced) films have been secured by National Broadcasters, propelling the Series as not only a legitimate programming option for TV, but also as a valid and powerful, attention-retention tool to help educate students across the country. Outgrowing all sites thus far, the most recent Air Show was held in 2017.
Who is Brian Swidrovich and what is his connection to war documentaries?
Brian Swidrovich has dedicated over 25 years to the event industry, encompassing sport tournaments and games, concerts, trade shows, tourism projects and other programs, including the Air Show.
Within those years several Local, Regional, National and International Awards and other levels of recognition have been extended to him. Just a few of these include ‘two’ Commander’s Commendations from the Canadian Armed Forces, a special Certificate of Appreciation from (former) Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal; he is a recipient of the Saskatchewan Aviation Society’s Hall of Fame Award and the 13th (ever-issued throughout the history of the City) Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Saskatoon. He received a Tourism Saskatoon Leadership Award, Tourism Saskatchewan’s inaugural Tourism Builder Award, the International Council of Air Shows (based in Leesburg, Virginia) Silver Pinnacle Award, among many other acknowledgements within the Air Show, Tourism and affiliated event industries.
Brian is a proud Member in Good Standing with the Royal Canadian Legion, Army-Navy & Air Force Veterans Association, as well as the Royal Canadian Air Force Association, with recognition received from the Korea Veterans Association as well as the organizations listed above. He is also a proud Member of 431 Air Demonstration Squadron’s ‘Honorary Snowbirds’ and has served on numerous Boards and Committees, the most recent as an Executive Member of Saskatoon Crime Stoppers and the Association of Crime Stoppers Programs of Saskatchewan.
He and his wife have three grown children; a 13 year Member of the Saskatoon Police Service, a Doctor of Pharmacy and a Registered Nurse, in addition to five grandkids.
The Canada Remembers Tribute Projects have been an instrumental and inspirational part of his family life since 1995.
How many legions have participated in securing the Thomega Canada Remembers Educational series? What is the goal?
In 2016 and 2017, the pilot project launch in Saskatchewan, with endorsement of the Royal Canadian Legion Saskatchewan Command, 60 Legions participated, with over 220 schools benefiting to accessing the educational series.
Are there other ways our Legions or members can assist?
Yes! Share our message. The DVDs and learning plans can also be extended to community centres and organizations, Veteran care homes, private Schools , we encourage spreading the word and not limiting these valuable and unique programs to just schools.
Is there ongoing follow up and updates with schools and libraries using the materials?
Thomega is currently in its second phase of the Teachers Guide update. Our admin supports are reaching out to schools to encourage the programs use, significant importance and to share new updates etc.
How can we secure our sets right away? What is the cost?
Phone is the best method. You can also email, mail or fax your requisition form to secure your legions sets . Our qualified personal can confirm your payment amount quickly and discuss school coverage in your community. We encourage confirm asap, as this allows time for the DVDs sets to be in jested and in circulation prior to the start of the school year, September.
Download the requisition form (PDF).
Download Current Price List (includes shipping and tax costs) (PDF)
How do we know how many schools to present our sets to?
Each Legion in Canada typically works closely with school in their respective districts. Your local command will have info on this or Thomega can assist in determining the amount of school boards, schools etc.
How long does is take to process an order?
3 to 6 weeks
Does the Documentaries cover Veterans from across Canada?
Yes, there are Veterans from a wide range of cities and towns from provinces across Canada. A Veteran is a Veteran.
How have students benefited from the programming Production Process?
Vanessa Corkal (of Walter Murray High School, Saskatoon) was seeking training in the film and television industry and secured a placement with Thomega Entertainment. The Producer, Anthony Towstego, recognized Vanessa’s passion to learn and promptly cast her in Canada Remembers ‘It’s Time To Say Thanks’; her participation helped earn a Ryerson Media School Scholarship with Vanessa’s friend Phydra later becoming a Page in the House of Commons; both were emotionally impacted as a result of their experiences in the filming of this Tribute project.
Through production, over a dozen youth were involved … most often assigned to interviews with Veterans which the Producers’ encouraged, knowing the importance of “youth engagement” and the inherent value in having younger generations more informed of the sacrifices and stories of these aging Heroes.
The release of Canada Remembers ‘Women Who Have Served and Sacrificed’ was first privately screened in the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #362, for a full week, with bus loads of over 4,000 students coming to listen and learn; this documentary, a part of a six film series, has also been aired Nationally. Initially, very few Educators and Schools were aware that these invaluable ‘teaching tools’ might be available as aids to educate their students. Now, all six Documentaries offer generations of students an additional perspective in the importance of Remembrance.
Upon watching these documentaries, how will the viewer depict a Veteran?
While a slightly heavier focus was applied to interviewing WWII Veterans, men and women who also served in Korea, Afghanistan and other world conflicts, were also interviewed. The message that “a Veteran is a Veteran’ carries through; whether they served overseas, participated in one battle, many conflicts or none, all Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces personnel play an integral role in supporting each other, our country, as well as citizens of Nations unable to protect themselves.
What might be the strongest benefit(s) be for the younger generations watching these documentaries?
Unfortunately, not all students have had the immeasurable honour of having a Veteran attend their class and talk to them face to face; and as the years race forward, very few WWII and Korea War Veterans are able to continue speaking in class settings. For many young people, watching movies provides their only reflection on war. Seeing, hearing and learning from real-life men and women … many of whom may be from their own communities or regions, causes a different sense of reality that the people they are listening to actually lived through situations they had only seen depicted in a movie, at least up until experiencing a Canada Remembers Documentary.
What is the value in ‘Lifetime” rights assigned to schools, libraries, Veterans organizations or other approved recipients of these programs?
If a school was to follow the legal path in airing available programs that are distributed by legitimate companies, there would be a fee attached to that airing; each and every time. The Thomega Canada Remembers Documentaries, through acquisition support of the Royal Canadian Legion, are assigning life-time rights, which means a school may utilize all the films, internally, as often as they wish and for as long as they wish, without similar industry fees attached. Ever.
How much was invested in the production of these documentaries?
Over the past 22 years, aside from many thousands of hours in personal time committed to this project, the support of Federal, Provincial and Civic Administrations, as well as some committed Corporate and Private contributors, each of the six Documentaries carried a financial investment of approximately $150,000.00 (x6). In addition, the unique and highly effective backdrop of the Canada Remembers Air Show required its own operational budget; since the event was created in 1995, approximately $8.7 Million dollars has been invested in the development of this Nationally and Internationally Awarded event. The combined economic impact benefits of these projects have surpassed $35M.
Who contributed to writing the Teachers Guide that compliments each of the DVDS?
Qualified war historians and researchers have participated in the research and development, including the documentaries.
The Canada Remembers Teaching Guide writer and developer: Erica Hargreave, BSc. B.Ed
Erica has worked all across North America as an Educator. She had built new schools, designed Ministry Approved Curriculum for them, and taught Science, Socials, English, IT, Drama and Math. The greater majority of her education work has been in curriculum development. She has designed curriculum for schools, textbook publishers, films, television series, non-profit organizations, parks and historical sites. Along with this, she has also facilitated teacher workshops for 15 years. These days, Erica can be found in the class room at BCIT, Capilano University and the Delta School District Teaching Interactive Storytelling.
The Canada Remembers Teaching Guide co-contributor: Darryl Heskin, B.A. B.Ed, Teacher Tommy Douglas Collegiate
Darryl has been adopting and using the Thomega Canada Remembers DVDs and educational learning plan since 2014, with his history classes. He has lead his classes over the years in preparing and conducting their annual Remembrance Day school ceremony. This impacts over 3,000 students yearly and often has local dignitaries attend. Darryl’s students each year use a very compelling clip from the Thomega Canada Remembrance service (interview with Veteran, Roy Armstrong) on the big screen, on stage. This has a increasing emotional impact on the audience and helps to set the course of the service. Darryl has been dedicated to contributing to the enhancement of the program and encourages teachers from other cities to contact him with any questions regarding his work on the learning plan and keeping the series active and on going, in his classes.
Who is a Veteran?
While some might have a varying degree of whom may be rightly deemed a ‘Veteran’, Thomega’s Canada Remembers programming respects and recognizes the commitment of ‘all’ who served, regardless of whether or not they saw combat and regardless of which War or era they served in. Peacekeepers, NATO Missions and other deployments around the globe required a level of dedication and risk that few of us at home could comprehend. In many cases, Canadian Police Officers and other Emergency Service personnel assisted in training, tactical efforts and other roles, even though they were not ‘in the Military’; all who serve and risk their lives for this Nation are acknowledged for their sacrifices … and achievements.
What branches of the Canadian military have been touched within these documentaries? And what eras in military history are addressed?
Interviews with men and women from WWII and/or the Korean War included the Army, Navy and Air Force; while not all interviews that have been captured over the past 20 years are aired within these documentaries (subsequent additions to the series are being planned), personnel who participated in more recent conflicts, such as Afghanistan, are also heard in several of the documentaries.
What is different between the Canada Remembers (Thomega Entertainment) documentaries and other programs about Canadian Veterans?
Most, if not all documentaries about past or current conflicts, are primarily in-studio with archival footage inserted within the interview, story or message. The impact and benefit of incorporating the backdrop and actual action clips of the Canada Remembers Air Show, as well as archival relevance, makes this series a completely unique endeavor. With performance clips and brief speaking parts from the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron SNOWBIRDS, the Canadian Forces SkyHawks Parachute Team, CF-18 Hornet Demo Teams, aircraft transport displays, U.S. and other foreign Military personnel, combined with Veterans and ‘families’ of Veterans plus parents of fallen Canadian Soldiers, takes this series to a whole different level of emotion and educational reach. All ages appreciate the interaction of sights and sounds, actual in-air footage of a WWII B-25 Bomber, the Snowbirds performances or jumping out of an airplane. The difference between this series and traditional in-studio documentaries really has to be experienced in person.
What are the variables and/or the similarities between an actor depicting Veterans in Hollywood and hearing real life stories from real life Veterans?
A Hollywood movie has one primary objective; to make money. Secondary objectives may include a desire to depict certain key figures, however, usually in a way that might not always be 100% real. A well-filmed truthful documentary will lean on telling real stories from real people. In this series, the men and women involved are fathers, mothers, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends who experienced the reality of war. To be certain, none of the participants in this series wants, nor tries, to glamorize war. The message is of Remembrance, Honour, Respect, Sacrifice and Appreciation for their service.
Why is it important to note that the Royal Canadian legion has endorsed these documentaries as having worthy educational content and value?
Diminishing numbers of aging Heroes means fewer men and women from our history of helping the world, are able to attend in-class sessions and speak to students about their experiences; there lies an immediate need for the educational system to take the next step and ensure they are able to keep those sacrifices and memories alive, so our youth of today and tomorrow can learn about what our National Freedom really means. The Royal Canadian Legion recognizes the need and benefit to furthering this process.
Why is it important for ‘ALL’ these Canada Remembers programs to have been aired on several national, regional and local television stations?
Many part-time and seasoned professional producers alike, have created and finished quality programs for the viewing enjoyment of others. Not all, in fact very few of these projects, have been aired on national TV. The Canada Remembers Documentaries (currently six finished films) have ALL been aired across Canada, coast to coast, multiple times, by national and regional broadcasters. This, in itself, ensures the content has been further scrutinized, playing the films to many millions of people over the past 18 years. CTV, Global TV, City TV, Vision, AMI, SaskTel, Shaw and other broadcasters have carried these programs. Schools and Educators can feel comfortable utilizing these documentaries in-class.
What impact did the Canada Remembers Air Show have on the production and delivery of these documentaries?
As mentioned previously, the dramatic difference between this series and other in-studio-only documentaries, becomes clearly apparent as one watches any of the six films within this set. No other documentary that is focused on telling the stories of Veterans, can match the financial, social and emotional investment that the Air Show added to this series. The visual and audio variances help capture and retain the interest of the viewer; including easily distracted, young students.
Thomega USB research
A DVD is the safest option ‘today’ and carries the ability for educators to take the discs home and review with ease – not all TV’s have USB ports, but everyone has a DVD player.
This has been the most functional, safe, all-encompassing option for the high majority of regions thus far.
The future may hold a different, safer, more effective alternative.
Providing a hand-held REAL piece of material, also allows educators to assign groups of students to learn from the six separate discs and report their combined learning points to the class, thereby all students being able to be independent through covering different documentaries, but each and all carrying important messages they would all learn from.