Monday 29 December 2014

A toast to Nick Auf de Maur: Local content Montreal-based Quelque Show TV program revived on the net

When I was growing up our two local TV stations, CFCF (now CTV Montreal) and CBC, could always be counted on for some good local programming. Some of my favorites included Travel Travel, McGowan’s World and Fighting Back with Terry DiMonte. From 1970 to 1975 the late Nick Auf de Maur and Les Nirenberg brought us Quelque Show,  featuring on the street interviews and observations  on a wide range of subjects, from religion to pornography. Essentially, it provided a voice for a number of well-known Montreal street people.

Well, we now have four local English TV stations. CBC has  brought us Our Montreal, hosted by Sonali Karnick and essentially a compendium of news items which ran the previous week; City introduced a lifestyles show called Only In Montreal, only to cancel it after 30 episodes.; Global has Focus Montreal with Jamie Orchard, which runs three times each weekend and is quite good; CTV has nothing besides its highly rated newscasts.  CBC's suppertime news will be chopped from 90 to 30 minutes next fall while Global's newscasts remain status quo.

Global and City, of course, run morning news programs which deserve more viewers. On Saturdays, you catch the best of the Global morning news highlights. City also has a weekly sports show which has to be the most poorly promoted program I have ever seen. We do live in the age of the Internet, which opens the door to new opportunities. Enter  Paul Shore, who has created a reboot of Quelque Show online only at the moment and in both English and French.
Paul Shore

“It's my attempt to bridge the growing divide between everyday Montrealers and our political leaders, bringing back the speakers corner in a modern context,” explains Shore. “It's part soapbox and  part oral history.”

According to Shore, only three out of 100 Montrealers approached by his show said they had ever been asked for their opinion by a politician or a journalist. He describes Quelque Show as  a speaker’s corner for Montrealers, created in response to the growing divide between political leaders and the everyday citizen.

The show has been designed to be viewed in both French and English, first by audiences online, and eventually on television and in public spaces around Montreal.  "Political apathy, rooted in a sense of helplessness, has led to the everyday citizen's deep frustration over their perception that they are voiceless,” says Shore, the show’s co-host and creator. “By providing an interactive and non-threatening platform for people to express themselves, we’re hoping to stimulate the building of local community, even social change opportunities, in an innovative and meaningful way.” 

Shore, a veteran video-journalist and filmmaker is working alongside and co-host and former engineer, Rosalynn Nguyen.  In each episode they swiftly disarm interviewees, encouraging them to speak freely about controversial, even taboo issues.

Themes explored in the first series of episodes include immigration, integration, love, death, and public art. Montrealers are speaking up about sex, politics, language, multiculturalism, stereotyping and about how technology is affecting our relationships.

The original Quelque Show provided an unfiltered platform for Montrealers to express themselves on a variety of issues from pornography to religion. This new version brings back the town hall in a modern context. By providing a space for the sharing of personal experiences in a spontaneous way, Quelque Show is hoping to create a greater sense of community in our world of seemingly increased isolation caused by technology and the web.

“Quelque Show is indigenous to Montreal, but has been designed as a scaleable concept and platform, accessible to all other cities,” Shore says. "I am seeding the project now online,  but i will be working on TV deals in English and French in the new year, as well as hopefully a partnership with an ad agency to do co-branded content with their local clients. It's a transmedia show, and is clip driven and non linear,  so it has been designed to work on any platform imaginable such as  30 second  instagram episodes, one minute Facebook episodes, seven minute Youtube episodes, 22 minute TV episodes, and my holy grail having the show on interactive monitors in public spaces around the city."

Here is one of the segments.