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Meatballs – A Review

Meatballs - A Review, image,
This image was scanned from an original lobby card set in the Northernstars Collection.

Meatballs Still Keeps You Laughing
Review by Lois Siegel

(June 14, 2021 – Ottawa, ON) Many young people go to summer camp. Maybe you have been to one, but it surely was not as crazy as the one in the film Meatballs. The film stars Bill Murray as Tripper, the camp program director. Camp North Star is a boy’s camp in Ontario for 14-year-olds.

The story follows a young man, Rudy, who is not keen on being at the camp and lacks self-confidence, but Tripper expertly helps him to fit in. Tripper is also the head prankster at the camp. People sometimes wake up to find themselves sleeping in trees.  Fans of Bill Murray will love his performance. The first thing Tripper does is tear up the camp rules.  Delightful chaos prevails. With Tripper in charge, Camp North Star is different from other camps – for example, he announces Sexual Awareness Week and brings hookers into the camp.

Meatballs - A Review, image,
This image was scanned from an original lobby card set in the Northernstars Collection.

There is Olympian competition with rival Camp Mohawk and it includes a swimming rally. To give Camp North Star an advantage, one camper puts a fish in a competitor’s swimsuit.

A popular camp song becomes: “The Food is Hideous.” And there is a hot dog eating contest between two very overweight rivals. The film is full of surprises and is always entertaining.

Although Meatballs first came out in 1979, it still holds up and will keep you laughing as everything goes wrong.

Filming took place at Camp White Pine on Hurricane Lake between Haliburton and West Guilford in August and September of 1978. Meatballs was directed by Ivan Reitman and selected for National Canadian Film Day on April 21, 2021. Back in the day, it won Genie Awards for Best Screenplay and Best Actress for Kate Lynch.

Meatballs - A Review, image,
This image was scanned from an original lobby card set in the Northernstars Collection.

The film was the highest-grossing Canadian film of all time in the United States and Canada, winning the Golden Reel Award Canada, which was presented at the Genies to the highest-grossing Canadian films.

I was part of the production crew after teaching film production at John Abbot College and Concordia University. Other Canadian crew members and their school affiliations were:
Ernie Kestler – second camera assistant, Concordia University
Rit Wallis – second assistant editor, John Abbott College)
Josh Nefsky – stills photographer, Concordia University.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Meatballs grossed $17.9 million in its first 17 days. It was followed by several sequels: Meatballs Part II (1984), Meatballs III: Summer Job (1986) and Meatballs 4 (1992). None of the sequels involved either Ivan Reitman or Bill Murray. Only Meatballs lll: Summer Job had any connection to the original.

Also see: The cast & crew of Meatballs

Northernstars, logo, imageLois Siegel is a photographer, filmmaker, educator, musician and agent who also reviewed films for Ottawa’s The Glebe Report for 15 years.

Editor’s Note: This review was first published in The Glebe Report after Meatballs was picked up by Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service. It is republished here with permission of the author.

Eleanor Noble Steps Up at ACTRA

Eleanor Noble Steps Up at ACTRA, image
Photo of Eleanor Noble courtesy of ACTRA

Eleanor Noble Steps Up at ACTRA
by Staff Editors

(June 14, Toronto, ON) Eleanor Noble has been elected by ACTRA’s National Council to a two-year term as National President. Eleanor replaces David Sparrow, who stepped down as National President after serving in this role for four years.

“It is an honour to be elected as ACTRA National President,” said Eleanor Noble. “I am looking forward to working with everyone and continuing to enhance our industry and keeping Canada on our screens. ACTRA members across this country are committed to protecting performers’ rights, strengthening our working conditions through collective bargaining and advocacy, and taking action to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Respect and dignity must be reflected in the story of our diverse talent across this country. I will work to ensure everyone feels they belong because they do.”

An ACTRA Montreal Councillor since 2006, Noble is currently Vice President of ACTRA Montreal and the Chair of the ACTRA National Women’s Committee. Actively committed to creating safe sets across Canada and broadening diversity in all aspects of our industry, Noble is the creator of the Casting Standards Committee in Montreal, which works with industry partners to improve the casting process. She also oversaw the adaptation of ACTRA National’s guide for Best Practices for Scenes Involving Nudity, Intimacy, Simulated Sex and Sexual Violence.

Based in Montreal, her screen credits include Incendo’s Seasoned with Love, CBC’s Detectives, I.D.’s Fatal Vows, and APTN’s Mohawk Girls. Her voice performance credits include the popular series Arthur, Disney’s Trulli Tales, Netflix’s Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends and the video games Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia. Eleanor Noble is a graduate of the Professional Theatre Program (The Dome) at Dawson College in Montreal.

The election for National President took place this past weekend during ACTRA’s National Council meeting. Outgoing President David Sparrow will remain on ACTRA’s National Council as Past President.

ACTRA’s National Council, composed of 28 National Councillors plus the National President and Past President, is the principal policy-making Council within the union. The National Council is elected every two years with elected National Councillors serving a two-year term. The National Council is responsible to the entire membership and has a moral obligation to ensure its decisions adequately represent the national interests of all nine ACTRA Branches.


Sandra Oh Stars in The Chair

Sandra Oh Stars in The Chair, image,
Sandra Oh in The Chair. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Sandra Oh Stars in The Chair
by Staff Editors

(June 9, 2021 – Toronto, ON) This August look for a new mini-series on Netflix titled The Chair and starring Sandra Oh as Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim. The six 30-minute episodes follow Dr. Kim as she navigates her new role as the Chair of the English department at prestigious Pembroke University. The tightly paced series sees Dr. Kim facing a unique set of challenges as the first woman to chair the department, and as one of the few staff members of colour at the university.

The Chair sees Amanda Peet as executive producer, writer and showrunner. Joining Peet as executive producers are Sandra Oh, David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Bernie Caulfield and Daniel Gray Longino. Writers are Peet, along with Annie Julia Wyman, Richard E. Robbins, Jennifer Kim and Andrea Troyer. Director of all episodes is Daniel Gray Longino.

Previously announced as launching August 27, The Chair will be available on Netflix on August 20, 2021.

Click here to learn more about Sandra Oh.

A Dragon Talks About Film

A Dragon Talks About Film, image,
Photo of Vince Guzzo courtesy of CBC

A Dragon Talks About Film
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(June 9, 2021 – Toronto ON) In late May we learned that serial entrepreneur Vince Guzzo would be in Toronto in early June and open to doing some interviews. Early June was a bit up in the air as I had a day full of appointments I couldn’t move and our corporate head had previous commitments on the specific day the president and CEO of Cinemas Guzzo would be in town. I asked if I could submit a few questions via email and if he had time perhaps he could respond in the same way.

Some quick background: Vince Guzzo is the only son of Italian immigrants, who early on believed he could turn his father’s small theatre business into something very much larger. However, to do that he would need to take on the large and established exhibitors. In 1998, he did just that. He sued the biggest movie competition in Canada to gain equal opportunity for “the little guy” to show first-run releases — and won! Today Cinemas Guzzo is the number one operator in Quebec and the third largest movie exhibitor in Canada.

Usually referred to as a cinema mogul, Guzzo’s many business interests have grown, some of them offshoots of the movie theatre chain. Known as Mr. Sunshine, he has been quoted as saying “The sun can be warm and comforting — but if you get too close, it could burn you.” He joined the team of potential investors on the CBC realty series The Dragon’s Den in September of 2018.

I still look forward to meeting him one day, but thank him for taking the time to reply to our questions about the film business in general and Canadian film in particular.

A Dragon Talks About Film, image,

RL: Over the past many decades when the news media has covered the film exhibition business readers are constantly reminded that cinemas don’t make money on ticket sales but rely on the concession stand to make a profit. Is that true? And if true, what percentage of their total revenue does the average cinema make from just showing movies?

VG: It’s absolutely true, and this is one of the reasons we refused to re-open our theatres until we were allowed to sell concession products despite the fact that the Provincial Government permitted us to and that’s how #popcorngate came about. The reality is that half of all ticket sales go to distributors and 40-50% of our revenue and 60-70% of our profit margin comes from food and beverages sales. That is a lot. Between social distancing, limited capacity, and the curfews, we were doomed not being allowed to sell concession products. 

RL: Canadian films have had an on-and-off relationship with cinema chain owners, or maybe the issue is with distributors. There was a time a number of years ago when a Canadian film might get a two-week run. Then it became one week. Last year, as Northernstars was keeping track of what Canadian films were playing where, we noticed a lot of Canadian films were just getting 3- day runs. They’d open on a Friday and close on the Sunday. Who makes that decision? And what factors play into that decision? For example, does having a known director, Denys Arcand, David Cronenberg, help? Or does it just not matter when it comes to Canadian film?

VG: Unfortunately, if a film, Canadian or not, doesn’t sell tickets, it can’t continue to run. I am an art lover and always want to promote and support local artists and companies. Cinémas Guzzo is known for giving Canadian films a spotlight and as an example of this, we’ll soon be presenting Livrés chez vous sans contact, a Quebec film that we’re aggressively promoting. Our streaming service also offers an array of Canadian movies in both French and English.

RL: We know we have a vast talent pool in Canada and particularly in Québec with its own home-grown star system. We also have a huge talent base behind the cameras. So…what is the greatest weakness in Canadian film? We think it’s lack of promotion or advertising funds. Do you agree?

VG: Yes! Lack of funding and a proper marketing budget is the biggest challenge. We see lots of bad blockbusters with recycled storylines that still make a fortune, whereas quality movies are not being promoted to prospective audiences. It’s unfortunate because we have jewels that remain unknown and this needs to change.

RL: Talk about the “cinema experience” and what people miss by not watching films on a big screen in large numbers?

VG: These are two different things. Certain films are just as good on a small screen as a big one. But others really should be seen on the big screen, in an auditorium, for a complete experience. Especially in our current environment, it is not about the size of the screen but rather creating a nostalgic moviegoing experience where people get to laugh and cry together and be immersed in the excitement together.

RL: Some say the reason Québec films do so well is that they are made for what is, essentially, a closed society. My take is that the most successful Québec films, no matter the story line, are made for an international audience. It sometimes appears as if English Canadian films are made primarily for an English Canadian audience. In the quest to “tell our own stories” and all the government funding that goes into that, we miss the opportunity of reaching a very much larger audience in Canada, in Québec and internationally? Do you have any thoughts on what might make Canadian film more popular?

VG: Artistically, it makes sense to want to tell a story that means something to you, personally. Many American films showcase just a small part of America or an individual’s personal journey. All stories can be presented in a relatable or interesting manner. I think the challenge, again, comes down to the promotional budget. If the cinematography is brilliant and the story speaks of the human experience, who cares that it’s set in a small town in Manitoba vs. downtown Montreal. I think movies from Quebec have found their niche and perhaps have slightly more cachet, because they are in French, and Montreal is an artistic city rich in culture.

RL: Canadian film festivals have reached a vastly larger audience by streaming their curated programs. Have you ever thought of using that “curated” approach to what you’re offering in your theatres? In short, every day is a mini-film festival because of what you’re showing?

VG: I’m always interested in promoting Canadian artists in our cinemas when the demand is there. Additionally, our streaming platform, which officially launches this summer, we will be offering a broad repertoire of local productions. Including these are especially important to me. Watching movies at home is less of an experience, but it’s also less of a commitment. I believe that highlighting local productions on our streaming platform will introduce a new audience to some Canadian gems and hopefully increase the demand for Canadian content.

RL: Finally, taking all the various components of a complicated world together – pandemics, unemployment, failed local economies with their shuttered bars, restaurants and boutiques, a huge investment in streaming content on larger and larger home screens…where do you think the exhibition business will be in five or ten years time?

VG: Our industry, much like many others, has taken a huge hit during the past year and a half. That said, I’m convinced that movie theatres will see post-pandemic revival. I think, if anything, this period of being confined indoors has made people remember the grandeur and excitement of seeing a film on the big screen. People will crave the moviegoing experience more than ever and not take it for granted. Think about it, people invest a fortune in state-of-the-art kitchens in their homes, but they still go to out to eat at a restaurant.

Our thanks again to Vince Guzzo for taking the time to answer our questions. Season 16 of The Dragon’s Den premieres on October 14, 2021.

UpdateAll Cinémas Guzzo theatres opened on Friday, May 28, 2021, strictly following all provincial health and safety guidelines.

Northernstars logo imageRalph Lucas is the founder and publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film and reviewing movies while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.

Also see: Cinémas Guzzo.

Kelly Depeault

The Gala Returns, Kelly Depault, image,
Photo of Kelly Depault by Eric Myre, courtesy of the Québec Cinema Gala.

B: May 6, 2002 in Sherbrooke, Québec

Kelly Depeault made her feature debut in the 2020 film La déesse des mouches à feu (Goddess of the Fireflies), playing the teenage lead, Catherine. She is pictured at the 2021 Québec Cinema Gala with her Prix Iris as “discovery of the year” in a category titled “Revelation.” The film went on to be name Best Film.

Also see: The Gala Returns.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Le dernier jour (2018, short)

La déesse des mouches à feu (2020)
Vacarme (2020)
North of Albany (2021)

TV Series – Cast:
L’Échappée (2016)
Off (2019, mini-series)

La déesse des mouches à feu, movie, poster,

The Gala Returns

The Gala Returns, image,
Photo by Eric Myre, courtesy of the Québec Cinema Gala

The Gala Returns
by Maurie Alioff – Québec Correspondent

(June 9, 2021 – Montréal, Québec) Last year, an early casualty of the pandemic, the prestigious movie event that awards Les Prix Iris to the year’s top films, got shelved. The decision to annul the Québec Cinema Gala was “due to circumstances that make such a large-scale gathering unthinkable,” announced the Québec Cinema Foundation and Radio-Canada, which hosts and broadcasts the award show.

Normally, nominees, presenters, various industry people, and ticket-holders watch the live show in a large studio theatre. In a nearby press room, journalists follow the event on a screen, interviewing winners and taking pictures when they appear during commercial breaks. A bar stocked with sandwiches and wine fuels the bonhomie. Hugging, cheek kissing, and repartee abound.

This year, I contacted the p.r. person for the Gala to ask how we access it. No press room, she emailed, along with links to banks of photos. A colleague I copied emailed, “Open your TV.”

For the 2021 Prix Iris there were 215 finalists: 26 fiction features, 26 documentary features, 36 fiction shorts, 29 doc shorts, and 16 short animation films.

On Sunday night, Radio-Canada’s venerable Studio 42 was set up café style with tables seating small groups. No masks, but social distancing galore. The arrangement recalled this year’s Oscars ceremony, which director Paul Schrader lamented as signalling the end of Hollywood show-biz hegemony.

The stripped-down Gala’s host (pictured above), actress Geneviève Schmidt (the hit comedy Menteur, Denys Arcand’s La Chute de l’empire Americain) opened with a lot of ear-splitting guffawing and name-dropping that didn’t seem to get much of a rise out of anybody. Many of the assembled looked deadpan in reaction closeups, perhaps because of the year-long COVID shadow over the industry. Moreover, Schmidt might have been trying too hard, overcompensating in a situation where people who love proximity were removed from each other. Le Devoir’s François Lévesque called Schmidt “lively and sparkling,” but qualified that she was the victim of poor writing. Her “welcoming gags fell flat.”

In a deviation from the formula, Schmidt pre-recorded an award presentation at the Cinema Pine in the pretty Laurentian town of Saint Adele. Despite a silly gag about the theatre’s complicated voicemail messaging, the segment worked as a nostalgia moment that reminded TV viewers about melting into movies in theatres like the Pine, which is alive and in business.

Venerable stars and married couple Pierre Curzi and Marie Tifo, so irresistible in Yves Simoneau’s 1986 breakthrough picture, Pouvoir Intime, presented short film awards on the stage of the theatre. The winning “courts metrages” in 2021 were Omar Elhamy’s Écume (fiction), Éléonore Goldberg’s La saison des hibiscus (animation) and Jérémie Battaglia’s Le frère (documentary). Speaking of irresistible, the 2021 Gala was visually enlivened by the many gorgeous and talented people, male and female, in attendance. Here’s Showbizz.net’s rundown of the “12 most beautiful looks” at the Gala.

The Gala Returns, image,
Photo of Kelly Depault by Eric Myre, courtesy of the Québec Cinema Gala.

One of the “irresistibles” was this year’s “Revelation,” Kelly Depeault, the teenage lead in the year’s number one Iris winner, La déesse des mouches à feu (Goddess of the Fireflies). The striking Caroline Néron, who played the protagonist’s mother, gave a heartfelt acceptance speech for her Best Supporting Actress prize. Néro’s appearance ranked as one of the Gala highlights.

On top of Revelation of the Year and Best Supporting Actress awards, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s La déesse picked up Irises for Best Film, Director, Editing (Stéphane Lafleur), Hair (Johanne Paiement), and Casting (Murielle La Ferrière, Marie-Claude Robitaille).

Based on Geneviève Pettersen’s novel, writer-director Barbeau-Lavalette’s movie is a super-charged depiction of wild adolescence during the 1990’s. Sixteen–year-old, angel-faced Catherine (Depeault) plunges head first into grunge era sex and drugs, ignoring the admonishments of her hippie era parents (Néron and Normand d’Amour). Vivid, trippy, at times explicitly sexual, saturated with rock ‘n’ roll, the movie captures the rituals and tragedies of teen life at a specific moment in time. The Irises cap the accolades La déesse des mouches à feu has received since its world-premiere at Berlin’s 2020 Film Festival.

“I wanted to offer a frontal point-of-view on adolescence,” Barbeau-Lavalette (The Ring, Inch‘Allah) said at the time. “I had never seen a film that looked at this transformation, this age, the way I had lived it … embracing the vertigo of that passage, along with the pain and beauty it brings.”

Observers noted that the year’s two big winners, La déesse and Souterrain are set far from Montreal, one in Chicoutimi the other in Val-d’Or. Once upon a time, many Québec films told stories about the regions, often in rural areas. Then in the 1980s, Denys Arcand’s The Decline of the American Empire signalled a focus on big city characters. For some reason, the pendulum may be swinging back just as some filmmakers are complaining that too much funding gets allotted to Montreal talent.

The Gala Returns, image,
Photo of Sophie Dupuis by Eric Myre, courtesy of the Québec Cinema Gala.

Writer-director Sophie Dupuis’s Souterrain (Underground) took the Iris for Best Screenplay, Cinematography (Mathieu Laverdière), Sound (Luc Boudrias, Frédéric Cloutier, Patrice LeBlanc) and Supporting Actor (Théodore Pellerin). Pellerin made jaws drop with his volatile performance as a hyperactive, sadistic 19-year-old in Dupuis’s award-winning Chien de garde (Family First), Canada’s 2019 submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Souterrain plummets into the terror of a mining disaster by zeroing in on a rescue team member, Maxime (Joakim Robillard), and his Buddy Julien (Pellerin), who suffers from a brain injury. The movie tracks events leading up to the catastrophe and the frantic rescue attempts. Rather than being a conventional hero, Maxime functions on the edge of instability, and his relationship with Julien is complex.

A moviemaker fascinated by explosive male relations and violence on more than one level, Dupuis told The Hollywood Reporter, “In my real life, I’m so soft and I fear violence. I don’t want to have it around me at all. But in my writing, it’s there.” The media have noted that 2021’s top Iris winners were both individualistic women unafraid of provoking audiences.
My Salinger Year, movie, poster,
One of the highest profile Iris contenders, Oscar-nominated Philippe Falardeau’s My Salinger Year, picked up only one award of 11 Iris nominations: for Martin Léon’s music. The movie, which opened Berlin 2020, features Margaret Qualley (Manson girl Pussycat in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Sigourney Weaver. Qualley plays Joanna, who tries to connect with New York City’s 1990’s literary scene via a job as an assistant to mythic writer J.D. Salinger’s literary agent (Weaver).

Qualley, Andie MacDowell’s daughter, as Colm Feore somewhat awkwardly pointed out during the Gala, did not win for best actress, nor did Kiefer Sutherland’s daughter Sarah for her role in Jesse Noah Klein’s Like a House on Fire. Weaver, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, got called out in host Schmidt’s odd mélange of mocking condescension (those Americans!) and veneration for a big star.

The Gala Returns, image,
Photo of Emile Bierres by Eric Myre, courtesy of the Québec Cinema Gala.

Best actress did go to Émilie Bierre for her role in Les Nôtres, another in an ongoing spate of movies about defiant teenage girls. The top male acting award-winner, Sébastien Ricard, played a daring teacher-priest in Le club Vinland.

The big surprise of the 2021 Gala was the shutout for the excellent Nadia, Butterfly, officially selected for Cannes 2020 although not screened because the Pandemic closed down the festival. Pascal Plante, a onetime competitive swimmer, delved into the ups and downs of Olympic level competition with a story about a swimmer (two-time Olympic athlete Katerine Savard) living through a crisis of doubt about her sport. When Savard appeared to introduce a clip from Nadia Butterfly, one couldn’t help noticing arm musculature not typical of most actresses.

As for Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum, the First Nations zombie picture, it won only the Best Makeup prize. The People’s Choice Iris was awarded to Félix Rose’s Les Roses (The Rose Family), the doc-maker’s film about his father, Québec Separatist Paul Rose.

The National Film Board of Canada says of its production: “In October 1970, members of the Front de libération du Québec kidnapped minister Pierre Laporte, unleashing an unprecedented crisis in Québec. Fifty years later, Félix Rose tries to understand what led his father and uncle to commit these acts.”

The kidnappers murdered Laporte, which may explain why the documentary went un-nominated. A controversy arose, and some felt the People’s Choice Iris was just restitution for the brush off.

The Québec Cinema Gala is a cultural event that opens a window into cinematic themes, tendencies, and approaches to moviemaking. It is also meant to promote the industry’s output, sell tickets, and in today’s world, multiply streams. Art and showbiz comingle, in some instances uncomfortably, but the message gets transmitted to whoever tunes into Radio Canada on Gala Night.

All photos by Eric Myre, courtesy of the Québec Cinema Gala.

Northernstars logo image Maurie Alioff is a film journalist, critic, screenwriter and media columnist. He has written for radio and television and taught screenwriting at Montreal’s Vanier College. A former editor for Cinema Canada and Take One, as well as other magazines, he is affiliated with the Quebec media industry publication, CTVM.Info. His articles have appeared in various publications, including Canadian Cinematographer, POV Magazine, and The New York Times. He is the Québec Correspondent for northernstars.ca.

Kelly Depeault

The Gala Returns, Kelly Depault, image,
Photo of Kelly Depault by Eric Myre, courtesy of the Québec Cinema Gala.

B: May 6, 2002 in Sherbrooke, Québec

Kelly Depeault made her feature debut in the 2020 film La déesse des mouches à feu (Goddess of the Fireflies), playing the teenage lead, Catherine. She is pictured at the 2021 Québec Cinema Gala with her Prix Iris as “discovery of the year” in a category titled “Revelation.” The film went on to be name Best Film.

Also see: The Gala Returns.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Le dernier jour (2018, short)

La déesse des mouches à feu (2020)
Vacarme (2020)
North of Albany (2021)

TV Series – Cast:
Off (2019, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
L’Échappée (2016)

La déesse des mouches à feu, movie, poster,

Émilie Bierre

Emilie Bierre, image,
Photo of Emilie Bierre by Eric Myre, courtesy of the Québec Cinema Gala.

B: in Québec

Émilie Bierre is pictured with her 2021 Prix Iris for Best actress for her role in Les Nôtres. She won a 2019 Canadian Screen Award for Best Actress for her work in the lead role of the film Une colonie, and in 2018 she won a Young Artist Award for her work in the title role of the TV series Jenny.

Also see: The Gala Returns.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Catimini (2012)
Survivre (2014, short)
La voix de l’ombre (2014)
Genèse (2018)
Une colonie (2018)
Dérive (2018)
Fuck les gars (2019, short)
Les Nôtres (2019)

TV Series – Cast:
Mémoires vives (2013-2015)
Les beaux malaises (2014-2017)
Jenny (2017)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Lâcher prise (2017, 2018)

Joakim Robillard

Joakim Robillard, actor,

Joakim Robillard i a stage, film and television actor. He graduated from the Lionel-Groulx College Theatre Option in 2014. He plays the lead role of Maxime in director Sophie Dupuis’ feature film: Souterrain.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Kind Dave (2016)
Le déménagement (2019, short)

Souterrain (2020)
Crépuscule pour un tueur (2021)

TV Series – Cast:
Béliveau (2017, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Blue Moon (2016)
GAME(R) (2017, 2020)
M’entends-tu? (2020)

Souterrain, movie, poster,


97 minutes – Drama

Language: French

Festival release date:
 December 5, 2020 (Whistler Film Festival, World Premiere)
Release date: April 30, 2021 (Québec)

Production companies: Bravo Charlie, Bord Cadre Films

Canadian distributor:

Maxime, a young man in his mid-20s, works in a mine far from the city. He spends 14 days at the mine and 14 days at home. When he is at home in Val-d’Or, he shares his time with his girlfriend and his childhood friend Julien. Julien is disabled after a car accident caused by Maxime two years earlier. Consumed with guilt, Maxime seeks to redeem himself. But he is hampered by Mario, Julien’s father, who also works at the mine and still blames him. One day, an explosion occurs in the mine. As part of the rescue mission, Maxime goes underground, determined to save his friends and colleagues and bring them out alive.

Souterrain was nominated as Best Picture at both the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards and the Prix Iris in Québec. It was the opening film of the Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma film festival on April 28, 2021.

Souterrain, movie, poster,



Etienne Hansez

Executive Producer:

Andreas Roald
Dan Wechsler


Sophie Dupuis


Sophie Dupuis


Mathieu Laverdière


Michel Grou


Patrice Dubuc
Gaëtan Gravel

Production Designer:

Éric Barbeau

Costume Designer:

Caroline Bodson

Cast: Roles:

Joakim Robillard
Théodore Pellerin
Catherine Trudeau
Charles-Aubey Houde
Jean L’Italien
James Hyndman
Mickaël Gouin
Chantal Fontaine
Bruno Marcil
Jean-François Boudreau
Maxime Genois
Sébastien LeBlanc
Martin Guéin
Brigitte Tremblay
Robin L’Houmeau
Pascal Gélinas
Brad Gros-Louis
Virgil Héroux Laferté
Émile Villeneuve
Katrine Rochon
Isabelle Leyrolles
Daniel Gaulin
Victim 1
Victim 2
Jessy Thelland
Hugo Bergero
James Marcotte
Guillaume Marcotte
Richard Leblanc
Marc Gagnon
Julie Audet
Gabriel-Guy Petit
Jean-Philippe Morin

Cage Operator
Young Man
Young Miner
Martin Brunelle
Marie-Hélène Vaillancourt
Françis’ Wife
Cage Operator
Richard Coderre
Andrea Crepeau


92 minutes – Drama, Indigenous Canadian History
Language: English, some French
Festival release date: September 13, 2020 (TIFF, World Premiere)
Release date: July 2, 2021 (Québec)
Production company: EMA Films
Canadian distributor: Mongrel Media

Inspired by true events, Beans is the coming-of-age story of a Mohawk girl named Tekehentahkhwa, who more often goes by her quirky nickname, Beans (Kiawentiio). She’s a loving big sister to her constant sidekick, Ruby (Violah Beauvais), as they play in the woods and carefully avoid the rough and tough kids of their neighbourhood on the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawà:ke, Québec. When the Oka Crisis erupts, her community is cut off from the outside world and Beans seeks out the toughest girl she knows, April (Paulina Alexis), to help her transform into the brave Mohawk warrior that she needs to be to survive. While she gains acceptance with the cool clique, she isn’t prepared for the racism and violence she comes face-to-face with as the conflict escalates. Unable to cope, she descends into a dark, rage-filled existence focused on revenge. It’s not until her reckless actions put everyone she cares about into peril that she wakes up to what’s really important in her fragile world.

Beans was named Best Film at the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards.
Also see: Tracey Deer Knows Beans.
Also see: Canadian Films at TIFF – 2020.

Beans, movie, poster,



Anne-Marie Gélinas

Executive Producer:

Meredith Vuchnich
Justine Whyte

Associate Producer:

Kenneth Proulx


Tracey Deer


Tracey Deer
Meredith Vuchnich


Marie Davignon


Sophie Farkas Bolla


Mario Sévigny

Production Designer:

André Chamberland

Costume Designer:

Éric Poirier

Cast: Roles:

Kiawentiio Tarbell
Rainbow Dickerson
Violah Beauvais
Paulina Alexis
D’Pharaoh Mckay Woon-a-Tai
Joel Montgrand
Taio Gélinas
Brittany Leborgne
Kelly Beaudoin
Jay Cardinal Villeneuve
Dawn Ford
Ida Labillois-Montour
Caroline Gélinas
Angie Reid
Adam Leblanc
Francis Lamarre
Alex Bisping
Jérémie Earp-Lavigne
Karl Farah
Jonathan-David Bédard
Sébastien Beaulac
Sara Sue Vallée
Roberto Mai
James Milvain
Ryan Bommarito
Alexandre Lavigne
Lucinda Davis
Michel Eid
Max Lafferrière
Karl Walcott
River Tioherot Dailleboust
Paul Graif
Herb Luft
Olivia Fillion
Mégane Lemée
Kaylin Montour
McKenzie Kahnekaroroks Deer-Robinson
Carlo Harrietha
Jean-Mathieu Bérubé
Thomas Liccioni
Tyler Hall

Beans / Tekahentahkhwa
Mrs. Arsenault
Aunt Mimi
Police Officer #1
Police Officer #2
Police Officer #3
Police Officer #4
Police Officer #5
Police Officer #6
Police Officer #7
Hotel Manager
Angry Rioter
Army Officer #1
Army Officer #2
Army Officer #3
Lily’s Newborn
News Anchor #1
News Anchor #2
Mohawk Teen Girl
Stunt Police Officer #1
Stunt Police Officer #2

Théodore Pellerin

Théodore Pellerin, actor,
Théodore Pellerin at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards © Ralph Lucas/

B: in Québec

Théodore Pellerin is pictured with his 2019 Canadian Screen Award for Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role for his work in Chien de garde.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Les démons (2014)
Ailleurs (2015)
Maître-nageur (2015 short)
Carla en 10 secondes (2015, short)
Endorphine (2015)
First light (2016)
Course navette (2016, short)
Sigismond sans images (2016, short)
Juste la fin du monde (2016)
Never steady never still (2016)
Isla Blanca (2017)
Boost (2017)
Chien de garde (2017)
Genèse (2017)
Boy Erased (2018)

My Salinger Year (2020)
Souterrain (2020)

TV Series – Cast:
30 vies (2013-2014)
Med (2015-2017)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
La théorie du K.O. (2014)
19-2 (2015)

Souterrain, movie, poster,

CBC Announces Fall Schedule

CBC Announces Fall Schedule, image,
Promotional photo from the series Strays courtesy of CBC

CBC Announces Fall Schedule
by Staff Editors

(June 2, 2021 – Toronto, ON) CBC has announced its fall television and streaming schedule using both a slick online video we were invited to watch, along with follow-up media releases. The video began with a brief introduction from Barbara Williams, Executive Vice-President, CBC who said in part, “…we remain focused on serving all Canadians by delivering what no other media company in Canada can offer all in one place: the essential information audiences rely on each and every day, and authentic, engaging entertainment that reflects the diverse, fascinating spirit of our country.” That diversity can be seen in the above promo photo for one of the new series, Strays.

That commitment to diversity was underlined by Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports at CBC when she said “Our new slate of original programming is an embodiment of our promise to better represent and reflect more people, places and perspectives across the country in new ways, and we look forward to sharing this remarkable range of Canadian storytelling.”

The 2021-22 programming schedule for CBC-TV and CBC Gem features over 35 new and returning original series from Canadian creators, producers and storytellers across all genres. Here’s a quick breakdown of some new comedy series coming this fall.

Sort Of (Premieres Tues. Oct. 5 on CBC Gem and Tues. Nov. 9 on CBC TV; eight 30-minute episodes, Sphere Media’s Sienna Films) from creators Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me), is a big-hearted dramatic comedy about Sabi Mehboob (Baig), a fluid millennial who straddles various identities from sexy bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar, to the youngest child in a large Pakistani family, to the de facto parent of a downtown hipster family. Sabi feels like they’re in transition in every aspect of their life, from gender to love to sexuality to family to career. When Sabi’s best friend 7ven (Amanda Cordner) presents them with an opportunity to live and find themself in the “queerest place in the galaxy,” Sabi instead makes the decision to stay and care for the kids they nanny after their mom has a serious bike accident. Do they regret it? Sort of. A coming-of-age story, Sort Of is a show about how each and every one of us is in transition.

Strays (Premieres Tues. Sept. 14 on CBC TV and CBC Gem; ten 30-minute episodes, Thunderbird Entertainment) follows Shannon Ross (Nicole Power) from Kim’s Convenience as the new executive director of the Hamilton East Animal Shelter, where she is boss to an eclectic staff. Now in her 30s, Shannon is ready for a change and new challenges. She’s putting Toronto in the rearview to focus on her new job, new relationships, reuniting with family and learning more about herself. Shannon’s trademark positivity is put to the test as she manages an oddball team, including her apathetic cousin Nikki (Nikki Duval), her over-eager animal care manager Kristian (Frank Cox O’Connell), her overly sheltered office manager Joy (Tina Jung) and the building’s maintenance guy Paul (Tony Nappo), whose straight-faced prison humour keeps everyone on their toes.

Run the Burbs (Winter 2022; thirteen 30-minute episodes, Pier 21 Films) is created by comedian, writer and actor Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience) and his best friend and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon). The series follows a young, bold Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest in the suburbs, featuring Phung as a stay-at-home dad with an entrepreneur wife and two kids.

Son of a Critch (Winter 2022; thirteen 30-minute episodes, Project 10 Productions) is based on the award-winning, best-selling memoir from Mark Critch (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), created by Critch and Tim McAuliffe (The Office (U.S.), Last Man on Earth) and produced by Andrew Barnsley (Schitt’s Creek). This new original comedy is the hilarious and very real story of 11-year-old Mark coming of age in St. John’s, Newfoundland in the 80s. It’s a heartfelt window into the life of a child – much older inside than his 11 years – using comedy and self-deprecation to win friends and connect with the small collection of people in his limited world.

Returning series include Season 29 of This Hour Has 22 Minutes on Tues. Sept. 14; 24 30-minute episodes IoM Media; Season 3 of TallBoyz premieres Winter 2022 with eight 30-minute episodes, Accent Entertainment); Workin’ Moms starts Season 6 in the Winter of 2022 with thirteen 30-minute episodes; Wolf + Rabbit Entertainment), The Hal!fax Comedy Fest launches Season 25 with six 30-minute episodes; Pilot Light Productions); The New Wave of Standup comes from Just For Laughs TV and Season 2 features four 30-minute episodes. Keeping them laughing at CBC, its Season 19 for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival with five sixty-minute episodes from Frantic Films.

In Drama, audience favourites Murdoch Mysteries, Diggstown, Heartland, Coroner and Pretty Hard Cases are back starting in September. New drama to look for includes:

CBC Announces Fall Schedule, image,
Promotional photo from the drama series Moonshine courtesy of CBC

Moonshine (Premieres Tues. Sept. 14; 8×60; Six Eleven Media and eOne) from creator, showrunner and executive producer Sheri Elwood (Call Me Fitz), is a raucous, one-hour dramedy that tells the story of the Finley-Cullens, a dysfunctional clan of adult half-siblings battling for control of the ancestral business, The Moonshine, a ramshackle summer resort on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, two stars on a good day — and that day was in 1979. It’s an epic tale of lust, legacy and lobster, set against the backdrop of financial hardship, insane tourists, small-town intrigue and a long-buried secret that threatens to annihilate the Finley-Cullens once and for all. Featuring an ensemble cast including Jennifer Finnigan (Salvation), Anastasia Phillips (Reign), Emma Hunter (Mr. D), Tom Stevens (Wayward Pines), Alexander Nunez (Avocado Toast), Corrine Koslo (Anne with an E), Peter MacNeill (This Life), Erin Darke (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Farid Yazdani (Suits), Allegra Fulton (The Shape of Water) and Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s).

The Porter is a CBC and BET+ original series starting in the Winter of 2022; 8 sixty-minute episodes; Inferno Pictures and Sphere Media’s Sienna Films) is set in the 1920s and inspired by real events. Co-starring Aml Ameen (I May Destroy You, Yardie), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Star Trek: Discovery, Pretty Hard Cases) and Mouna Traoré (Self Made, The Umbrella Academy), the series follows the true story of railway workers from both Canada and the United States joining together in the fight to give birth to the world’s first Black union. In the midst of the struggle there are loves lives and friendships that suffer and thrive. Set primarily in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit as the world rebuilds after the First World War, The Porter focuses on the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal – known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North.” They’re young, gifted, and Black, from Canada, the Caribbean and the U.S., and they find themselves thrown together in an era that boasts anything is possible. If change isn’t coming for them, they will come for it. Originated and created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon, Travelers) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2, Cardinal), and led by showrunners and executive producers Annmarie Morais (Killjoys, Ransom, American Soul) and Marsha Greene (Private Eyes, Ten Days In The Valley, Mary Kills People), and directors and executive producers Charles Officer (Akilla’s Escape, Ransom, Coroner) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot, Utopia Falls).

The Red (New greenlight, one-hour drama; Eagle Vision and Halfire Entertainment) is a fictional investigative series created and written by Canadian Métis director, writer and producer Marie Clements and inspired by real crimes. The Red follows Payton Thiso (Sarah Podemski) and Gia Jonsson (Sarah Gadon), two women from completely different backgrounds, who find themselves thrown together inside the newly formed Indigenous Task Force, looking for answers while unearthing the systemic racism within the criminal and social justice systems. Can these broken systems be fixed? Or do we need to build new systems from scratch?

There is lots more including a new reality show hosted by Shaun Majumder titled Race Against the Tide, where the world’s best sand sculptors try to finish their work before the unstoppable Bay of Fundy tide returns to wipe the beach clean. There are new documentaries, sports programming, a full slate of programs on the GEM streaming service. We’ll look at some of those features later in the year before those shows are set to premiere.

Reid Price

Reid Price, actor,
Left to right: Reid Price, Maya Henry, Robb Wells and Amy Groening from Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor.

Reid Price is an actor, screenwriter and composer. He plays the role of Byron in the 2021 feature Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

The Chris Watts Story (TV-2020)
Bone Cage (2020)
Wooden Nickels (2020, short)
Feelin’ Squirrelly (2020, short)
Hardboiled (2021, short)
Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor (2021)
Shush (2021)
Second Wedding (2021, short)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Rare Breed (2014)
Mr. D (2018)
Diggstown (2019)

Trailer Park Boys: Jail (2021)
Chapelwaite (2021)

Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor, movie, poster,

Maya V. Henry

Festival News from All Over, image,
Maya V. Henry in a publicity still for Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor.

Maya V. Henry is an actor, producer and director. Her 2021 film, Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor, was selected to open Torontos Inside Out Film Festival in May 2021. We list her credits as an actor first.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

For Nonna Anna (2017, short)
Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor (2021)

Credits as a Director:
Transient Happiness (2017, short)

Credits as a Producer:
Progression (2014)
Collide (Executive Producer, 2016)

Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor, movie, poster,

Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor

90 minutes – Drama, Family, LBGTQ
Festival release date: May 27, 2021 – Inside Out Film Festival, World Premiere
Release date: TBA
Production company: Picture Plant
Canadian distributor:

When a young woman with a startling resemblance to her mother arrives home for her mother’s funeral, one family begins an odyssey toward understanding. Dawn returns home to Nova Scotia to mourn the death of her mother and repair the estrangement with her father, John Andrew. An ancient tractor becomes the focus for the mechanically-minded Dawn, but her father’s long-simmering resentments heighten tensions. Watching his daughter work to restore the tractor, he realises that reclaiming this relationship depends on his own coming out: supporting Dawn publicly and fighting malicious small-town transphobia. Shelley Thompson’s feature directorial debut follows a father and daughter as they cautiously rebuild their relationship and come to understand the mechanics of the heart.

Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor, movie, poster,



Terry Greenlaw
Shelley Thompson

Executive Producer:

Carol Whiteman


Shelley Thompson


Shelley Thompson


Kevin A. Fraser
Frank Adam Novak (Drone)


Amy Mielke


Scott Macmillan

Production Designer:

Laura MacNutt

Costume Designer:

Denise Barrett

Cast: Roles:

Maya V. Henry
Robb Wells
Amy Groening
Reid Price
Taylor Olson
Breton Lalama
Oliver Boyle
Hans Böggild
Francine Deschepper
Monte Murray
Stoo Metz
Richie Wilcox
Abigail Hudson

John Andrew
Bad Girl at Funeral Home

Taylor Baruchel

Taylor Baruchel, actress,

B: October 26, 1987 in Montréal, Québec

Full name is Taylor Shannon Baruchel. Taylor is the sister of Jay Baruchel and appeared in his 2009 film The Trotsky.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Who Gets the House? (1999)

An Evening with Rosanne Seaborn (TV-2001)
Edgar and Jane (2002, short)
The Point (2006)
Prom Wars: Love is a Battlefield (2008)
Picture This (TV-2008)
The Trotsky (2009)

Let the Game Begin (2010)

TV Series – Cast:
Fred’s Head (voice, 2008)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
The Foundation (2009)

The Trotsky, movie, poster

Xavier Rivard-Désy

Xavier Rivard-Désy, actor,

B: November, 2003 in Québec

In addition to his work in film and television, Xavier Rivard-Désy is also a stage actor. A few of his theatre credits include Le songe d’une nuit d’été (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) playing the role of Bottom in 2017, L’Oiseau vert playing the role of Renzo in 2018, and Les Misérables, in the role of Marius in 2020.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Le Club Vinland (2019)
Dors-tu (2020, short)
Maria Chapdelaine (2020)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
District 31 (2020)
L’Heure Bleue (2020)

Web series:
Club Vinland (2019)

Xavier Rivard-Désy is represented by:
Agence Kaboom

Phone: 514-448-0388
Email: info(at)agencekaboom.com

Maria Chapdelaine, 2020 movie, poster,

Oliver Boyle

Oliver Boyle, actor,

B: 2012 in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Oliver Boyle is the younger brother of actress Charlie Boyle. He made his big screen debut in the 2019 comedy feature Spinster.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Spinster (2019)

Feel the Beat (2020)
The Good House (2020)
Night Blooms (2020
Bone Cage (2020)
Look at Me (2021)
Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor (2021)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Mr. D (2016)
The Hour Has 22 Minutes (2018, 2019)
Titans (2019)

Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor, movie, poster,

Amy Groening

Amy Groening, actress,

B: in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Amy Groening began her career in a series of short films in 2008 and upped her profile by collaborating with grindhouse filmmakers Astron-6 which landed her first lead role in their 2011 feature film Father’s Day.

Official website.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Cool Guys (2008, short)
Punch Out (2008, short)
Customer Relations (2009)
Fireman (2009, short)

Tales from Makeout Point: Vinnie’s Tale (2010, short)
Goon (2011)
Father’s Day (2011)
Horizon (TV-2013)
Her with Me (2013, short)
Teen Lust (2014)
The Void (2016)
Hopeless Romantic (2018)
Halloween Party (2019)
My One & Only (TV-2019)
Spinster (2019)

The Secret Ingredient (TV-2020)
Wouldn’t It Be Nice? (2020, short)
Bone Cage (2020)
Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor (2021)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Todd and the Book of Pure Evil (2012)
Reign (2014)
Backpackers (2015)
Mr. D (2018)
Frankie Drake Mysteries (2018)

Spinster, movie, poster,

Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor, movie, poster,