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Canadian Screen Awards – Night 3

Canadian Screen Awards Go Virtual, image,
Photo of the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards © 2019 by Ralph Lucas for Northernstars.ca

Canadian Screen Awards – Night 3
by Staff

(May 28, 2020 – Toronto,ON) It was Night 3 last night for the much diminished Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs), and has often happened in the past late TV shows did very well. That is late as in no longer in production. Schitt’s Creek, Anne With An E and The Baroness von Sketch Show were all honoured and CTV’s Cardinal came out on top with seven of the coveted trophies, including best drama series, best writing for a drama series and best lead actor for Bill Campbell and lead actress for Karine Vanasse.



Schitt’s Creek won six CSAs including best comedy series, and stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara saw awards for best lead actor and lead actress in a comedy. Of note, the series received a record 26 nominations. It was alos nominated for four Emmy Awards in 2019. 

As previously reported The Baroness von Sketch Show will air its fifth and final season later this year and took five CSAs last night. Co-creators and co-stars Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen shared awards for best sketch comedy show and best writing in a variety or sketch comedy.

The CBC-Netflix series Anne With An E started the night with 17 nominations in the drama category and earned five CSAs for best photography, costume design, original music, production design and best guest performance in a drama for Dalmar Abuzeid. He played the role of Sebastian “Bash” Lecroix, the first black character to appear on the show.
Letterkenny, cast, image,
Crave TV’s Letterkenny, now in its 8th season, picked up two awards, for best comedy writing and direction and Global TV’s Private Eyes and CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries tied for the Golden Screen Award for TV Drama/Comedy, which is given to the most-watched program, based on TV ratings.



Finally, Corus Entertainment’s Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey won for best TV movie and best writing for a TV movie, while Global’s Mary Kills People saw awards for best stunt, best direction in a drama series as well as best stunt co-ordination.



Tonight is the last night of the 2020 virtual awards shows, being carried by YouTube, Facebook, Twitter @thecdnacademy and on the Academy website itself. This is the biggie where awards for Cinematic Arts will be announced by past CSA winner Théodore Pellérin.

The Accountant of Auschwitz

78 minutes – Documentary, Holocaust
Language: English, German (with subtitles)
Festival release date: April 29, 2018 (Hot Docs, World Premiere)
Release date:
DVD release date: April 15, 2019
Production company: TLNT Productions
Canadian distributor: Aqute Media Inc

In 2015, the trial of 94-year-old Oskar Gröning, nicknamed “The Accountant of Auschwitz,” began in Luneberg, a small town in Germany. During the three years he worked at the infamous concentration camp, Gröning was responsible for cataloging the property extracted from more than 300,000 victims. The Gröning trial, held 70 years after the end of the war, revived the eternal debate on the need and the way to punish Nazi war criminals. Several speakers continue to wonder why, of the 800,000 SS who survived the war, only 124 have been brought to justice.



The Accountant of AuschwitzThe Accountant of Auschwitz
Crew:
Producer: Ric Esther Bienstock
Ricki Gurwitz
Executive Producer:

Anna Junger
Randi Kirshenbaum
Berry Meyerowitz
Jordan Nahmias
Jeff Sackman

Associate Producer:

Shael Rosenbaum
Sari Stitt

Director:

Matthew Shoychet

Screenwriter:

Ricki Gurwitz

Cinematographer:

Luke McCutcheon

Editor:

Ted Husband

Composer:

Ken Myhr

Cast:Roles:

Oskar Gröning
Jeff Ansell
Hedy Bohm
Hans-Jürgen Brennecke
Alan M. Dershowitz
Lawrence Douglas
Max Eisen
Kai Feldhaus
Benjamin Ferencz
Bill Glied
Kirsten Goetze
Ursula Haverbeck
Hans Holtermann
Rainer Höß
Eva Mozes Kor
Edith Raim
Jens Rommel
Eli Rosenbaum
Heinrich Rothman
Peter Singer
Astrid Steinert
Thomas Walther
Rebecca Wittman
Thomas Wulff
Efraim Zuroff
John Demjanjuk

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Canadian Screen Awards – 2020

Canadian Screen Awards 2020, image,
Photo at the 2018 Canadian SCreen Awards by Ralph Lucas for Northernstars.ca

Canadian Screen Awards 2020
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(May 25, 2020 – Toronto, ON) A totally reimagined Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs) launches tonight. Normally I’d be making sure my camera battery was fully charged, that I had the backup battery with me, an extra capture card, and a protein bar just in case I needed a power hit. Over the course of a normal week in the life of the CSAs I’d shoot upwards of 450 frames of actors, directors, screenwriters, animators, producers and all the people who make it down the red carpet and then to the awards wall.

It can be too long, there’s too much waiting, usually no chairs for us aging media types but always fun to see the regular cast of characters who cover these types of events as well as a handful of people from in front of and behind the cameras that have become, if not friends, familiar faces over the past many, many years. I covered my first awards show in 2006. This year is very very different. There is no show. 

Thanks to an abundance of caution the Academy behind the CSAs decided to confront the COVID-19 pandemic by making sure no one would be put at risk. The final night’s awards are usually held in what is now called Meridian Hall, formerly the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, its capacity is listed as 3,191. You can imagine the outcome. This year the awards will be handed out in a series of virtual presentations that begin at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time each night on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter @thecdnacademy or on the Academy website itself.

Here’s what you can see over the next four nights:

Monday, May 25:
7:00 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Broadcast News  
(Narrator: Lloyd Robertson)
7:30 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Sports Programming 
(Narrator: Herbie Kuhn)
8:00 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Documentary and Factual
(Narrator: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers)



Tuesday, May 26:

7:00 PM ET: : Canadian Screen Awards for Children’s & Youth Programming, Presented by Shaw Rocket Fund
(Narrator: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan)
7:30 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Lifestyle and Reality
(Narrator: Emma Hunter)



Wednesday, May 27:

7:00 PM ET: ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Crafts in Scripted Programs 
(Narrator: Evany Rosen & Kayla Lorette)
8:00 PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Scripted Programs & Performance
(Narrator: Eric McCormack)



Thursday, May 28:
7:00PM ET: Canadian Screen Awards for Cinematic Arts
(Narrator: Théodore Pellerin)

Click here to see who and what has been nominated across the various categories for the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards.

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.

Rodrigue Jean

Rodrigue Jean, screenwriter, director,

B: in New Brunswick

Rodrigue Jean is a screenwriter, director and producer. After completing his studies in biology, sociology and literature, he went to London to study dance and choreography. He made his first short film, La Déroute in 1989. Lost Song was his third feature film. We list his credits as a Director first.

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

La Déroute (1989)

La voix des rivières (1995)
La mémoire de l’eau (1996)
L’appel (1998)
Full Blast (1999)
Yellowknife (2002)
L’Extrême frontière (2006)
Hommes à louer (2007, documentary)
Lost Song (2008)

Épopée (2011, short)
Love in the Time of Civil War (2014)
The Acrobat (2019)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
Yellowknife (2002)
Lost Song (2008)

Épopée (2011, short)
The Acrobat (2019)

Credits as a Producer:
Yellowknife (2002)
Lost Song (2008)

Love in the Time of Civil War (2014)


LostSong, movie, poster,

Baroness von Sketch Takes a Bow

Baroness von Sketch, image,
Baroness von Sketch Show at the Canadian Screen Awards © 2019 R.A.Lucas

Baroness von Sketch Takes a Bow
by Staff

(May 21, 2020 – Toronto, ON) The co-creators of the award-winning CBC comedy series Baroness von Sketch Show, Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen, have announced that when the series returns for its fifth season this fall, it will be the last season. In fact the last 8 30-minute shows were shot in Toronto last fall.

The Baronesses released the following statement regarding their decision:

After five fantastic years, we have decided that Season 5 of Baroness von Sketch Show will be our last. We are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to share our deepest embarrassments, existential angst and daily observations with you, our fans. 

We hope you’ll enjoy Season 5 of Baroness von Sketch Show. 

Love, 
Carolyn, Meredith, Aurora and Jennifer.

“Baroness von Sketch Show broke new ground with their cutting edge sketch comedy, capturing audiences and acclaim in Canada and the U.S.,” said Sally Catto, General Manager of Entertainment, Factual and Sports, CBC. “Season after season, their sketches have continued to be clever and bold, and reflect the perspectives and experiences of women in refreshingly authentic new ways. Jennifer, Carolyn, Aurora and Meredith have changed the landscape of Canadian comedy forever, and we are so very proud of their achievement.”

“We are immensely proud of Baroness von Sketch Show and know that the series will be enjoyed by millions of people for years to come,” said Jamie Brown, Frantic Films, CEO and Baroness Executive Producer. “We were lucky to discover this dream team of fantastic writers and performers whose creativity knew no bounds over five fantastic seasons.”

Currently nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards including Best Sketch Comedy Show & Ensemble Performance, Best Direction and Best Writing, winners for these categories will be announced virtually on Wednesday, May 27 beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The virtual presentation will be live-streamed on the Canadian Academy Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels, as well as at academy.ca.

Canadians looking to revisit the first four seasons of the Baroness von Sketch Show can watch on the free CBC Gem streaming service. 

The series is also broadcast on IFC in the United States.

More CDN Films at Hot Docs 2020

More CDN Films at Hot Docs 2020, image,
Image from L.A. Teatime courtesy of Hot Docs.

More CDN Films at Hot Docs 2020
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(May 20, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Canadian films are scattered across this year’s Hot Docs Festival, which starts in just three day’s time. There are 15 programs and a total of 135 official 2020 selections. Last year Hot Docs presented 234 films. Today we’re going to take brief looks at a handful of films in various programs. In addition to the Canadian spectrum, which we touched on briefly yesterday, today we’ll look at films from the Artscape program, Markers, Special Presentations and World Showcase.

Fake Art on CBC, image,

In the Artscapes program, look for a film that becomes a Big Ideas subject. Directed by Barry Avrich and titled Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art, streams in the festival’s regular online schedule of May 28 to June 24, but if you’re really into art and fascinated about fakes in the very expensive world of art collecting, then mark June 2nd on your calendar. That’s the day the “Big Ideas presented by Scotia Wealth Management” will delve into the big business of art fraud and the art of the con. Speakers include Maria Konnikova, author of The Confidence Game; Don Thompson, author of The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market; Patricia Cohen, reporter with the The New York Times, and director Barry Avrich. This is a special live event scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Also see: Fake Art on CBC.

In the Markers program, which is described as “Films that make their mark by pushing the boundaries of documentary,” look for the Canadian film L.A. Tea Time. Canadian filmmaker Sophie Bédard-Marcotte finds herself consumed with a desire to meet her idol, director and writer Miranda July. She escapes another bitter Montreal winter and heads south with her cinematographer, Isabelle Stachtchenko. On their cross-country trek, they wander through the heart of the USA, recording their exploits and embracing the cinematic scope of the landscape. When crossing paths with a wide range of colourful characters, Sophie’s openness allows for an honest vulnerability that exposes a modern America through the eyes of a Canadian millennial outsider. Described by Alexander Rogalski for Hot Docs, L.A. Tea Time “is a whimsical travelogue that’s seeking big answers, but never takes itself too seriously, as it jumps from a redneck roadhouse to a New Age meditation session. Like the best joyrides, it’s more about the journey than the destination.” L.A. Tea Time will be available for streaming in Ontario from May 28 to June 24.

Canadian docs in the Special Presentations program include a particularly odd film They Call Me Dr. Miami. It’s from director Jean-Simon Chartier who was at Hot Docs in 2018 with his feature Playing Hard about a powerhouse Montreal game studio that bets its future on what it hopes will become its next blockbuster. It was a serious look a video game creation. His new film is a serious look at someone who seems to have a less-than-serious approach to his profession of plastic surgery. Michael Salzhauer has built a successful private practice in south Florida, catering to a beach-based clientele obsessed with attaining the “perfect” body through breast augmentation and Brazilian butt lifts. But his millions of social media followers know him as Dr. Miami, an entrepreneur who embraces hip hop and Snapchat as a way to bring new audiences into his operating room and expand his brand. At first glance he seems like a natural result of an airbrushed selfie-obsessed culture. Yet when he’s not at his clinic, he’s a dedicated husband, father of five and practicing Orthodox Jew who observes the Sabbath. NOTE: They Call Me Dr. Miami screens on a shorter schedule than many other films, May 28 to June 6.

Also in the Special Presentations program, look for Meat The Future, which we’ve already covered when it aired as part of Hot Docs on CBC. It will stream from May 28 to June 24.

In the World Showcase 9/11 Kids is a Canadian doc directed by Elizabeth St. Philip. Nearly two decades have passed since the fall of New York’s twin towers. One of the outstanding momenets in a week of remarkable television coverage was the shots of a White House aide whispering into George W. Bush’s ear about what had just happened. St. Philip trains her camera on the kids in that class and wonders what has become of this classroom of gifted, predominantly African American children? 9/11 Kids streams from May 28 to June 24.

You can find all the films in all the programs at this year’s Hot Docs online, which begins May 23.

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.

Baroness von Sketch Show

Baroness von Sketch, image,
Some of the cast & crew of Baroness von Sketch Show at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards.

30 minutes – Series, Comedy, Satire
Date of first broadcast: June 14, 2016
Production company: Frantic Films
Originating Network: CBC

Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen created and star in a series that takes a comedic look at our narcissistic contemporary culture. Fast paced and irreverent, Baroness von Sketch Show is a single-camera comedy, shot on location, that offers a witty take on everyday concerns. From the politics of ordering a coffee to entitled coworkers to open relationships, this satirical sketch show holds a fun house mirror up to modern life. It has won Canadian Screen Awards for Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series (2017, 2018), Best Writing, Variety or Sketch Comedy (2018) and Best Performance, Sketch Comedy (2018) for the ensemble. Additional awards include a 2018 ACTRA Toronto Award for Outstanding Performance – Ensemble and a 2018 Canadian Comedy Award for Best TV Show.

NOTE: This production uses many actors to play a specific character in one or two episodes. We list only the main cast for this series.
Also see: Baroness von Sketch Takes a Bow.

2016 – 6 episodes
2017 – 7 episodes
2018 – 10 episodes
2019 – 10 episodes
2020 – 8 episodes



Baroness von Sketch ShowBaroness von Sketch Show
Crew:
Executive Producer: Aurora Browne
Jamie Brown
Meredith MacNeill
Carolyn Taylor
Jennifer Whalen
Supervising Producer:

Graham Ludlow
Jeff Peeler

Line Producer:

Andrew Cullen
Allan Levine

Director:

Jordan Canning
Jeremy LaLonde
Yael Staav
Aleysa Young

Screenwriter:

Aurora Browne
Meredith MacNeill
Carolyn Taylor
Jennifer Whalen
Jen Goodhue
Monica Heisey
Elvira Kurt
Dawn Whitwell
Mae Martin
Nelu Handa
Ann Pornel
Evany Rosen
Donna-Michelle St.Bernard
Mariko Tamaki
Alex Tindal
Diane Flacks
Sabrina Jalees
Duncan McKenzie
Ify Chiwetelu
Zoe Whittall

Cinematographer:

Chris Mably
Catherine Lutes
Nick Haight

Editor:

Mike Fly Fleischhaker
Jeremy LaLonde

Composer:

Don Pyle
Ohad Benchetrit
Brendan Canning

Production Designer:

Nazgol Goshtasbpour

Costume Designer:

Jenna Wright

Cast:Roles:

Aurora Browne
Meredith MacNeill
Carolyn Taylor
Jennifer Whalen

Various
Various
Various
Various

CDN Films at Hot Docs – 2020

CDN Films at Hot Docs – 2020
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(May 19, 2020 – Toronto, ON) As we have these past many years, it’s time to take a look at the Canadian films screening online during the 2020 Hot Docs Festival. Hot Docs divides its films into a number of set programs. This year there are 15 programs ranging from Artscapes to World Showcase. There are a total of 135 official 2020 selections at this year’s online festival. By comparison, last year Hot Docs presented 234 films. Canadian films are not confined to the Canadian Spectrum program, but that’s usually where we start.

Although they are Canadian, some of the films in this program are not set in Canada. Don’t Worry, The Doors Will Open is a perfect example. Directed by Oksana Karpovych, who received an Honourable Mention, Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award this year, the film is set in the Ukraine and focuses on the people who use the Soviet-era trains to get around the country. Although her approach is non-judgemental, it is clear the people who ride the rails are never sure if they will run on time, or breakdown somewhere during the journey, or if the seat they find is covered with frost in winter. It runs 75 minutes, has English sub-titles and is a Canadian-Ukraine co-production and this is its Ontario premiere. Unlike the actual festival, where this film may have had three screenings at two or three different cinemas, Don’t Worry, The Doors Will Open will be available to stream May 28 to June 24.

Stateless is a US-Canada coproduction and is set in the Dominican Republic. Michèle Stephenson tells the story of attorney Rosa Iris who came to attention during one of the bleakest moments in that turbulent nation’s history. Background: In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army, on the basis of anti-Black racism. Fast forward to 2013: the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court strips the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering over 200,000 people without identity, nationality or homeland. Enter Rosa Iris. This is a compelling story in the David-vs-Goliath genre as one passionate individual takes on the crushing resources of the government to change lives and set things right. Stateless runs 95 minutes, is a Canadian premiere and available to stream May 28 to June 24.

Hot Docs, Eddy's Kingdom, image,

Closer to home Eddy’s Kingdom is set in British Columbia’s Okanagan. Literally in Lake Okanagan. Eddy is Eddy Haymour, pictured above. Born in Lebanon, he arrived in Canada in 1955 and built quite a business creating a chain of barbershops in Edmonton. In the early 1970s he bought Rattlesnake Island in Lake Okanagan. His plan was to transform it into a Middle Eastern-themed amusement park, complete with a miniature golf course, submarines and massive camel-shaped ice cream stand. As you might well imagine, he faced an onslaught of legal obstacles and political interference. Now in his 80s, Eddy still hopes to complete his exotic vision. Eddy’s Kingdom is directed by Greg Compton, runs 85 minutes, is an Ontario premiere and is available to stream May 28 to June 24.

Even closer to home, there’s a construction site at the southwest corner of Bathurst and Bloor in Toronto. That’s where the discount bargain retailer Honest Ed’s stood for almost 70 years, wrapping up its business and closing its doors on the last day of the year 2016. There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace is not a warm and fuzzy piece of nostalgia but a critical examination of what’s happening in Toronto, and by extension everywhere, when ground level neighbourhood housing and local stores and restaurants are replaced by luxury high-rise condos and apartment buildings many, if not most of the locals cannot afford. Directed by Lulu Wei, this is a world premiere for the 75-minute There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace, available to stream May 28 to June 10, which is a shorter run than the other films mentioned here.

These are just four of 11 feature films in the Canadian Spectrum. There is more information online. Tomorrow we’ll look at some of the Canadian films screening in other programs at this year’s Hot Docs Festival Online.

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.

Mary Kills People

Mary Kills People, TV series, image,

60 minutes – Crime, Mystery, Euthanasia,
Originating Network: Global TV
Date of first broadcast: January 25, 2017

Season 1: 6 episodes January 25, 2017
Season 2: 6 episodes January 3, 2018
Season 3: 6 episodes March 12, 2019

Caroline Dhavernas plays Dr. Mary Harris, a single mother who works at the emergency department of the Eden General Hospital by day, but who moonlights as an underground angel of death – helping terminally ill patients who want to die and slip away on their own terms. So far she has managed to stay under the radar; but business is booming, and her double life is getting complicated. When her world starts to unravel, Mary realizes she’s going to have to fight dirty if she’s going to stay in the killing game.



Mary Kills PeopleMary Kills People
Crew:
Producer: Norman Denver
Marsha Greene
Executive Producer:

Tara Armstrong
Amy Cameron
Tassie Cameron
Jocelyn Hamilton
Tecca Crosby
Morwyn Brebner
Caroline Dhavernas

Co-Executive Producer:

Holly Dale

Co-Producer:

Marsha Greene
Pat Smith

Supervising Producer:

Lara Azzopardi
Matt Huether
Jane Maggs
Karen Moore

Director:

Holly Dale
Norma Bailey
Kelly Makin
David Wellington
Paul Fox
James Genn

Screenwriter:

Tara Armstrong (Series creator)
Michael Goldbach
Marsha Greene
Tassie Cameron
Lara Azzopardi
Morwyn Brebner
Sherry White
Matt Huether
Jane Maggs
Karen Moore
Chris Roberts

Cinematographer:

Stephen Reizes (2017)
Gavin Smith (2018)
Michael Marshall (2019)

Editor:

Roslyn Kalloo
Lisa Grootenboer
Duncan Christie
Jean Coulombe
Stephen Roque

Composer:

John Rowley

Production Designer:

Ingrid Jurek
Tim Bider

Art Director:

Andrea Kristof (2017)
Kim McQuiston (2018)
Brad Greaves (2019)

Costume Designer:

Sarah Millman

Cast:Roles:

Caroline Dhavernas
Jay Ryan
Richard Short
Abigail Winter
Katie Douglas
Grace Lynn Kung
Sebastien Roberts
Lola Flanery
Scott Cavalheiro
Alexandra Castillo
Rachelle Lefevre
Lyriq Bent
Greg Bryk
Charlotte Sullivan
Karena Evans
Salvatore Antonio
Chad Connell
Jess Salgueiro
Natalie Lisinska
Sadie Mabbott
Karen LeBlanc
Benz Antoine

Dr. Mary Harris
Ben Wesley
Des Bennett
Jess Geller
Naomi Malik
Annie Chun
Kevin
Cambie
Detective Hull
Louise
Olivia Bloom
Frank
Grady
Nicole Mitchell
Heather
Brendan Challis
Dr. Bobby Dunn
Larissa
Carly Dixon
Maya
Bordham
Judge Lucas Grant

Film Festival Updates

Film Festival Updates, image,

Film Festival Updates
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(May 14, 2020 – Toronto, ON) In the grand scheme of things, whether or not film festivals go forward in the time of a pandemic amounts to a hill of beans. That said, in a time of pandemic the continuance of as much normalcy as possible is a positive underpinning to an otherwise bleak existence. There is a lot of news out of various film festivals.

The ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto will celebrate its fifth anniversary May 20-24 with a series of online screenings and Q&As. The festival will showcase a dozen films about Deaf and disability cultures and by filmmakers and actors with disabilities and/or who are Deaf. Canadian films include A Provocation on Wheels, and the closing night screening of From My Side of the Spectrum is by 16 year old Aiden Lee. Click here for more information.
Canadian Film Fest, poster,
The Canadian Film Fest (CFF) has announced a revision to its schedule of films airing on Super Channel from the version originally announced. Click here for the up-to-date schedule of all films currently airing.

The CFF has also programmed a terrific series of Master Classes for filmmakers and details for that are available online now.

The Oakville Festivals of Film & Art has moved online. For its 7th year they have selected a line-up of over 60 features, documentaries, and short films that you can watch from the comfort of your couch. They are once again making available a discounted All Access Pass, but that offer ends this Sunday, May 17. The All Access Pass for the June 17-22 festival online is $44.99, which provides access to all screenings during their first ever six-day festival, as well as all Q&As, panels, and special events. Passes can be purchased here. NOTE: Single tickets go on sale on Monday, May 18th and the full list of festival films will be released that same week.

The largest festival at this time of year is Hot Docs. Over 135 official 2020 selections will screen as part of Hot Docs Festival Online, which starts May 28. Ontario audiences will be able to watch doc premieres, enjoy pre-recorded filmmaker Q&As, and partake in virtual live events.

Starting May 21, pass holders, ticket package holders and Doc Soup subscribers can book their films, and Members can purchase single tickets. Single tickets will be on sale May 26. There is more information on the Hot Docs website.

In other news, The Toronto True Crime Film Festival has been cancelled.

Normally, at the end of an article like this we would direct you to our film festival pages but this year keeping the information updated has been chaotic. We are working on those pages this month.

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.

Red Rover

100 minutes – Comedy, Romance
Festival release date: 2018 – Whistler Film Festival
Release date: May 12, 2020 (see below)
Production Company: Story Attic, Lithium Studios
Canadian distributor: IndieCan Entertainment

Damon (Kristian Bruun) spends his waking hours searching for that elusive something. Whether it’s for deeper meaning, love, or just “treasure” on the beach with his metal detector, but to no avail. So when Damon meets an offbeat musician named Phoebe (Cara Gee) handing out flyers for a one way trip to Mars, a bond quickly forms. She’s going to help him find that thing he is looking for by sending him 33.9 million miles away, even though what he needs might be right in front of him.

Red Rover was selected to open the 2019 Canadian Film Fest.
Cinemas were closed across Canada in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Red Rover was released on iTunes, Google Play, Vimeo VOD, Bell VOD and Shaw VOD on May 12, 2020



Red RoverRed Rover
Crew:
Producer: Shane Belcourt
Duane Murray
Executive Producer:

Mike MacMillan
Chad Williams

Associate Producer:

Michelle St. John

Director:

Shane Belcourt

Screenwriter:

Shane Belcourt
Duane Murray

Cinematographer:

Keesic Douglas
Shane Belcourt

Editor:

Luke Higginson

Composer:

Anthony William Wallace

Production Designer:

David Hannan

Costume Designer:

Carolee Custus

Cast:Roles:

Kristian Bruun
Cara Gee
Meghan Heffern
Anna Hopkins
Morgan David Jones
Joshua Peace
Sugith Varughese
Laura Wilson
Amanda Armagon
Richard Lee

Damon
Phoebe
Beatrice
Maya
Mark
Brad
Gopi
Network Executive
Power Broker
Ikea Builder

Stacey Donen

Stacey Donen, filmmaker,

Stacey Donen programmed Canadian cinema for The Toronto International Film Festival from 1999 to 2006. Also with the Festival Group he was the original programme co-ordinator of Canada’s Top Ten, and a programme consultant for Film Circuit where he programmed the Canadian Short Film Showcase and initiated special screenings in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. Donen was the Director of Programming at The Royal Theatre in Toronto for seven years, was the founding director of programming for the Voices Forward Festival, programmed a special Canadian sidebar at FebioFest in Prague and Les Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois, and from 2009 to 2011 was the Artistic Director of the Whistler Film Festival. We list his credits as a producer unless otherwise noted.

Also see: Canadian Filmmakers Focus on Isolation.

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

Lilly (1993)
Chinese Chocolate (1995)
The Grace of God (1998)
The Eternal Husband (1999)

Sockeye (Executive Producer, 2012)
Mourning Has Broken (Executive Producer, 2013)
Hotel Congress (Executive Producer, 2014)


Canadian Filmmakers Focus on Isolation

Canadian Filmmakers Focus on Isolation

Canadian Filmmakers Focus on Isolation
by Staff

(May 12, 2020 – Toronto, ON) A group of acclaimed and esteemed Canadian filmmakers are participating in a capsule collection film project entitled Greetings from Isolation. Created by Canadian industry veteran Stacey Donen in the hopes of finding inspiration and enlightenment from our shared human experience of isolation under COVID-19, the project will include new and original works filmed while living in isolation from Anita Doron (The Breadwinner), John Greyson (Lilies), Richard Fung (Re:Orientations), Igor Drljaca (The Waiting Room), Sadaf Faroughi (Ava), Ann Marie Fleming (Window Horses), Nadia Litz (The People Garden), and André Turpin (Une crabe dans la tête) among others.

“A few weeks ago, I began my involuntary new life as an at-home kindergarten teacher with my 5 year-old Sophie, who incidentally thinks I am pretty boring,” said Stacey Donen. “With the few minutes of the day not building forts, struggling with origami, or watching Buster Keaton movies, I reached out to a group of my filmmaker friends to gauge their interest in participating in this project. What’s happening around us is unprecedented, momentous, and frankly hard to believe or understand. All around the world we find ourselves forcibly separated from one another. With our extraordinary new everyday routines, connecting with one another is more important than ever.”


There are 45 participating filmmakers from across the country creating films ranging from 2 to 5 minutes in length, across all genres, including fiction, documentary, essay, and video diary, with more filmmakers expected to come on board in the coming weeks. Each filmmaker will use their own phone or personal camera and anything else that is available to them in their living space, with no budget attached. Greetings from Isolation is operating with no funding attached. Should any revenue be generated in the future from the project, all proceeds will be donated to Food Banks Canada.

Participating filmmakers will be updated regularly and the collection of films is online now.


Rogers Audience Award at Hot Docs Online

Hot Docs, image,

Rogers Audience Award at Hot Docs Online
by Staff

(May 12, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Hot Docs has announced that the Rogers Audience Award and accompanying cash prizes totalling $50,000 CDN, courtesy of Rogers Group of Funds, will be presented at this year’s Hot Docs Festival Online, May 28-June 6. Introduced at the 2017 Hot Docs Festival, the Award and cash prize have traditionally been given to the Canadian feature documentary screened at the Hot Docs Festival that receives the highest average rating as determined by audience poll. This year, the Award will honour the top five Canadian documentaries in the audience poll and will present each director with a cash prize of $10,000 CDN.

Our change in approach this year is to support more of Canada’s outstanding documentary filmmakers during this challenging time for the entire artistic community and our homegrown production industry,” said Robin Mirsky, Executive Director, Rogers Group of Funds.  “Canada has a long and successful history in producing outstanding documentaries that have the power to strengthen our culture, change perspectives, and drive social change. The Rogers Group of Funds is proud to continue its partnership with Hot Docs Festival and recognize the terrific work by these filmmakers.”

“Rogers Group of Funds has been a long-time supporter of Hot Docs and also an outstanding champion of Canada’s documentary community, and we cannot thank them enough for their generosity,” said Brett Hendrie, Executive Director of Hot Docs. “We’re thrilled to be able to partner with them to celebrate and honour the creative work of Canadian filmmakers with this Award, especially in these uncertain times.”
 
Feature-length documentaries screening as part of Hot Docs Festival Online that have a Canadian director and are CAVCO certified will be eligible for the Rogers Audience Award. Online voting will take place during the Festival, May 28 – June 6, with electronic ballots being available to audience members who stream the eligible films. One ballot per stream will be issued. Ballots will be tallied and the winning five films with the highest average scores will be announced at an online live event on Sunday, June 7.
 
The annual Hot Docs Festival, which was slated for April 30-May 10, was postponed on March 13 due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. On May 5, Hot Docs announced that Hot Docs Festival Online will offer more than 135 official selections for at-home audiences to stream directly from www.hotdocs.ca on its recently launched Hot Docs at Home TVOD platform. Hot Docs Festival Online runs May 28-June 6, with a majority of films being available for extended post-Festival viewing until June 24. The film line-up is available online.

CTV Promises a Hot Hot Summer

Once Were Brothers, image,
Publicity Still for Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band courtesy of TIFF

CTV Promises a Hot Hot Summer
by Staff

(May 11, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Building on a strong spring season, and with viewership surging for the network’s primetime schedule, CTV has anounced the first wave of new and returning series headlining the network’s sizzling summer lineup – headlined by the new, high-octane, physical competition series Ultimate Tag, airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and everywhere CTV content can be found, beginning May 20. The new series, co-hosted by NFL superstar sibling trio JJ, TJ, and Derek Watt, is based on the classic playground game of Chase.

Additionally, CTV also announced the world broadcast network premiere of the Crave Original feature documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band airing Sunday, May 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV. The documentary was executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer, Peter Raymont and Ron Howard and directed by Canadian filmmaker Daniel Roher.

Returning to the CTV schedule are fan favourites including the hit dance competition series World of Dance (May 26) with Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough, and NE-YO, who introduce new game-changing twists this season including a “Callback Vote” and “Blind Battle”; and the celebrity-filled game show Match Game (June 7), hosted by Alec Baldwin.

Viewers will also get set to say goodbye this summer with the fifth and final season of Blindspot currently airing Thursdays on CTV, and the seventh and final season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (May 27) set to anchor Wednesday nights. Sundays will also get hotter as CTV presents a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe each week, Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT, beginning June 7.

Plus, CTV and WE honour graduates and educators across Canada with the previously announced event special WE CELEBRATE: CLASS OF 2020 (June 6).

“The first wave of our summer programming kicks off a strategic schedule with new content landing Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays,” said Mike Cosentino, President, Content and Programming, Bell Media. “Key summer franchise programming will bridge our schedule into fall to ensure CTV remains the home of can’t-miss television, night after night.”

CTV’s Summer 2020 Premiere Dates:

All times are ET/PT, and dates are subject to change. Visit CTV.ca to confirm local broadcast times.

Thursday, May 14
10 p.m. – BLINDSPOT (CTV) – FINAL SEASON / NEW EPISODE

Wednesday, May 20
9 p.m. – ULTIMATE TAG (CTV) – NEW SERIES

Sunday, May 24
8 p.m. – ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND (CTV) – WORLD BROADCAST NETWORK TELEVISION PREMIERE

Tuesday, May 26
10 p.m. – WORLD OF DANCE (CTV)Wednesday, May 27
10 p.m. – MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (CTV) – FINAL SEASON

Saturday, June 6
8 p.m. – WE CELEBRATE: CLASS OF 2020 (CTV) – NEW SPECIAL

Sunday, June 7
7 p.m. – Marvel Movie Event: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (CTV)
10 p.m. – MATCH GAME (CTV)

Sunday, June 14
7 p.m. – Marvel Movie Event: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (CTV)

Sunday, June 21
7 p.m. – Marvel Movie Event: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (CTV)

Pierre Sarrazin

Pierre Sarrazin, producer,

Pierre Sarrazin was a journalist and producer of television documentaries with CTV’s W-5 and CBC’s The Journal before moving on to write and produce his first feature film La Florida. He co-created the series The City, for which he Executive Produced 27 of the 33 episodes and wrote two of them. He Produced and/or Executive Produced seven movies for the CTV network including After the Harvest, which was directed by Jeremy Podeswa and starred Sam Shepard. Doomstown won a Gemini Award for best television movie. His productions have won multiple awards and La Florida, co-written and co-produced with Suzette Couture, received the Golden Reel Award for the highest-grossing movie in Canada. We list his credit as a Producer first.

Also see: Michael Sarrazin.
Also see: Company website.

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

La Florida (1993)
The City (TV-1999)
The Sheldon Kennedy Story (TV-1999)

After the Harvest (TV-2001)
The Life (TV-2004)
Une vie de chat (VR-2004, documentary)
A Tribute to the King (VR-2005, documentary)
The Stranger I Married (TV-2005)
Doomstown (TV-2005)
The Terrorist Next Door (TV-2008)

Stay With Me (TV-2011)

TV Series:
The City (1999-2000)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
La Florida (1993)

TV Series:
The City (1999)


The Sheldon Kennedy Story, poster,

Jean-Simon Chartier

Jean-Simon Chartier, director ,

Jean-Simon Chartier began his career in advertising, then became a journalist. After travelling through Latin America and Southeast Asia, he decided to become a documentary filmmaker and started the company MC2 Communication Media. The 2012 feature documentary Prix des mots, was released in English as Silence is Gold and followed the twists and turns of judicial proceedings pitting Canadian mining companies Barrick Gold and Banro against author Alain Deneault, his co-writers and publisher Éditions Écosociété, following the 2008 release of the book Noir Canada, which raised troubling questions about the controversial practices of Canadian mining companies in Africa. We list Jean-Simon Chartier’s credits as a Director first.

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

Encountering Burning Man (2010)
Sister Violaine (2012, short)
Alléluia (2012)
Marchands de Bonheur (2015)
Playing Hard 2018)
Corps à la carte (2018)

They Call Me Dr. Miami (2020)

TV Series:
Into the fortress (2017, mini-Series)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
Têtes à Claques: une histoire unbelievable (2008)

Encountering Burning Man (2010)
Sister Violaine (2012, short)
Alléluia (2012)
Marchands de Bonheur (2015)
Playing Hard 2018)
Corps à la carte (2018)

They Call Me Dr. Miami (2020)

TV Series:
Into the fortress (2017, mini-Series)

Credits as a Producer:
Têtes à Claques: une histoire unbelievable (2008)

Encountering Burning Man (2010)
Esperanza P.Q. 2012)
Le prix des mots (2012)
Sister Violaine (2012, short)
Alléluia (2012)
Brave New River (Executive Producer, 2013)
Marchands de Bonheur (2015)
Living with Giants (Executive Producer, 2016)
PLG: At the Top of the Ramp (2017)
Breaking Tides (2017)
Playing Hard 2018)
Chasseurs de phoques (2018)
Corps à la carte (2018)
A Place of Tide and Time (2019)

TV Series:
Hors Série 1 et 2 (2009)
Les Guérisseurs (2012)
Into the fortress (2017, mini-Series)


Thy Call Me Dr. Miami, movie, poster,

Renovation Island on U.S. HGTV

Renovation Island on U.S. HGTV, image,

Renovation Island on U.S. HGTV
by Staff

(May 8, 2020 – Toronto, ON / CNW) You might already know the show as Island of Bryan but its name is changing for audiences south of the border. Retitled Renovation Island for the U.S. market, the series follows Bryan and Sarah Baeumler (pictured above) as they navigate the biggest renovation of their life; rebuilding and restoring the beachfront resort Caerula Mar Club in the Bahamas, with their four children in tow.

This is a landmark deal for the Canadian series as Season 1 and Season 2 have been picked up by the U.S. channel HGTV, which is owned by Discovery, Inc. Season 1 of the Corus Studios original hit is set to premiere in the United States on Sunday, June 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV. In Canada, the first season of Island of Bryan became the most-watched series on the network in the past 10 years. Now U.S. audiences will experience Bryan and Sarah’s story and their spectacular vision.

“Coru Studios focuses its strategy on developing engaging content with compelling storytelling and loveable characters,” said Lisa Godfrey, Vice President of Original Content, Corus Entertainment. “This series offers the essence of both these values, along with a storyline of escapism, family dynamics and outstanding reveals that will capture viewers and have them coming back for more, week after week. We are thrilled to see Corus Studios content expand to the U.S. market and look forward to seeing this record-breaking series build momentum across North America.”

Island of Bryan is produced by Si Entertainment in association with Corus Entertainment’s HGTV Canada. Corus Entertainment’s Original Content team driving its slate of unscripted series is helmed by industry executive Lisa Godfrey as Vice President of Original Content and supported by Krista Look (Director of Lifestyle Content), and Marni Goldman (Production Executive). Corus Studios is represented by Rita Carbone Fleury, who oversees the global sales of Corus’ original content slate and brokered this deal.

Established in 2015, Corus Studios, a division of Corus Entertainment, is a premium content studio that develops, produces and distributes a wide array of original lifestyle, unscripted and factual content globally. Offering dynamic programming that entertains, informs and drives audiences across platforms, Corus Studios content is featured across Corus’ suite of channels, including HGTV Canada, HISTORY®, Food Network Canada, and SLICE™. To date, Corus Studios content has been sold in over 150 territories worldwide.

You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat, image,

You Are What You Eat
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(May 6, 2020 – Toronto, ON) The basis for the concept “you are what you eat” dates back to the mid 1820s but became more widely used in the 1920s and ‘30s when a nutritionist named Victor Lindlahr, who believed that food controls health, developed something called the Catabolic Diet. In 1942, Lindlahr published “You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet.” In the 1960s, those longhaired freaky people called Hippies talked about things like macrobiotic diets and the phrase “you are what you eat” became a universal slogan for healthy eating.

For a young boy in India named Uma Valeti, his awaking came when he was 11 and was at a birthday party. The food was delicious but when he stumbled into the backyard of the home he was visiting and saw how the chickens were slaughtered, his life changed. It began when he started to dream about meat growing on trees. Later in life he became the Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of a company named Memphis Meats. I learned all this watching a new documentary from Liz Marshall titled Meat The Future.
You Are What You Eat, Uma Valeti, image,
In 2020 there are now several companies making plant-based meat including Beyond Meat, Lightlife and others. Memphis Meat is different. They are making chicken, duck and beef using the living cells of those animals and growing real meat.

There are a lot of people (read talking heads) in Meat The Future and the things they talk about are often arcane and so specific to the subject that your eyes may glaze over but it is worth sticking with this documentary. The concept of creating meat is fascinating, and the details are punctuated by some terrific graphic treatments that help underline the story. Meat The Future is a serious documentary and there are a lot of facts. One of them is that raising meat does enormous damage to the environment.

In our May 1 story about this documentary we learned, “Animal agriculture dominates nearly half of the world’s land surface, producing more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation. The prospect of meat consumption doubling by 2050 is not only sobering, it is a wake-up call for solutions. Compared to conventionally-produced beef, cell-based beef is estimated, at scale, to reduce land use by more than 95%, climate change emissions by 74% to 87%, and nutrient pollution by 94%.”



In short growing meat in ultra-clean factories benefits everyone and the future world for our future generations becomes sustainable instead of the hell hole we seemed headed towards.
You Are What You Eat, image,
This film is a glimpse into both the future and the now and it should be seen. Uma Valeti has attracted some very impressive amounts of money from some very impressive high level investors. His company has gained recognition from the existing meat industries and the government agencies that regulate those industries. 

If we are indeed what we eat, then Meat The Future gives us an early look at not just what we might be eating but what all of us might become.

The World Broadcast Premiere of Meat The Future screens as part of Hot Docs at Home on CBC and GEM, 8:00pm (8:30 NT) and documentary Channel, 9:00pm ET/PT tomorrow, Thursday, May 7.

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.

Crazy Like a Lynx on APTN

Crazy Like a Lynx on APTN, image,

Crazy Like a Lynx on APTN
by Staff

(May 6, 2020 – Ottawa, ON) InterINDigital has announced its new and original documentary series, Crazy Like a Lynx, will have its world premiere on APTN this Friday May 8 at 7 p.m. ET (Ojibway) and Thursday June 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET (English). This new 13 part 30-minute documentary series is a modern twist on the original award winning series Fish Out of Water.

Crazy Like a Lynx follows comedian Dakota Ray Hebert and CSA-nominated host and comedian Don Kelly (pictured above) as they travel across Canada and immerse themselves – often with self-deprecating humour – into the lives of Aboriginals who are accomplishing amazing things. It’s an intimate look at some of Canada’s most successful and interesting Aboriginal organizations, businesses, programs, and people as the co-hosts take on different tasks at places like successful native owned restaurants, catering companies, resorts, golf and casino clubs, commercial lobster fishing boats/ processing plants to dog grooming companies, construction firms, mining prospectors/contractors, fashion runway shows, native theatre groups, record companies, the airline industry as well as sport teams involved in hockey, female boxing and snowboarding.

“It’s a really wonderful documentary series that is both educational and entertaining,” said Katery Legault the series producer and co-writer. Legault is also the owner of InterINDigital, a 100% Aboriginal-owned Canadian television production company. “When you challenge two comedians to immerse themselves into the day-to-day lives of strangers, the results are always entertaining, but this show delivers more than laughs. It’s an opportunity for Canadians to see the incredible work that is being done across the country by Aboriginal businesses.”

Legault sentiments are echoed by Don Kelly. “This series was such a joy to make. Dakota and I met some of the most passionate, driven, and successful people and I think viewers will be fascinated to learn that many of their trusted brands all share one commonality: the Aboriginal ancestry of the visionaries at the heart of the businesses.”

Crazy Like a Lynx debuts this Friday May 8 on APTN.

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