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Terril Calder

Terril Calder, director,

B: in Fort Francis, Ontario

Terril Calder attended The University of Manitoba’s Fine Art Program as a Drawing major with a focus on Performance Art & Film Studies. While in Winnipeg she was a member of Video Pool where she was awarded training in video production. In 2000 Calder received training in 3-D Computer Animation. Compelled by the love of Hybrid Media and Fusion Art she currently experiments with the amalgamation in her Stop Frame Animated films that she writes, directs, crafts and animates. Her films screen Nationally and Internationally and have received attention, most notably an Honourable Mention at The Sundance Film Festival and at Berlinale as well as a Canadian Genie Nomination as well as landing on one of TIFF’s top ten list in 2011 for her short Choke, which she animated and co-created with Michelle Latimer. In 2016 she was awarded the Ontario Arts Council’s K.M Hunter award for her work in Media Arts. 9-minute stop-motion film will be presented in competition in the festival’s Generation 14plus program, which gives young audiences an opportunity to watch a diverse offering of powerful, relevant stories that are cinematically innovative and unconventional. Her award-winning NFB animated short Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics will have its international premiere at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 10 to 20, 2022) in competition in the festival’s Generation 14plus program. Calder’s 2016 independent animated short SNIP was also featured in the 14Plus program.

Also see: CDN Films at TIFF 2021 – Take 2.

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

Canned Meat (2009, short, mixed media animation)
Choke (2011, short, animation)
The “Gift” (2011, short, animation)
Vessel (2013, short, animation)
Repercussions (2013, short, animation)
Traveling Medicine Show 3: Trasformation (2014, short, animation)
The Lodge (2014, animation)
Snip (2015, short, animation)
Keewaydah (2017, short, animation)

Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics (2021, stop-motion animation)

Le torrent

153 minutes, Drama
Langauge: French
Release date: October 26, 2012
DVD release date: November 27, 2012
Canadian distributor: Remstar

Enfant, François vit seul avec sa mère Claudine sur une ferme reculée. Le labeur quotidien est exigeant, mais l’étude des lettres, menée par Claudine, l’est encore plus. C’est que François est destiné à devenir prêtre. Après des années de collège, il décide cependant de s’opposer à sa mère, qui le frappe à la tête. Dorénavant, François sera sourd, il n’entendra plus que le bruit du torrent. Après la mort de sa mère, François s’aventure sur la route, où il croise des vagabonds. Il achète Amica, une jeune femme, et l’accueille chez lui.

Based on a short story by renowned Québec writer Anne Hébert, Le Torrent is set in 1922 in rural Québec. François, a young boy, lives alone with his mother Claudine on a remote farm. The daily chores are demanding, but his studies, led by his mother’s wish that he become a priest are even more demanding. After years of college he decides the priesthood is not for him. His mother attacks him, hitting him so severely in the head that he becomes deaf. He can hear nothing but the roar of a nearby waterfall, the titled torrent. After his mother dies, François ventures out onto the road, where he meets some travellers. He buys Amica, a young woman, and welcomes her into his home, into his life.

Le torrent, movie, poster,



Jacques Blain
Sylvain Corbeil

Associate Producer:

Nancy Grant


Simon Lavoie


Simon Lavoie


Nicolas Roy


Normand Corbeil

Production Designer:

Eric Barbeau

Cast: Roles:

Victor Trelles Turgeon
Laurence Leboeuf
Dominique Quesnel
Anthony Therrien
Marco Bacon
Roger Blay
Normand Canac-Marquis
Aubert Pallascio
Martin Desgagné
Alain Gabriel
David Noël
Mario Genest
Pierre Bédard
Manon Payeur
Milan Martineau
Ludovic Martineau
Gin Bergeron
Danièle Ledoux
Tommy Chouinard
Fernand Mongeau
Nicole Blackburn
Johanne Loiselle
Micheline Poitras

Amica / Claudine (young)
François (as a child)
Vieil instituteur
Jeune instituteur
Jeune homme du dortoir
Homme violent
Femme protectrice
Femmes hostiles
Femmes hostiles

10 of the Top Christmas Movies at the Box Office

Top 10 Christmas Movies at the Box Office, image,

10 of the Top Christmas Movies at the Box Office

By Staff

(December 20, 2021 – Toronto, ON) Should the topic of Top 10 Christmas Movies erupt in your home this holiday season, you might be able to avoid family disputes over by leaving the film choices to science this year. Crystal Ski has done the research and allowed us to share it with you. The following list, created in 2019, is based on research and how these 10 films performed at the all-important U.S. box office. 

1. Home Alone 
This American comedy follows eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) on his mission to protect his home from the burglars nicknamed the “Wet Bandits” after his family accidentally leave him home alone while they travel to Paris.  Costars included Canadian actor (and Schitt’s Creek costar) Catherine O’Hara. Home Alone made $285,7611,243 in Box Office sales and has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 65%, which isn’t the highest of the films that placed in the top 10.
2. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018)
Based on Dr Seuss’ book How The Grinch Stole Christmas, this 3D adaptation shows the adventures of the Grinch as he plans to spoil Christmas for Whoville. With the help of six-year-old Cindy Lou Who, the Who’s discover the true meaning of Christmas which is far more than receiving presents. The international cast of actors providing voices includes Benedict Cumberbatch as The Grinch, Jennifer Garner as Betty Lou Who, Bill Hader as Whobris and Canadian Michael Cera providing the voice of Drew Lou Who. This version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas is the highest-grossing Dr Suess adaptation with sales that totalled $270,620,950 and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 59%.

3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
The second animated screenplay adaptation featuring the Grinch stars Jim Carrey. This film reveals the Grinch’s tragic past after Cindy Lou Who becomes fascinated by him after meeting him in the post office. After stealing Whoville’s presents, the Whos sing Christmas carols around the Christmas tree together. The sight of this grows the Grinch’s heart by three sizes, who later joins them in their festivities. The movie had a total box office gross of $260,044,825 and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 51%.
4. Elf
Buddy was brought up in the North Pole as an Elf after crawling into Santa’s sack as a baby. Now an adult Buddy (Will Ferrel) has to learn how to live like a New Yorker while building a relationship with his biological father. He spreads much-needed Christmas cheer to everyone he meets causing some chaos along the way.  Elf ticket sales total $173,840,591 and received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 78%.
5. Polar Express
Based on the 1985 children’s book, this film used live-action motion capture animation that follows the story of a young boy who was beginning to doubt Santa’s existence. On Christmas Eve, he boards a train called The Polar Express towards the North Pole. Through this journey, the boy learns about the spirit of Christmas, friendship and bravery. The Polar Express made $187,224,490 in box office sales and a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Despite having recently presided over a very successful Halloween, Jack Skellington, aka the Pumpkin King, is bored with his job and feels that life in Halloweenland lacks meaning. Then he stumbles upon Christmastown and promptly decides to make the Yuletide his own. The cast of this 1993 animated feature written by Tim Burton included Catherine O’Hara providing the voices of Sally and Shock. Danny Elfman was the voice behind Jack Skellington. The Nightmare Before Christmas made $75,082,668 in box office sales and a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
7. The Santa Clause
When a down on his luck dad Scott (Tim Allen) accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, him and his son are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa’s place before the next Christmas arrives. While Scott tries to ignore the whole situation, a rapidly growing belly and white beard show this certainly wasn’t just a dream. Released in 1994, Wendy Crewson played Laura Miller and Jayne Eastwood played a waitress in the movie that starred Tim Allen. The Santa Clause made $144,833,357 at the box office and scored 65% on Rotten Tomatoes.
8. Arthur Christmas
Everyone knows that Father Christmas delivers presents to everyone on Christmas eve but nobody knows how. However, when Father Christmas’ high-tech solution fails and he misses one poor individual out, someone has to come to the rescue. They turn to Arthur (James McAvoy), Father Christmas’ youngest son, to deliver the present to this missed child before they wake up on Christmas morning. Arthur Christmas made $46,462,469 in box office sales and a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
9. The Santa Clause 2
Following on from the success of The Santa Clause, this follow-up see’s Scott (Tim Allen) face the awful news that his own son is on the naughty list! Turning his world upside down and into further chaos, Scott has to find himself a wife before Christmas Eve or he will no longer be Father Christmas. Wendy Crewson returned to play Laura Miller for the second time. The Santa Clause 2 made $139,236,327 at the box office and scored 55% on Rotten Tomatoes.
10. A Christmas Carol (2009)
Some will argue that nothing will ever top the dramatic effect of the black and white 1951 version of this Charles Dickens classic story, which starred Alastair Sim in the role of Scrooge, but in the 2009 animated remake Scrooge is portrayed by Jim Carrey. In a remarkable feat of performance, Carrey is also the voice of Scrooge as a Teenage Boy, Scrooge as a Young Man, Scrooge as a Middle Aged Man, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. As in all versions, the story follows the mean Scrooge as he treats those around him miserably. Until, one night he is visited by the ghost of a recently deceased friend and then the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future that endeavour to make him change his bitter “humbug” ways for good. The 2009 version of A Christmas Carol made $137,855,863 at the box office and scored 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. It should be noted that its take worldwide came to a very respectable $325,286,646.

This article was originally published on December 20, 2019, with additional information provided by Northernstars. We thank Crystalski for providing this information and the images used above.

Danny Waugh

Danny Waugh, actor,

B: -

Danny Waugh began his career in 2000 playing a role set in a hospital in an episode of Da Vinci’s Inquest. He next played a paramedic in two episodes of Mysterious Ways. He played a paramedic again in 2005 in two episodes of Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye and a doctor in 2009 in an episode of The Listener. It seems natural that he would have been cast in the 2010 mini-series Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures and he was, as an orderly. Verging on being classically typecast, he played a doctor in 2014 in an episode of Sensitive Skin, a paramedic in a 2017 episode of Saving Hope and he was a surgeon in the 2019 feature The Kindness of Strangers. He plays a piano player in the 2021 feature Nightmare Alley.

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

Bones (2001)
DC 9/11: Time of Crisis (TV-2003)
Long Island Confidential (TV-2008)

The Pickpocket (2010, short)
Come Here Go Away (2010, short)
Mulroney: The Opera (2011)
Parasite (2011, short)
Total Recall (2012)
Mr. Viral (2012)
A Dark Matter (2013)
The Trip to Bountiful (TV-2014)
Sound of Tears (2014, short)
Crimson Peak (2015)
Shimmer Lake (2017)
The Shape of Water (2017)
The Kindness of Strangers (2019)

Possessor (2020)
The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel (TV-2020)
Nightmare Alley (2021)
Firestarter (2022)

TV Series – Cast:
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures (2010, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Da Vinci’s Inquest (2000)
Mysterious Ways (2000, 2001)
Street Time (2002)
The Eleventh Hour (2005)
Sue Thomas F.B.Eye (2005)
Queer as Folk (2005)
Jeff Ltd (2006)
Little Mosque on the Prairie (2007)
Love You to Death (2007)
The Listener (2009)
Warehouse 13 (2009)

Covert Affairs (2010)
Rookie Blue (2010)
Alphas (2012)
Lost Girl (2013)
Beauty and the Beast (2013)
Sensitive Skin (2014)
The Strain (2015)
Killjoys (2016)
Conviction (2016)
Designated Survivor (2016)
The Rick Mercer Report (2016, 2017)
Murdoch Mysteries (2017)
Saving Hope (2017)
Frankie Drake Mysteries (2017)
In the Dark (2019)

Good Witch (2020)
Snowpiercer (2020)
The Expanse (2020)
Star Trek: Discovery (2020)
Hudson & Rex (2021)
Departure (2021)
Titans (2021)

The Shape of Water, movie, poster,

Nightmare Alley, movie, poster,

Irene Angelico

Irene Lilienheim Angelico, filmmaker, documentarian,

B: Dec 9, 1946 in Munich, Germany

Irene Angelico is an acclaimed film director, producer and writer. Born in Germany after the war, her parents were concentration camp survivors who miraculously found each other and emigrated to the United States. She grew up in New York and Chicago, became a civil rights activist who demonstrated in Washington DC in support of the Selma March, and moved to Canada in 1969. Her father wrote an extraordinary book about his and his wife’s Holocaust experiences titled The Aftermath. Angelico is the recipient of numerous international awards for directing and producing, as well as a Gemini for best writing in a documentary. Her work was included in The Fifty Greatest Documentaries of all Times at the NFB’s international Salute to the Documentary, and selected to represent the best of the NFB’s Studio D at retrospectives in London and France. She was the first woman from Québec selected for Women in the Director’s Chair in Banff and is the founding chair of CIFC-Montreal (now DOC Québec). As of late 2021, her production company, DLI Productions, had completed work on First to Stand, a POV feature documentary against the erosion of human rights that focuses on the work of Irwin Cotler, founder and chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, an Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill University, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and an international human rights lawyer. The film follows Cotler and his team of young activists as they battle the world’s most repressive regimes to liberate political prisoners. Unless otherwise credited, we list Irene Angelico’s documentary credits as a Producer first.

Company website.
Note: Northernstars Québec Correspondent Maurie Alioff was co-writer on the documentary Reaching for Zion.

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

Dark Lullabies (1985)
The Burning Times (Associate Producer, 1990)
Between the Solitudes (1992)
The Love Prophet and the Children of God (1998)
The Cola Conquest (Co-producer,1998)

The Journey Home: a Romanian Adoption (2000)
She Got Game (2003)
Unbreakable MInds (2004)
Vendetta Song (2005)
Canadaville, USA (TV-2006)
Inside the Great Magazines (TV-2007)

Shekinah: The Intimate Life of Hasidic Women (2013)
Beyond Earth: The Beginning of NewSpace (2016)
Shekinah Rising (2018)

Shared Legacies (Creative Consulting Producer, 2020)
Reaching for Zion (2021)
First to Stand (2021)

Credits as a Director:
…and They Lived Happily Ever After (1975, short)
Meditation in Motion (1978, short)

Dark Lullabies (1985)

The Cola Conquest (1998)

Mockstars (TV-2002)
Black Coffee (TV-2007)
Inside the Great Magazines (Co-director, 2007)

Reaching for Zion (2021)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
Meditation in Motion (1978, short)

Dark Lullabies (1985)

Between the Solitudes (1992)
The Cola Conquest (1998)

The Journey Home: a Romanian Adoption (2000)
Unbreakable Minds (2004)
Vendetta Song (2005)
Black Coffee (TV-2007)
Inside the Great Magazines (TV-2007)

Shekinah: The Intimate Life of Hasidic Women (2013)
Big Wind (TV-2015)
Beyond Earth: The Beginning of NewSpace (2016)
Shekinah Rising (2018)

Reaching for Zion (2021)
First to Stand (2021)

Reaching for Zion, movie, poster,

ACTRA Honours Art Hindle

ACTRA Honours Art Hindle
by Staff Editors

(December 16, 2021 – Toronto) Art Hindle, an actor described by his colleagues as Canadian film royalty, will be presented with ACTRA Toronto’s 2022 Award of Excellence at the 20th anniversary of the ACTRA Awards in Toronto in an online ceremony to be streamed at 8 p.m. on March 6, 2022.

Porky's, movie, poster,
This poster for Porky’s was scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
Hindle started out in the film and TV business in 1968 after a successful but brief career as a stockbroker. He credits Method acting coach Eli Rill with teaching him his craft. Hindle shot to instant stardom playing the hockey player Billy Duke in Face-Off (also released as Winter Comes Early). Moving to Los Angeles, he landed roles in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Starsky and Hutch, and Law and Order, among many other film and TV titles. He was a regular on Kingston Confidential and Dallas. Back in Canada, he was in the iconic Canadian film Porky’s and won a Gemini for the role of Mike Fennell on the award-winning series ENG as well as beginning his career as a director. He starred as Peter Braga on Paradise Falls for three seasons and directed a number of episodes. He continues to be in demand and has won awards in recent years for his performances in The Big Fat Stone (2014) and Robbery (2018). He voiced Mr. Sherman on the animated children’s series DOT. His guest spots on both sides of the border are legion.

“In my almost 54 years as an actor, I have received awards and compliments, but nothing surpasses being recognized by one’s peers for what has evolved into a career,” said Hindle. “Joining the list of past winners of the Award of Excellence is an incredible honour and one I never expected. Thank you, ACTRA Toronto!”

For 16 years, Mr. Hindle has volunteered his time and celebrity to ACTRA. He has been on ACTRA Toronto Council, ACTRA National Council and was for 10 years a V.P. on ACTRA Toronto’s Executive. He has volunteered for ACTRA Toronto’s Editorial Committee and never missed marching in the Labour Day parade, encouraging new councillors to “Just show up.” He encouraged other Canadian stars to run for Council. He was a favourite with politicians when he lobbied with ACTRA for better protections, consistent tax credits and more work opportunities for performers. For years he has played in the AFC’s fundraising golf tournament, a charity providing support to entertainment professionals. Over the years, as many emerging filmmakers wanted Hindle in their first films, he organized countless new producers to “Go ACTRA.” In addition to his star power, his ACTRA council colleagues unanimously praised his humility and generosity.

“Art Hindle is a rare individual,” said ACTRA Toronto President David Gale. “Not only is he a consummate actor and director with credits longer than both arms, he’s also a mentor and an activist. Over the years, he has taken countless up-and-coming performers and directors under his wing and guided their careers. And I’ve seen Art many times use his star power and march, flag in hand, fighting for the rights of his ACTRA siblings.”

ACTRA Toronto’s Award of Excellence recognizes a distinguished ACTRA Toronto performer whose outstanding career achievements as a performer are matched by a significant volunteer contribution to the industry and ongoing work of ACTRA Toronto to improve the lives of its members.

Also see: Art Hindle’s filmography.

ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA, representing over 15,000 of Canada’s 27,000 professional performers working in recorded media in Canada. An advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven union that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of professional performers

Nightmare Alley

150 minutes – Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Noir
Language: English
Release date: December 1, 2021 (World Premiere, New York City)
Release date: December 17, 2021 (General release)
Production companies: TSG Entertainment, Double Dare You Productions
Distributor: Searchlight Pictures

Based on the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name, Nightmare Alley is not a remake of the 1947 noir film but a retelling of the original book in a screenplay by director Guillermo del Toro and Kim Morgan. The film focuses on Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), an ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words. He hooks up with a corrupt psychiatrist, Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), who proves to be as dangerous as he is. Shot in and around Toronto and Buffalo, New York, principal photography began in January 2020 in Toronto, but was shut down in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production resumed in September 2020 and concluded that December.

NOTE: We are not sure if this is technically a “Canadian movie,” but we’ve included it in the database based on its shooting location, the large number of Canadian actors and its Canadian co-producer, J. Miles Dale, who described the film as being about “The importance of truth and the danger of believing our own lies. Pretty relevant to what’s going on around us these days.”

Nightmare Alley, movie, poster,



Guillermo del Toro
J. Miles Dale
Bradley Cooper


Guillermo del Toro


Guillermo del Toro
Kim Morgan


Dan Laustsen


Cam McLauchlin


Nathan Johnson

Production Designer:

Tamara Deverell

Art Director:

Brandt Gordon
Shane Vieau (Set Decoration)

Costume Designer:

Luis Sequeira

Cast: Roles:

Bradley Cooper
Cate Blanchett
Toni Collette
Willem Dafoe
Richard Jenkins
Rooney Mara
Ron Perlman
Mary Steenburgen
David Strathairn
Mark Povinelli
Peter MacNeill
Holt McCallany
Paul Anderson
Lara Jean Chorostecki
Jim Beaver
Clifton Collins Jr.
Tim Blake Nelson
David Hewlett
Sarah Mennell
Caleb Ellsworth-Clark
Mike Hill
Dian Bachar
Troy James
Matthew MacCallum
Samantha Rodes
Jesse Buck
Perry Mucci
Bill MacDonald
Dan Lett
Catherine McGregor
Martin Julien
Natalie Brown
Daniel Falk
Tim Post
Will Conlon
Stephen McHattie
James Collins
Lili Connor
Danny Waugh
Walter Rinaldi
Andrew Locke
Calvin Desautels
Derrick Moore
Linden Porco
Grant Bradley
Danielle Klupsch
Vikki Ring
Vanessa Botbyl
Michael Bridgeman
Charles Langille
Paul Taylor
Clyde Whitham

Stanton Carlisle
Dr. Lilith Ritter
Zeena the Seer
Clem Hoatley
Ezra Grindle
Molly Cahill
Mrs. Kimball
The Major
Judge Kimball
Geek #1
Louise Hoatley
Sheriff Jedediah Judd
Funhouse Jack
Carny Boss
Dr. Elrood
Drunk #1
Dogboy Jojo
Fee Fee the Birdgirl
The Snake Man
Human Skeleton
Zizi the Pinhead
Geek #2
Hotel Manager
Stanton’s Dad
Deputy #1
Copa Woman
Bus Station Shaving Man
Lilith’s Receptionist
Patron #1
Armed Guard#1
Armed Guard #2
Hobo #1
Train Yard Man
Woman in Floral Dress
Piano Player
Train Worker
Brofo the Small
Deputy #2
Geek Pit Patron
Geek Pit Patron
Geek Pit Patron
Geek Pit Patron
Geek Pit Patron
Geek Pit Patron
Geek Pit Patron

Yvette Thuot

Yvette Thuot, actress,

B: October 13, 1918 in Iberville, Québec
D: December 5, 2021

Born Marie Rose Yvette Pauline Thuot, the Québec actress was known for her work in features like La revanche de Madame Beauchamp in which she played the title character and 1995’s feature Liste noire. She was 94 when she appeared in her last film, Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways. Yvette Thuot was 103 when she died.

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

Un cri qui vient de loin (TV-1965)

Kamouraska (1973)
O.K. … Laliberté (1973)
Parlez-nous d’amour (1976)

La revanche de Madame Beauchamp (1980)

La Florida (1993)
Liste noire (1995)
Pretty Poison (TV-1996)
Remue-ménage (1996)

Les invasions barbares (2003)
Suzie (2009)

Route 132 (2010)
Laurence Anyways (2012)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Le paradis terrestre (1968)
Les forges de Saint-Maurice (1973)
Jamais deux sans toi (1977)
Drôle de monde (1978)
Les Brillant (1981)
Épopée rock (1984)
Semi-détaché (1987)
Jamais Deux Sans Toi (1990)
Watatatow (1993)
The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne (2000)
Les détestables (2011)

Yvette Thuot, actress, poster,

Liste Noir, movie, poster,

Awards Season 2022 Begins

Awards, image

Awards Season 2022 Begins
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(December 15, 2021 – Toronto, ON) The new year is a little more than two weeks away. With the announcement earlier this week of the somewhat sullied Golden Globe Awards, the 2022 Awards Season has begun and as we usually do around this time, here’s a look ahead at some of the more important ceremonies in what is an ocean of award granting organizations.

First up, today’s the day online nominations begin for the Theatrical Feature Film and Television category for the Directors Guild of Canada. The nominees will be announced January 27, 2022 and the 74th Annual DGA Awards will be held March 11. Similar deadlines exist for television, first-time feature director and documentary awards. This is a members only event and there is more information online.

ICYMI, a few days ago The New York Film Critics Circle announced their best films. Lady Gaga received Best Actress of 2021 for her work in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci. Benedict Cumberbatch was named Best Actor for The Power of the Dog and the Best Film went to Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car. The three-hour (!!!) dramatic epic won Best Screenplay at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Back to the tarnished Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization behind the awards, is in a bit of a bind. NBC has announced it will not air the Golden Globes in 2022, but the HFPA is going ahead with its ceremony anyway. Ratings are only part of the problem. The broadcast on February 28 of this year reached a paltry 6.9 million viewers representing a 63 percent drop from the 2020 broadcast, watched by 18.4 million. The issues are many and as one scribe put it, “the resounding whiteness of its nominees” has been cause for concern for a long time now. The Globes move back to their traditional early date and the ceremony will be held on January 9, 2022.

A few things to watch for as this year dwindles down, the London Film Critics Circle nominations will be announced tomorrow, and the Annie Awards, which honour excellence in animation, will announce their nominations in 37 categories. Their 49th annual awards gala takes place on February 26, although I cautiously suggest the Omicron variant may have something to say about that.

In addition to the Golden Globes on January 9th, the Critics Choice Awards will happen, the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle Awards will take place, and voting for the Screen Actors Guild Nominations ends at 5PM Pacific time.

January 12 is when BAFTA will release its “Longlists” of nominees as well as (that was quick) the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The deadline to submit to the 2022 Leo Awards, a project of the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of British Columbia, is January 17th. The Directors Guild of America will announce their nominations on January 27.

We always pay attention to what the Toronto Film Critics Association (TCFA) and Vancouver Film Critics Circle (VFCC) are doing. What makes the TFCA interesting is their $100,000 Rogers prize for best Canadian film. The TFCA will hold their live vote on January 16 at noon, and their gala will be held February 22. The VCFF will announce their nominations (International / Canadian) on February 19, 2022, then they will announce the nternational and Achievement winners on February 26. The remaining award-winners will be celebrated at the VFCC awards ceremony on March 7, 2022. My thanks to Jorge Castillo, the Chair of the VFCC for providing that information.

February 1 marks the start of a new month and the end of Oscar® voting on the nominations. That process began 4 days earlier on January 27. The Oscar nominations will be announced February 8th and that announcement is usually carried on this website as well as just about everywhere else. February 15 is an important date on this side of the border. That’s when The Canadian Screen Awards will announce their 2022 nominees. The month ends with the previously mentioned Annie Awards on February 26th and on February 27th the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

March is Awards Month. Art Directors Guild Awards on the 5th, Film Independent Spirit Awards on the 6th, Costume Designers Guild Awards on the 9th, Directors Guild of America Awards on the 12th, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Film Awards on the 13th, American Society of Cinematographers Awards on the 20th, Writers Guild of America Awards also on the 20th and the biggie, the 94th Academy Awards on March 27th.

April belongs to the Canadian Screen Awards from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Canadian Screen Week launches on April 4th and runs until April 10, which is the Broadcast Gala. Last year COVID-19 put a damper on the entire affair and the streaming awards were less than ideal. With the rise of the latest variant and some startling predictions on where it might be headed, one can only hope that by April 2022 it will have eased and some semblance of normalcy will have returned to what has been a sort of life-on-hold these past two years.

Northernstars logo imageRalph Lucas is the Founder and Publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.

Golden Globes CANCON

Golden Globes, image,

Golden Globes CANCON
by Staff Editors

(December 13, 2021 – Toronto, ON) You can tell Award Season is just around the corner when the Golden Globes, traditionally the first of the annual award shows, announces their nominations. Canada will never dominate the awards, but over the years we’ve had a solid presence if not in the awards themselves then in presenters and special appearances. This year Denis Villeneuve’s feature Dune has three nominations including Best Original Score, Best Motion Picture – Drama and Villeneuve getting a nod for Best Director. Martin Short gets a nod for his work in the stylish and fun to watch series Only Murders in the Building. He is in competition with his costar, the great Steve Martin. In the Best Movie – Animated category, the Pixar production Luca has been nominated. Directed by Academy Award® nominee Enrico Casarosa (La Luna), the film’s Character Art Director Deanna Marsigliese is an Italian-Canadian and Torontonian who launched the first decade of her career in this city.

The Golden Globes, awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), will be held January 9, 2022.

Following is the complete list of nominations for the 2022 Golden Globe Awards:


Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy

Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”
Steve Martin, “Only Murders in the Building”
Martin Short, “Only Murders in the Building”
Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy
Hannah Einbender, “Hacks”
Elle Fanning, “The Great”
Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”
Jean Smart, “Hacks”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama
Brian Cox, “Succession”
Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game”
Billy Porter, “Pose”
Jeremy Strong, “Succession”
Omar Sy, “Lupin”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama
Uzo Aduba, “In Treatment”
Jennifer Aniston, “The Morning Show”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Fight”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Mj Rodriguez, “Pose”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Paul Bettany, “WandaVision”
Oscar Isaac, “Scenes From a Marriage”
Michael Keaton, “Dopesick”
Ewan McGregor, “Halston”
Tahar Rahim, “The Serpent”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Jessica Chastain, “Scenes From a Marriage”
Cynthia Erivo, “Genius: Aretha”
Elizabeth Olsen, “WandaVision”
Margaret Qualley, “Maid”
Kate Winslet, “Mare of Easttown”

Best Television Series Drama
“The Morning Show”
“Squid Game”

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
“Impeachment: American Crime Story”
“Mare of Easttown”
“The Underground Railroad”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Jennifer Coolidge, “White Lotus”
Kaitlyn Dever, “Dopesick”
Andie MacDowell, “Maid”
Sarah Snook, “Succession”
Hannah Waddingham, “Ted Lasso”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Billy Crudup, “The Morning Show”
Kieran Culkin, “Succession”
Mark Duplass, “The Morning Show”
Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso”
Oh Yeong-su, “Squid Game”

Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy
“The Great”
“Only Murders in the Building”
“Reservation Dogs”
“Ted Lasso”


Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
“Don’t Look Up”
“Licorice Pizza”
“Tick, Tick … Boom!”
“West Side Story”

Best Motion Picture — Drama
“King Richard”
“The Power of the Dog”

Best Motion Picture — Foreign Language
“Compartment No. 6”
“Drive My Car”
“The Hand of God”
“A Hero”
“Parallel Mothers”

Best Screenplay — Motion Picture
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Licorice Pizza”
Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast”
Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”
Adam McKay, “Don’t Look Up”
Aaron Sorkin , “Being the Ricardos”

Best Original Song — Motion Picture
“Be Alive” from “King Richard” – Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Dixson
“Dos Orugitas” from “Encanto” – Lin-Manuel Miranda
“Down to Joy” from “Belfast” – Van Morrison
“Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” from “Respect” – Jamie Alexander Hartman, Jennifer Hudson, Carole King
“No Time to Die” from “No Time to Die” – Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Ben Affleck, “The Tender Bar”
Jamie Dornan, “Belfast”
Ciarán Hinds, “Belfast”
Troy Kotsur, “CODA”
Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog”

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Caitríona Balfe, “Belfast”
Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story”
Kirsten Dunst, “The Power of the Dog”
Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard”
Ruth Negga, “Passing

Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Don’t Look Up”
Peter Dinklage, “Cyrano”
Andrew Garfield, “Tick, Tick … Boom!”
Cooper Hoffman, “Licorice Pizza”
Anthony Ramos, “In the Heights”

Best Motion Picture — Animated
“My Sunny Maad”
“Raya and the Last Dragon”

Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama
Mahershala Ali, Swan Song”
Javier Bardem, “Being the Ricardos”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog”
Will Smith, “King Richard”
Denzel Washington, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama
Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”
Olivia Colman, “The Lost Daughter”
Nicole Kidman, “Being the Ricardos”
Lady Gaga, “House of Gucci”
Kristen Stewart, “Spencer”

Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
Marion Cotillard, “Annette”
Alana Haim, “Licorice Pizza”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Don’t Look Up”
Emma Stone, “Cruella”
Rachel Zegler, “West Side Story”

Best Director — Motion Picture
Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast”
Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Lost Daughter”
Steven Spielberg, “West Side Story”
Denis Villeneuve, “Dune”

Best Original Score
“The French Dispatch”
“The Power of the Dog”
“Parallel Mothers”

Nouveau Québec

96 minutes – Drama
Language: French
Release date: February 4, 2022
Production company: Voyelles films
Canadian distributor: FunFilm

Sophie et Mathieu, un couple dans la trentaine, se rendent à Schefferville pour régler la succession du chalet du père de Sophie, ancien mineur dans ce village quasi-fantôme. Sur place, Sophie retrouve Réjean, son oncle, ancien mineur lui aussi. Mais lorsqu’un incident tragique impliquant Réjean se produit sur les lieux, avec Mathieu comme seul témoin, le voyage prend une tournure insoupçonnée. Tenu de rester sur place plus longtemps que prévu le temps que se mette en branle l’enquête policière, le couple se retrouve isolé du reste du monde, pointé du doigt, en contact pour une rare fois avec la complexe réalité autochtone, Sophie et Mathieu voient leur couple mis en péril, chacun prenant une voie opposée dans sa réaction face à cette situation oppressante, dans ce huis-clos des grands espaces.

Sophie and Mathieu, a couple in their thirties, go to Schefferville to settle the estate of Sophie’s father, a former miner in this quasi-ghost village. Once there, Sophie finds Réjean, her uncle, also a former miner. But when a tragic incident involving Réjean occurs and Mathieu the only witness, their journey takes an unexpected turn. Required to stay longer than expected because of the police investigation, Sophie and Mathieu find themselves isolated from the rest of the world, singled out, and their lives together endangered. Each takes an opposite path in their reaction to this oppressive situation, as if the great outdoors has become a closed room.

Mouveau Québec, movie, poster,



Gabrielle Tougas-Fréchette
Guillaume Vasseur

Executive Producer:

Ménaïc Raoul


Sarah Fortin


Sarah Fortin


Vincent Gonneville


Guillaume Fortin

Production Designer:

Anette Belley

Cast: Roles:

Christine Beaulieu
Jean-Sébastien Courchesne
Jean-Luc Kanapé
Jean-Marc Dalpé
Stella Dominique
Sylvio Arriola
Jessie-Tatyana Meloatam


What Are You Watching?

What are you watching, image,

What Are You Watching?
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(December 7, 2021 – Toronto, ON) A few weeks ago we launched a small, test survey about Canadian TV viewing habits. Far from scientific, we were looking for some general impression of how Canadian TV viewers feel about certain aspects of their TV habits and how they might react to some changes if those changes became available.

The survey began with some questions about the people who took the minute or so to respond. By Question 4 we were starting to hone in on the issue:

What are you watching, image,

We were pleased to see that 81% of respondents actively go looking for Canadian-made movies, shows or series. But we wanted to gather responses to a more direct question.

What are you watching, image,

Again we were happy to see that 45% of respondents would be more likely to watch Canadian programming if it was identified. When you add in the respondents that stated it would not affect their choices one way or the other a remarkable 95% would welcome or not object to having Canadian shows identified. What might that look like? Using an image of the Crave service on Rogers Cable, we show it before and after the addition of a simple CANCON identifier:

What are you watching, image

What are you watching, image

Those images were not used in the survey. It should be noted, The Kindness of Strangers is a Canadian co-production, but we didn’t use an identifier for it as it would not have been visible in the image we were using. When we asked a more specific question about identifying Canadian content, an impressive 80% said cable companies should. Only 5% answered “Absolutely not.”

What are you watching, image

Broadcasters generally prefer the CRTC stay out of their way and as a former broadcast exec, I can sympathize although I fully supported and still support the concept of regulations guaranteeing Canadian creators can see and hear their work on their national and local stations and networks. But we wondered if networks balked at the idea of adding a CANCON identifier, should the CRTC consider becoming involved.

What are you watching, image,

As you can see, fully 60% of respondents would support the CRTC if they required TV program providers to identify Canadian content in their program guides. Only 15% responded “Absolutely not.”

We’re not advocating regulations at this point, but we do think the people who run cable TV might want to get ahead of all this. Adding a simple image is technically possible (we checked) and it would be, based on this simple survey, welcomed by a majority of viewers.

It is our hope that in 2022 we can launch a much larger survey. We expect it will validate these numbers and it is our sincere hope that networks respond favourably to this simple suggestion to give cable subscribers an improved service, a service they are paying for.

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.

Performers and Producers Agree

Performers & Producers Come to Terms, image,

Performers and Producers Agree
by Staff Editors

(December 6, 2021 – Toronto, ON) The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and the Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM) have reached a tentative deal on a new three-year term of the Independent Production Agreement (IPA).

“I am proud of the tentative agreement we reached with Canadian producers and studios,” said Marie Kelly, ACTRA National Chief Negotiator and National Executive Director. “I congratulate and thank our dedicated bargaining team for working late into the night and on weekends to push for the needs of our diverse membership. It was through hard work on both sides of the bargaining table that we were able to overcome a complex series of issues and negotiate the best settlement for our Canadian screen industry. Our membership of eligible voters will now have an opportunity to review the details of the tentative agreement and vote on the package of improvements.”

“As Canada’s film and television production industry continues to grapple with the many challenges brought about by the pandemic, this agreement provides stability that is vital for the success of our sector,” said the CMPA’s Lead Negotiator and Senior Director, National Industrial Relations and Counsel, Sean Porter. “I’d like to thank our negotiating partners at the AQPM and ACTRA ​for their commitment and diligent work throughout these negotiations.”

“The AQPM thanks the members of all the negotiating committees involved,” said President and CEO of the AQPM Hélène Messier. “This agreement will provide stability within the industry for the next three years and maintain the partnership between producers and performers.”

The tentative agreement will be presented to the ACTRA membership as well as the CMPA and AQPM’s respective Boards of Directors for ratification. The 2019-2021 IPA is set to expire December 31, 2021.

The Independent Production Agreement (IPA) establishes the terms, conditions and rates for on- and off-camera performers engaged on English-language film, television and media productions in Canada, excluding British Columbia which operates under a separate collective agreement.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national union of professional performers working in English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of over 27,000 members across the country.

The Canadian Media Producers Association is the national advocacy organization for independent producers, representing hundreds of companies engaged in the development, production, and distribution of English-language content made for television, cinema, and digital media channels.

The Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM) represents 150 independent companies engaged in the production or coproduction of film, television and digital content for all screens, in both French and English.


Run The Burbs

Run The Burbs, tv series,
Image courtesy of CBC.

30 minutes – Comedy, Series
Language: English
Date of first broadcast: January 5, 2022
Production company: Pier 21 Films
Originating broadcaster: CBC

Run The Burbs follows the Pham family, young, bold Vietnamese-South Asian-Canadians taking a different approach to living life to the fullest, while changing the way we think about contemporary family values and life in the burbs. Andrew Phung stars as stay-at-home dad Andrew Pham, living and loving with his entrepreneurial, executive wife and two kids.

Run The Burbs was created by comedian, writer and actor Andrew Phung and his best friend and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend.

No poster available, image,



Jessica Daniel
Matt Kippen
Wendy Litner

Executive Producer:

Laszlo Barna
Nicole Butler
Bill Lundy (for Pier 21 Films)
Andrew Phung
Scott Townend
Aleysa Young
Shebli Zarghami also serves as showrunner.

Consulting Producer:

Nelu Handa


Aleysa Young
Peter Wellington
Joyce Wong
Melanie Orr
Justin Wu


Andrew Phung

Cast: Roles:

Andrew Phung
Rakhee Morzaria
Zoriah Wong
Roman Pesino
Ali Hassan
Julie Nolke
Jonathan Langdon
Simone Miller
Samantha Wan
Candy Palmater
Chris Locke
Aurora Browne

Andrew Pham
Camille Pham
Khia Pham
Leo Pham
Ramesh (Camille’s father)
Mannix (Hudson’s daughter)

Northernstars Remembers the Montreal Massacre

Northernstars Remembers the Montreal Massacre, image,
Scene from the 2009 film, Polytechnique.

Northernstars Remembers the Montreal Massacre
by Staff Editors

(December 6, 2021) For 45 minutes on December 6, 1989, 25-year-old Marc Lepine, armed with a legally obtained semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, roamed the corridors of Montreal’s École Polytechnique. He purposely separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students screamed, “I hate feminists.” He shot twenty-eight people, killing fourteen and injuring another fourteen before killing himself. Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women. Yet 32 years later violence against women persists everywhere, and in the United States school shootings have become a regular event. There have been 29 such shootings in the United States so far this year.

These are the women who died in Montréal on this day in 1989:

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

Twenty years later a movie titled Polytechnique and directed by Denis Villeneuve opened. It was in Black and White and was released in two versions, one in French, one in English. Karine Vanasse had wanted to make a film about the massacre for years. She helped produce the film, and helped secure Villeneuve for the production.

École Polytechnique de Montréal gave the filmmakers access to the campus as a location, but Villeneuve, out of respect for the tragedy, opted to film at the Cégep de Maisonneuve and Collège Ahuntsic. Other locations used included the Montreal neighbourhoods of Griffintown and Westmount.

Also see: Don Carmody talks about the making of Polytechnique.

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, movie, image,

112 minutes – Drama, Inuit
Language: Inuktitut, Danish, English
Festival release date: September 7, 2006 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Release date: March 11, 2006
Production company: Isuma
Canadian distributor: Alliance Atlantis

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen was inspired by the actual journals of a Danish anthropologist, Knud Rasmussen (Jens Jorn Spottag). Set primarily in and around Igloolik in 1922, the film depicts the encounter between a group of Inuit in Arctic Canada led by one of the last shamans of the Canadian Inuit, Aua, and Rasmussen and two other Danish ethnographers and explorers, Therkel Mathiassen and Peter Freuchen. THey lived with the extended family of the Inuit shaman Avva (Pakak Innukshuk) that included his wife Orulu (Neeve Irngaut Uttak) and, most importantly, his daughter Apak (Leah Angutimarik), who has some of his powers.

Also see: Northernstars reviews The Journals of Knud Rasmussen.

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, movie, poster,



Norman Cohn
Zacharias Kunuk
Elise Lund Larsen
Vibeke Vogel

Associate Producer:

Lucius Barre

Line Producer:

Stephane Rituit


Norman Cohn
Zacharias Kunuk


Eugene Ipkarnak
Madeline Ivalu
Herve Paniaq
Pauloosie Qulitalik
Lucy Tulugarjuk
Abraham Ulayuruluk
Louis Uttak


Norman Cohn


Norman Cohn
Cathrine Ambus
Félix Lajeunesse

Production Designer:

Zacharias Kunuk
Louis Uttak

Art Director:

Charlotte Bech
Zacharias Kunuk
Pauloosie Qulitalik

Costume Designer:

Atuat Akkitirq
Micheline Ammaq
Susan Avingaq
Mary Qulitalik
Jan Thrysoe
Lone Thrysoe

Cast: Roles:

Pakak Innuksuk
Leah Angutimarik
Neeve Irngaut
Natar Ungalaaq
Samueli Ammaq
Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq
Catherine Alaralak
Abraham Ulayuruluk
Jens Jørn Spottag
Kim Bodnia
Jakob Cedergren
Tommy Uttak
Apayata Kotierk
Cora Akkitirq
Racheal Uyarasuk
Larry Kangok
Eugene Ipkarnak

Knud Rasmussen
Peter Freuchen
Therkel Mathiassen

Jeremiah Hayes

Jeremiah Hayes, film director,
Photo supplied by Jeremiah Hayes.

B: April 18, 1966 in Walnut Creek, California

Jeremiah Hayes is a Canadian film director, writer and editor. He was 24 when he graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Film Production in 1990. He won a Gemini Award in 2010 for Best Direction in a Documentary for his feature Reel Injun. It went on to win a Peabody Award for Best Electronic Media in 2011. The film Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, on which he served as cinematographer and editor, won the Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017. In November 2021 his documentary Dear Audrey was was given the People’s Choice Award at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM). We list his documentary credits as a Director.

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

Elefanti (1989, short)

Silence & Storm (1995)
God Comes As a Child (1998, short)
The Prom (1998)

Reel Injun (2009)

Dear Audrey (2021)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
Unbreakable Minds (2004)
Vendetta Song (2005)
Canadaville U.S.A. (2007)
The Last Explorer (2009)
Reel Injun (2009)

Shekinah: The Intimate Life of Hasidic Women (2013)
The Wolverine: The Fight of the James Bay Cree (2014, short)

Dear Audrey (2021)

TV Series:
Inside the Great Magazines (2007)
Down the Mighty River (2010)

Reel Injun, movie, poster,
Poster for the movie Reel Injun

Dear Audrey

Dear Audrey, image,
Photo from Dear Audrey by Jeremiah Hayes.

89 minutes – Documentary, Family, History of Cinema
Language: English, French subtitles
Festival release date: November 2021
Release date: TBA
Production company:

Dear Audrey focuses on renowned Canadian cinematographer and documentary filmmaker Martin Duckworth who, helped by his 47-year-old daughter Jacqueline, who is on the autism spectrum, support his wife, the photographer and activist Audrey Schirmer through the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It is a moving biography but also a story of resilience and strength. Marked by twists and turns as Duckworth reflects on the key personal and professional moments of the couple’s life, Dear Audrey takes place more in the present than the past, and becomes a powerful testimonial to the growing and unshakable love of a husband for his wife.

Also see: A free retrospective of Martin Duckworth.

No poster available, image,



Andre Barro
Jeremiah Hayes

Executive Producer:

Katherine Buck
Annette Clarke
Glen Salzman
Pablo Salzman


Jeremiah Hayes


Jeremiah Hayes


Jeremiah Hayes


Jeremiah Hayes


Walker Grimshaw

Cast: Roles:

Martin Duckworth
Jacqueline Schirmer


Martin Duckworth

Martin Duckworth, film director, cinematographer,
Martin Duckworth with his daughter Jacqueline. Photo © 1987 by Maurie Alioff. Used with permission.

B: March 8, 1933 in Montréal, Québec

The following was edited from an excerpt of an article that first appeared in the June 1987 edition of Cinema Canada and is used with permission of the co-author, Northernstar’s Québec Correspondent, Maurie Alioff:

The course of Martin Duckworth’s life and work kept him in constant motion. When he was in his teens, he moved with his family from Montreal to Halifax, which he eventually left for Yale University. After finishing Yale, he took an M.A. in history at the University of Toronto, travelled around Europe, taught in London, and then got a job at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. His interest in still photography, François Truffault, and in the film society he formed at Mount Allison, led to meetings with Fernand Dansereau, who came to the university to screen National Film Board productions. Several years later, Duckworth had a job at the Film Board as a cameraman. As a cinematographer his ideal was, as he put it, being able to “move with the life in front of the camera.” He moved with his camera through prisons, paper mills, union halls, farming cooperatives, tin mines, Buddhist temples, opera houses, and the apartments of Russian poets. A cinematographer on more than 80 productions, we list his credits as a documentary Director.

Dear Audrey, a documentary by Jeremiah Hayes, focused on filmmaker Martin Duckworth as he accompanies his wife, photographer and activist Audrey Schirmer, through the last phase of Alzheimer’s disease. It was given the People’s Choice Award at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) in November 2021.

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

Passing Through Sweden (1969, short)
Untouched and Pure (1970)
The Wish (1970)
Cell 16 (1971)
Accident (1973, short)
Temiscaming Quebec (1976)

Une histoire de femmes (1980)
On l’appelait Cambodge (1982)
No More Hibakusha! (1983)
No More Hiroshima (1985)
Return to Dresden (1986)
Our Last Days…in Moscow (1987)
Crossroads: Three Jazz Pianists (1988)

Oliver Jones in Africa (1990)
A Brush with Life (1994)
Riel Country (1996)

Peaceable Kingdom: Nicholas Austin, Quaker Pioneer (TV-2000)
The Furthest Possible Place: The Journey of Anna Maria Seifert (2001)
Acting Blind (2006)

TV Series:
Dogs with Jobs (2001)

Drunken Birds – Review

Drunken Birds – Review, image,
Promotional film stills courtesy of Les Films Opale.

Drunken Birds
Review by Thom Ernst

(November 26, 2021 – Toronto,ON) The wingspan of Canadian cinema continues to grow. Drunken Birds from director Ivan Grbovik is a next-step example of the borderless extension of the Canadian experience. And sometimes, as Drunken Birds reminds us, the Canadian experience doesn’t solely belong to Canadians.

The film begins in an apartment building overlooking a busy highway. A phone rings, but when the phone is answered, the caller hangs up. Outside, a car narrowly misses hitting a stranger. Unfazed, the stranger looks up at the balcony. The camera pulls from the balcony, crosses a tiny kitchen, and stops at the apartment door. The camera lingers as if the answer to the mystery of the phone call and of the stranger will at any moment burst through the door.

But it’s too early for Grbovik to answer any question we might have. Instead, Grbovik pushes the lens against the door’s peephole allowing us to peer through. But the camera doesn’t move fast enough and the image isn’t quite clear, so we shift in our seats, straining to get a better look. But what we see on the other side of the door is far from what we imagine.

It’s not that Grbovik is toying with us. Grbovik simply maintains an awareness of the flimsy divide between time and place, as if life happens all at once and only by divvying up moments into selected images can we understand the entire story.

I fear any attempt at summarizing the story would be akin to handing over a shoebox full of loose photographs. Drunken Birds is a layered story but not an unnecessarily complex one.

As you might imagine, the film has very little to do with birds. Grbovik’s story focuses on Willy (Jorge Antonio Guerrero), a young Mexican migrant worker searching for Marlena (Yoshira Escárrega), the woman he loves. Marlena is the wife of Willy’s former boss, the head of a violent drug cartel.

Willy is something of an anomaly for someone who can list drug-runner as a recent occupation on his resume. Willy is a man of conviction with no control over his heart’s desires. It is a dangerous move to confess his love to Marlena so openly, but his bravery pays off, and Marlena and Willy become lovers.

Drunken Birds, image
Promotional film stills courtesy of Les Films Opale.

When the drug-lord, a man with a delusional image of himself as revealed in a wall-sized portrait that contradicts reality, is injured in a gunfight, Marlena and Willy attempt to concoct a convincing letter to explain her leaving without incurring his wrath.

Marlena leaves to an unknown address. Willy follows soon after, believing her to be in Quebec. He accepts work at a family-run produce farm in Quebec in hopes of locating Marlena.

But Willy’s presence at the farm unintentionally increases an already wide chasm between husband-and-wife Richard (Claude Legault) and Julia (Hélène Florent), the farm owners. Additionally, there is Lea, their teenage daughter Lea (Marine Johnson) who grows restless on the farm and seeks ways to escape, not all of them safe.

Grbovik’s is skilled at coaxing the viewer beyond the focus of his lens. Other stories like parallel universes skirt along the edges of the film’s frame: a community of Sikh men labour in an adjoining field, and polaroid pictures tacked to the walls of the bunkhouse reveal brief tales of home.

“I am like two people,” claims a worker who has returned to the farm for the past 15 harvests, “I have two lives. The person I am at home. And the person here.” And as he speaks, our thoughts briefly follow the man to the place he imagines.

I struggle somewhat to comprehend Grbovik’s intent in calling the film, Drunken Birds. It’s not a term I’m familiar with, but I hazard a guess that it’s related to the unique flight pattern of a flock of starlings seen near the end of the film. But the term seems as much a misnomer in describing the uniformed flight patterns of starlings—a phenomena known as murmuration—as it is a reference to the flux of seasonal migrant workers flocking to Canada to help harvest produce.
Les oiseaux ivres, movie, poster,
Although, the bird’s free-form artistry forming shapes in the sky like an ever-changing Rorschach test does appear to be random and without direction, but it’s also an astounding act of graceful precision.

I assume that the misnomer is the point of the title, the mislabeling of an action that is either instinctual or essential to survival and thereby misinforming our assumptions.

Drunken Birds is Canada’s choice of entry for this year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar bid. As a contender for a Best Foreign Picture Oscar, Drunken Birds hits the right buttons: migration, immigration, better lives, lost dreams, and found hopes—topics that just might draw Oscar favour.

But resounding louder than the film’s chances at the Oscars is the path Grbovik takes us down. There are twists and turns along the way, yet it all seems familiar until it isn’t. Where Drunken Birds drops us off is a place unexpected but much preferred.

Drunken Birds is directed by Ivan Grbovik and stars Jorge Antonio Guerrero, Yoshira Escárrega, Claude Legault, Hélène Florent and Marine Johnson. As of late November 2021, Drunken Birds is playing in selected theatres.

Click here to watch the trailer and learn more about the cast and crew of Drunken Birds.

Northernstars logo imageThom Ernst is a Toronto based film critic and writer and an active member of the (TFCA) Toronto Film Critics’ Association. His work has appeared in various publications including Playback Magazine, The Toronto Star, and The National Post. He is known to CBC Radio listeners for his lively contributions to Fresh Air, Metro Morning, and CBC Syndication as well as appearing on-air for CTV News Channel and The Agenda with Steve Paikin. He was host, interviewer and producer of televisions’ longest running movie program Saturday Night at the Movies. Currently he can be heard interviewing Canadian filmmakers on the Kingston Canadian Film Festival podcast, Rewind, Fast-Forward.