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Once Were Brothers

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, image,

100 minutes – Documentary, Biography
Festival release date: September 5, 2019 – (Toronto International Film Festival, World Premiere)
Release date: September 20, 2019 (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver)
Production companies: White Pine Pictures, Bell Media Studios, Diamond Docs, Imagine Documentaries, Universal Music Canada, Shed Creative
Canadian distributor: Imagine Documentaries
U.S. distributor:

Inspired by Robbie Robertson’s 2016 memoir, “Testimony,” Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band tells the story of Robertson, one of Canada’s musical legends, who was both lead guitarist and primary songwriter for The Band which had previously served as Bob Dylan’s backup band and before that as the band behind another legendary musician-composer Ronnie Hawkins. Featuring rare archival footage knitted carefully together by interviews with friends and collaborators including Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Peter Gabriel, David Geffen and Ronnie Hawkins. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, the documentary was directed by Daniel Roher and was selected to open the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

Also see: TIFF Picks – Take 2.

Once Were BrothersOnce Were Brothers
Producer:Andrew Munger
Stephen Paniccia
Sam Sutherland
Lana Belle Mauro
Executive Producer:

Martin Scorsese
Brian Grazer
Ron Howard
Randy Lennox
Peter Raymont
Dave Harris
Jared Levine
Jeffrey Remedios
Justin Wilkes
Sara Bernstein
Michael Levine
Steve Ord

Co-Executive Producer:

Paul Crowder
Meredith Kaulfers
Mark Monroe
Andrew Munger
Stephen Paniccia
Sam Sutherland


Daniel Roher


Kiarash Sadigh


Eamonn O’Connor
Daniel Roher


Matthew Chalmers

Art Director:

Linden Li
Stephen Trivieri


Robbie Robertson
Martin Scorsese
Bruce Springsteen
Bob Dylan
Eric Clapton
Peter Gabriel
David Geffen
Van Morrison
Rick Dano
Jann Wenner
Ronnie Hawkins
Taj Mahal
Jimmy Vivino
John Scheele
Dominique Robertson
John Simon
Bill Scheele
Jon Taplin
John Hammond
Larry Campbell
Elliott Landy
Grant Smith
George Semkiw


Nonnie Griffin

Nonnie Griffin, actress,

B: October 20, 1933 in Toronto, Ontario
D: June 7, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario

Nonnie Griffin was born Lorna Margaret Jean Griffin and began her career onstage when she was 16 at the now defunct Red Barn Theatre in Jackson’s Point, Ontario. She went on to study first at the Toronto Conservatory and then at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London where she studied voice, speech arts and drama. She also studied with the famed mime artist Marcel Marceau. Her stage work includes a 10-month run as the title character in Hello, Dolly! at the Limelight Dinner Theatre in Toronto in 1990. She appeared in the original Toronto production of John Murrell’s Waiting for the Parade and played Jessica in the original Montreal production of David French’s Jitters. Other stage work included appearances at the Canadian Repertory Theatre in Ottawa, the Peterborough Summer Theatre, the Jupiter Players in Toronto and the Bristol Old Vic in London, England, among many others.A generation of children grew up with her when she was part of the TVOntario children’s series, Polka Dot Door. Her dramatic work on television dates back to the medium’s so-called Golden Age, including her being cast in the role of Diana Barry in the first televised production of Anne of Green Gables in 1956. For all of her early career she was credited as Margaret Griffin. She was 85 and getting ready for a new production when she died in hospital of a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

For her appearances in television dramas, we list the title of the drama followed by the year of production and the title of the series.
Also see: Passages 2019.

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

The Ox and the Ass (TV-1954, Hidden Pages)
Anne of Green Gables (TV-1956)
When Soft Voices Die (TV-1956, Folio)
Black of the Moon (TV-1956, First Performance)
The Painted Blind (TV-1956, General Motors Theatre)
Kathleen (TV-1956, General Motors Theatre)
Whiteoaks (TV-1957, General Motors Theatre)
Black Chiffon (TV-1957, General Motors Theatre)
The Trial of James Whelan (TV-1957, Folio)
Mr. Bolfry (TV-1957, Folio)
A Matter of Principle (TV-1958, General Motors Theatre)
The Diary of a Scoundrel (TV-1958, Folio)
Three to Get Married: Part 1 (TV-1958, On Camera)
A Touch of the Sun (TV-1959, ITV Play of the Week)

Too Young to Love (1960)
Roman Gesture (TV-1960, Armchair Theatre)
Eye Witness (TV-1960, Armchair Mystery Theatre)
The Watching Cat (TV-1961)
The Ninety-Ninth Day (TV-1963, Playdate)
The Close Prisoner (TV-1964, Festival)
The Birthday Party (TV-1965, Festival)
The Scotch (TV-1966, Festival)
Counter Etiquette. Part 1 (1967, short)

If You Could See What I Hear (1982)
Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation (voice, 1986)
The Believers (1987)
Blades of Courage (TV-1988)

The Toy Shop (voice, VR-1996)
A Husband, a Wife and a Lover (TV-1996)
The Abduction (TV-1996)
An Angel for Christmas (voice, VR-1996, short)
A Little Princess (voice, VR-1996)

Good Fences (2003)

Wild Life (voice, 2011)
Old Stock (2012)
Wet Bum (2014)
Sundowning (2016, short)
A Puppy for Christmas (TV-2016)
Stockholm (2018)

TV Series – Cast:
Ewoks (voice, 1985)
The Care Bears (voice, 1986)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Last of the Mohicans (1957)
Strange Paradise (1969)
King of Kensington (1978)
Bizarre (1980)
The Littlest Hobo (1983)
Check It Out (1986)
Adderly (1986, 1987)
Street Legal (1989)
The Raccoons (1989, 1991)
RoboCop (1994)
Forever Knight (1995)
Doc (2002, 2003)
Bitten (2014)

Old Stock, movie, poster,

Wet Bum, movie, poster,

Barbara March

Barbara March, actress,

B: October 9, 1953 in Toronto, Ontario
D: August 11, 2019

Barbara March was a stage and film actor, and known to Star Trek fans as the Klingon, Lursa, one of the Duras sisters, from the House of Duras (pictured above). Her character showed up in the Star Trek series The Next GenerationDeep Space 9 and in the feature film Star Trek: Generations. She also played the character for the video game, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Klingon Honor Guard released in 1998. Her stage work took her to Ontario’s famed Stratford Festival and to many in other theatres around the world. March played Isabella in Measure for Measure, Desdemona in Othello and Titania in A Midsummer Nights Dream, to name a few. She also played Lady Macbeth several times. Barbara March was also an author, her book The Copper People was published in September 2010. Barbara March died of cancer.

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

Deserters (1983)
Twelfth Night (TV-1986)
Kingsgate (1989)

Blood Ties (TV-1991)
The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (TV-1991)
The Portrait (1992)
Star Trek: Generations (1994)

TV Series: Guest appearances:
Night Heat (1987)

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991, 1994)
L.A.Law (1992)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993)
Total Security (1997)

Ronnie Rowe Jr.

Ronnie Rowe Jr., actor,

B: December 16, in Toronto, Ontario

Ronnie Fitzroy Rowe Jr. is also a stage actor. Some of his credits include the 2017 Soulpepper production of Kim’s Convenience; Up the Garden Path at Theatre Passe Muraille; A Bullet for Adolf at the Hart House Theatre and Jesus Hopped the A Train for the Unit 102 Theatre. He trained under David Dunbar, David Smuckler, Debrah Joy, Tom Todoroff and Bernadette Jones as well as at the Armstrong Acting Studios and the Odyssey Studios in Toronto. He is probably best known for playing shuttle pilot R.A.Bryce on the shot-in-Toronto series Star Trek: Discovery.

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

The Assistant (2012, short)
Erasermen (2012, short)
Bike Cop: Begins (2013)
Mars Is Laughing at Us (2014, short)
Looks Just Like the Sun (2015, short)
Wagon (2015, short)
Section 7 (2017, short)
Black Cop (2017)
Emmy (2018, short)
Recall (2018, short)

TV Series – Cast:
Riftworld Chronicles (2015)
Star Trek: Discovery (2017-)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Dual Suspects (2011)
The Firm (2012)
Warehouse 13 (2013)
Murdoch Mysteries (2014)
Saving Hope (2014)
Teenagers (2014)
Republic of Doyle (2014)
Rogue (2015)
The Expanse (2015)
Dark Matter (2016)
The Strain (2016)
Kim’s Convenience (2017)
In Contempt (2018)

Black Cop, movie, poster,

Doc Institute Honours 2

Doc Institute Honours 2, image,
Millefiore Clarkes & Anne Pick. Photo by Flora Tang, courtesy of the DOC Institute.. Used with permission.

Doc Institute Honours 2
by Staff

(December 12, 2019 – Toronto, ON) The tony Gladstone Hotel was the venue for the 6th annual DOC Institute Honours Celebration last night. Film and documentary industry professionals were hosted by actor, producer and journalist Nicole Stamp, who announced the two 2019 recipients. The BMO-DOC Vanguard Award was given to experimental and emerging filmmaker Millefiore Clarkes, and Canadian documentary trail-blazer Anne Pick was honoured with The Rogers-DOC Luminary Award.

Millefiore Clarkes was born in and grew up on Prince Edward Island. Through her company One Thousand Flowers Productions, she has produced a variety of media work: short and feature documentaries, music videos, drama, experimental shorts, and video installations. Clarkes has directed three documentary films for the National Film Board of Canada, including The Song and The Sorrow, which took home Best Short Atlantic Documentary at FIN – Atlantic International Film Fest, Best Atlantic Documentary at Lunenburg Doc Fest, and many more. Remarking on Clarkes’ work, the jury said she was “highly emotive and visionary.”

“Making art of any kind is an emotional process,” said Millefiore Clarkes. “As a filmmaker, you try to expose yourself, your vision of the world, a little of your soul. You try to communicate. And it’s not always apparent whether you are reaching people or not. Winning this award confirms to me that I have reached some people, at least some of the time – and that is a truly heartening acknowledgement. I have such respect for documentary filmmakers and their struggle to create meaning and empathy in the world – it’s an honour to be recognized by my peers.”

Along with the Vanguard Award, Clarkes will receive $40,000 in in-kind services from Canadian production supplier Sim-International and a thousand-dollar cash prize from the Bank of Montreal. 

Anne Pick’s long career as a filmmaker began in 1970’s  at CBC. The Rogers-DOC Luminary Award is most fitting given her work over several decades. Pick is a highly regarded, tireless advocate for the Canadian documentary filmmaking community, having lead various boards and committees working to protect and sustain documentary filmmaking opportunities with organizations like DOC, Hot Docs and imagineNATIVE over the past 30 years.

“The Documentary Organization of Canada through its endless advocacy work is essential to the survival of documentary filmmakers in Canada and I am proud to have been a part of it for the past 30 years,” said Pick. “This award is the perfect cap to my career and coming from my friends and colleagues in the doc community  it is even more special.”

Among her substantial credits is the creation of a new lifestyle genre with the series Harrowsmith Country Life which launched the Life Network. She also produced Canada’s first official treaty documentary co-production with Australian partners in early 2000. During her career, Pick has been given many accolades including a Gemini Award and the 2015 Don Haig Award at Hot Docs. The jury noted that Pick is a “legendary filmmaker with unwavering passion and dedication.”

The DOC Institute is an initiative of DOC Ontario, the largest chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada. DOC represents over 800 members across Canada through six regional chapters. Collectively, DOC’s members have produced thousands of documentaries; which have been seen by millions of people; and have been recognized with prestigious awards, including Oscars, Emmys, Peabodys, Geminis, Genies, and Canadian Screen Awards.

The DOC Institute Honours is an annual event. Past winners include Amar Wala, Zoe Dirse, Daniel Cross, Victoria Lean, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Marc Glassman, Chelsea Mcmullan, and Hot Docs President Chris MacDonald.

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

105 minutes – Drama
Language: English
Festival release date: February 9, 2019 (Berlin)
Release date: November 2019
Production companies: Experimental Forest Films, Oslo Pictures, Violator Films, Tannhauser Gate
Canadian distributor: levelFILM
World rights: ARRAY Releasing

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is a personal drama that explores two Indigenous women living very different lives who are briefly brought together by desperate circumstances. Áila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) sees a young woman named Rosie (Violet Nelson, pictured above) who is barefoot and sobbing in the streets. Rosie has just been assaulted by her boyfriend and has managed to escape. Compelled to take action, Áila chooses to bring Rosie into her home and, over the course of the evening, the two women explore the after-effect of this traumatic event.

The film, a Canada-Norway coproduction, had its World Premiere at the Berlin Film Festival and its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2019, where it received an honourable mention from the Best Canadian Film award jury.

Update January 9, 2020: The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open has won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s 2019 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award along with its $100,000 purse. It is the richest annual film prize in Canada. It was presented to director Kathleen Hepburn and director/co-star Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers by author and feminist heroine Margaret Atwood.

The Body Remembers When the World Broke OpenThe Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
Producer:Tyler Hagan
Lori Lozinski
Alan R. Milligan
Executive Producer:

Yvonne Huff
Jason Delane Lee
Matthew Soraci


Dyveke Bjørkly Graver

Associate Producer:

Alysha Seriani


Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Kathleen Hepburn


Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Kathleen Hepburn

Story Editor:

Linda Coffey


Norm Li


Christian Siebenherz


Øystein Braut

Production Designer:

Liz Cairns
Sophie Jarvis

Art Director:

Kara Hornland

Costume Designer:

Stina Lunde


Violet Nelson
Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Charlie Hannah
Barbara Eve Harris
Sonny Surowiec
Jay Cardinal Villeneuve
Tony Massil
Aidan Dee
James Angus Cowan
Anthony Bolognese
Charles Jarman
Joan Boisjoly
Paul Jarrett
Anesha Bailey
Glenn Cho
Lissa Neptuno
Angel Thomas

Taxi Driver #1
Taxi Driver #2
Dr. Phillips

CDN Films @ Sundance

Sundance marquee, image,

CDN Films @ Sundance
by Staff

(December 9, 2019 – Toronto, ON) — The nonprofit Sundance Institute has announced a large slate of new independent feature films selected to screen across all categories for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and a few Canadian films have been included. The Sundance Film Festival is the Sundance Institute’s flagship public program and is widely regarded as the largest American independent film festival. This year it will run from January 23 to February 2, 2020 in Park City, Utah. Last year’s attendance numbers saw more than 120,000 people and 1,300 accredited press show up for the 10 day festival. More than 2,000 volunteers were needed to keep things running smoothly.

Based on their announcement, there are seven broad categories. Canadian films show up in four of them. The first is the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, which houses twelve films from emerging filmmaking talents around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include The Souvenir, The Guilty, Monos, Yardie, The Nile Hilton Incident and Second Mother.

Brandon Cronenberg, director,
One of the twelve is Possessor, a Canada/United Kingdom co-production which sees Director and screenwriter Brandon Cronenberg following closely in his father’s footsteps. Possessor is a sci-fi feature that sees Tasva Vos (Andrea Riseborough), a corporate agent who uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies, which drives them to commit assassinations for the benefit of the company. Other cast includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Abbott, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean. Canadian cast members include Kaniehtiio Horn, Rossif Sutherland, Christopher Jacot, Raoul Bhaneja and Deragh Campbell.Producers are Niv Fichman, Andrew Starke, Kevin Krikst and Fraser Ash. The first screening of Possesssor will be a World Premiere. Elevation Pictures is Canadian distributor but no theatrical release date has been announced.

Twelve documentaries have been selected for the World Cinema Documentary Competition. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Honeyland, Sea of Shadows, Shirkers, This is Home, Last Men in Aleppo and Hooligan Sparrow.

Influence is a South Africa/Canada co-production from Directors and Screenwriters Diana Neille and Richard Poplak. Produced by Bob Moore and Neil Brandt, Influence is one of the first two documentary projects that received production support through Hot Docs Partners. The film charts the recent advancements in weaponized communication by investigating the rise and fall of the world’s most notorious public relations and reputation management firm: the British multinational Bell Pottinger. This is a World Premiere for Influence.

Other films will also have premieres at Sundance, but not in competition. Premieres is the name of the section that provides a showcase for some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include The Report, Late Night, The Big Sick and Call Me By Your Name.

Viggo Mortensen, actor,
Viggo Mortensen at the 2012 Genie Awards. Photo by Ralph Lucas for Northernstars.ca

There are two Canadian co-pros in the Premieres section, including Falling, a Canada/United Kingdom/Denmark production from Viggo Mortensen, who takes Director and Screenwriter credits for this film, stepping behind the camera for a feature produced by Mortensen, Daniel Bekerman and Chris Curling. Short synopsis: When 80-year-old independent farmer Willis travels to Los Angeles for an indefinite stay with son John and his family, two very different worlds collide. Mentally declining, Willis’ abrasiveness is both caustic and funny, bringing old wounds from the past and years of mutual mistrust to the surface. The cast includes Lance Henriksen, Terry Chen, Sverrir Gudnason, Hannah Gross, Laura Linney and Viggo Mortensen, who costarred in the 2018 award-winning feature Green Book. Falling will have its World Premiere on the closing night of Sundance 2020.

The Nest is a United Kingdom/Canada production shot in England and Toronto. Sean Durkin is Director and Screenwriter. Produced by Ed Guiney, Derrin Schlesinger, Rose Garnett, Sean Durkin, Amy Jackson and Christina Piovesan, in The Nest we meet charismatic entrepreneur Rory, who relocates his family to England with dreams of profiting from booming 1980’s London. But as his wife Allison struggles to adapt, and the promise of a lucrative new beginning starts to unravel, the couple have to face the unwelcome truths lying beneath the surface of their marriage. Cast includes Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Charlie Shotwell and Oona Roche. The Nest is from Element Pictures, the Irish film production group behind Room, which was shot in Toronto. The Nest will have its World Premiere at Sundance.

There is one Canadian film in the Documentary Premieres section. A section that in recent years
screened films like include Ask Dr. Ruth, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, RBG, An Inconvenient Sequel and The Hunting Ground.

The Go-Go’s is a U.S.A./Ireland,/Canada co-pro from Director Alison Ellwood. As the first all-female band to play their instruments, write their songs and have a No. 1 album, The Go-Go’s made history. Underpinned by candid testimonies, this film chronicles the meteoric rise to fame of a band born in the LA punk scene who became a pop phenomenon. Produced by Trevor Birney, Corey Russell and Eimhear O’Neill, the cast includes Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin. The Go-Go’s is also a World Premiere screening.

Other sections at Sundance are Midnight, Spotlight and Kids, and we may have missed something but we were unable to find any Canadian or Canadian co-productions in these categories. As mentioned, the Sundance Film Festival runs from January 23 to February 2, 2020. Find more information about Sundance 2020 online.


– Sci-fi
Language: English
Festival release date: January 2020 – Sundance
Production companies: Rhombus Media, Rook Films, Particular Crowd
Canadian distributor: Elevation Pictures
U.S. distributor: Well Go USA Entertainment

Tasva Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is a corporate agent who uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies, driving them to commit assassinations for the benefit of the company. When something goes wrong on a routine job, she finds herself trapped inside a man whose identity threatens to obliterate her own.

Possessor is a Canada/United Kingdom co-production and features an international cast. It was chosen to have its World Premiere in the World Cinema Drama Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020

Producer:Fraser Ash
Niv Fichman
Kevin Krikst
Andrew Starke
Executive Producer:

Gary Hamilton
Ryan Hamilton
David U. Lee
Adrian Love
Daniel Negret
Tony Roman
Noah Segal
Steven Squillante
Simon Williams
Ying Ye


Steve Solomos

Associate Producer:

Matthew Hannam
Karim Hussain

Supervising Producer:

Rob Cotterill


Brandon Cronenberg


Brandon Cronenberg


Karim Hussain


Matthew Hannam


Jim Williams

Production Designer:

Rupert Lazarus

Art Director:

Kent McIntyre

Costume Designer:

Aline Gilmore


Andrea Riseborough
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Tuppence Middleton
Sean Bean
Kaniehtiio Horn
Christopher Abbott
Hanneke Talbot
Rossif Sutherland
Christopher Jacot
Raoul Bhaneja
Gage Graham-Arbuthnot
Deragh Campbell
Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves
Kathy Maloney
Megan Vincent
Dorren Lee
Daniel Park
Danny Waugh
Matthew Garlick
Kelsey Klippenstein

Tasya Vos
John Parse
Reid Parse
Ira Vos
Tasya Vos photo double

Andrea Bain

Andrea Bain, actress,
Photo of Andrea Bain at the 2018 Canadian Screen wards by R.A.Lucas for Northernstars.ca.

Andrea Bain is primarily a television personality and host known for her work on shows like The Goods, and Live Here Buy This. She rarely, so far, turns up in dramatic television productions, which we list here as her credits as an actress.

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

Jump In! (TV-2007)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
But I’m Chris Jericho! (2017)

Cheryl Hickey

Cheryl Hickey, actress,
Photo of Cheryl Hickey at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards by R.A.Lucas for Northernstars.ca

B: January 8, 1976 in Owen Sound, Ontario

Cheryl Hickey primarily shows up on television as herself, appearing in shows such as the 21st Annual Gemini Awards, The Bachelorette Canada After Show, and since 2008 as a host on Entertainment Tonight Canada. She occasionally is cast in roles on dramatic television shows, which list here as her credits as an actor.

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

TV Series – Guest appearances:

Blue Murder (2003)
Bomb Girls (2013)
Lost Girl (2015)
Private Eyes (2018)

ACTRA Toronto Honours Jean Yoon

ACTRA Toronto Honours Jean Yoon

Photo of Jean Yoon courtesy of CBC.

ACTRA Toronto Honours Jean Yoon
by Staff

(December 5, 2019 – Toronto, ON) ACTRA Toronto has announced it will honour actor Jean Yoon with their 2020 Award of Excellence on February 22, 2020. Anyone familiar with the hit series Kim’s Convenience knows Yoon plays the role Umma, a role she originated in the Toronto Fringe production of Kim’s Convenience in 2011 and went on to perform in stage productions at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto, The Grand Theatre London, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Theatre Calgary, Theatre Aquarius, the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope and the Pershing Square Signature Centre in New York.

“I am grateful to have begun my career at a time when actors and artists like Sandi Ross, Brenda Kamino, Beverly Yhap, Rita Deverell, Walter Borden and so many others had already done so much of the hard work so that someone like me could find a way, a place, a community to create, grow and voice our stories,” said Ms. Yoon. “Telling our own stories shouldn’t be a radical endeavour. But it still so often is. The key is not to fight each other over one small slice of pie; we just have to bake more damn pies.”

Born in Illinois and raised in Toronto, Jean Yoon is a playwright, actor, advocate and mom. Best known for her work on Kim’s Convenience, for which she received the ACTRA Award for Outstanding Performance Female 2017 and two Canadian Screen Award nominations, other screen credits include Dragon Boys for which she received a Gemini nomination in 2007, Orphan Black, The Expanse, Save Me and the voice of Connie in the Emmy Award-winning PBS show Peg + Cat.

“Jean Yoon is an artist Canadians should celebrate!” said ACTRA Toronto President Theresa Tova. “Diversity is our strength, and Jean’s international success is a testament to the importance of how universal all our stories are. Never shy to call out inequity, Jean’s voice has given hope to a generation of diverse performers, and in her time on ACTRA Toronto Council she has motivated our leadership to actively fight for inclusion, diversity and real representation on our screens. Brava Umma!”

Yoon began her theatre career in the early 1980s in Toronto, performing with Upstage Theatre, Toronto Free Theatre and Canadian Artists Group. In the 1990s, she was active as a cultural equity advocate and new play producer. She was Cross-Cultural Coordinator for Theatre Ontario 1991/92 and produced Theatre Ontario’s forum Breaking Ground at the end of her term. She went on to serve as Co-Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre Projects 1992 to early 1994, founding Lift Off! and cementing Cahoots’ role as a leader in new play development for playwrights of diverse cultures. She continued to advocate for equity while serving on the Second Advisory on Racial Equality to Canada Council for the Arts 1993-1996, and as Vice President of PACT in 1993/94.

Other work off stage includes her participation in Into the Mainstream’s Representation in the Media Conference in 1994. In 2016, Yoon addressed the CRTC on behalf of ACTRA to argue that private TV broadcast licences should continue to be tied to a commitment to Canadian programming. Most recently, she served as an ACTRA Toronto Councillor from 2018 to 2019.

He playwriting credits include the Dora-nominated stage play, The Yoko Ono Project, a multimedia performance art comedy, produced by Loud Mouth Asian Babes and Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto in January 2000. Her comedic adaptation of a classic Korean folktale Hongbu & Nolbu: The Tale of the Magic Pumpkins premiered at Young Peoples Theatre in 2005 and was published in Seven Contemporary Plays from the Korean Diaspora in the Americas, edited by Esther Kim Lee, Duke University Press in 2012. Other playwriting credits include Sliding for Home, Spite, and Yes Yoko Solo.

The ACTRA Toronto Award of Excellence honours an ACTRA Toronto performer with a significant body of work and who has demonstrated a commitment to advocacy on behalf of their fellow performers. The 2020 luxe gala event will be held on February 22 at The Carlu. Four juried awards will be presented during the show for outstanding male, female, male voice and female voice, as well as the ACTRA Toronto Stunt Award and the members’ choice Series Ensemble Award. The awards gala is ACTRA Toronto’s way of celebrating a year-over-year successful industry with their producing partners, generous sponsors and allies.

ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA, representing over 15,000 of Canada’s 25,000 professional performers working in recorded media in Canada.

Academy Honours Four+

Academy Honours Four+
David Suzuki, Alex Trebek and Tina Keeper.

Academy Honours Four+
by Staff

(December 4, 2019 – Toronto, ON) The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television has announced the recipients to be honoured with 2020 Special Awards. They will be honoured at the gala award ceremonies during Canadian Screen Week, March 23 – 29, 2020. These honourees span all aspects of television, film, and digital media. They include David Suzuki, Alex Trebek, Dan Levy and Tina Keeper.
For his exceptional lifetime of work, David Suzuki will be given the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. For his ongoing contribution to the media industry, the Academy Icon Award will be presented to Alex Trebek. The Radius Award is given to a Canadian whose work is making waves globally, and this year that award will go to Dan Levy. And for her exceptional body of work in Canadian television, the Earle Grey Award is presented to Tina Keeper.

Dr. Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2012 Inamori Ethics Prize, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and UNEP’s Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 29 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It’s a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies.

Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Alex Trebek has been the host on more than 8,000 episodes of Jeopardy! He has won six Daytime Emmy® awards for Outstanding Game Show host and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has also been honoured with a Guinness World Records® record for Most Game Show Episodes Hosted by the Same Presenter.

Dan Levy, actor, producer,
Dan Levy at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards.

Dan Levy is an Emmy® nominated showrunner, and a writer, director, producer and actor, best known for his work on Schitt’s Creek, which he co-created with his father, Eugene Levy. In 2019, the show earned four Emmy® nominations, including Best Comedy Series. Now heading into its sixth season on CBC in Canada and on Pop TV in the U.S., the first five seasons of Schitt’s Creek are currently streaming on Netflix.

Tina Keeper, a Norway House Cree, is best known for her work on the hit television series North of 60. In 2010, she partnered with Buffalo Gal Pictures to create Kistikan Pictures Inc. to collaborate in the development and production of Indigenous film and television. Most recently, Ms. Keeper acted in the illustrious film Falls Around Her by Anishinaabe director Darlene Naponse, and in 2018, she acted in and co-produced the feature film Through Black Spruce with Serendipity Point Films. In 2017, she co-produced the 360 3D VR short film Sky Stories with Tangent Animation. In 2015, she produced the feature film Road of Iniquity by Maliseet director Mark Ennis. In 2014, she co-produced Going Home Star, a full-length ballet co-produced by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. From 2010 to 2013, she produced Cashing In, a dramatic series for APTN. Finally, also in 2013, she produced a short documentary for MTSOnDemand called The REDress REdress Project.

“Our Canadian content creators have become masters of turning their unique experience into art that resonates beyond our borders, a sentiment that rings true of every honouree this year,” said Beth Janson (pictured), CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “This widely regarded group of industry leaders and pioneers reflects the very best in Canadian visual storytelling and are some of the sharpest talents Canada — and the world — has to offer.”

“The recipients of the 2020 Special Awards are as diverse as our country, and their differences shine as brightly as their common thread: an impact that cannot be denied,” said John Young, Chair, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “In the face of our ever-changing reality as creators in Canada, I am very excited as we embark on a new decade with these extraordinary honourees as partners and leaders in our industry.”

Other awards announced today include the Margaret Collier Award, which this year goes to David Shore. Originally from Canada and a former lawyer, Shore has been writing and producing television for more than 20 years. He currently serves as executive producer and showrunner on the ABC hit drama The Good Doctor. Prior to that, he created the groundbreaking medical drama House, which ran on Fox for eight seasons. His work on House earned him several Emmy® nominations for producing, and he won the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, as well as the Humanitas Prize and the Writers Guild of America Award.

For their extraordinary impact on the growth of the Canadian media industry, the Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute will be presented to: Robin Mirsky and to Michael Donovan. Ms Mirsky is a veteran film and television industry executive who has been involved in the financing, strategy, and development of thousands of award-winning productions that have had global distribution. Since 1989, she has been the Executive Director of the Rogers Group of Funds established by Rogers, which has provided almost $600 million in funding for more than 2000 television and film projects. Her career includes directorships on the Boards of the Canadian Film Centre and the Banff World Media Festival, and she also serves as Co-Chair of the Hot Docs Documentary Festival Board of Directors, and previously as Vice-Chairman of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Michael Donovan is a producer, writer, and content executive from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Following an unconventional start in law, Mr. Donovan pursued his passion for creativity and co-founded Salter Street Productions, producing the iconic Canadian series This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine, for which he received an Oscar in 2003. Mr. Donovan also wrote and produced the highly acclaimed 2007 film Shake Hands With the Devil, which was nominated for numerous awards including Genies for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Motion Picture. Known for his industry foresight and relentless belief in the demand for quality entertainment, Mr. Donovan founded DHX Media in 2006 and held the CEO position for several years. Through his hard work and dedication, DHX Media has grown to be one of the world’s leading providers of entertainment content for children and families.

For his exceptional body of work in television journalism, the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism has been given to Anton Koschany. He is a multiple award-winning journalist with more than 45 years of experience in news and long-form reporting, producing, and management. He has been with W5 since 1993, first as producer then later as senior producer, and currently as head of CTV News’ renowned program. Koschany is one of the country’s most experienced electronic journalists and is actively involved with CTV’s political journalism. He has covered every provincial, municipal and federal election since the late 1990s as the executive producer of CTV Elections.

In recognition of an extraordinary humanitarian contribution or act of compassion by a professional working in the Canadian media industry in the prior year, the Humanitarian Award is presented to Nathalie Younglai, who has gone from being a professional harpist to reality TV director to writer for children’s TV and now for primetime drama. Younglai founded BIPOC TV & Film, a grassroots organization advocating for the meaningful representation of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in front and behind the camera. She is a recipient of ACTRA Diversity’s Sandi Ross Award, Ben Watkin’s Breakthrough Award, and ReelWorld’s Trailblazer Award. She was a nominee for a Colleges Ontario Premier’s Award, and a nominee for both a Canadian Screen Award and a Daytime Emmy® for her writing on Dino Dana. Ms. Younglai is currently writer and co-producer on CBC’s hit drama Coroner. 

Industry awards include the Industry Leadership Award presented to Crave, and the Outstanding Media Innovation Award presented to Secret Location for Vusr. Secret Location has been developing advanced technological platforms and innovating on new narrative forms for over a decade, and has received over 250 awards and nominations, including the first Primetime Emmy® Award for a VR project. In 2016, Secret Location launched Vusr, a suite of products to distribute, manage, and monetize VR content.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television will release their full list of nominees for the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards on February 18. The awards ceremonies and related events span Canadian Screen Week, which this year begins on March 23 and ends with the broadcast gala on CBC on Sunday March 29.

Awards Season 2020

Awards, image

Awards Season 2020

by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(December 3, 2019 – Toronto, ON) The awards season seems to come early this year. If you’re a fan of awards shows, this is an early take on what your calendar may look like. The first hint of the coming onslaught of award ceremonies, broadcast or not, takes place tomorrow December 4 in a rather subdued (by comparison) affair. That’s when members of the New York Film Critics Circle meet and vote on their list of winners. The New York Film Critics Circle Awards Gala will be held on January 7.

Things ramp up a bit next Monday, December 9 when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announces the nominees for its 2020 Golden Globe Awards. The awards ceremony itself will take place on Sunday January 5th at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Los Angeles. Love him or hate him, Ricky Gervais is back to host the Golden Globes for a record fifth time.

Also on December 9 look for the Art Directors Guild Award nominations to be announced and the very next day the Costume Designers Guild Award nominations will be announced. If this seems like a lot of U.S. news, that’s just the nature of the beast, the beast being the size and international clout of the American movie industry.

On Wednesday, December 11 the Screen Actors Guild Awards will announce their 2020 nominations and on the following Monday, December 16 the Oscars® shortlists will be announced and voting begins on January 2. Voting ends just 5 days later and the results of that voting will produce the final list of nominees will be announced on Monday January 27th. As in past years, Northernstars plans to carry that announcement live from Los Angeles. The Oscars® telecast takes place on Sunday, February 9. In Canada, CTV will carry the show again this year.

Last year we wrote about the decline in award show viewers, writing, “…TV’s three biggest awards shows — the Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes — lost 14 million viewers between them, a stunning 18 percent decline from their collective haul the previous year.” We haven’t bothered with U.S. stats for 2019, but in Canada, CTV enjoyed 9% growth over 2018 with an average audience of 5 million viewers for the 91st Oscars®.

Back to the calendar, in addition to the previously mentioned New York Film Critics Circle Awards Gala, nominations for both the Producers Guild of America Awards and the Directors Guild of America Awards will be announced. The Producers Guild AWards ceremony is schduled for January 18 and the Directors Guild Awards will be held on January 25. The Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday January 19.

Saturday, February 1 brings both the Art Directors Guild Awards ceremony and the Writers Guild of America Awards ceremony. The next day, February 2, the always posh and always important BAFTA Awards will be handed out. In case you’re new to all this, BAFTA stands for the British Academy of Film & Television Arts.

On February 18 the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television will release their list of nominees for the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards. The awards ceremonies and related events span what its called Canadian Screen Week, which this year begins on March 23 and ends with the broadcast gala on Sunday March 29. 

And with that the 3 month awards season draws to a close. A couple of outliers include the Gala Québec Cinéma on June 7th and Daytime Emmy Awards which will expand from two nights to three spanning June 12-14.

Other Canadian film awards we will pay attention to include the TFCA (Toronto Film Critics Association) awards and the VFCC (Vancouver Film Critics Circle) which both announce their choices for recognition usually in early January.

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.

Come to Daddy

93 minutes – Thriller, Comedy, Horror
Language: English
Festival release date: April 25, 2019 (Tribeca Film Festival, New York)
Release date: February 3, 2020 (Canada)
Production companies: Firefly Films, Blinder Films, Nowhere, Scythia Films
Canadian distribution Mongrel Media
U.S.distributor: Saban Films

Elijah Wood plays Norval, whose life has been, to put it lightly, difficult. He’s an LA hipster who grew up with his mother in affluent Beverly Hills and is coming off alcohol-related struggles. Just five when his father (Stephan McHattie) abandoned him 30 years ago, Norval receives an invitation to visit him at his remote cabin, amidst
a forest on a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean. Hoping that reconnecting with his father will give him the emotional fulfillment he’s been lacking, Norval quickly realizes something is decidely off about his dad, an uneasy feeling triggered by inappropriate comments and a possible over-dependence on booze. Recognizing that a father/son bonding is doomed, he finds himself in waking nightmare.

Shot in Tofino, British Columbia (standing in for coastal Oregon), Come to Daddy is a New Zealand-Canada-Ireland coproduction. This film marks New Zealander Ant Timpson’s feature film directorial debut.

Come to DaddyCome to Daddy
Producer:Daniel Bekerman
Toby Harvard
Katie Holly
Mette-Marie Kongsved
Emma Slade
Laura Tunstall
Executive Producer:

Lia Buman
Tim Headington
Ant Timpson
Laura Tunstall


Jacqueline Nguyen

Associate Producer:

Evan Horan

Supervising Producer:

Alex Ordanis


Ant Timpson


Toby Harvard


Daniel Katz


Dan Kircher


Karl Steven

Production Designer:

Zosia Mackenzie

Art Director:

John O’Regan
Charlie Whiteway (Set decoration)

Costume Designer:

Angela Ganderton


Elijah Wood
Stephen McHattie
Garfield Wilson
Madeleine Sami
Martin Donovan
Michael Smiley
Simon Chin
Ona Grauer
Ryan Beil
Oliver Wilson
Raresh DiMofte
Gord Middleton
Alla Rouba
Noam Zylberman

Norval Greenwood
Ronald Plum
Young Norva

Robert Adetuyi

Robert Adetuyi, director,

B: in Sudbury, Ontario

Screenwriter and film director Robert Adetuyi is a graduate of York University, where he studied communications and sociology. He moved to Hollywood in 1992. We list his credits as a Director first.

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

Turn It Up (2000)
Beat the World (2011)
Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack (2017)
Stand! (2019)
Trouble Sleeping (2020)
Made Guys (announced)

TV Series – at least 1 episode of:
The Quad (2018)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
Turn It Up (2000)
Code Name: The Cleaner (2007)
Stomp the Yard (2007)

Beat the World (2011)
High Chicago (2011)
Love Jacked (2018)
Honey: Rise Up and Dance (2018)
Trouble Sleeping (2020)

Credits as a Producer:
Beat the World (2011)
High Chicago (2011)
Love Jacked (2018)
Stand! (2019)
Trouble Sleeping (2020)

Stand! movie poster,

Ryan Ash

Ryan Ash, actor,

B: in Edmonton, Alberta

Ryan Ash is an actor and standup comic. Through a quirk in casting Ryan Ash was cast too play the role of a character named Ash in the stage play Evil Dead: The Musical, based on the series of Sam Raimi movies that began with The Evil Dead in 1981. The role called for someone who could act, sing and dance. Ash made his screen debut playing a character named Davey in the 2019 musical drama Stand!

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

Stand! (2019)

Stand! movie poster,

Pilar Floyd

Pilar Floyd, actress,

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

Mother’s Day (2010)
Faces in the Crowd (2011)
Christmas Connection (TV-2017)
Merry & Bright (TV-2019)
Stand! (2019)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Channel Zero (2018)

Stand! movie poster,

Sarah Luby

Sarah Luby, actress,

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

H & G (2013)
Patterns (2019, short)
No Time Like Christmas (TV-2019)
Stand! (2019)

TV – Guest appearances:
Millworth (2015, 2016)
Burden of Truth (2018)

Stand! movie poster,

Marshall Williams

B: in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Marshall Williams was born and grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He played football at St. Paul’s High School and the University of Manitoba. He began his career as a model and was a contestant on Canadian Idol in 2007 and 2008. He’s best known for starring as Spencer Porter in the final season of Glee.

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

Bobby Speaking (VR-2005)

Desperately Seeking Santa (TV-2011)
Pete’s Christmas (TV-2013)
How to Build a Better Boy (TV-2014)
Sometimes the Good Kill (TV-2017)
SuperGrid (2018)
Sorry for Your Loss (2018)
His Master’s Voice (2018)
Life of Kai: Six Months (VR-2019, short)
TMI Crossing the Threshold (2019)
Stand! (2019)
Sincerely, Yours, Truly (TV-2019)
A Mazing Winter Romance (TV-2019)

TV Series – Cast:
Glee (2016)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
High Society (2010)
Being Erica (2010)
Alphas (2011)
Todd and the Book if Pure Evil (2012)
My Babysitter’s a Vampire (2012)
Really Me (2012)
Saving Hope (2013)
When Hope Calls (2019)

Stand! movie poster,

Barbara Ulrich

Le Chat dans le sac, movie, image,
Image from Le Chat dans le sac courtesy of NFB

Barbara Ulrich is an actor and producer. She is pictured above in an NFB publicity still for the film Le chat dans le sac. We list her credits as an actor first.

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

Le Chat dans le sac (1964)

The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976)

Danny in the Sky (2001)
Ascension (2002)

Un héritier (2011)
Schakale und Araber (2011, short)
Un conte de Michel de Montaigne (2013, short)
À propos de Venise (narrator, 2014, short)
Kommunisten (2014, Segment: Le temps du mépris”)
Mad Dog Labine (2018)

Credits as a Producer:
Incantati (2003, short)

Dialogue d’ombres (2013, short)
Kommunisten (2014)
In omaggio all’arte italiana! (2015, short)
L’aquarium et la nation (2015, short)