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Violet Nelson

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, movie, image,
Violet Nelson in a still from the film The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open. Supplied. Used with permission

Violet Nelson made a highly auspicious start to her career when she was cast to play the co-lead in the 2019 feature The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, which had its World Premiere at the Berlin Film Festival and its Northern American Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Features & TV Movies:
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The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019)
Night Raiders (2021)

TV Series Guest appearances:
The Twilight Zone (2019)

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, movie, poster,

Night Raiders, movie, poster,

imagineNATIVE Honours Shirley Cheechoo

Shirley Cheechoo, director,

imagineNATIVE Honours Shirley Cheechoo
by Staff Editors

(October 6, 2021 – Toronto, ON) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival has announced that Cree actor and filmmaker Dr. Shirley Cheechoo will receive the 2021 August Schellenberg Award of Excellence, supported by ACTRA National, a generous donation from Joan Karasevich Shellenberg, and individual donors.

The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence (the “Augie”) is an annual prize that recognizes significant professional and personal achievement by an Indigenous actor, of any gender, from Turtle Island. Dr. Shirley Cheechoo will receive her award at the online imagineNATIVE Awards Presentation on Sunday, October 24.

Shirley Cheechoo was born in Eastmain, Quebec, on the eastern shore of James Bay. Shirley is an accomplished and award-winning artist, actor, and filmmaker who has been working in the Indigenous community for over 30 years. She is the proud recipient of numerous awards both for her own work and in recognition of her profound contributions to arts practice throughout Ontario. This multi-award-winning filmmaker was the first person from a First Nation in Canada to write, produce, direct, and act in a feature-length, dramatic film, entitled Bearwalker, which had a market screening at the Cannes Film Festival in France. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Weengushk Film Institute.

“…the longevity of a career but also someone who has done so much for the community and giving back and advocacy and fighting for the rights and it’s so amazing to know that this year the award will go to the incredible Shirley Cheechoo who has done so much artistically but also equally for her community,” said Jani Lauzon, member of the Augie Award selection committee.

August Schellenberg, actor,The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence was launched in partnership with Joan Karasevich Schellenberg to honour her late husband, actor August (Augie) Schellenberg, and the spirit of his work. This annual award is presented to gifted Indigenous actors based on the longevity and impact of their careers, as well as their professionalism and involvement in mentorship and community work. Past Augie recipients include Tantoo Cardinal in 2015, Tom Jackson in 2016, Tina Keeper in 2017, Michael Greyeyes in 2018, Michelle Thrush in 2019, and Lorne Cardinal in 2020.

Montreal-born Mohawk actor August Schellenberg performed in hundreds of theatre, film and television productions throughout his long career including Saving Grace, Free Willy, Black Robe, North of 60 and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Mini-series or Movie for his role as Chief Sitting Bull in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and played the titular role in an all-First Nations version of Shakespeare’s King Lear at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (October 19-24, 2021) is the world’s largest Indigenous festival showcasing film, video, audio, and digital + interactive media made by Indigenous screen-content creators. The Festival presents compelling and distinctive works from Canada and around the globe, reflecting the diversity of Indigenous nations and illustrating the vitality and dynamism of Indigenous arts, perspectives, and cultures in contemporary media.

SOURCE: imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

Guy Foucault

Guy Foucault, actor,

B: in Québec

Features & TV Movies:
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La semaine dernière pas loin du pont (1967)
La Vie rêvée (1972)

La vie revée, movie, poster,

Liliane Lemaître-Auger

La vie revée, image, movie,
Liliane Lemaître-Auger and Véronique Le Flaguais in La vie rêvée.

B: in Montréal, Québec

Liliane Lemaître-Auger only appeared in three feature films in her career. As of 2021 she still lives in Montréal.

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

La Vie rêvée (1972)
Éclair au chocolat (1978)
Le sourd dans la ville (1987)

La vie revée, movie, poster,

Highlights of FNC 2021

Promotional still for Les Olympiads, or Paris, 13th District.

Highlights of FNC 2021
By Maurie Alioff – Québec Correspondent

(October 6, 2021 – Montréal, QC) This year’s Festival du nouveau cinéma is paying long overdue homage to the first Quebec feature film made by a woman, Mireille Dansereau’s 1972 La Vie rêvée (Dream Life). The movie revolves around two women searching for Mr. Right. Still active, Dansereau’s sensitive filmmaking should have landed her in the upper echelons of Canadian moviemaking, but it didn’t.

La vie revée, image, movie,
Liliane Lemaître-Auger and Véronique Le Flaguais in La vie rêvée.

Back in the day, I wrote a review asking why Dansereau’s 1987 picture, Un sourde dans la ville “hasn’t received, in this country, the attention it deserves. Le Sourd did not get a single Genie nomination, while at the Venice Film Festival, it shared an award with Louis Malle’s Au Revoir les enfants. Maybe the members of the Academy would have been more sympathetic if Florence (played by Beatrice Picard) had shot an elephant.” (The elephant was a reference to Jean-Claude Lauzon’s Un zoo la nuit, which in the same year drew nonstop, adoring attention.)

The FNC’s 2021 programme continues the event’s 50-year-old embrace of movies that nudge viewers into unknown territory. For instance Brazilian director Iuli Gerbase’s debut feature, The Pink House, plays as a dystopian comic satire that echoes the 2018 sci-fi hit, Bird Box. An amorous couple, trapped a lockdown, hides from malevolent pink clouds that threaten to poison the entire human race. The couple’s only connections to the outside world are a feeding tube, video calls, and virtual reality. In other words, the way I’ve been living for COVID-haunted months.

Highlights of FNC 2021, image,
Publicity still for Bliss.

In Henrika Kull’s Bliss, 42-year-old Sascha (Katharina Behrens) works at a Berlin whore house that’s clean, efficient, and responsibly run – and a little on the boring side. The whores call the shots, saying forget about it to clients who turn them off. The story kicks in when 25-year-old Italian Maria (Adam Hoya, an actual sex worker/ performance artist), and Sascha get a glimpse of ol’ black magic in each other. Complications ensue.

Les Olympiads, movie, poster, In the FNC selection, Barbaque, or Some Like It Rare, director Fabrice Eboué zeroes in on a butcher plagued by bad business resulting from vegan protests. Then the guy manages to inadvertently kill an activist. To hide the body, he and his wife-business partner turn the corpse into delicious ham, which becomes the town’s number one taste treat.

Another out-on-a-limb picture, Romanian Radu Jude’s Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn won the Golden Bear at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival. The satire follows a teacher who makes a sex tape that leaks online. She needs to fight hard against the hostility that ensues.

The must-see item on my list is Les Olympiads, or Paris, 13th District, Jacques Audiard’s visually sumptuous exploration of a single young woman yearning for love. The film, set in a massive apartment complex called the Olympiads, draws from graphic short stories by New Yorker cartoonist Adrian Tomine. Audiard’s intricately layered and emotionally powerful 2009 prison story Un Prophet is one of standout French pictures of the 21st century.

Another must-see for many, the last minute, surprise screening of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, in person at the Imperial theatre on October 17.

The Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) opens today in Montréal. Click here for a link to the FNC and other October 2021 film festivals.

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

Shirley Cheechoo

Shirley Cheechoo, director,

B: 1952 in Eastmain, Québec

Dr. Shirley Cheechoo, a Cree filmmaker, actor, writer, and visual artist, made her directorial debut in 1998 and is revered as the first Indigenous woman to write, produce, and direct a dramatic feature film in Canada for her film Bearwalker, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. We list her credits as a Director first

Also see: imagineNATIVE Honours Shirley Cheechoo.
Also see: Weengushk Film Institute: Coming Soon?
Also see: Shirley Cheechoo Receives Reelworld Award.

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

Silent Tears (1997, short)

Bearwalker (2000)
Pikutiskaau (Mother Earth) (2003)
In Shadow (2003, short)
Johnny Tootall (TV-2005)

Moose River Crossing (2013)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
Silent Tears (1997, short)

Bearwalker (2000)
Johnny Tootall (TV-2005)

Moose River Crossing (2013)

Credits as a Producer:
Silent Tears (1997, short)

Bearwalker (2000)
Pikutiskaau (Mother Earth) (2003)

Moose River Crossing (2013)

Credits as aa Actor:
The Wake (1986)

Medicine River (TV-1993)
Silent Tears (1997, short)
Song of Hiawatha (1997)

Johnny Greyeyes (2000)
Bearwalker 2000)
Christmas in the Clouds (2001)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Spirit Bay (1984)
The Rez (1996)
M.V.P. (2008)

Mireille Dansereau

Mireille Dansereau, director,

B: December 19, 1943 in Montréal, Québec

Mireille Dansereau began her professional life as a dancer who turned her attention to filmmaking and began by studying at the Royal College of Art in London where she received an arts degree in cinema and television. She returned to Canada and worked at the National Film Board of Canada (BFB) in 1967 where she made her first short film Moi, un jour. She also worked at Radio Canada and Radio-Quebec (CBC). A pioneer in Québec film, she was a co-founder of L’Association Coopérative de Productions Audio-Visuelles (ACPAV), the production company behind her first feature, La vie rêvée (1972), which was the first fiction feature directed by a woman in Québec outside of the NFB. In 1987 she adapted Marie-Claire Blais’ poetically metaphoric novel Le Sourd dans la ville (Deaf to the City), which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. Programmers described it, in part, by writing “On paper this remarkable new film by Mireille Dansereau might resemble something unbearably dark and oppressive, but on screen it has a truly rare power: it is dark and oppressive, but it is also haunting, beautiful and full of indelible images.

Features & TV Movies:
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Moi, un jour… (1967, short)
Compromise (1968, short)
Forum (1968, documentary)
Les marchés de Londres (1969, short, documentary)

Coccinelle (1970, short)
Couples – Étude pour un lit et une baignoire (1971, short, documentary)
La vie rêvée (1972)
J’me marie, j’me marie pas (1972, documentary)
Le Père idéal (1974, short)
Rappelle-toi co-directed with Vartkes Cholokian, 1975, short)
Famille et variations (1976, documentary)
L’Arrache-cœur (1979)

Germaine Guèvremont (1980, short, documentary)
Les Baltes à la recherche d’un pays (1980, documentary)
Les Nordiques ou un peuple sans artifice (1980, documentary)
Un pays à comprendre (1981, documentary)
Le Frère André (1982, documentary)
Le sourd dans la ville (1987)

Entre elle et moi (1992, short, documentary)
Les seins dans la tête (1994, short, documentary)
Les cheveux en quatre (1996, short, documentary)

L’idée noire (2000, short)
Danny le montagnais (2001, short, documentary)
Eva (2003, short, documentary)
Louisiane, pour mémoire (2005)

Les cerisiers ont envahi les espaces comme incendie (2010, short, documentary)
Le Pier (2014, short, documentary)
Vu pas vue (2019)

La vie revée, movie, poster,

La Vie rêvée

La vie rêvée, movie, image,

84 minutes – Drama
Language: French
Release date: July 22, 1972 (Montréal, Québec)
Production company: l’A11oclation Cooperative des Productions Audio-Visuelles
Distributor: Faroun Films

Budgeted at $105,000, La vie rêvée (The Dream Life) was considered “amazingly fresh” when it was released in 1972. It was the first Québec dramatic feature to be directed by a woman in the private industry, the first produced by the Association coopérative de productions en audio- visual (ACPAV), and the first to be shot in super 16mm (but released in 35mm). The film tells the story of a budding friendship between Isabelle and Virginie (Liliane Lemaître-Auger and Véronique Le Flaguais), a friendship that is rooted in common ambitions and concerns. One is in love with Jean-Jacques, the father of a family with out of reach social status, while the other is reluctant towards men and the common family model of life. In seeking to fulfill their desires, and dream, sexually and otherwise, they weave a whole phantasmagorical canvas around the ideal man, the fetish of the father figure, the lover and the object of success. By dint of ordinary reflections against a background of reveries, they end up dismantling the mirages and adhere to a more real life.

Made with the participation of the Canadian Film Development Corporation, La vie rêvée won the Canadian Film Award for Best Editing and the Wendy Mitchener Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement.
Also see: Highlights of FNC 2021.

la vie revée, movie, poster,

Crew:

Executive Producer:

Guy Bergeron

Director:

Mireille Dansereau

Screenwriter:

Mireille Dansereau
Patrick Auzépy

Cinematographer:

François Gill, assisted by:
Richard Rodrigue
Louis de Ernsted

Editor:

Danielle Gagné

Composer:

Emmanuel Charpentier

Production Designer:

Michèle Cournoyer (Set Design)

Cast: Roles:

Liliane Lemaître-Auger
Véronique Le Flaguais
Jean-François Guité
Guy Foucault
Louise Portal
Marc Messier
Paul Brennan
Judith Paré
Stéphanie Dansereau
Pierre Fauteux
Suzanne Comtois

Isabelle
Virginie
Jean-Jacques
Yves
Andrée

Andrée Champagne

Andrée Champagne, actress,

B: July 17, 1939 in St-Hyacinthe, Québec
D: June 5, 2020 in St-Hyacinthe, Québec

Andrée Champagne was 17 when she began her acting career, cast as Donalda in the series Les Belles Histoires Des Pays D’en Haut, a role that would last 14 years and a remarkable 470 episodes. The majority of her work on-camera was for television but she was also a singer, host, casting director, writer, and then became a Member of Parliament, Minister of State, Deputy-Speaker of the House of Commons, Senator and International President of the APF (Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie). Her honours include being named Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Pléiade and, in 2018, the Order of Canada. She was 80 when she died in St-Hyacinthe, Québec.

Also see: Passages 2020.

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

Volpone (TV-1962, Le téléthéâtre de Radio-Canada)
Playgirl Killer (1967)
La conciergerie (1997)

TV Series – Cast:
Les Belles Histoires Des Pays D’en Haut (1956-1970)
Marguerite Volant (1996, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Jo Gaillard (1975)
Les as (1977)
Terre humaine (1982, 1983)
Scoop IV (1995)
Juliette Pomerleau (1999)

Truth and Reconciliation Day

Truth and Reconciliation Day, image,

Truth and Reconciliation Day

by Staff Editors



(September 29, 2021 – Toronto, ON) Tomorrow is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new federal statutory holiday, also known as Orange Shirt Day. Many networks are planning special programming, and it should come as no surprise that our national broadcaster, CBC, will provide the widest programming across all its various channels.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), in collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, has produced a new broadcast special, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in partnership with APTN, CBC/Radio-Canada, Insight Productions and Canadian Heritage. This unique one-hour, commercial-free primetime special honours the stories and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples affected by the tragedies of the residential school system in Canada, with musical tributes and ceremonies in Indigenous communities across Canada. The special will broadcast and stream live tomorrow, Thursday, September 30 at 8 p.m. ET on APTN, CBC, CBC Gem, ICI TÉLÉ and ICI TOU.TV.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 80 not only called for the establishment of a statutory holiday, but it is also an invitation to Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians to continue to reflect on the legacy and true history of residential schools, said Stephanie Scott, Executive Director, NCTR in a media statement. “This day is set aside to honour all the children who survived residential schools as well as those that did not return. We invite everyone across the country to mark September 30 — Orange Shirt Day — by wearing orange and ‘lighting up’ our communities orange.”

As Canada works toward reconciliation and commemorates the children who did not return home, audiences will hear from residential school Survivors, Knowledge Keepers, storytellers and musical artists from Indigenous communities with a focus on Sipekne’katik in Nova Scotia, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc in Kamloops, Mani-Utenam in Quebec, Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon, and Carcross, Yukon. The special will broadcast in French, English and includes multiple Indigenous languages.

“It’s been a painful year for Indigenous Peoples,” said Monika Ille, CEO, APTN. “In light of the recoveries of the unmarked graves, and in the pursuit of truth and reconciliation, we must take pause to honour the victims, the survivors, their families and communities. Education is key to reconciliation, and we will continue to be supportive of Indigenous initiatives that encourage truth and reconciliation. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that continue to be affected.”

“CBC/Radio-Canada is honoured to be broadcasting this prime-time special on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation,” said Catherine Tait, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada . “This new program will help all of us reflect on the past, and hear the voices and stories that are central to the process of reconciliation.”

“We’re incredibly honoured to collaborate with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and Indigenous communities across the country as we honour this day and all come together to remember and reflect on our past and work toward Reconciliation through partnership and education,” said Lindsay Cox, SVP, Insight Productions.

CBC is marking the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a full day of programming and content showcasing First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives and experiences across CBC TV, CBC News Network, CBC.ca, CBC Kids, CBC Radio One and CBC Music, including National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as mentioned above. This commercial-free, primetime broadcast special, hosted by JUNO Award-winning artist Elisapie, will be followed by a new original  documentary from CBC Manitoba, We Know the Truth: Stories to Inspire Reconciliation, that will premiere at 9 p.m. on CBC TV and CBC Gem.

Of special note is the CBC Radio One program, Q. Tomorrow, host Tom Power will talk with Alanis Obomsawin, one of the most accomplished documentary filmmakers in Canada, and one of the most acclaimed Indigenous filmmakers in the world. A video interview with Alanis Obomsawin will also be available.

Truth and Reconciliation Day, image,

Northernstars.ca is proud of our commitment to celebrate and report on Indigenous Canadians working in the film and television industries. Read more by entering the word Indigenous in the Search feature at the top of this page.

Click here for a full list of CBC’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation lineup.

Festivals, Festivals: Fast Forward and Rewind

Festivals, Festivals: Fast Forward and Rewind, image,

Festivals, Festivals: Fast Forward and Rewind
By Maurie Alioff – Québec Correspondent

(September 29, 2021 – Montréal, Québec) As summer fades into fall, the days get shorter, and apprehension about cold and darkness kicks in, the film festival season has moved past two of the year’s major events: The Toronto International Film Festival and Quebec’s Fantasia, Canada’s most unique movie gathering.

At the time of writing, two Québec festivals are on the horizon. The Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) and the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de montréal (RIDM). The FNC has announced that its opening picture is Bootlegger, multidisciplinary artist Caroline Monnet’s first feature.

Bootlegger, movie, image,
Promotional still for the film Bootlegger.

No doubt Monnet’s Algonquin origins led her to a story about a young woman (Kawennahere Devery Jacobs) who returns to her native community, where she has a troubled history. The personal drama unfolds during a communal stand-off over the sale of alcohol. A bootlegger who profits from booze sales is played by Québec star Pascale Bussières, now on view in Crave/Bell Media’s mini-series, Way Over Me. The festival closes with Archipelago, Félix Dufour-Laperrière’s animated documentary film about imaginary realms.

At the beginning of September, the FNC announced that New Zealand’s Jane Campion signed on to introduce her latest film, The Power of the Dog. Campion, an innovative and provocative director whose 1989 movie Sweetie brought her international recognition, followed it up with 1993’s The Piano, a picture that dropped jaws with its depiction of intense, at times perverse sexual relations. Campion, the first woman director to receive Cannes’s Palme d’or (for The Piano) got slated to offer a master class at the Imperial Cinema, the festival’s principal in-person venue. The FNC also plans to award Campion a Louve d’honneur for her achievements. The Imperial and its adjacent offices were once headquarters for the now defunct Festival des films du monde (FFM).

While those who run The Festival du nouveau cinéma are excited about 2021 marking the 50th anniversary of the event, they were saddened by the death of one of its co-founders. A notification from Nicolas Girard Deltruc, the fest’s Executive Director reads: “We learned with great sadness that Dimitri Eipides has passed away following a lengthy illness. Dimitri played a very important role in discovering new talents and emerging filmmakers who later shot to international renown.” Eipides went on to program and bolster TIFF, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and other events.

Way back at the end on the 1960’s Eipides ran a small theatre devoted to indie films on a spectrum from unconventional to completely nuts. I have a vague memory of watching a guy in a silk robe lie under a tree and masturbate for 20 minutes. A friend of mine collaborated on a hilarious collage flick in the Arthur Lipsett mode called You Be the Judge, You be the Jury. As far as I know only Eipides played it.

Following the Festival du nouveau cinéma, one of the world’s top documentary festivals, the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de montréal (RIDM) either premieres films or screens titles that drew attention at events like Hot Docs. Similar to the latter, it highlights special events and offers various business opportunities like its Forum, which draws hundreds of buyers and deal-makers from around the world.

At writing time, RIDM had closed its submission window. It also announced a few docs on its slate. Ousmane Samassékou’s  The Last Shelter follows people in limbo as they lead their lives in a safe house on the edge of the Sahel. Both disturbing and visually beautiful, Screen International called it a “film full of compassion and empathy.”

RIDM 2021’s opening doc is Futura (which played the Quinzaine des réalisateurs and TIFF 2021). Billed as a “collective work” by Alice Rohrwacher, Pietro Marcello, and Francesco Munzi, the doc zooms in on Italian young people living on the cusp of daunting social change in their country.

Festivals, Festivals: Fast Forward and Rewind, image,
Promotional still for Futura.

The closing film is the world premiere of Joannie Lafrenière’s Gabor. Her feature debut doc portrays the Hungarian-born Montreal photographer, 93-year-old Gabor Szilasi. A fixture on Montreal’s cultural scene for decades, Szilasi is skilled and tasteful photographer with a reputation for decency and friendliness. I’ve enjoyed casual chats with him over the years.

Festivals, Festivals: Fast Forward and Rewind, image,
Promotional image from Gabor.

Another anticipated RIDM film, Salomé Jashi’s Taming the Garden depicts a Georgian billionaire obsessed with uprooting age-old trees and transporting them to his private garden. Apparently, it plays like a fairy-tale directed by Werner Herzog. Is the billionaire acting on a delusion he can achieve immortality, does he simply want to revel in beauty, or he is he weirdly grasping more natural beauty than any man is entitled to?

Documentary, indie features, experimental shorts, Asian genre pictures and horror stories from everywhere in the world. Montreal has long been an effervescent movie town. The National Film Board of Canada emanated some of the energy, but much of it got triggered by maverick visionaries like the Festival du nouveau cinéma’s late co-founder Dimitri Eipides, his FNC confrere Claude Chamberlan, The Montreal World Film Festival’s founder and President, Serge Losique, reparatory cinema guru Roland Smith, still at it after 50 years, Fantasia’s Artistic Director Mitch Davis, the event’s originator, post-production company owner Pierre Corbeil, not to mention filmmakers like Canada’s Empress of Indigenous documentary, Alanis Obomsawin.

Festivals, Festivals: Fast Forward and Rewind, image,
Alanis Obomsawin photo by Maurie Alioff.

A recipient of a TIFF 2021 tribute, (the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media supported by Participant Media), Obomsawin has premiered many of her docs at the Toronto festival, beginning with 1984’s Incident at Restigouche. She has made 53 films, and at age 89, she has no intention of slowing down.

The only staff director at the NFB, Obomsawin once told me she disagrees with maverick journalist Robert Fisk, the subject of Yung Chang’s 2019 NFB doc This Is Not a Movie in which Fisk doubts that journalists and filmmakers ever change anything in society. For Obomsawin, making documentaries would be pointless if the films did not have an impact. “Not just me,” she said, “but documentary people do make a difference.”

Obomsawin points to her films We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice (2016) and Jordan River Anderson, the Messenger (2019), which helped in the cause of government funding to provide home care for native children with special needs. Until court cases were won, only non-native children benefitted from that aid. Native kids got yanked out of their homes in an echo of the notorious residential school system.

“The crime is to take the children away from their parents,” Obomsawin continued. “It’s disgusting. Who is going to love those children like their parents do? It’s hard to understand there are people like that who have the power to make changes, and can help, And choose not to, And not only that, torture them, separate them.”

In my interview, Obomsawin described individuals in a “conference group,” whose “aim was to make sure that nobody got money. Can you imagine that? And they even gave themselves an award for not spending money. Millions went back to treasury I guess.” All that has now changed. Special need native children can remain with their families, rather than be institutionalized.

Obomsawin is reluctant to describe ongoing projects because she doesn’t want to jinx them. “The main thing for me is that I’m so happy I have lived this long. To see the changes. I find that Canadians are now interested in what the true story was, and everywhere I go people want to know more, what it was like, and how the residential schools were hidden for so long. They are learning that story, and it’s only one part of it. I really believe there’s a lot of good people everywhere. We are changing, and I think we have to make sure that this continues.”

At an entirely different point on the spectrum of Montreal’s film visionaries, in the late 1990s, post-production company founder Pierre Corbeil and a few friends who loved Asian action pictures and genre films launched what became the country’s one-of-a-kind event. TIFF’s Midnight Madness covers the same territory and is a programming source for the Fantasia International Film Festival, but it’s a sidebar, not an unusually lengthy long (three weeks) film festival that attracts a huge loyal audience of genre fans, some of whom are so knowledgeable they can tell you who the key grip was on the original Halloween.

Originally a quasi-underground event, Fantasia eventually developed an internationally respected business component while keeping its original vibe alive. Now in its 25th year, the fest keeps events and major filmmakers who attend accessible to its audience. Says RogerEbert.com, “Genre fans will tell you that the true start to the [film festival] season comes when Montreal opens its doors to waves of films from around the world with a unique sensibility.”

The selection, Ghosting Gloria, is not a radical ground breaker, but it typifies the kind of film you’re unlikely to see elsewhere. An entertaining horror comedy from Uruguay, its breezy wackiness recalls Pedro Almodóvar’s films. The main character is a young woman who has her first orgasm when she makes love to a ghost.

While some programming features movies that follow strict genre protocols, Fantasia has a pact with its audience: give us your full attention, and we will probably blow your mind. That audience gets very raucous, its reactions to the content is vocal and visceral, but so quiet during contemplative moments, you can hear a pin drop.

During an interview for this year’s edition, Corbeil traced some recent history: “We created Frontières in 2011 to promote the production of genre films as part of co-production, to allow young directors to find partners and thus have the means to achieve their ambitions. Although the first edition of Fontières was produced without the help of the institutions, in the second year we received a major grant from a European organization, Media, as well as from SODEC (Quebec’s Société de Développement des Entreprises Culturelles), and Telefilm Canada. We then produced, in addition to the Montreal component at Fantasia, a European component in association with the Brussels Fantastic Festival, for three years. We have since produced editions, in association with the Cannes Film Market as well as in the Netherlands and Sweden.”

Festivals, Festivals: Fast Forward and Rewind, image,
Pierre Corbeil and Mitch Davis.

Fantasia’s number one ringmaster is the festival’s Artistic Director Mitch Davis. A moviemaker who was a fan, Davis quickly became a key team member. When he introduces films at major screenings he gets cheered like a rock star. “It’s really the best audience in the world,” Davis told an interviewer during the 2021 edition, “as excessive and chauvinistic as it may seem. There’s a reason so many filmmakers say how much they look forward to showing their film at specifically, ‘Fantasia audiences.’”

Davis offered his own origin story. Not anyone can help build an event devoted to fantasy moviemaking with so much encyclopedic knowledge, focus, and unrelenting passion.

“This long journey began when my parents took me to Disneyland,” Davis shared, “specifically to the Haunted House ride, which blew me away in every way. The imagery, the sounds and the mood, everything I could experience that day changed my life. I couldn’t help but talk about it for weeks, and I started begging my parents to get me horror comics, in order to regain that sense of urgency, deepen it and experience it in a more meaningful way. At the same time, I started this obsessive routine of voraciously browsing the weekly TV schedule as soon as the Saturday news arrived, highlighting everything that seemed to be in the realm of horror.”

In Grade 2, Davis projected Super 8 reels of horror pictures during Show & Tells. When Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein monster growled onto the screen, “Almost everyone loved it, but there were also screams and a girl in the class started crying, which immediately prompted my teacher to jump in front of the image and ordered me to turn off the projector. It was by standing in the back of the room and watching people react to the film in so many different ways that I realized how much I loved showing films to people.
“It is the public that makes this festival,” Davis continued, fully aware that for the foreseeable future, movie fests will need to continue merging live, in-person screenings with online streaming. Fantasia organized itself into “On the Big Screen,” its live programming, online “Scheduled Screenings,” and “On Demand Screenings (with expiry dates). 2021 also featured Special Events, numerous Q&As, Zoomed or YouTubed, and Tributes.

While The Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) and the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de montréal (RIDM), need to work out their own ways to run a complex event with Covid looming over them, both Fantasia and the Toronto International Film Festival are models of how to do it successfully.

For the first time in God knows how many years, I did not make it to TIFF, either in person or online. I got nostalgic about rushing to Press and Industry screenings, especially the ones that turned out to be pretty, pretty good, or great. I also enjoyed Intercontinental Hotel and other locale interviews, especially when the filmmakers were interesting and fun to chat with. Doesn’t work the same way on Zoom calls.

Following interviews, I often headed back to the Media Room in the TIFF Lightbox, hoping not all the pasta had been gobbled up, there was maybe one cookie left, and the coffee machine had not been drained. I missed the guy who grilled hot dogs on the corner of King and John. Tempted, I would calculate whether I’d be better off with something ostensibly more healthy for a quick food fix.

Speaking of food, I missed the lunch or dinner meets with friends and colleagues like Indian food at Aroma with producer Patricia Scarlett, not to mention the subway and streetcar rides to Cabbagetown, where it was always a pleasure to dine and chat with my welcoming host and hostess about everything from movies to how much we hate Donald Trump. Staying up until three a.m. in their dining room writing up my interviews at the comfy big table was a nice way to get stuff done.

Festivals, Festivals: Fast Forward and Rewind, image,
Greg Klymkiw, selfie.
My most surreal and comedic encounters at TIFF were with producer/critic/journalist Greg Klymkiw. I didn’t take the train from Montreal to Toronto this year, or get bamboozled by culture shock after getting off a plane from Jamaica, where I live near the village where the recently passed Lee Scratch Perry, the Godfather and Grandmaster of reggae music was born. So Klymkiw provided me with impressions and information I’m sharing in this flashback on the cusp of other festivals.

Sadly, and significantly he texted, “The hot dog guy was not there. I saw no street vendors anywhere.” And the Media Lounge was gone. However, “There was a press desk, and the nice ladies took your requests and got them to the appropriate parties.” Otherwise, “TIFF’s COVID protocols were first-rate. Requiring proof of double vaccination, no concessions, limited audience sizes, spacing/distancing of seating and mandatory mask use in all cinemas instilled considerable confidence that one was able to enjoy a big screen experience with the comfort of safety.” 

Klymkiw went on to recall, “Everything I attended appeared to be at 1/3 capacity or less. A couple of screenings might have approached 50% capacity. There seemed to be less media and buyers present than in pre-pandemic times. The mood at public screenings was jubilant; people were very happy to be watching movies on a big screen. At press screenings, everyone was masked and physically distanced so there wasn’t the usual collegial critical chatter.” As for my least favourite TIFF ritual, “There are no crowds on King Street, and I have not noticed star gawking.”

As for the movies TIFF programmed, Klymkiw praised Sebastien Pilote’s Maria Chapdelaine as “still in a class onto itself. Nothing beats or matches it, clearly headed for masterpiece status. It is a film of overwhelming beauty and humanity, so moving that it inspired me to emit explosive geysers of tears, especially during the last 45 minutes or so. Sébastien Ricard and Gilbert Sicotte deliver beautiful monologues that had me sobbing almost uncontrollably. Sara Montpetit is astonishing. She reveals so much in a controlled restrained performance and it’s often impossible to take one’s eyes off her. This film is so intelligent, so literate and is a work of insurmountable lasting value. If Canada has an heir to Jean Renoir, it is Sébastien Pilote.”

Pilote, whose Le Vendeur is beautifully crafted and deeply moving, told me during an interview that he saw Maria Chapdelaine, the fourth version of the story on film, as an “anti-Western. It’s a novel that I’ve known for a long time. My idea was to return to the simplicity of the novel, the great forces.”

Not long after TIFF, Maria Chapdelaine opened in 119 Quebec theatres, topping all new releases with a return of $176,000 on its first weekend.

The other Quebec feature programmed at TIFF was Ivan Grbovic’s Les Oiseaux Ivres (Drunken Birds). Grbovic, whose origins are Serbian, drew attention with his 2011 debut, Roméo Onze. The new picture has the kind of hook that intrigues viewers. A drug-cartel worker falls hopelessly in love with his dangerous boss, thinks she’s taken off to Québec, follows her, and gets farm work, which leads to another level of complications.

Barring a major disaster like an alien invasion or a zombie apocalypse, hoping that the pandemic conspiracy theorists will start protecting themselves and the people around them, the film festival shows must and will go on. Fantasia and TIFF pulled it off, and there’s more to come. But it’s a melancholy fact that in small ways and large ones, festivals largely in cyberspace lack the in person connections that make them festive.

Also see: October 2021 Film Festivals.

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

Best Sellers – A Review

Best Sellers - A Review, image,
Michael Caine in BEST SELLERS, photo by Laurence Grandbois Bernard, © 2020 Atomic Autumn Productions Inc. and Best Sellers Film Limited

Best Sellers
Review by Thom Ernst

(September 27, 2021 – Toronto, ON) Best Sellers, a new comedy from first-time feature director Lina Roesller — whose career until now has primarily been in front of the camera in episodes of Murdoch Mysteries and Lost Girls—moves along a path tempered with a few delightful bumps to offset the familiarity of a road well-traveled.

Like its namesake, Best Sellers operates with the precision of a cinematic page-turner featuring snarly characters with lovable affectations, broken people in repair, and a back-against-the-wall conflict filling their lives with purpose.

It’s not all that meaningful, but it is entertaining.

Aubrey Plaza is one of the film’s stars. Plaza is Betty Grable on the big screen with a Veronica Lake attitude or, for those in need of a more current reference, a Mila Kunas with the throw-away confidence of Rebel Wilson and the unflappable ease of Timothée Chalamet.

Best Sellers - A Review, image,
Aubrey Plaza in Best Sellers, photo by Laurence Grandbois Bernard,© 2020 Atomic Autumn Productions Inc. and Best Sellers Film Limited

Plaza is a venerable woman of charm and comedic talents, ideally suited for an era of calculated apathy, a characteristic she perfects in television’s Parks and Recreation as April Ludgate. But in Best Sellers, Aubrey embodies an ambitious character far different from April.

Plaza plays Lucy Stanbridge, a determined book publisher who seems helpless in preventing the publishing house she inherits from her father from sinking beneath her guidance. Lucy sits behind a desk, dwarfed by its size as if this one piece of furniture were an immense bodyguard that can turn on her without notice. She paces about her office beneath a looming portrait of her father—reminding her of a legacy she is in constant fear of failing.
Best Sellers, movie, poster,
With the help of Rachel (Ellen Wong), her sole employee and under-acknowledged best friend, Lucy discovers that Harris Shaw (Michael Caine), the author of the company’s most celebrated publication, owes them a manuscript.

Now Lucy must break all sorts of protocols and property laws to convince Shaw to come out of retirement, honour his contract and save the company from the clutches of the smarmily handsome Jack Sinclair (Scott Speedman), a former employee, now a competitor.

Shaw is a curmudgeonly hermit living in the chaos of strewn books and the crumple pages of a writer’s second-guesses. Shaw has suffered a loss and has not been able to recapture the success of his first book. You know the story; he has no respect for himself or his work and a disdain for the publishing industry. His sole affections are reserved for one living being, a cat. But what a cat! A cat who stands on hind legs observing Harris’ failures without judgment. No one involved in making the film could have guessed how damn good that cat would be. The cat has a minor storyline but massive screen appeal.

And then there is Cary Elwes, whose over-the-top turn as a foppish book critic registers as the film’s most blatant offense. But his performance is somewhat offset with the knowledge that Elwes befriended Roseller at TIFF’s rising stars program and brought her the script.

Best Sellers - A Review, image,
Michael Caine and director Lina Roessler on the set of Best Sellers, photo by Laurence Grandbois Bernard, © 2020 Atomic Autumn Productions Inc. and Best Sellers Film Limited

Roseller makes it easy to climb on board and go for the ride despite a few lulls along the way. The idea that Shaw publicly urinating on copies of his book and inciting chants of “bull-shite” should help him become a viral star among people who don’t buy books (or even t-shirts) feels like an enormous reach to be relevant. And having Stanford and Harris spar towards a mutual understanding is an inevitable part of the journey that is obvious from the moment you look at the film’s poster.

The surprises in the film come from second-tier characters whose storylines are like sidebars to the bigger story—I’m pointing specifically at Ellen Wong’s Rachel Spence. The strength of Wong’s performance is reminiscent of Megan Park’s film-stealing turn as Dalia in Michael Dowse’s The ‘F’ Word (2013). Rachel is Lucy’s sole employee and biggest cheerleader. Rachel is frank without being coarse, agreeable without being soft. And though I say this at risk of scandalously comparing a human to a feline, what the cat is to Harris, Rachel is to Lucy.

Best Sellers is charming, primarily inoffensive, and marks a young director quite capable of working with a star cast. Watch the trailer and learn more about the cast and crew of Best Sellers.

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.

Film Fests East & West

Film Fests East & West
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(September 23, 2021 – Toronto, ON) When I first looked into the fall film festival season two weeks ago, there were a number of festivals that had yet to release their schedules. That has changed, new festivals have been added to our pages and there’s lots of festival news.

The Ottawa International Animation Festival started yesterday, the Calgary International got underway today, and the Vancouver International (VIFF) launches October 1st. All My Puny Sorrows screens in Calgary online and in-cinema tonight and tomorrow night and as a Video-on-Demand on September 26. VIFF offers up 32 Canadian films this year and All My Puny Sorrows kicks off at noon on Friday, October 1. Other Canadian films to look for at VIFF include Bootlegger, Drunken Birds, Night Blooms and many others.

All My Puny Sorrows, image,
Sarah Gadon & Alison Pill in a publicity still for All My Puny Sorrows.

The Edmonton International also starts October 1. Tickets went on sale September 17. A great mixture of features and documentaries with 36 Canadian titles including All My Puny Sorrows. Also look for Bonecrusher, Learn to Swim, Night Raiders and the wonderful Charlotte, which is an animated drama that tells the true story of Charlotte Salomon, a young German-Jewish painter who comes of age in Berlin on the eve of the Second World War. Voices are provided by Keira Knightley, Marion Cotillard, Brenda Blethyn, Jim Broadbent, Sam Claflin and others in a 92-minute film directed by Eric Warin, Tahir Rana. It’s a Canada-France-Belgium coproduction.

Night Blooms, Jessica Clement, movie, image,
Jessica Clement stars as Carly in the 2021 film Night Blooms.

Jumping all the way to the Atlantic side of the country, the 32nd edition of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (SJIWFF ) begins its 5-day run on October 13. From a record 950 submissions, organizers have crafted a program of 54 films made by women from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and worldwide. The opening feature is the highly-anticipated coming-of-age film Night Blooms from Nova Scotia director/writer Stephanie Joline. People in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and Ontario can stream all 54 films on-demand, with some provincial restrictions.
Night Raiders, movie, poster,
Closer to home, the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival has announced its programming for the 22nd annual festival with live in-person and virtual events from October 19-24. This year the festival presents over 145 works from artists representing 51 Indigenous nations in more than 26 Indigenous languages. The Opening Night Gala is Night Raiders by Danis Goulet. It will be an in-person screening with Q&A at TIFF Bell Lightbox in downtown Toronto. Night Raiders is a Canadian-New Zealand science fiction apocalyptic film starring Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Brooklyn Letexier-Hart, Alex Tarrant, Amanda Plummer, and Violet Nelson.

One day after imagineNATIVE begins, the ReelWorld Film Festival launches its schedule with films created by Canadian filmmakers who are Black, Indigenous, Asian, South Asian, and People of Colour. The opening night Gala is Kaveh Nabatian’s Sin La Habana, a complex love story chronicling a Cuban Ballet Dancer’s emigration to Canada. Seen through the eyes of three people, Sin La Habana focuses on Leonardo (Yonah Acosta), a ballet dancer, and Sara (Evelyn O’Farrill), an ambitious lawyer, two young Black Cubans desperate to leave their country. They realize that their ticket off the island is for Leonardo to seduce one of the foreign students at the salsa school where he teaches. When he meets Nasim (Aki Yaghoubi), a Canadian-Iranian divorcée, and moves to Montreal, the international love triangle disintegrates into a situation where nobody gets what they wanted, but everyone ends up closer to their true destiny. ReelWorld runs from October 20-27 in Toronto.

Two more October festivals loved by Toronto filmgoers is Cinéfranco (October 26 to November 2) and Rendezvous with Madness (October 28 to November 7). The Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival runs October 30 to November 7.

We list 16 Canadian film festivals in November, although some have been on hold since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new festival (to us) that you might find interesting is Ottawa’s International Vegan Film Festival which actually kicks off on October 30 and runs until November 7. One of the most important festivals in November is Montreal’s RIDM or The Montreal Documentary Film Festival. It runs from October 10 to 21. Also look into Silver Wave Film Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Also see: October Film Festivals.
November Film Festivals.

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.

Jessica Clement

Night Blooms, Jessica Clement, movie, image,
Jessica Clement stars as Carly in the 2021 film Night Blooms.

B: 1996

Jessica Clement began her acting career when she was 12.

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

Small Town Murder Songs (2010)
The Man Who Loved Flowers (2010, short)
The Time Traveler (2012, short)
Dear Scavengers (2012, short)
Paranormal Radio (2013, short)
Let Me Down Easy (2015, short)
Life (2015)
A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town (2015)
Kill Order (2017)
Perfect Citizen (TV-2017)

Couronnes (TV-2020)
Letters to Satan Claus (TV-2020)
Night Blooms (2021)

TV Series – Cast:
Pure (2017-2019)
V.C. Andrews’ Heaven (2019, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest appearances
Degrassi: The Next Generation (2012)
Hemlock Grove (2015)
SurrealEstate (2021)

How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town
How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town poster courtesy of Northern Banner.

Stephanie Joline

Stephanie Joline, filmmaker, director,

Stephanie Joline is an Indigenous writer, director, and producer based in K’jipuktuk/Halifax, Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia. Her Indigenous roots come from her mother who is Inuit from Labrador; her father is French Acadian from the South shore of Nova Scotia. Equally adept at film and television, her stories are deeply rooted in inclusivity and feminism. On some of Stephanie Joline’s films she is credited as Stephanie Clattenburg. We list her credits as a Director first.

Her film Night Blooms was selcted to open the 2021 St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.

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

Ednos (2013, short)
A Suicide at the Gun Range (2015, short)
Play Your Gender (2016, documentary)
Play Rewind Play (2017, short)
Hopeless Romantic (2018)
Sticky (2018, short)

Night Blooms (2021)
Stream Me (2021)

TV Series:
Farm Crime (2021, 1 episode)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
Ednos (2013, short)
A Suicide at the Gun Range (2015, short)
Play Your Gender (2016, documentary)
Play Rewind Play (2017, short)
Hopeless Romantic (2018)

Night Blooms (2021)
Stream Me (2021)

TV Series:
Farm Crime (2021, 1 episode)

Credits as a Producer:
Heartbeat (2014)
Play Rewind Play (2017, short)

Night Blooms

Night Blooms, Jessica Clement, movie, image,
Jessica Clement stars as Carly in the 2021 film Night Blooms.

100 minutes – Drama
Language: English
Festival release date: October 13, 2021 (St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival)
Release date: TBA
Production company:
Canadian distributor:

17-year-old Carly lives with her deadbeat mom and dreams of a different life, escaping her reality through drugs and unrealistic fantasies of making it as a rock star. She spends most of her time at her best friend Laura’s house. When Laura’s young, handsome father Wayne re-enters her life, Carly bears witness to what a ‘good man’ is for the first time; Wayne is recently sober, keeps a nice home, and seems to care for his daughter. Exploring her newly discovered sexuality, Carly sets her sights on Wayne, sending their fragile lives into a permanent spiral.

Night Blooms was selected to open the 2021 SJIWFF

No poster available, image,

Crew:

Producer:

Jason Levangie
Marc Tetreault

Executive Producer:

Marcel Gallant
Chris Goguen
Marc Savoie

Director:

Stephanie Joline

Screenwriter:

Stephanie Joline

Cinematographer:

Paul McCurdy

Editor:

Amy Mielke

Composer:

Nathan Wiley

Production Designer:

Michael Pierson

Cast: Roles:

Jessica Clement
Nick Stahl
Alexandra McDonald
Jennie Raymond
Calem MacDonald
David Rossetti
Oliver Boyle
Bob Mann
Micha Cromwell
Sammy Davison
Tyrell Casimir
Marcus Simmonds

Carly
Wayne
Laura
Lisa
Jason
Ken
Tyler
Attorney
Tanya
Matt
Adam
Mr. Randall

A.rtificial I.mmortality

74 minutes – Documentary
Language: English, Japanese, partial subtitles
Festival release date: April 29, 2021 – Hot Docs, Toronto (World Premiere)
Release date: September 24, 2021 (Toronto)
Production company:
Canadian distributor: Fathom Films

A.rtificial I.mmortality asks the question: If you were able to create an immortal version of yourself, would you? The film explores the latest advancements in AI, robotics and biotech with visionaries who argue for a new age of post biological life. As scientists point us toward a world where humans and machines merge, we have to ask ourselves will AI be the best, or the last thing we ever do? Features Deepak Chopra, who has created his own A.I. mind twin.

Also see: Ann Shin to Open Hot Docs.

A.rtificial I.mmortality, movie, poster,

Crew:

Producer:

Gerry Flahive
Erica Leendertse
Hannah Donegan

Executive Producer:

Ann Shin
Gerry Flahive

Director:

Ann Shin

Screenwriter:

Ann Shin
Erica Leendertse
Julia Nunes

Story Editor:

Shannon Kennedy
Julia Nunes

Cinematographer:

Iris Ng
Stephen Chung

Editor:

Steve Taylor
Shannon Kennedy
Geoff Matheson

Composer:

Todor Kobakov

Art Director:

Alexandra G. Brillembourg

Cast: Roles:

Bina48
Nick Bostrom
Lincoln Cannon
Heather Chmura
Deepak Chopra
Billy Crone
Bruce Duncan
Ben Goertzel
Hiroshi Ishiguro
Takeshi Mita
Alysson R. Muotri
Hossein Rahnama
Gabriel Rothblatt
Douglas Rushkoff
Taufik A. Valiante
Neal Vanderee

Character Robot
Self – Author of Superintelligence
Self – Technologist
Self
Self
Self
Self
Self – Founder of Singularity.net
Self – Japanese roboticist
Self
Self
Self
Self
Self – Author of Team Human
Self
Self

Maria Chapdelaine (2020)

100 minutes – Drama
Language: French
Release date: December 18, 2020 (Québec)
Production company: Item 7, Multipix
Canadian distributer: MK2 Mile End

This 2020 adaptation Maria Chapdelaine, based on the beloved Québec novel by Louis Hémon, tells the story of a young woman having to choose between three suitors, each promising a different life. François Paradis, a coureur des bois promises Maria that when he comes back in the spring they will marry. Meanwhile, Lorenzo Surprenant offers her an easy life in a city in the United States and the third, Eutrope Gagnon, is a neighbour and a valiant and modest farmer. Faced with events that jostle her, Maria must then take destiny into her own hands and decide what her future will be. This is Sébastien Pilote’s fourth feature film.

Also see: The 1983 movie, Maria Chapdelaine
Also see: Festivals, Festivals.

Maria Chapdelaine, 2020 movie, poster,

Crew:

Producer:

Pierre Even
Sylvain Proulx

Associate Producer:

Paul-E. Audet
Jeannette Garcia

Line Producer:

Yanick Savard

Director:

Sébastien Pilote

Screenwriter:

Sébastien Pilote

Cinematographer:

Michel La Veaux

Editor:

Rihard Comeau

Costume Designer:

Francesca Chamberland

Cast: Roles:

Sara Montpetit
Émile Schneider
Danny Gilmore
Hélène Florent
Sébastien Ricard
Antoine Olivier Pilon
Robert Naylor
Xavier Rivard-Désy
Henri Richer-Picard
Arno Lemay
Charlotte St-Martin
Thomas Haché
Martin Dubreuil
Gilbert Sicotte
Gabriel Arcand

Maria Chapdelaine
François Paradis
Le Curé
Laura Chapdelaine
Samuel Chapdelaine
Eutrope Gagnon
Lorenzo Surprenant
Da’bé
Esdras
Tit’bé
Alma Rose
Télésphore
Edwige Légaré
Éphrem Surprenant
Le docteur

CBC Greenlights Black History Docuseries

CBC Greenlights Black History Docuseries, image,

CBC Greenlights Black History Docuseries
by Staff Editors

(September 16, 2021 – Toronto, ON) The CBC and showrunner Leslie Norville’s Studio 112 have announced that a new 8-part docuseries, Black Life: A Canadian History has been greenlit by the network.

The series will explore the rich history of the Black experience in Canada and show the vital role Black Canadians have played in shaping the country. While tracing the complex and hopeful stories of Black Canada, the series will reveal the truths of a history fraught with violence, racism, hardship, and perseverance.  Black Life: A Canadian History will illuminate the struggles and triumphs of Black Canadians, and celebrate the contributions of both famous and lesser-known individuals.  Epic in scope, the series spans more than 400 years with an eye towards contemporary issues, culture, politics, music, art, and sports.

“The docuseries will be an honest and nuanced look at Black Canadian history – and while some may find this uncomfortable, it’s critical to understand and grapple with the complexities of Canada’s past,” said Leslie Norville, showrunner and executive producer. “I couldn’t ask for a more talented team to help bring this rich history to audiences and to explore and celebrate the stories and people whose contributions have shaped the country we know today.  Miranda and I are delighted that Black Life: A Canadian History has found a home at CBC and value their support and enthusiasm for the project.”

The Miranda Norville will be working with is Northwood Entertainment’s Miranda de Pencier, as well as an exceptional group of creative talent, activists, and historical and cultural consultants behind this series. They include philanthropist and NHL All-Star P.K. Subban (Ugly Duck Productions) who is on board to executive produce as is the multi-hyphenated Nelson George, and co-executive producer and Black Lives Matter (Canada) co-founder Sandy Hudson.  Norville and de Pencier have also put together an unparalleled team of consulting producers and writers to bring this story to life.  Consulting producers, who have a substantial and ongoing role in shaping the series, include former Governor General the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, rapper and broadcaster Shad (Shadrach Kabango), and activist Ravyn Wngz.  The producers will partner with eight Black Canadian directors, one for each episode, who will bring their unique approach and style to the series.

Studio 112 and Northwood Entertainment have also gathered a preeminent group of historical/cultural consultants, academics, and writers to faithfully render the story of Black Canada, including David Austin, Dr. Claudine Bonner, Dr. Afua Cooper, Annette Henry, Issac Saney, Dr. Rinaldo Walcott, Dr. Dorothy W. Williams, and top writer Jael Richardson. 

“One of the many things that attracts me to this project is that it connects events across 400 years of history to the present day,” said Sandy Hudson, co-executive producer. “Reckoning with the past and confronting our present can be a foundation through which we imagine and build liberatory Black futures.”

“I can’t wait to share the educational and engrossing stories of Black Life: A Canadian History,” said P.K. Subban, executive producer.  “We’re pushing the boundaries of conventional storytelling to create a series that is gripping and dramatic in a way that audiences haven’t seen before.  The inclusion of everything from civil rights to sports, and justice to music, is sure to engage viewers across the country and around the globe.”

“CBC is honoured to partner with this remarkable team to bring the untold history of Black Canadians to audiences across the country with authenticity and depth, led by the lived experiences, insight and perspectives of Black storytellers,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports, CBC.

Black Life: A Canadian History is produced by Studio 112 in association with Northwood Entertainment, and Ugly Duck Productions and is scheduled to premiere on CBC and CBC Gem in 2023.

SOURCE: CBC
Image from the website for the series.

Best Sellers

100 minutes – Drama, Comedy
Language: English
Festival release date:
Release date: September 17, 2021
Production companies: Wishing Tree Productions, Item 7, Wacki Media Production
Canadian distributor: Mongrel Media

Lucy Stanbridge (Aubrey Plaza) has inherited her father’s boutique publishing house, and the ambitious would-be editor has nearly sunk it with failing YA titles and bad reviews. When she discovers the company is owed a book by Harris Shaw (Michael Caine), a reclusive, cantankerous, booze-addled author who originally put the company on the map, she looks to him for one last stab at salvation, both commercial and critical. Her timing couldn’t be more perfect. Harris owes money and he happens to have a new book – which he hates. Lucy’s ecstatic until she finds out Harris’s old contract stipulates that no one edit his work. However, in exchange, he must tour the book. And so is born the book tour from hell – where fame doesn’t equal fortune, twitter followers don’t add up to shit, and the legacy you’re trying to uphold might be born out of lies the past can’t contain.

Also see: Northernstars reviews Best Sellers.

Best Sellers, movie, poster,

Crew:

Producer:

Jonathan Vanger
Pierre Even
Cassian Elwes
Arielle Elwes
Wayne Marc Godfrey

Executive Producer:

Petr Jákl
Martin J. Barab
Hussain Amarshi
Sashi Arnold
Paul-E. Audet
Kevin Bernhardt
Mark Damon
Jere Hausfater
Adam Goldworm
Joe Sisto

Associate Producer:

Tom Vanger
Jeannette Garcia

Consulting Producer:

Nicki Cortese

Director:

Lina Roessler

Screenwriter:

Anthony Grieco

Cinematographer:

Claudine Sauvé, CSC

Editor:

Arthur Tarnowski

Composer:

Paul Leonard-Morgan

Production Designer:

Mario Hervieux

Art Director:

Stéphane Dufour
Ginette Paré (Set Decorator)

Costume Designer:

Sophie Lefebvre

Cast: Roles:

Michael Caine
Aubrey Plaza
Scott Speedman
Ellen Wong
Cary Elwes
Luc Morissette
Veronica Ferres
Frank Schorpion
Florence Situ
Philip Le Maistre
Linda Nourse
Sebree Laurie
Briauna James
Charli Birdgenaw
Massimo Diem
Sofia Timotheatos
Thomas Niles
Brandon Lorimier
Chance Jones Sauray
Max Laferrière
Michelle Rambharose
Susie Almgren
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Sarah Navaratnam
Christopher Hayes
Alex Petrachuk
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Rachel Osborne
Patrick Park
Joelle Jeremie
Elana Dunkelman
Udit Bombay
Victoria Sanchez
Georgia Remond
Elisabeth Etienne
Megan Jonker
Rahul Gandhi
Frank Fiola
Alessandro Russotti
Glen Bowser

Harris Shaw
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Jack Sinclair
Rachel Spence
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Hipster – Lizard Lounge
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Michael Caine Double

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