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Awards Season 2022 Begins

Awards, image

Awards Season 2022 Begins
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golden Globes CANCON

Golden Globes, image,

Golden Globes CANCON
by Staff Editors

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Are You Watching?

What are you watching, image,

What Are You Watching?
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

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

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

What are you watching, image,

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

What are you watching, image,

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

What are you watching, image

What are you watching, image

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

What are you watching, image

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

What are you watching, image,

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

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

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

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

Performers and Producers Agree

Performers & Producers Come to Terms, image,

Performers and Producers Agree
by Staff Editors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Run The Burbs

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

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

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

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

No poster available, image,



Jessica Daniel
Matt Kippen
Wendy Litner

Executive Producer:

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

Consulting Producer:

Nelu Handa


Aleysa Young
Peter Wellington
Joyce Wong
Melanie Orr
Justin Wu


Andrew Phung

Cast: Roles:

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

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

Northernstars Remembers the Montreal Massacre

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

Northernstars Remembers the Montreal Massacre
by Staff Editors

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, movie, image,

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

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

Also see: Northernstars reviews The Journals of Knud Rasmussen.

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, movie, poster,



Norman Cohn
Zacharias Kunuk
Elise Lund Larsen
Vibeke Vogel

Associate Producer:

Lucius Barre

Line Producer:

Stephane Rituit


Norman Cohn
Zacharias Kunuk


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


Norman Cohn


Norman Cohn
Cathrine Ambus
Félix Lajeunesse

Production Designer:

Zacharias Kunuk
Louis Uttak

Art Director:

Charlotte Bech
Zacharias Kunuk
Pauloosie Qulitalik

Costume Designer:

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

Cast: Roles:

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

Knud Rasmussen
Peter Freuchen
Therkel Mathiassen

Dear Audrey

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

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

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

Also see: A free retrospective of Martin Duckworth.

Dear Audrey, movie, poster, documentary,



Andre Barro
Jeremiah Hayes

Executive Producer:

Katherine Buck
Annette Clarke
Glen Salzman
Pablo Salzman


Jeremiah Hayes


Jeremiah Hayes


Jeremiah Hayes


Jeremiah Hayes


Walker Grimshaw

Cast: Roles:

Martin Duckworth
Jacqueline Schirmer


Martin Duckworth

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

B: March 8, 1933 in Montréal, Québec

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TV Series:
Dogs with Jobs (2001)

Drunken Birds – Review

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

Drunken Birds
Review by Thom Ernst

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George’s Island

George's Island, image,
This photo of George's Island is not from the movie George's Island.

89 minutes – Drama, Family
Language: English
Release date: July 21, 1989
Production companies: Salter Street Films, National Film Board of Canada
Canadian distributor: Astral Films

George Waters is 10-years-old and lives in a rundown home near Halifax Harbour with his wheelchair-bound former sailer grandfather Captain Waters (Scottish actor Ian Bannen). Fond of telling ghost stories, one day he spins out a yarn about the time he saw Captain Kidd’s ghost on nearby George’s Island (a real island in Halifax Harbour) where Kidd’s supposed buried treasure might be found. When George retells this story in school he is punished by his teacher Miss Birdwood (Sheila McCarthy), who believes George’s odd behaviour can be traced to his grandfather. Placed with a foster family, George is kept locked in a basement cell. When Halloween night arrives, George and another adoptee, Bonnie (Vickie Ridler), escape with Captain Waters and head for George’s Island. A chase ensues but the noise awakens the ghosts of Captain Kidd and his men, who must defend their chest of gold.

George’s Island was named Best Live-Action Film at the 1990 Chicago International Festival of Children’s Films
The poster is scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.



Maura O’Connell

Executive Producer:

Maura O’Connell
Paul Donovan
J. William Ritchie


Stefan Wodoslawsky

Associate Producer:

Bob Hicks


Paul Donovan


Maura O’Connell
Paul Donovan


Les Krizsan


Stephan Fanfara


Marty Simon

Production Designer:

Bill Fleming

Art Director:

Judy Arsenault (Set Decoration)

Cast: Roles:

Ian Bannen
Sheila McCarthy
Maury Chaykin
Nathaniel Moreau
Vickie Ridler
Brian Downey
Irene Hogan
Gary Reineke
Chas Lawther
Avery Saltzman
Gary Vermeir
Scott Owen
Ken Strong
Anna Cameron
Joseph Rutten
Robyn Stevan
Dawson White
Alan MacGillivray
Jeff Pustil
Nick Budreski
Holden Jess
John Fulton
Linda Busby
Tina Cross

Captain Waters
Miss Birdwood
Mr. Droonfield
George Waters
Mr. Beane
Mrs. Beane
Captain Kidd
Miss Plivder

Falling Over Backwards

Falling Over Backwards, movie, image,

100 minutes – Romanic Comedy
Language: English
Festival release date: August 23, 1990 (Montreal World Film Festival)
Release date:
Production companies, RanFilm, Moving Image Productions, National Film Board of Canada
Canadian distributor: Astral Films

Saul Rubinek plays Mel a high school teacher in the doldrums over his divorce and probably dealing with a mid-life crisis. He tries to forget his troubles and regain happiness by returning to the good old days of his youth. He rents a house in his old neighbourhood and brings Harvey, his aged and half-paralyzed father with him. Their landlady is Jackie (Julie St-Pierre), a young and attractive woman who wants to be a singer. Romance blossoms between Mel and Jackie.

Filmed in and around Montreal, Québec, the cast is listed in order of film credits.
The poster was scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
Trivia: Many of the songs used in the film were sung by Nanette Workman.

Falling Over Backwards, movie, poster,



Mort Ransen
Stewart Harding

Executive Producer:

Kenneth Atchity
Gordon Guiry

Co-Executive Producer:

Colin Neale


Sally Bochner


Mort Ransen


Mort Ransen


Savas Kalogeras


Rita Roy


Milan Kymlicka

Production Designer:

Claude Paré

Cast: Roles:

Saul Rubinek
Paul Soles
Julie St-Pierre
Helen Hughes
Carolyn Scott
Montie Stethem
Barry Flatman
Rose-Andrée Michaud
François Klanfer
Gord Welke
Charles S. Doucet
Jacques Tiberghien
Leif Anderson
Joan Heney
Rabbi I. Lerner
Andrew Johnston
Vlasta Vrana
Maurice Chan
Claude Paré
Harry Standjofski
Aidan Devine

Male Nurse
Jacques – mover
Denis – mover
Older teacher
Vietnamese neighbour
Club manager
Young man

Vlasta Vrana

Vlasta Vrana, actor, photo,

B: January 14, 1950 in Norway

Vlasta Vrana was born to Czech parents in Norway but moved to Canada at the age of four. In addition to his work on-screen, he is also a voice actor working in both animated film and television productions as well as video games. He has also dubbed non-English roles into English for cartoon series and replaced the voice of Father Leclerc in the English language version of the Denys Arcand’s early hit film Jesus of Montreal. Nominated for a Canadian Film Award in 1975 he received the Montreal ACTRA Award of Excellence in 2005 and won the a best actor award from the Trenton, New Jersey Film Festival in 2005.

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

Downhill (1973, short)
Shivers (1975)
Rabid (1977)
One Man (1977)
Back Alley Blue (1977, short)
Blackout (1978)
Strangers at the Door (1978, short)
L’homme en colère (1979)
The Spirit Adventure: Night Flight (TV-1979)
Meet the Martins (narrator, 1979, short)

History of the World in Three Minutes Flat (voice, 1980, short)
Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
Gas (1981)
Heavey Metal (voice, 1981)
The Amateur (1981)
The Emperor of Peru (1982)
Hard Feelings (1982)
End Game in Paris (1982, short)
A Room Full of Energy (1982, short)
Illusions (TV-1983)
Candy the Stripper (VR-1983)
Cook & Peary: The Race to the Pole (TV-1983)
Hey Babe! (1983)
A Matter of Cunning (1983)
The Surrogate (1984)
Charlie Grant’s War (TV-1984)
Secret Weapons (TV-1985)
Breaking All the Rules (1985)
One Step Away (1985, short)
A Time to Live (TV-1985)
The Blue Man (1985)
The World Turned Upside Down (1985, short)
So It Won’t Happen Again (1985, short)
Choices (TV-1986)
C.A.T. Squad (TV-1986)
The Morning Man (1986)
Cat City (1986)
Keeping Track (1986)
Great Collections from the Montreal Botanical Garden (1986)
Age of Rivers (1986)
Ford: The Man and the Machine (1987)
Nowhere to Hide (1987)
First Offender (TV-1987)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (voice, VR-1987)
The Man Who Stole Dreams (1987, short)
Dreams of a Land (narrator, 1987, short)
God Bless the Child (TV-1988)
April Morning (TV-1988)
C.A.T. Squad: Python Wolf (TV-1988)
Obsessed (TV-1988)
The Kiss (1988)
Shades of Love: Midnight Magic (TV-1988)
Les tisserands du pouvoir II: La Révolte (1988)
Red Earth, White Earth (TV-1989)
Day One (TV-1989)
Jesus of Montreal (voice, English version, 1989)
Champagne Charlie (TV-1989)
Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! (1989)
The Phone Call (TV-1989)
Nail Soup: Scandinavian Folktale (1989)

The Real Story of Humpty Dumpty (VR-1990, short)
Falling Over Backwards (1990)
Angel Square (1990)
Whispers (1990)
Money (1991)
Scanners II: The New Order (1991)
Deadly Surveillance (TV-1991)
The Final Heist (TV-1991)
The First Circle (TV-1991)
Twin Sisters (VR-1992)
A Cry in the Night (TV-1992)
Flight from Justice (TV-1993)
Bride of Violence 2 (TV-1993)
Dead Men Talk (TV-1994)
Brainscan (1994)
Warriors (1994)
Stalked (1994)
hlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)
The Child (1994)
Hiroshima (TV-1995)
Crosswinds (TV-1995)
Ivana Trump’s For Love Alone (TV-1996)
Midnight in Saint Petersburg (TV-1996)
Hollow Point (1996)
Marked Man (1996)
Mother Night (1996)
Gotti (1996)
Hawk’s Vengeance (VR-1996)
Natural Enemy (VR-1996)
While My Pretty One Sleeps (1997)
Night of the Demons III (VR-1997)
Stranger in the House(1997)
The Peacekeeper (1997)
The Assignment (1997)
Jack Higgins’s the Windsor Protocol (TV-1997)
Kayla (1997)
Glory & Honor (1998)
Thunder Point(voice, TV-1998)
Escape from Wildcat Canyon (1998)
The Ultimate Weapon (1998)
The Girl Next Door (TV-1998)
Bonanno: A Godfather’s Story (TV-1999)
The Collectors (TV-1999)
Eye of the Beholder (1999)
Grey Owl (1999)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (TV-1999)
Running Home (1999)
Revenge of the Land (TV-1999)

Waking the Dead (2000)
Press Run (2000)
Revenge (2000)
Reaper (2000)
Believe (2000)
The Audrey Hepburn Story (TV-2000)
Where the Money Is (2000)
Heavy Metal 2000 (voice, 2000)
The List (voice, 2000)
Cause of Death (2001)
The Warden (TV-2001)
Heart: The Marilyn Bell Story (TV-2001)
Varian’s War: The Forgotten Hero (TV-2001)
Dr.Quinn Medicine Woman (TV-2001)
After Amy (TV-2001)
Protection (2001)
29 Mai 1431… Le Matin (2001, short)
Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher (TV-2002)
Redeemer (TV-2002)
Just a Walk in the Park (TV-2002)
Obsessed (TV-2002)
The Book of Eve (2002)
Gleason (TV-2002)
Scent of Danger (2002)
Alone We Stand (2002, short)
Levity (2003)
Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story (TV-2003)
The Human Stain (2003)
Timeline (2003)
The Reagans (TV-2003)
The Perfect Husband (TV-2004)
Bad Apple (TV-2004)
Secret Window (2004)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Wicker Park (2004)
Baby for Sale (TV-2004)
A Year in the Death of Jack Richards (2004)
Manners of Dying (2004)
When Angels Come to Town (TV-2004)
Crimes of Passion (TV-2005)
Spookley the Square Pumpkin (narrator, VR-2005)
Black Eyed Dog (2006)
A Life Interrupted (TV-2007)
I Me Wed (TV-2007)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (TV-2008)
Lava Storm (TV-2008)
The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream (TV-2008)
The Christmas Choir (TV-2008)
24 Hour Rental (TV-2008)
Dead Like Me: Life After Death VR-2009)
Carny (TV-2009)
Ring of Deceit (TV-2009)

The Cutting Edge: Fire & Ice (TV-2010)
The Child Prodigy (2010)
Arctic Blast (2010)
Territories (2010)
Who Is Simon Miller (2011)
Secrets from Her Past (TV-2011)
Upside Down (2012)
Red 2 (2013)
Gibraltar (2013)
Gurov and Anna (voice, 2014)
Northpole: Open for Christmas (TV-2015)
Race (2016)
The Glass Castle (2017)
The Zone (2017)
A Majestic Christmas (TV-2018)
Spookley and the Christmas Kittens (Narrator, 2019, short)
The Crab: Prelude to Aquarica (voice, 2019, short)

Within These Walls (TV-2020)
Hall (2020)
French Exit (2020)
Swept Up by Christmas (TV-2020)
Sweet as Maple Syrup (TV-2021)

TV Series – Cast:
Ulysses 31 (voice, 1981-1982)
The Mysterious Cities of Gold (Narrator, 1982-1983)
Spearfield’s Daughter (1986, mini-series)
Amerika (1987, mini-series)
Opération Ypsilon (1987, mini-series)
Les tisserands du pouvoir (1988, mini-series)

Urban Angel (1991-1992)
The Busy World of Richard Scarry (voice, 1993-1996)
The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo (voice, 1996)
The Country Mouse and the City Mouse Adventures (voice, 1997-1999)

Wunschpunsch (voice, 2000-2001)
Human Trafficking (2005, mini-series)
Canadian Case Files (Narrator, 2005)
René Lévesque (2006, mini-series)
Race to Mars (2007, mini-series)
Killer Wave (2007, mini-series)
The Phantom (2009, mini-series)
The Last Templar (2009, mini-series)

Red Brazil (2013, mini-series)
24 Hour Rental (2014)
19-2 (2014-2016)
The Disappearance (2017, mini-series)
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (2018, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest apearances:
The New Avengers (1977)
The Great Detective (1980)
The Littlest Hobo (1980)
Hey! Bumbo (voice, 1985)
The Hitchhiker (1985)
He Shoots, He Scores (1986)
Friday the 13th (1989, 1990)
Street Legal (1989, 1993)

War of the Worlds (1990)
Counterstrike (1990, 1991)
Top Cops (1990, 1992)
Mom P.I. (1991)
A Bunch of Munsch (1992)
The Legend of White Fang (voice, 1992)
Tales of the Wild (1995)
Sirens (1995)
Due South (1996)
Lobby (1997)
The Hunger (1997, 1998)
L’ombre de l’épervier (1998)
Cold Squad (1999)
Emily of New Moon (1999)
The Maurice Rocket Richard Story (voice, 1999)
ig Wolf on Campus (1999, 2002)

All Souls (2001)
L’Or (2001)
The New Adventures of Lucky Luke (voice, 2001, 2002, 2003)
Tripping the Rift (voice, 2004)
The Tournament (2005)

Being Human (2011)
Real Detective (2016)
Mohawk Girls (2017)
The Detectives (2018)
Blood & Treasure (2019)

Transplant (2020)

Vlasta Vrana is represented by:
Agence Julie Draper
3500 Laval Avenue
2nd floor
Montréal, QC, H2X 3C8

Phone: 514-439-9330
Email: agencejuliedraper(at)gmail.com

Falling Over Backwards, movie, poster,
Scanned from an original poster in the Northernstars Collection.

Race, movie, poster,

Karen Cliche

Karen Cliche, actress,

B: July 22, 1976 in Sept-Iles, Québec

Karen Cliche’s career in front of the cameras began in 1999 and two years later she landed her first multi-episode series role playing Essie Rachimova in 26 episodes of Vampire High between 2001 and 2002. Like many other actors on this website, Cliche was born into a military family, which meant moving frequently. From Sept-Isles she has lived in Manitoba, Virginia and Germany. She stayed in Montreal long enough to study psychology at Concordia before her work as a model took her to Europe. That led to her acting career, which has taken her to Vancouver and Toronto. The series Young Blades was shot in Vancouver and she costarred in 13 episodes playing the role of Jacqueline Roget and that of swashbuckling male musketeer Jacques Leponte. To prepare for the role she trained with a sword master learning to handle slim rapiers and broadswords.

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

The Collectors (TV-1999)

Race Against Time (TV-2000)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (TV-2000)
Largo Winch: The Heir (TV-2001)
Wrong Number (2001)
Siletto Dance (TV-2001)
Heist (2001)
Protection (2001)
Summer (2002)
Riders (2002)
Tunnel (VR-2002)
Dorian (2003)
I Do (But I Don’t) (TV-2004)
Flirting with Danger (TV-2006)
Lotto 6/66 (2006, short)
Moment (2007, short)
Involuntary Muscles (TV-2007)
The Two Mr. Kissels (TV-2008)
Saw VI (2009)

Ninety-one (2010, short)
A Wish Come True (TV-2015)
Killer Mom (TV-2017)
Mommy’s Little Angel (TV-2018)
The Black Widow Killer (TV-2018)
Turkey Drop (2019)

Galentine’s Day Nightmare (TV-2021)

TV Series – Cast:
Vampire High (2001-2002)
Undressed (2002)
Adventure Inc. (2002-2003)
Mutant X (2003-2004)
Young Blades (2005)
Flash Gordon (2007-2008)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Misguided Angels (1999)
Big Wolf on Camopus (1999, 2002)

All Souls (2001)
Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension (2002)
The Business (2006)
Runaway (2006)
The Dresden Files (2007)
Love You To Death (2007)
Cartoon Gene (2009)

Lost Girl (2014)
Republic of Doyle (2014)
Beauty and the Beast (2016)

Clement Virgo’s Black Cyclone

Clement Virgo's Black Cyclone, image,
Clement Virgo (Photo Credit: Sam Santos/George Pimentel Photography.)

Clement Virgo’s Black Cyclone
by Staff Editors

(November 22, 2021 – Toronto, ON) Mind’s Eye Entertainment has announced that multiple award-winning director, Clement Virgo (The Book of Negroes, Billions, The Get Down, Lie with Me, Poor Boy’s Game), will direct a new feature drama about the remarkable life and career of the bicycle racer Marshall Walter Taylor titled Black Cyclone.

Inspired by the remarkable and critically acclaimed book “THE WORLD’S FASTEST MAN: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America’s First Black Sports Hero” by The Washington Post investigative reporter Michael Kranish, Black Cyclone focuses on the life story of “Major” Taylor, as he was widely know. He made history becoming the world’s fastest man at the turn of the 20th century and America’s first Black world champion at the height of the Jim Crow era. It’s a compelling sports saga set in the late 1890s and early 1900s, but also a compelling drama of how Major Taylor confronted racism, both subtle and deadly, yet triumphed with sheer will, the love of a woman, and his troubled alliances with a Black trainer and a white promoter.

“Major Taylor was a fascinating enigma, an athlete ahead of his time. I’m excited to collaborate in sharing the story of the fastest man in the world,” said director Clement Virgo.

Minds Eye Entertainment, the production studio behind the recently released Lionsgate action-thriller Dangerous starring Scott Eastwood, Kevin Durand, Tyrese Gibson, Famke Janssen and Mel Gibson. Kevin Dewalt (The Recall, Daughter of the Wolf, Dangerous) is producing Black Cyclone from Robert Eisele’s script (The Great Debaters, The Senior, Hurricane Season).

Chris Kirkman, Rashid Bahati, Eric Mika, Natasha Semone Vassell will serve as executive producers, with Rahsaan Bahati, a 10-time U.S. Pro Champion Cyclist, joining as a consultant for the project. John Howard, a three-time Olympic cyclist and author of Pushing the Limits, Dirt!, The Cyclist’s Companion and Mastering Cycling, will also act as a consultant and executive producer on the film. Production is set to begin in 2022. Minds Eye Entertainment will be handling Distribution.

Learn more about Clement Virgo.

SOURCE: Minds Eye Entertainment

Being at Home with Claude

Being at Home with Claude, movie, image, Roy Dupuis,

85 minutes – Drama
Language: French
Festival release date: February 7, 1992 (Rendez-vous du cinéma Québécois)
Release date:
Production companies: Les Productions du Cerf, National Film Board of Canada

Based on the play by René-Daniel Dubois, Being at Home with Claude is set in Montreal on a humid, muggy summer evening. Yves (Roy Dupuis) has killed Claude and surrenders to the police. The film traces the last moments of a long interrogation as the investigating inspector (Jacques Godin) tries to piece together the facts and shed light on the motives that led a prostitute to kill one of his lovers. Through Yves’ responses during the interrogation, we can reconstruct the facts as well as pick up on the emotions which for weeks, months or years have brought Yves to this inevitable outcome.

Being at Home with Claude also screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.

Being at Home with Claude, movie, poster,



Léon G. Arcand
Louise Gendron

Associate Producer:

Doris Girard


Jean Beaudin


René-Daniel Dubois


Thomas Vámos


André Corriveau


Richard Grégoire

Art Director:

François Séguin

Costume Designer:

Louise Jobin

Cast: Roles:

Roy Dupuis
Jacques Godin
Jean-François Pichette
Gaston Lepage
Hugo Dubé
Johanne-Marie Tremblay
Nathalie Mallette
Lothaire Bluteau

Inspector’s Wife
Yves’s Sister
Male Prostitute

Noorin Gulamgaus

Noorin Gulamgaus, actor,

B: August 28, 1997 in Kabul, Afghanistan

Noorin Gulamgaus was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, but grew up in Toronto. He provided the voice of Idress in the award-winning animated feature The Breadwinner. His sister is Sirena Gulamgaus, who was born in Toronto, plays the role of Loa Boone in the U.S. (shot in Canada) 2021 series Chapelwaite. Noorin Gulamgaus plays an Acolyte Vampire in the same series.

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

RoboCop (2014)
The Breadwinner (voice, 2017)
Sahil (2017, short)
A Simple Favour (2018)
Screaming on the Inside (2019, short)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Salvation (2017)
Private Eyes (2017)
Northern Rescue (2019)
Chapelwaite (2021)

The Breadwinner, movie, poster,

Wendel Meldrum

Colm Feore, Beautiful Dreamers, image,
Wendel Meldrum and Colm Feore in a publicity still for the feature Beautiful Dreamers.

B: July 21, 1954 in Edmonton, Alberta
D: in January 27, 2021

Wendy Anne Meldrum excelled in gymnastics and dance and began to hone her unique creative talents while still in grade school in Edmonton. She left her hometown to fulfill a dream of dancing professionally, landing first in Toronto and then in New York. After a handful of years living in Greenwich Village, she moved to Los Angeles. Just one of her highlights in Hollywood was appearing as the “low-talker” on two episodes of Seinfeld, as well as several seasons on the Canadian series Less Than Kind where she won a Canadian Screen Award (2013) and two Canadian Comedy Awards (2009) for her role of Anne Blecher. She wrote the screenplay for Cruel but Necessary which premiered at the Montreal Film Festival in 2005. Her on-screen work in that film brought Outstanding Actress in a Female Role Award at the Winnipeg Film Festival in 2007. Wendel Meldrum was 67 when she died after a brief illness.

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

Vamping (1984)
Stark (TV-1985)
Breakfast with Les and Bess (TV-1985, American Playhouse)
Dallas: The Early Years (TV-1986)
K-9 (1989)

Why Me? (1990)
Beautiful Dreamers (1990)
Diplomatic Immunity
City Boy (TV-1992)
Hush Little Baby (TV-1994)
Sodbusters (TV-1994)
The Song Spinner (TV-1995)
Dad’s Week Off (TV-1997)
Melanie Darrow (TV-1997)
Murder at 75 Birch (TV-1998)
The Divine Ryans (1999)
Blast from the Past (1999)

A Mighty Wind (2000)
Pee-Wee Goes to Prison (voice, 2003, short)
Cruel But Necessary (2005)
Partner(s) (2005)

Queen of the Lot (2010)
The Phantoms (TV-2012)

TV Series – Cast:
Knots Landing (1984-1985)
Pursuit of Happiness (1987-1988)

Less Than Kind (2008-2012)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Punky Brewster (1985)
Cagney & Lacey (1986)
Family Ties (1987)
I Married Dora (1987)
Day by Day (1989)

E.N.G. (1990)
Northern Exposure (1992)
Picket Fences (1993)
Seinfeld (1993, 1998)
Due South (1994)
Side Effects (1994, 1995)
The Marshall (1995)
Pig Sty (1995)
The Commish (1995)
The Pretender (1996)
Promised Land (1997)
The Outer Limits (1999)

First Wave (2000)
Strong Medicine (2001)
NYPD Blue (2001)
Bliss (2003)

Saving Hope (2014)
Working the Engles (2014)

WIDC Names Eight

WIDC Names Eight, image,
Image supplied by WIDC

WIDC Names Eight
by Staff Editors

(November 19, 2021 – Vancouver, BC) Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) organizers have announced the names of eight Canadian directors selected to attend the Women In the Director’s Chair Story & Leadership program, presented in collaboration with the Whistler Film Festival.

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, WIDC is internationally known as one of Canada’s highly effective script development and director mentoring programs.

“As a Proud partner of the WIDC, we at Telefilm Canada want to thank you for your continuous contribution in elevating and strengthening the voices of women directors for twenty-five years,” said Christa Dickenson, CEO of Telefilm Canada.

Each director in this Story & Leadership cohort has brought a promising original fiction project to develop at this online edition of WIDC. The director participants include:

Recently named among Playback’s 2021 Top 10 to Watch, Samantha MacAdam is developing her hilarious comedy Prom Night. The short concept film premiered at Just for Laughs and spent a year on Kevin Hart’s LOL Network.

Also developing their debut feature films are Alayna Silverberg (Strange Bird) whose MPPIA Short Film Award film, B-Side won the Gerry Brunet award at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival 2020; Alexandra Caulfield (What Comes Next) who is also in the 2021 cohort of the Whistler Film Festival Producers Lab; and Niara Modi whose India-set feature Malabar Court has already received support from Telefilm Canada and Corus.

BC-based Indigenous storyteller, Joy Haskell is developing a new drama series, Greyfeather. Haskell was selected for the CFC / Netflix Project Development Accelerator for her debut feature film Cookies or Crack and is part of the Academy’s 2021/22 Program for Women Directors.

CSA-winning writer/director Chris Deacon (Degrassi TNG; Dino Dana) is developing her comedy series Mother Complex; CSA-nominated CBC journalist turned filmmaker, Bal Brach is also developing a comedy, Surviving the Singhs; and direct from the writers’ room of CBC’s new comedy series Sort Of, Léa Geronimo Rondot is developing their own comedy series, Sola and the Oracle.

Mentor directors for this session of WIDC include multi-award-winning actor / filmmaker Shelley Thompson (Trailer Park Boys) and WIDC Feature Film Award recipient for Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor; and Joyce Wong 2021 CSA winner for Best Direction, Baroness Von Sketch Show.

Story & Leadership is also led by a team of experienced instructors and mentors including multiple industry award-winner and WIDC co-creator, Dr. Carol Whiteman who produces and facilitates the program; Dr. Dorothy Christian Cucw-la7 and Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell C.M. who lead a module on equity, diversity and inclusion work; writer and Jungian expert, Dr. Carolyn Mamchur, screenwriter / story consultant Linda Coffey (Never Steady, Never Still; Rustic Oracle), actor and filmmaker, Lori Triolo (Blackstone, Lost Solace), actor / instructor, Veena Sood (A Million Little Things; Welcome to Marwen) and Digital Media & Marketing Mentor, Annelise Larson, who will lead respective sessions on leadership, story development, marketing and working with actors. An ensemble of ACTRA actors from across Canada and ICG cinematographers, Kim Derko csc (Save Me; The Next Step), and Daytime Emmy winner, Gayle Ye (Odd Squad, Mobile Unit), will also join the program, workshopping excerpts from the directors’ original scripts.

During the WFF Industry Immersion part of the program, the eight director participants partake in a first-class industry environment during the fest’s twenty-day run that includes an array of master classes, artist talks, one to ones, and notably, WFF’s Women In Focus series. WIDC-hosted sessions with industry guests include Lauren Davis (Telefilm Canada), Mitch Geddes (Bell Media), and Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor producer, Terry Greenlaw (Picture Plant); as well as representatives from CBC, the Independent Production Fund, Creative BC, among others who will participate in roundtables and individual meetings with participants.

Also being showcased at the 2021 Whistler Film Festival are WIDC alumnae feature films including Thompson’s Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor and Valerie Buhagiar’s fourth feature film Carmen. Both films are nominated the WFF Borsos Prize. Lauren Grant’s short film, Things We Feel But Do Not Say also screens at the festival.

Story & Leadership culminates with intensive follow up development of story and marketing materials, and career coaching modules that run through to spring 2022. WIDC receives major financial support from Telefilm Canada. Story & Leadership is also supported by CBC Films, ACTRA National, AFBS, the Independent Production Fund and Creative BC.

The WIDC program originates from the traditional and unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples, including the xmkym (Musqueam), Swxwu7mesh (Squamish), and slilwta (Tseil-wau-tuth) Nations. We also acknowledge the Indigenous Nations on whose traditional lands our guests and participants live, work and create.


Les oiseaux ivres

104 minutes – Drama
Language: French, Spanish
Festival release date: September 13, 2021 (Toronto International Film Festival, World Premiere)
Release date: October 15, 2021 (Québec)
Production company: micro_scope
Canadian distributor: Les Films Opale

Willy (Jorge Antonio Guerrero), a Mexican drug cartel driver, becomes involved with a drug lord’s wife, Marlena (Yoshira Escárrega). When their affair is discovered, Marlena flees the country. Willy has no know where she went, but a locket she left behind contains a picture of her aunt in Montréal. Willy begins his quest to find the love of his life. After spending four years working as a seasonal migrant worker in rural Québec, he is hired as a seasonal worker at the Bécotte farm near Montréal. Several fates intertwine, worlds meet, tensions rise, and moments of magical realism arise during the long workdays.

In 2021 Telefilm Canada selected Les oiseaux ivres (Drunken Birds), to be Canada’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

Also see: Thom Ernest reviews Drunken Birds for Northernstars.ca
Also see: Cinematic Arts Awards at the 2022 CSAs.

Les oiseaux ivres, movie, poster,



Luc Déry
Kim McCraw

Executive Producer:

Nicolás Celis

Line Producer:

Marie-Claire Lalonde
Rodrigo Macin (Mexico)


Ivan Grbovic


Ivan Grbovic
Sara Mishara


Sara Mishara


Arthur Tarnowski


Philippe Brault

Production Designer:

André-Line Beauparlant

Art Director:

Crystal Duarte
Philippe Lord

Costume Designer:

Patricia McNeil

Cast: Roles:

Jorge Antonio Guerrero
Hélène Florent
Claude Legault
Marine Johnson
Gilberto Barazza
Yoshira Escárrega
Amaryllis Tremblay
Maxime Dumontier
Karl Walcott
Normand D’Amour
Marco Ledezma

le conteur
pilote de course