Home Authors Posts by Editor



Northernstars Reviews Death of a Ladies’ Man

Death of a Ladies' Man, image, movie,
Jessica Paré & Gabriel Byrne in Death of a Ladies' Man. Photo by Martin Maguire. Courtesy of Mongrel Media.

Death of a Ladies’ Man – A Review
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(March 12, 2021 – Toronto, ON) Death of a Ladies’ Man is a bit of a romp. Its appeal should be wide, after all it is inspired by the songs of Leonard Cohen and stars the enormously gifted Gabriel Byrne supported by a solid cast. Further it is set in Montreal and there are just enough landmarks to remind former inhabitants or visitors what a wonderful city Cohen’s hometown was and still is. It’s also set in rural Ireland—Byrne was born in Dublin—and as we approach St-Patrick’s Day it is safe to assume for the next little while we’re all going to be Irish.

You might expect there would be some Cohen music along the way, and you would be right. What you might not expect is a few dance routines based on his songs that serve to support the story line but also add moments of lightness to what can be in places a rather weighty story. In one routine you may find your emotions tugging at your tear ducts.

Byrne plays the titular ladies’ man, Samuel O’Shea, who has spent years fuelling his sexual carousing with too much alcohol. We learn early on this has, or may have contributed to an unhappy diagnosis, which provides the foundation for the visions he sees and we all experience. His doctor is played by Pascale Bussières, but it’s a small role and this isn’t a medical story.
Death of a Ladies Man, movie, poster,
You might also think this is some moral parable set to the tune of Hallelujah, but it isn’t quite that either. The perils of drink and its withering impact on life are clear, and includes an ex-wife (Suzanne Clément) and the kids (Karelle Tremblay and Antoine Olivier Pilon) who have been spun out of a family relationship but are still held in place by the gravity of love. And ultimately that’s what this is.

The past life of Sam O’Shea is broadly hinted at and we’re reminded time and again that he has been a faithless husband and a serial consumer of passion. Now, late in life, too late in life, he succumbs once more to his dreams, portrayed by Jessica Paré, just as his family needs him most.

I won’t ruin the surprise ending but will close on a thought I had almost immediately after watching the screener provided by the film’s distributor, Mongrel Media. In addition to Cohen’s music, there’s a word here and there that might remind you of the poet, novelist, singer and songwriter, but if you took all that away the central story onto which the music has been added is strong enough to stand on its own. The music is a terrific bonus and writer-director Matt Bissonnette has used it well but of greater importance, at least to me, is the story itself and it’s one heck of yarn, well told, well played and well worth seeing.

Watch the trailer and learn more about the cast & crew of Death of a Ladies’ Man

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.

Shiva Baby

78 minutes – Comedy, Drama
Language: English
Festival release date: March 15, 2020 (SXSW)
Release date: April 2, 2021 (Canada)
Production companies: Dimbo Pictures, It Doesn’t Suck Productions, Bad Mensch Productions, Thick Media. Neon Heart Productions
Canadian distributor: Pacific Northwest Pictures

Danielle (Rachel Sennott) is having a bit of an off day. A near college graduate, her parents think she’s making extra cash by working as a babysitter while finishing her degree, but in truth she has a sugar daddy and is struggling to figure out what she’s going to do with her life once she graduates. Running late to meet her neurotic parents at a family shiva, things take an unexpected turn when her sugar daddy, Max (Danny Deferrari), arrives with his accomplished wife and crying baby. Danielle struggles to keep up different versions of herself without completely losing it. Endlessly witty and expertly paced, Shiva Baby had its World Premiere at the 2020 South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW).

Shiva Baby, movie, poster,



Kieran Altmann
Katie Schiller
Lizzie Shapiro

Executive Producer:

Fiona Altmann
Martin Altmann
Rhianon Jones
Victoria Ku

Associate Producer:

Sue Collins
Sean Eve
Ronald Getchey
Sandra Secord
Elliott Wahle


Emma Seligman


Emma Seligman


Maria Rusche


Hanna A. Park


Ariel Marx

Production Designer:

Cheyenne Ford

Art Director:

Jack Dobens

Costume Designer:

Michelle Li

Cast: Roles:

Rachel Sennott
Molly Gordon
Polly Draper
Danny Deferrari
Fred Melamed
Dianna Agron
Jackie Hoffman
Sondra James
Deborah Offner
Vivien Landau
Glynis Bell
Cilda Shaur
Ariel Eliaz


Leia Madu

Leia Madu, actress,

B: in Kelowna, British Columbia

Leia Marie Mae Madu is a Kelowna, B.C. born actress. Like many breaking into film, she worked as a background extra in various productions, including The Sinners and Love’s Second Chance. She started out in, and still enjoys performing in local theatre and has several years of experience on stage. In addition to acting, when not taking voice lessons she likes to play piano and clarinet as well as playing rugby, field-hockey and soccer. She also enjoys archery, rock climbing, track and field, and has recently been learning to skateboard.

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

Loves Second Chance (TV-2020)
The Sinners (aka The Color Rose, 2020)
Chained (2020)

Chained, movie, poster,


Violation, movie, image,
Still image from Violation courtesy of Pacific Northweat Pictures/

107 minutes – Drama, Horror
Language: English
Festival release date: September 2020 (TIFF, World Premiere)
Release date: March 26, 2021
Production company: Altitude, XIZ Films, One Plus One
Canadian distributor: PNP (Pacific Northwest Pictures)

With her marriage about to implode, Miriam returns to her hometown to seek solace in the comfort of her younger sister and brother-in-law. But one evening a tiny slip in judgement leads to a catastrophic betrayal, leaving Miriam shocked, reeling, and furious. Believing her sister to be in danger, Miriam decides she must protect her at all costs, but the price of revenge is high and she is not prepared for the toll it takes as she begins to emotionally and psychologically unravel.

Violation was produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada and the Talent Fund. It was named Best Canadian Film by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle on March 8, 2021.

Violation, movie, poster,



Madeleine Sims-Fewer
Dusty Mancinelli

Executive Producer:

Deepa Mehta
David Hamilton
François Dagenais
Mathew Nayman
David James

Line Producer:

Rebecca Yeboah


Madeleine Sims-Fewer
Dusty Mancinelli


Madeleine Sims-Fewer
Dusty Mancinelli


Adam Crosby


Gabriella Wallace


Andrea Boccadoro

Production Designer:

Joshua Turpin

Art Director:

Tavish Gudgeon

Costume Designer:

Diane Raynor

Cast: Roles:

Madeleine Sims-Fewer
Anna Maguire
Jesse LaVercombe
Obi Abili
Jasmin Geljo
Cynthia Ashperger


Death of a Ladies’ Man

101 minutes – Drama
Language: English
Release date: March 12, 2021 (Apple TV app/iTunes, other VOD platforms, VIFF Connect in BC only, select theatres in Ottawa, Kingston, Regina, Saskatoon and Charlottetown)
Production Company:
Canadian distributor: Mongrel Media

Inspired by the work of Leonard Cohen, and set to some of his most beloved music, Death of a Ladies’ Man tells the story of a carousing college professor Samuel O’Shea (Gabriel Byrne), a hard drinking womanizer who has seen better days. His second marriage is ending, and his first wife and two grown children have turned against him. More problematic, he has begun seeing things: Frankenstein sidles to the bar; strangers sing and dance to Leonard Cohen tunes; and his much missed father Ben O’Shea (Brian Gleeson), who died when Samuel was just a boy, pops up for chats. Looking for answers, Samuel discovers he has a terminal brain tumour, which may be causing these odd visions, or he may just be going crazy. Samuel retreats to his family shack in remote Ireland, where he begins work on that great novel he always meant to write, and generally take stock. Surprisingly, or not, he meets and falls in love with Charlotte (Jessica Paré), a surprising woman who is full of unexpected surprises. All this leads Samuel to an utterly unforeseeable, but surprisingly happy ending. Death of a Ladies’ Man was filmed in Canada and Ireland and features an international cast.

NOTE: We list the cast in Order of Appearance:
Also see: Northernstars reviews Death of a Ladies’ Man.

Death of a Ladies Man, movie, poster,



Corey Marr
Don Carmody
Marie-Claude Poulin
Martina Niland

Line Producer:

John Brady (Ireland)


Matt Bissonnette


Matt Bissonnette


Jonathon Cliff


Matt Lyon


Stephen Rennicks

Costume Designer:

Odette Gadoury

Cast: Roles:

Gabriel Byrne
Massimo Cannistraro
Carolina Bartczak
Pat Kiely
Antoine Olivier Pilon
Nora Guerch
Mark Hauser
Natalia Bedik
Alexandre Simard
Charlie Bilodeau
Jack Kermezian
Steven Lapointe
Nicolas Nadeau
Thierry Ferland
Nikolaj Soerensen
Andrew Wolfe
Maxime Deschamps
Veronika Leclerc Strickland
Brian Gleeson
Jessica Fildes
Alex Nachi
Joel Bissonnette
Richard Jutras
Michael Hearn
Pascale Bussières
Karelle Tremblay
Dominic Desrochers
Andrew Bathory
Laurent Pitre
Patricia Gosselin
Suzanne Clément
Raphael Grosz Harvey
Tyrone Benskin
Karine Dion
Jessica Paré
Fred Mccloskey
Zahra O’Shea
Brendan Dowd
Simona Vasiliauskaite
Dara Rawat
Ingrid Craigie
Alexander “Knuckles” Pless
Oscar John Cadieux Pless
Emma Florence Cadieux Pless
Ollie Jeannine Cadieux Pless
Robert Brewster
Xavier Sotelo
Colin Friend
Mike Paterson
Anthony Kavanagh
Alex Ivanovici
Howard Rosenstein
Mamoudou Camara
Oliver Koomsatira
Marites Carino
Carol Jones
Afia Douglas
Hélène Lemay
Sandy Silva
Frédérique Annie Robitaille
Audrey Gaussiran
Sonia Clarke
Geneviève Mailly
Bobby Thompson
Stephen Baxter

Samuel O’Shea
Cab Driver
Single Woman
Arena Neighbour
Anthem Singer
Hockey Dancer #1
Hockey Dancer #2
Hockey Dancer #3
Hockey Dancer #4
Hockey Dancer #5
Hockey Dancer #6
Hockey Dancer #7
Hockey Dancer #8
Hockey Dancer #9
Bored Prostitute
Helpful Student
Student Clarke
Donny the Bartender
Dr. Sarah Savard
Male Performer #1
Male Performer #2
Tiger Lady
Charlotte Lafleur
Fur Trapper
Buddhist Monk
Outdoor Rink Skater
Outdoor Rink Skater
Outdoor Rink Skater
Outdoor Rink Skater
Outdoor Rink Skater
AA Mike
AA Dancer #1
AA Dancer #2
AA Dancer #3
AA Dancer #4
AA Dancer #5
AA Dancer #6
AA Dancer #7
AA Dancer #8
Church Dancer #1
Church Dancer #2
Church Dancer #3
Church Dancer #4
Church Dancer #5
Church Dancer #6
Church Dancer #7
Church Dancer #8
Church Dancer #9
Church Dancer #10
Layton’s Boyfriend

What’s Shooting in T.O.

What’s Shooting in T.O., image

What’s Shooting in T.O.
by Staff

(March 10, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Although we’re far from reaching the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, in some areas life goes on almost uninterrupted and is functioning well by adhering tightly to all the practices and rules that keep people safe. Even a quick look at what’s shooting now in Toronto indicates that film and television production is doing well.

Following are the shows and feature films currently in production or starting production soon.

First up is 8 Bit Christmas. Directed by Michael Dowse, the feature is based on the debut novel by Kevin Jakubowski who adapted his book for the screenplay. It’s set in Chicago in the 1980s. Basic plot: a young boy (Winslow Fegley) is on a quest to get the best video game system for Christmas. It’s being produced by New Line for HBO Max and it’s described a “humorous and heartfelt look back at the adventures of childhood.” Costars include Neil Patrick Harris, June Diane Raphael and Steve Zahn. The shoot began in mid-February and is scheduled tp wrap on May 28.

Acts of Crime is a drama series pilot that stars newcomer Candace Grace. Sam Esmail is co-producing and directing. Series regulars are Molly Price, Peter Mark Kendall and newcomer Josiah Cross. It was scheduled to start production this week and wrap on April 30.

Season 3 of the Netflix series Chroma began shooting in early February and production continues until August 17. The producer is Steve Wakefield and the director is Jeff King.

We’re a little sketchy on this next production but we’re making some educated guesses. There’s a feature film titled Good Sam. It’s on Netflix and costars Tiya Sircar, Chad Connell and Marco Grazzini. Set in New York the plot centres on a curious reporter who finds love while pursuing the story of a mysterious figure who’s leaving bags of cash for strangers all around city. In Toronto, the pilot for a series titled Good Sam got underway in February and should have wrapped by now. We’re assuming the series pilot is based on the movie…but we know we should never assume anything.

In the Dark, the U.S. series is shooting Season 3. The 13-episode shoot began in early November last year and continues until the middle of May 2021.

All these productions are great and employ a lot of Canadians behind the cameras and a lot of Canadians in smaller roles in front of the cameras as well. Some are bigger than others, some are more interesting than others and one that’s sure to cause some excitement is the Jack Reacher series reboot, starring Alan Ritchson. Tom Cruise, a very fit and anything but bulky actor, played the titular role in the films Jack Reacher and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, both made for Paramount. For the series the lead will look a lot more like the character described in the books as a tall and hulking figure. Ritchson is reported to be 6’4” and weigh 235 pounds. This series is based on the first Reacher novel titled “The Killing Floor,” which was set in the state of Georgia. The shoot schedule is set to begin on April 14 and run until the end of July. By the way, Ritchson also stars as Hawk/Hank Hill in the DC Universe’s Titans series, which is also shooting in Ontario, and should wrap on March 31.

Some quick takes: Ten episodes of season 2 of Locke and Key began shooting in Toronto last September and will wrap at the end of this month. Thirteen episodes of season 2 of Magnesium began shooting at the end of January and will continue shooting until the middle of June. Eight episodes of season 2 of See began in the middle of October 2020 and should wrap June 30, 2021.
The Shape of Water, movie, poster,
The Academy-Award-winning Guillermo Del Toro and J. Miles Dale (for The Shape of Water) have joined forces again for the feature Nightmare Alley. The thriller has an all-star cast including Cate Blanchett, David Strathairn, Bradley Cooper, Paul Anderson, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Toni Collette, Mary Steenburgen and Willem Dafoe. Lots of Canadians too including Tim Post, David Hewlett, actor and producer Danny Waugh and more. It’s supposed to be released this December. Production began in September of last year and should wrap at the end of April.

Some titles and wrap dates: Slumberland is a feature bound for streaming. Directed by Francis Lawrence it’s scheduled to wrap May 31, 2021. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a 10-episode series that will follow Captain Pike, Spock and Number One. It should wrap September 24. Various directors are helming various episodes. Station Eleven is a 10-episode sci-fi series based on the 2014 novel by Emily St. John Mandel. Timing is everything, the basic plot is set in the aftermath of a flu pandemic that wipes out the majority of the world’s population. Shooting in Mississauga for HBO Max, the last day of production is August 2. Season 3 of The Boys, 8 episodes should wrap August 32. Season 6 of The Expanse, 6 episodes began production on January 21 and should be over by April 26. Ten episodes of season 7 of The Good Witch began in October of last year and should come to a close at the end of this month, March 26. There is great anticipation among fans of The Handmaid’s Tale. Season 4, 10 episodes produced by Kim Todd is scheduled to wrap April 29.

The Hot Zone – Year Two is a 6-episode mini-series. Wrap date is May 21. VICAP is a proposed series with Paula Devonshire producing and Maja Vrvilo directing. We assume it’s a cop drama, the twist being VICAP stands for Violent Criminal Apprehension Program. Wrap date April 30. What We Do in the Shadows began shooting Season 3 in January. The 10-episode shoot should wrap on April 14. Production also began in January on the 10-episode series Y The Last Man. It will wrap on July 31.

Most, if not all of these titles are aligned with a studio, network, distributor, etc. There are smaller and very much smaller independent shoots that we have not reported on here, but hope to be able to do that in the future.

VFCC Vote for Violation

Violation, movie, image,
Still image from Violation courtesy of Pacific Northweat Pictures/

VFCC Vote for Violation
by Staff

(March 10, 2021 – Vancouver, BC) The Vancouver Film Critics Circle (VFCC) has chosen Violation as Best Canadian Film of 2020.

It’s a dark tale of sibling rivalry, predatory behaviour and revenge and the protagonist of Violation, Madeleine Sims-Fewer, was voted Best Actress.

The body horror film Possessor emerged victorious in two categories, Best Director (Brandon Cronenberg) and Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Abbott). The award for Best Screenplay went to Sean Durkin for The Nest.

Justin Rain, the protagonist of the character piece Brother, I Cry was named Best Actor. In the Best Supporting Actress category, the award went to Rainbow Dickerson for Beans.

The gritty drama Chained was voted Best BC Film. Its director, Titus Heckel won the ‘One to Watch’ category, tied with the young lead of Beans, Kiawentiio.

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel was named Best Documentary.

The VCFF also picked Nomadland as Best International Film, its director Chloe Zhao as Best Director andFrances McDormand as Best Actress.

The winners of the Canadian section of the 21st edition of the VFCC awards were announced during a virtual ceremony hosted via Zoom and watched by Northernstars.

Following is the complete list of Canadian winners:

Best Picture: Violation

Best Director: Brandon Cronenberg, Possessor

Best Screenplay: Sean Durkin, The Nest

Best Actor: Justin Rain, Brother, I Cry

Best Actress: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Violation

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Abbott: Possessor

Best Supporting Actress: Rainbow Dickerson, Beans

Best Documentary: The New Corporation

Best BC Film: Chained

One to Watch: (tie) Titus Heckel, Chained; Kiawentiio, Beans

Marlon Kazadi

Marlon Kazadi plays the lead role in the 2020 feature Chained (trailer above), which was named the Best British Columbia Film by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle in March 2021. A young actor based in Vancouver, his career began in 2015 with an appearance on the series Whispers.

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

Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa (TV-2018)
Child’s PLay (2019)
Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy (TV-2019)

Chained (2020)
Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing (TV-2020)
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

TV Series- Guest appearances:
The Whispers (2015)
Supergirl (2019)
Riverdale (2019, 2020, 2021)

Chained, movie, poster,

Titus Heckel

Titus Heckel, director,

Titus Heckel was named “The One to Watch” by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle in March 2021 and his 2020 feature Chained was named Best British Columbia Film. We list his credits as a Director first.

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

The Better Man (2012, short)
With Child (2014)

Chained (2020)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
Mississippi Remixed (TV-2010, documentary)
The Better Man (2012, short)
With Child (2014)
Sidelined (TV-2018)

Chained (2020)

TV Series:
Kids Unlimited (2008)

Chained, movie, poster,

Thomas Middleditch

Thomas Middleditch, actor,

B: March 10, 1982 in Nelson, British Columbia

In addition to his film and television career, Thomas Middleditch is a regular performer at UCB, a member of The Improvised Shakespeare Company and creates and performs comedy shorts with College Humor. He played the role of Richard Hendricks in 53 episodes of Silicon Valley between 2014 and 2019. He plays Drew Dunbar on the series B Positive.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Mint in Box (VR-2009, short)
The Rebound (2009)
Splinterheads (2009)

The Other Guys (2010)
Ghostbusters Return (2010, short)
Night Home (2010)
Hitched (TV-2010)
Mash Up (TV-2011)
Inconvenient Interviews with Risa (VR-2011, short)
Dog DNA (2011, short)
Certainty (2011)
Michel Jean-Michel: Overexposed (2011, short)
Being Flynn (2012)
The Campaign (2012)
The Brass Teapot (2012)
Fun Size (2012)
The Funtime Gang (TV-2013)
The Kings of Summer (2013)
The Farm (TV-2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
All’s Fair (2014, short)
Someone Marry Barry (2014)
Search Party (2014)
The Bronze (2015)
SMILF (2015)
The Final Girls (2015)
Joshy (2016)
Sunspring (2016, short)
Kong: Skull Island (voice, 2017)
Entanglement (2017)
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (voice, 2017)
Once Upon a Time in Venice (2017)
Henchmen (voice, 2018)
Replicas (2018)
Godzilla: King of Monsters (2019)
Aly & AJ: Star Maps (VR-2019, short)
Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe (voice, 2020)

TV Series – Cast:
College Humor Originals (2010-2013)
The Morning After (2013, mini-series)
Silicon Valley (2014-2019)
Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero (voice, 2014-2017)
Scheer-RL (2015, mini-series)
Breaking Boundaries with Eliza Coupe (2017, mini-series)

Death Hacks (2020)
B Positive (2020-)
Solar Opposites (voice, 2020-)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Memoirs of a Manchild (2009)

Robotomy (2010)
The Back Room (2010)
Funny or Die Presents… (2011)
Ugly Americans (2011)
The League (2011)
Beavis and Butt-Head (voice, 2011)
FCU: Fact Checkers Unit (2011)
Matumbo Goldberg (2011)
Jake and Amir (2011, 2013)
Mash Up (2012)
Bravest Warriors (2012)
Newsreaders (2013)
The Office (2013)
Key and Peele (2013)
Trophy Wife (2013)
The Pete Holmes Show (2013)
You’re the Worst (2014, 2019)
Comedy Bang! Bang! (2015)
Drunk History (2015, 2016, 2019)
Great Minds with Dan Harmon (2016)
Off Camera with Sam Jones (2016)
TripTank (voice, 2016)
Conan (2016)
Animals. (voice, 2017)
Red Carpet Report (voice, 2017)
Rick and Morty (voice, 2017)
Bob’s Burgers (2018, 2019)
Big City Greens (voice, 2019)

Dream Corp LLC (2020)

J. Miles Dale

J.Milews Dale, producer, director,
The Shape of Water Creature Designer Mike Hill (l.) and Producer J. Miles Dale. Photo by Todd Williamson.

B: in Toronto, Ontario

J. Miles Dale is a producer and director who was born in the early 1960s in Toronto. His father was the British-Canadian jazz musician Jimmy Dale who worked as a music director on various TV shows, which led to the decision to move the family to Hollywood. J. Miles returned to Toronto in the mid-1970s, where he graduated from Jarvis Collegiate Institute. Afterwards he joined the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, but decided to drop out work in the television industry. These are his credits as a Producer unless otherwise noted.

J. Miles Dale is pictured at the Los Angeles premiere of The Shape of Water. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Films.
Also see: The Shape of Water wins 4 Academy Awards.
Also see: Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale talk backstage at the 90th Academy Awards.
Also see: What’s Shooting in T.O.

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

Gangsters (TV-1992, Producer)

All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story (TV-2000)
Harvard Man (2001)
Wolf Girl (TV-2001)
The Skulls II (VR-2002, Co-producer)
Blizzard (2003)
The Skulls III (VR-2004, Co-producer)
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004, Co-producer)
Hollywoodland (2006, Executive Producer)
Talk to Me (2007, Executive Producer)
Pontypool (2008, Executive Producer)
Flash of Genius (2008, Executive Producer)
Love Happens (2009,Executive Producer)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010, Executive Producer)
The Thing (2011, Executive Producer)
The Vow (2012, Executive Producer)
Mama (2013)
Carrie (2013, Executive Producer)
Iris (2013, short)
Endless Love (2014, Executive Producer)
The Shape of Water (2017)
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Nightmare Alley (2021)

TV Series – at least 1 episode of:
Comedy Factory (1985, Associate Producer)
True Confessions (1986)
Friday the 13th: The Series (1987-1990, Line Producer)

Top Cops (1992)
RoboCop (1994)
Police File (1994)
F/X: The Series (1996-1998, Co-Executive Producer)

The Strain (2015-2017, Executive Producer)
Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (2016, Executive Producer)

The Shape of Water, movie, poster,

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, movie, poster,


104 minutes – Drama
Language: English
Festival release date: October 1, 2020 – Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF)
Release date: TBA
Production company: My Precious Pictures
Canadian distributor:

Taylor, a Black teenage boy is subjected to abuse by his father Pete (Adrian Holmes); he meets and befriends Jim (Aleks Paunovic), a criminal who has been left chained up in an abandoned warehouse, only to begin turning into an abuser himself as he learns the power of using violence to get what he wants and putting both their lives in peril.

Chained was named Best British Columbia Film by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle in March 2021 and its writer-director Titus Heckel was named The One to Watch, two of the six nominations it received from the VFCC.

Chained, movie, poster,



Rachelle Chartrand
Chester Sit

Executive Producer:

Michael Olsen


Titus Heckel


Titus Heckel


Vince Arvidson


Jackie Dzuba


Alfredo Santa Ana

Production Designer:

Jim Cliffe

Art Director:

Adrian Traquair (Set Decoration)

Costume Designer:

Maxyne Baker

Cast: Roles:

Marlon Kazadi
Aleks Paunovic
Adrian Holmes
Roark Critchlow
Andrea Agur
Leia Madu
Emily Holmes
Elija Fedoriuk
Dave Kenneth MacKinnon
Sarah Susie Wagner
Melanie Walden

Detective Smith
The principle
Ms. Harrington

Kim’s Wraps

Kim's Wraps, image,
The cast of Kim's Convenience at the 201 Canadian SCreen Awards. Photo © 2018 by Ralph Lucas.

Kim’s Wraps
by Staff

(March 8, 2021 – Toronto, ON) The producers of the award-winning series Kim’s Convenience today announced that the popular CBC comedy will come to an end in April after five seasons, with the series finale set for Tuesday, April 13 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem. The producers released a statement that explains their decision to wrap up the series now:

“Authenticity of storytelling is at the center of the success of Kim’s Convenience. At the end of production on Season 5, our two co-creators confirmed they were moving on to other projects. Given their departure from the series, we have come to the difficult conclusion that we cannot deliver another season of the same heart and quality that has made the show so special. Kim’s Convenience has meant so much to our cast, writers, crew, and audiences around the world. Despite the restrictions and complications of shooting during the pandemic, Season 5 is our finest season to date. It’s been a privilege and a very great pleasure to work with the Kim’s family of gifted writers and performers for the last five years. Thank you to our fans for the love and support you’ve given this show.”

Kim’s Convenience has built a powerful and inspiring connection with audiences in Canada and around the world,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports, CBC. “While we are sad to say goodbye to this beloved and groundbreaking show, we are incredibly proud to have been part of its journey and understand the producers’ creative decision to wrap up the show at this time.”

Kim’s Convenience first premiered on CBC in the fall of 2016 and is also seen on Netflix and on cable and VOD platforms around the world. A CBC original series, the series is based on the award-winning play by Ins Choi. It is produced by Ivan Fecan and co-created by Ins Choi and Kevin White on behalf of Thunderbird Entertainment in association with the Soulpepper Theatre Company. Executive Producers are Ivan Fecan, Alexandra Raffé, Ins Choi and Kevin White, and Sandra Cunningham is Supervising Producer. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports; Trish Williams is Executive Director, Scripted Content; and Sandra Picheca is Director, Current Production, Comedy.

Hygiène sociale

75 minutes – Comedy, Drama
Language: French
Festival release date: March 2021 – Berlin International Film Festival
Release date: TBA
Production companies: Inspiratrice & Commandan, Greenground
Canadian distributor: TBA

Antonin is a bit of a dandy. He has a way with words that could have made him a famous writer, but instead mostly serves to get him out of trouble. Torn between twin urges to be part of society and also to escape it, his charm and wit are put to the test by five women who are about to lose their patience with his live and let live attitude: his sister, his wife, the woman he desires, a tax collector and a victim of his mischief.

Denis Côté was named Best Director for this film at the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival.

Hygiène sociale, movie, poster,



Denis Côté


Annie St-Pierre
Aonan Yang
Andreas Mendritzki


Denis Côté


Denis Côté


François Messier-Rheault


Nicolas Roy


Frederic Cloutier (Sound Design)

Cast: Roles:

Maxim Gaudette
Larissa Corriveau
Eleonore Loiselle
Eve Duranceau
Kathleen Fortin
Evelyne Rompré


Daryl Duke – Biography

Daryl Duke, director,
Photo by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward.

Daryl Duke – Biography
by Staff

(March 8, 2021 – Toronto, ON) Vancouver-born Daryl Duke was an Emmy Award-winning director whose career spanned a wide range of accomplishments in feature films, television drama, documentary and TV specials. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Duke began his career as a film editor, writer and director for the National Film Board of Canada. In addition to directing, he often served as producer and/or executive producer on many of his productions. In the decades before the 500+ channel universe, Duke spent more than 50 years working for the CBC, then CTV and for all three of the main U.S. networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) as well as for most of the major studios in Hollywood.

In fact, Duke originated the very first television show from the CBC’s station in Vancouver, CBUT, which went on the air in the early Fifties. While at the Vancouver studios of the CBC Duke produced and directed variety programs, a classical music series, dramas and several public affairs documentaries for west coast audiences and for the CBC network.

After moving to Toronto, he produced and directed episodes for the CBC public affairs series Close Up and Explorations. For documentary series Close Up, Duke filmed in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. The series focused on a wide range of subjects, people, and countries. Duke’s work for this series featured profiles of authors such as Lawrence Durrell, Evelyn Waugh, Rebecca West, James Thurber, Aldous Huxley, philosopher Bertrand Russell, political leaders like President Nasser of Egypt, President Tito of Yugoslavia and others.

As executive producer and director of the CBC series Quest, Duke’s productions included documentaries, music and comedy shows as well as dramatic programming. Designed to highlight performers and personalities like Bob Dylan, works by James Baldwin, Budd Schulberg, Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller as well as authors from South America, England and Europe. The Toronto Star named Duke, “Entertainment Star of the Year” for his work on Quest. He also served as executive producer for the prime time CBC series Sunday. That series featured international figures such as Martin Luther King, singer Otis Redding and poet Allen Ginsberg as well us a wide-ranging array of political, economic and entertainment leaders.

Daryl Duke also directed episodes of the popular CBC television drama series, Wojeck starring John Vernon, Quentin Durgens, M.P. starring Gordon Pinsent, Corwin and The Manipulators. He also produced episodes of the groundbreaking public affairs series, This Hour Has Seven Days.

In the United States, Duke produced the Steve Allen Show for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company in Hollywood and later the Les Crane Show for ABC in New York. Meanwhile, he continued his work on documentaries and dramas for both the Canadian and America television networks.

Among is many television credits, Duke directed the 10-hour mini-series The Thorn Birds, which was at the time one of the most-watched television dramas ever broadcast in the United States and Canada. He was honoured with an Emmy for his direction of The Day The Lion Died, which was an episode of The Senator television series for NBC, starring Hal Holbrook. His production of I Heard The Owl Call My Name, a 90-minute drama for CBS and filmed on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It starred British actor Tom Courtenay and earned Duke a Christopher Award, which was established in 1949 by Father James Keller to salute media that “affirms the highest values of the human spirit.

Daryl Duke, The Silent Partner poster,
Scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
His film and television assignments took him to South America, China, many of the countries of Southeast Asia and India, as well as the Middle East, Yugoslavia, Europe and England. His work screened at many festivals including the famous Cannes where his American movie, Payday, was an entry in The Director’s Fortnight category. It was also honoured with a National Society of Film Critics Special Award in New York. During the time of the Canadian Film Awards, his feature The Silent Partner was named Best Picture and Duke picked up a Best Director award. He also directed the feature Tai-Pan. Based on the 1966 best selling novel by James Clavell, it was the first western feature film to be shot in The People’s Republic of China and starred Joan Chen und Bryan Brown. Released in 1986, it was not a success. The project’s producer, Raffaella de Laurentiis, detailed the problems in a New York Times article. Duke, summed up his take on the film by letting it be known he felt a mini-series might have made for a more satisfactory development of the characters in the book as well as making fuller use of the pictorial opportunities of filming in China.

In the mid-1970s, Duke founded the independent Vancouver television station CKVU-TV. He was the station’s first President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. Under his stewardship, CKVU-TV became one the highest rated stations in the Vancouver area. In 1988 he sold his ownership in CKVU in order to devote his full time to his international film and television career.

In 1997, Daryl Duke was inducted into the “Starwalk” and the B.C. Entertainment Hall of fame at Vancouver’s famous Orpheum Theatre. In 1999 Duke was the first recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award given at the British Columbia Film Industry’s annual Leo Awards ceremony. He was a member of the Board of Directors of BC Film, and was for several years a member of the Steering Committee of The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. In the fall of 2000 Duke was invited to give the annual Spry Foundation’s Lecture on Broadcasting at the Université de Montréal and at Simon Fraser University inVancouver. The Spry Lecture was named for Graham Spry who helped found the CBC in the l930s. Also, in November of 2000, he was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Broadcast Hall of Fame. In 2004 he was honoured with the coveted John Drainie Award.

Daryl Duke was 77 when he died from pulmonary fibrosis in 2006.

Also see: Daryl Duke’s filmography.

Northernstars, logo, imageThe biography has been adapted by Northernstars in 2021 from a 2000 media handout and other sources.

Dayle McLeod

Dayle McLeod, actress, singer,

B: March 9, 1990 in Alliston, Ontario

Born in Alliston Ontario, Dayle McLeod discovered her passion for singing and acting after joining her church choir and participating in school musicals. She got her start in entertainment starring in Martin Gero’s series The L.A Complex, Kristin Waterson’s epic gay web series Thats My DJ. Inspired by Canadian folk artists and songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Jann Arden, Dayle McLeod’s music is a fusion of classic folk and millennial pop sensibilities. Her first L.P ‘FRIENDS’ will be released on August 30, 2018. In film, she has a supporting role and a featured song in Mary Harron’s new film Charlie Says that tells the infamous story of the women behind the Charles Manson cult murders premiering at the 75th Venice International Film Festival in August 2018.

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

We’ll Always Have Paris (2011, short)
Two Sides (2012, short)
A Man Is a Man Is a Man (2012, short)
It’s Not What You Know (2016, short)
Are You Gonna Eat That? (2017, short)
Charlie Says (2018)
Art of Falling in Love (TV-2019)
Hammer (2019)

Hazy Little Thing (2020)

TV Series – Cast:
The L.A.Complex (2012)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Flashpoint (2011)
Saving Hope (2013)
Bitten (2015)
Killjoys (2015)
Condor (2018)
The Expanse (2019)
Hudson & Rex (2020)
Burden of Truth (2020)
Kim’s Convenience (2020)

Web Series:
That’s My DJ (2016, mini-series)

Possessor Uncut

102 minutes – Sci-fi
Language: English
Festival release date: January 2020 – Sundance
Release date: October 2, 2020
Production companies: Rhombus Media, Rook Films, Particular Crowd
Canadian distributor: Elevation Pictures
U.S. distributor: Well Go USA Entertainment

Like father like son? Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor is a slick, perfectly cast, perfectly shot and perfectly edited horror film. Tasva Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is a corporate agent who uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies. That’s step one. Step two is then have them commit crimes for her company. Unfortunately with each brain switch there is a certain amount of mind-melding, which produces helps drive the plot and the tension thanks to unforeseen side effects.

Possessor is a Canada/United Kingdom co-production and features an international cast. It was chosen to have its World Premiere in the World Cinema Drama Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020. In March 2021, the Vancouver Film Critics Circle named Brandon Cronenberg Best Canadian Film Director for his work on Possessor.

Possessor, movie, poster,



Fraser Ash
Niv Fichman
Kevin Krikst
Andrew Starke

Executive Producer:

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


Steve Solomos

Associate Producer:

Matthew Hannam
Karim Hussain

Supervising Producer:

Rob Cotterill


Brandon Cronenberg


Brandon Cronenberg


Karim Hussain


Matthew Hannam


Jim Williams

Production Designer:

Rupert Lazarus

Art Director:

Kent McIntyre

Costume Designer:

Aline Gilmore

Cast: Roles:

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

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

Andrea Menard

Andrea Menard, actress,

Born in Manitoba and now living in Vancouver, Menard is a member of the Métis Nation of Canada. Her performance in her self-penned, The Velvet Devil, earned her three Saskatchewan Showcase Awards, a Gemini nomination and an American Indian Film Festival Best Actress Award. In 2010, she won an American Indian Film Festival Best Actress Award for her performance in A Windigo Tale. She also received three Best Performance Gemini Award nominations for her work in Moccasin Flats (2006), Rabbit Fall (2009) and Sparkle (2011). In 2014, Menard received a Best Supporting Performance Leo Award nomination for her role in Blackstone.

Also see: ACTRA Honours Andrea Menard.

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

Skipped Parts (2000)
The Impossible Elephant (2001)
Betrayed (TV-2003)
The Pedestrian (2003)
I Accuse (2003)
Rabbit Fall (2006)
The Velvet Devil (TV-2006)
The Velvet Devil (TV-2007)

Sparkle (TV-2010)
In Redemption (2010
A Windigo Tale (2010)
Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes (2011)
These Walls (2012, short)
Two 4 One (2014)
Hollow in the Land (2017)
The Great Lakusta (2018, short)

TV Series – Cast:
Moccasin Flats (2003-2006)
Wapos Bay: The Series (2005-2010)
Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story (2006, mini-series)
Redemption SK (2007, mini-series)
Rabbit Fall (2007-2008)

Blackstone (2011-2015)
Live from the Hundred Years Café (2013, mini-series)
Hard Rock Medical (2013-2018)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Renegadepress.com (2004, 2008)
Little Mosque on the Prairie (2009)

Motive (2013)
Arctic Air (2014)
The Switch (2016)
Supernatural (2017)

Tribal (2020)

Andrea Menard Honoured by ACTRA

Andrea Menard, ACTRA Women of the Year,
Photo of Andrea Menard supplied.

Andrea Menard Honoured by ACTRA
by Staff

(March 5, 2021 – Toronto, ON) ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) has named indigenous performer Andrea Menard as the 2021 Woman of the year, an honour which is bestowed annually in celebration of International Women’s Day. Born in Manitoba and now living in Vancouver, Menard is a member of the Métis Nation of Canada.

“Andrea Menard is a distinguished performer, singer and writer,” said ACTRA National President David Sparrow. “Andrea is deeply committed to the growth and development of Indigenous representation in Canada’s arts industries. She is an inspiration and a role model for all of us. We are proud to be honouring her in celebration of International Women’s Day.”

“ACTRA women are a tremendous force of change,” said Andrea Menard. “With the development of important initiatives like HAVEN Helpline, and Diversity & Inclusion Committees, ACTRA women work hard to address inequalities in our industry and to improve work opportunities for their sisters. I’m especially proud of my Indigenous ACTRA women colleagues who continue to push boundaries and to advance Indigenous representation on our screens. I am deeply grateful to receive this honour from my artistic community of peers.”

Her Métis family originates from St. Laurent, Manitoba, which is in Treaty 1 territory and the Homeland of the Métis. Andrea’s stirring performance in her self-penned, The Velvet Devil, earned her three Saskatchewan Showcase Awards, a Gemini nomination and an American Indian Film Festival Best Actress Award. In 2010, she won an American Indian Film Festival Best Actress Award for her performance in A Windigo Tale. Andrea has received three Best Performance Gemini Award nominations for her work in Moccasin Flats (2006), Rabbit Fall (2009) and Sparkle (2011) as well as the 2008 Best Ensemble Performance in an Animated Series Award for her work in Wapos Bay. In 2014, Menard received a Best Supporting Performance Leo Award nomination for her role in Blackstone. Her other television credits include The Switch, Hard Rock Medical, Arctic Air and Supernatural. An accomplished singer-songwriter, her music has been used in a number of television shows, including Canadian Idol and her tongue-in-cheek ode to gender politics, “If I Were a Man,” was featured in the series Queer as Folk.

Her ongoing community and charity work involves speaking and performing on behalf of numerous organizations, including: Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs LIFT Circle; National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; Native Women’s Association of Canada; Women’s Executive Network; Indian Residential School Survivors Society; Gabriel Dumont Institute; SheEO; Professional Aboriginal Women’s Network; Indspire Awards; Huron Carole, Indigenous Women in Community Leadership programme at the Coady Institute; Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and many more.

Since 2010, ACTRA has bestowed the National Woman of the Year Award each year upon an ACTRA member who uses her passion to support ACTRA members and women within the broader audiovisual industry.

ACTRA, the national union of professional performers working in English-language recorded media in Canada, represents the interests of over 27,000 members across the country – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.


My Salinger Year – Review

My Salinger Year, image,
Photo by: Philippe Bossé. Courtesy of Mongrel Media.

My Salinger Year – Review
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(March 4, 2021 – Toronto, ON) If you think My Salinger Year is going to unravel the mystery behind the appearance of the author’s famous novel, The Catcher in the Rye, in the hands or homes of various assassins from Lee Harvey Oswald to John Hinkley Jr., this is not that. If this was a mystery, and it isn’t, it would fit the genre known as a cozy. It’s a gentle film with a gentle cast, really just a handful of actors in an adaptation of the memoir by Joanna Rakoff, played in the film by American actress Margaret Qualley, pictured above.

Adapting fiction novels is one thing, adapting a true story taken from a slice from someone’s life requires a deft interpretation of the facts. Writer-director Philippe Falardeau has woven the complicated threads of one person’s life into a complete tapestry, vibrant in its colour, rich in its design, but very understated. To be clear if this was an action movie, all of the action is reduced to walking and much of that in the confines of a smallish literary agency. You might interpret that as “stuffy” but you’d be wrong. The pace, the perfectly fashioned sets, the honest sound of a typewriter all contribute to the time capsule Falardeau has created.

My Salinger Year, photo,
Photo by: Philippe Bossé. Courtesy of Mongrel Media.
His first trick was taking 1990s New York and reworking it into a location shoot in Montréal. You would never guess it, seeing what’s on the screen. The second trick was to use the famously reclusive author almost as a prop. Movies have turning points and very often the first one comes around the 20-minute mark. Rakoff, the character (who wants to be a writer and has never read any Salinger) has landed a job working for Sigourney Weaver, playing Margaret, the head of a literary agency whose most famous client is the titular J.D. Salinger, or Jerry as he’s referred to by agency staff. The newly hired Joanna learns that anything and everything to do with their most important and revered client must be performed in ways that seem to be a reflection of the man himself. His presence hovers ghostlike over every function. At the 20-minute mark Joanna’s phone rings and Jerry is on the line. It’s a brilliant moment, a marvellous way to introduce the virtually invisible author. There are several calls and we get to know the voice and at one point just when you think you’re going to see the man, played by actor Tim Post, Falardeau frames the shot so that the mystery is maintained and you never fully see his face.

There is more to Joanna’s life than work and most of it is messy. Young, in love or maybe not, her scenes away from the office help to fill out the character and remind you this is a memoir.
My Salinger Year, movie, poster,
Underlining the draw that was/is Salinger, cut-aways feature people wanting to make contact with the writer for various reasons and with varying degrees of urgency. It is part of Joanna’s job to type precisely formatted replies and then shred the stacks of letters the agency receives seemingly every day. This is the age before email. These punctuation marks in the story serve to remind us of Salinger’s popularity and his devoted fans some 40 years after Catcher was published. Also look for the recurring appearance of the “Boy from Winston-Salem” marvellously played by Théodore Pellerin. My only disappointment was that Colm Feore seemed wasted in his role, his screen time reduced to the equivalent of a few walk-ons, but as they say, there are no small roles and he is playing the part of a real person with all the charm and grace required by the part and to a lesser degree the era. People were nicer then.

You don’t need to have read either The Catcher in the Rye or My Salinger Year to get into this movie. Every character is a gift and the care Falardeau has taken with another person’s life is to be applauded. Selected to open the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, My Salinger Year is a moment of calm in a world of chaos. Relax. Enjoy.

Click here to watch the trailer and learn more about the cast and crew of My Salinger Year.

My Salinger Year is available to rent or buy as of March 5, 2021 on the Apple TV app/iTunes and other VOD platforms. It also opens March 5 in select theatres in Saskatoon, Regina, Ottawa, Kingston, Peterborough and Montreal. Check local listings. It will open throughout the spring in other cities.

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.