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Passages 2017

Passages, 2017,

Passages 2017
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(January 1, 2018 – Toronto, ON) The new year 2017 was only hours old when Bill Marshall’s family released the news that this icon of film in Canada had died in hospital of a heart attack. He was a driving force behind the establishment of numerous industry organizations, including the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, The Toronto Film and Television Office, and was past President of the Canadian Association of Motion Picture Producers. He was the man behind the Niagara Integrated Film Festival, which he launched in 2013, but he will always be remembered for being a cofounder of the Festival of Festivals which grew up to become the Toronto International Film Festival. Bill Marshall was 77 when he died in Toronto on January 1st.

Heart issues would fell the next two Canadians actors. Although he was born in Italy, Tony Rosato grew up in Canada and became an actor. Remembered for his work on Saturday Night Live, SCTV and Night Heat), Rosato was 62 when he died of a heart attack on January 10th.


Joy Coghill was born May 13, 1926, in tiny Findlater, Saskatchewan and grew up to spend 7 decades in the Vancouver theatre world, a span that saw her honoured with the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Award for the Performing Arts. In addition to her theatre work she did a fair bit of TV and movies — she was DaVinci’s mother in the long-running CBC drama DaVinci’s Inquest. But Coghill never let her success go to her head. When she was cast in the children’s movie, Jacob Two-Two Meets The Hooded Fang in 1976, she told The Vancouver Sun’s Patrick Nagle, “Look at me — my first feature film and I’m playing a chicken.” Called the “queen of actresses in Vancouver since the ’40s,” by Norman Young, the former chair of  Vancouver Civic Theatres, Joy Coghill was 90 when she died at St. Paul’s Hospital after suffering massive heart failure. Joy Coghill died on January 20th.
Rob Stewart, director,
The first month of 2017 ended with the news Toronto-born filmmaker Rob Stewart had drowned. Stewart disappeared near Alligator Reef, about four nautical miles southeast of Islamorada. He had made it to the surface following his third deep dive where he had been filming for a new feature-length movie about his favourite subject, sharks, and the threat they are under from over fishing and environmental change. It had been reported that he had given an “OK” sign after surfacing, but when one of his diving companions appeared to be in trouble and fell unconscious, attention focused away from Stewart. When people looked back to make sure he was indeed okay he was nowhere to be seen in a vast and otherwise empty part of the water surrounding the Florida Keys. Rob Stewart was 37 when he died on January 31st.

Canadian-born American television producer and writer Howard Leeds died on February 11th. He had worked on such popular series as The Brady Bunch, Silver Spoons and Diff’rent Strokes. Leeds was 97.

Stuart McLean isn’t listed on Northernstars, but we mark his passing on February 15th because he was, quite simply, a radio performer and writer of remarkable talent. Born in Montreal West on April 19, 1948, McLean’s run on CBC began as a researcher for Cross Country Checkup in 1974. Twenty years later, McLean launched The Vinyl Cafe as a summer series. Following the show’s second summer run in 1995, McLean published Stories from the Vinyl Cafe, his first book in that series. The show became part of CBC’s regular schedule in 1997. He was given the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2011 “for his contributions to Canadian culture as a storyteller and broadcaster, as well as for his many charitable activities.” Stuart McLean was 68 when he died of melanoma on February 15.

Just four days later actor Chris Wiggins died. Born in England, Wiggins was a banker there, but changed careers after arriving in Canada in 1952. He headed west coast to Trail, British Columbia and worked in newspaper and radio advertising prior to auditioning for anChris Wiggins, actor, amateur theatre group which required an English voice. This piqued his interest in a possible career move. After winning a Best Actor award (Henry Osborne Challenge Trophy) for stage performance in 1955 at the Dominion Drama Festival, he was advised to head east to Toronto, where there would be more work. In Toronto, he performed on the stage with the Museum Theatre and Crest Theatre and from 1959-1960, he was also a member of the Acting Company with Ontario’s Stratford Festival. Chris Wiggins was 86 when he died from complications from Alzheimer’s disease on February 19.

More than a month would go by before we learned of the passing of Betty Kennedy. Known in Toronto for her career as an interviewer on her show on CFRB radio, Kennedy was also a regular panelist on the CBC news quiz show Front Page Challenge. Kennedy also served as a Canadian Senator in 2000 and 2001. Betty Kennedy was 91 when she died on March 20.

On March 28, French-born Canadian actress Janine Sutto died. Born in Paris, her credits on Northernstars lists more than 45 films and television series that she appeared in. In 1986 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1991. In 1998, she was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. Sutto received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 2014. She was less than a month away from her 96th birthday when she died in Montréal. Janine Sutto had stopped performing just four years earlier when she was 92.

Québec actor and theatre director Paul Hébert was 92 when he died on April 20. Born on May 28, 1924 in Thetford Mines, Quebec, Hébert became an icon of Québec theatre, film and television. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on June 29, 1987 for his services to French Canadian entertainment and was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1994. In 1984, the Université du Québec awarded him an honorary doctorate; as did Université Laval in 2000. In 2007 he earned the Denise-Pelletier Award for Performing Arts, a Governor General’s Award, the Academy of Quebec Theatre’s Hommage Award and the Victor-Morin Theatre Award. He died in Québec City on April 20th.

Four days later, actress Glory Annen Cibbery died. Born in Kenora, Ontario in 1952, she moved to England when she was 17 to pursue a career as an actor. Her film and TV credits are few. She was 64 when she died in England on April 24 from complications from diabetes.

Georgie Collins was born June 12, 1925 in Calgary, Alberta and grew up to have a career on stage and to a much lesser degree in television and film. Many of her screen credits were in Westerns including the 1987 made-for-TV movie Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge, Cowboys Don’t Cry in 1988 and in six episodes of Lonesome Dove: The Series. Considered the Grand Dame of theatre in her hometown of Calgary, she was 91 when she died there on May 3rd.

Musician Jimmy Dale started out in England in 1935 as James Edwin Dale. He moved to Canada with his famly when he was 11 and went on to become a renowned musical director in television. After attending the Royal Conservatory of Music and studying composition with Gordon Delamont, he played in Peter Appleyard’s band then went on to work as a musical director on many of CBC’s prime time and late night shows in the 1960s. Moving to Los Angeles in 1969, he continued as musical director on the Smothers Brothers, Andy Williams and Sonny and Cher shows. He returned to Toronto in 1972, and joined his old friends Rob McConnell and Guido Basso as the pianist in McConnell’s band, The Boss Brass. He continued to be a force in the Canadian jazz and TV scenes, winning a Juno award for his work with the Boss Brass, he was also nominated for Emmy and Grammy awards. Dale also composed and arranged for film, theatre and live shows. He moved to Naples, Florida in 1997 and died there on May 20th after a long illness.

Sylvia “Cadesky” Stoun Mureddu was 96 when she died on May 25. Don’t recognize the name? Her career spanned 70 years of entertaining as a piano player, singer, and comedian, and humorist under her stage name “Miss Saucy Sylvia”.  Born in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada on July 27, 1920, at age 6, she began playing the piano, which she learned from the nuns at Sisters of St. Joseph Academy.  She went on to college and graduated from the University of Toronto with a teaching degree and a master in languages. While at UofT she worked at CFRB. She later moved to Cincinnati where she was hired as a staff vocalist on radio station WLW. Other staff vocalists at the time were Rosemary and Betty Clooney, and Doris Day.  The Sylvia Show would be heard every week with guests stopping by including Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.  She also worked at W.J.R. in Detroit and WINS in New York.

The Canadian-born US TV producer Marilyn Hall was 90 when she died on June 5th. Born in Winnipeg on May 17, 1927, Hall graduated from the University of Toronto. She later earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Born Marilyn Doreen Plottel, she married Monty Hall in 1947. Monty Hall would also pass away in 2017. Famous for hosting the TV game show Let’s Make a Deal and for being dad to Tony Award-winning actress Joanna Gleason, Monty Hall was 96 when he died of heart failure on September 30th.

American-Canadian film director and screenwriter George A. Romero died on July 16th. Known for Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Creepshow. Romero was born on February 4, 1940 and raised in the Bronx. He moved to Toronto in the early 2000s and attained Canadian citizenship in 2009, becoming a dual Canada-U.S. citizen. Romero was 77 when he died in his sleep in Toronto of lung cancer.

The very next day, July 17th, brought news of the passing of venerable actor Harvey Atkin. Remembered primarily for his roles in the TV series Cagney & Lacey and his film work, particularly Meatballs, Atkin was 74 when he died of cancer.

More than a month went by when Québec novelist and playwright Réjean Ducharme died on natural causes in Montréal. Ducharme was 76.

As mentioned earlier, Monty Hall died on September 30th. The crime writer Max Haines as died on September 30. He wrote 27 true crime books before retiring in 2006. In 2005, he was awarded the Derrick Murdoch Award, one of the Arthur Ellis awards, by the Crime Writers of Canada.

On October 15, Canadian Mi’kmaq artist, musician, composer and playwright Cathy Elliot died after being struck by a car. Elliot was known for working with Indigenous youth across Canada to express their culture through theatre and documentary film. Born June 5, 1957 in Québec, Cathy Elliot was 60 when she died in Essa, Ontario.
Remembering John Dunsworth, actor,
The actor John Dunsworth began acting in elementary school when he was the Voice of God in The Creation. But it wasn’t until taking an elective course at the University of Guelph that he fell in love with drama and was cast as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and Oscar Wilde in The Masque of Wilde. He returned to Halifax in the early 1970s and co-founded Pier 1 on the Halifax Waterfront – the first alternate professional theatre on the east coast. He directed and acted there and for Theatre Canada in Newfoundland; taught at Dalhousie University and directed productions for many theatre companies including a dozen comic operas for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia. In the 1990s he landed the role of Jim Lahey in Trailer Park Boys. Dunsworth also had an extensive career in television and film dating back to 1978. One of his more prominent roles in a career with close to 70 credits, was as Dave Teagues in 52 episodes of the series Haven. John Dunsworth was 71 when he died on October 16 after a brief and unexpected illness.

Dunsworth’s passing was overshadowed, as was almost all news on October 17th when The Tragically Hip singer and songwriter Gord Downie died. He was only 53 and had remained quite active despite treatment for an incurable glioblastoma. Those last few months were documented in the documentary Long Time Running co-directed by Nicholas de Pencher and Jennifer Baichwal. Gord Downie was named Canada’s Person of the Year by Canadian Press. He was also Person of the Year in 2016.

You need to be of a certain age to remember “Our Pet, Juliette.” A mainstay of early CBC, Juliette was born in Winnipeg and grew up in Vancouver. A performer from the beginning, she was singing with the Dal Richards’ band at the Hotel Vancouver when she was just 13, and, by 15, she already had her own show on CBC Radio. Her big star turn came in 1956, when she launched her Saturday night television show, which was scheduled right after the enormously high-rated hockey game. The show was cancelled in 1966, a time when tastes were changing and rock ‘n’ roll was rising. She was married to musician Tony Cavazzi for 40 years, until his death in 1994. Juliette Cavazzi continued to sing in CBC specials, and later hosted an afternoon talk show, Juliette and Friends, from 1973-1975. She was 91 when she died in Vancouver on October 26.

On November 6, writer and filmmaker William Weintraub passed away. He worked at the National Film Board as writer, producer and/or director on more than 150 productions. He is usually remembered for

William Weintraub, screenwriter,
Photo of William Weintraub © Lois Siegel.
Used with permission.
his satirical 1979 novel The Underdogs, which provoked controversy by imagining a future Socialist Republic of Quebec, in which English-speakers were an oppressed minority, complete with a violent resistance movement. His 1993 documentary The Rise and Fall of English Montreal dealt with the migration of English Quebeckers out of the province that began in the 1960s and accelerated rapidly after the 1976 election of the separatist Parti Québecois. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003. Weintraub was 91 when he died in Montréal.

Five filmmakers died in the last month of 2017. Fil Fraser was 85 when he died on December 3rd. He was a broadcaster and producer. The animator, actor and filmmaker Grant Munro died on December 9. In 1952, he co-starred with Jean-Paul Ladouceur in Norman McLaren’s famous short, Neighbours. He worked on the films Two Bagatelles (1953), Seven Surprizes (1963), Christmas Cracker (1963) and Canon (1964). Christmas Cracker, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1962. Born in Winnipeg, Grant Munro was 94 years old when he died in Montréal, Québec.

Actor Bruce Gray died December 13. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Canadian parents, he was 13 when his parents decided to return home to Toronto. Usually remembered for Bruce Gray, actor,his role as Ted Hartley, Jessica’s harried publisher in the long-running U.S. series Murder She Wrote, in Canada he was known for the five seasons he spent portraying investment banker Adam Cunningham on the TV series Traders which brought him a Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role. Bruce Gray was 81 when he died on December 13.

Canadian producer Bob Crowe died on December 15th. He was a co-owner of Angel Entertainment in Saskatoon and had his hand in everything from feature films to TV series, commercials and live events. He was 62 when he died suddenly in Vancouver.

Finally, actress Heather Menzies-Urich was best known for her role as Louisa von Trapp in the 1965 musical film The Sound of Music and as Jessica 6 in the TV series Logan’s Run. She was 68, when she died on Christmas Eve, December 24th.

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.

The Top 10 Canadian Films of 2017

Top 10 Canadian Films,

The Top 10 Canadian Films of 2017
by Jim Slotek

(January 1, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Discovering good homegrown films is the most gratifying, and at the same time, the most frustrating part of being a Canadian movie critic.

A relative handful of theatres across the country show Canadian films. When Cancon was a “thing” in the ‘70s, movie exhibitors somehow avoided the regulations that were applied to radio and TV, and there is no incentive to show them.

With little promotion, sparse crowds become a self-fulfilling prophesy. At one of the movies I’m going to recommend here, the first screening on opening night in Toronto saw a paid attendance of four. At another, there was no one. Happily, most find their way eventually to the small screen and TMN, where, yes, there are Canadian content regs.

The lead off film here – Porcupine Lake – has yet to open theatrically, save for a handful of film festivals (including TIFF, where it received rave reviews). If it makes it to a theatre near you, do yourself a favour and skip the super-hero movie du jour and see it.

1 – PORCUPINE LAKE: Former child star Ingrid Veninger has made a specialty of directing coming-of-age stories, and this is her latest and best (with Oscar-winner Melissa Leo as an offscreen mentor). It’s the

Porcupine Lake, movie, poster,
Poster for Porcupine Lake courtesy of Films We Like.
story of two oddly-matched tween girls – one a city mouse, the other a rough country kid – who become fervent best friends during a summer in Port Severn, Ont. A powerfully emotional film.

2 – STEGMAN IS DEAD: Canadian films are often accused of being too serious. This debut feature by David Hyde is a darkly funny tale in the Tarantino/Coens “stupid criminal” genre, about a robber-turned-porn-producer named Stegman who has turned to blackmailing his former boss (Michael Ironside) to finance his films. Naturally, a “hit” is taken out on him. But a parade of homicidal nitwits enter his house/studio and don’t come out. Sit back and enjoy.

3 – SUNDOWNERS: Schitt’s Creek writer Pavan Moondi previously directed July Talk lead singer Leah Fay Goldstein to a Best Actress Canadian Screen award nomination in his film Diamond Tongues. In this straight-up comedy, Phil Hanley and Luke Lalonde (of the band Born Ruffians), play a pair of luckless videographers hired to film a disastrous (and drunken) wedding at a Mexican resort. Anarchic comedy of a Canadian sort.

4 – WEIRDOS: Bruce McDonald has been all over the map, with an accent on horror in recent years. But the guy who gave us the rockin’ road movies Highway 61 and Hard Core Logo indulges his ‘70s Cancon jones with this sweet coming-of age story about two Nova Scotia teens (Dylan Authors and Julia Sarah Stone) hitchhiking from Antigonish to Sydney. The story is touching and the music is pop catnip for audiences of a certain age (we’re talking songs by The Stampeders, Edward Bear and Andy Kim). Kind of a cinematic K-Tel album, great to listen to.

5 – HELLO DESTROYER: Kevan Funk is a finalist for the $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film award from the Toronto Film Critics Association for this film about a junior hockey player (Jared Abrahamson) who falls off the rails. A gentle young man who is prodded into playing hyper-aggressively, he goes too far and critically injures an opponent. From there the film becomes less about hockey and more about shunning – with hypocrites of all stripes covering their asses and distancing themselves from the former teen sports hero.

6 – THE SECOND TIME AROUND: A solid reason to see this retirement-home romance is that it contains the final performance by the great Canadian actor/singer Don The Second Time Around, movie, poster,Francks. The lovebirds are Linda Thorson (ex of TV’s The Avengers) and veteran comic actor Stuart Margolin, with august support from a veritable Canuck acting Hall of Fame, including Louis del Grande (of CBC’s ‘80s hit Seeing Things) and Jayne Eastwood. A sweet and quirky geriatric rom-com.

7 – POOR AGNES: The winner of the Best Canadian Feature at Montreal’s Fantasia Festival, it’s a claustrophic, darkly comic tale of a female sociopath (Lora Burke) who lives in a cabin in the woods – yet somehow manages to snare young men to hold captive and exert control over. A terrific first performance by newcomer Burke and an ambiguous undercurrent of either empowerment or misogyny, depending on where your antenna is pointed. Provocative stuff.

8 – LET THERE BE LIGHT: Lest we forget that Canadians are among the world’s foremost documentarians, here’s an fascinating film about the (still-elusive) promise of fusion as the ultimate energy source, and the $1 billion a year experiment in the South of France called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. If it works, scientists will have created a self-sustaining mini-sun with a temperature of 150 million degrees C. Directors Mila Aung-Thwin and Van Royko jump between this big-ticket project (funded by 37 countries) and a handful of colorful inventors who are pretty much trying to create fusion in their garage.

9 – DIM THE FLUORESCENTS: Another Canadian award-winner, Daniel Warth’s dramedy about an actress and playwright (Alias Grace’s Claire Armstrong and Naomi Skwarna) who create dramatic corporate seminars, was named best feature at the Slamdance alternative festival in Park City, Utah. Warth and co-writer Miles Barstead got kudos for a sharp script that allows Armstrong and Skwarna’s characters to bond. Builds to a surprising and much talked-about finish.

10 – WEXFORD PLAZA: Another finalist for the $100Gs TFCA Award. A sweet flirtation that goes sour between a 20-year-old female strip-mall security guard (Reid Asselstine) and a 31-year-old bartender (Darrel Gamotin) is told in he-said/she-said chapters. Joyce Wong tells a realistic story awash with thoughtless Millennial behavior, texting, sexting and general aimlessness. Not a movie for people who feel they have to “like” characters, but one that rings true.

Northernstars logo imageJim Slotek is a longtime Toronto Sun columnist, movie critic, TV critic and comedy beat reporter who has interviewed thousands of celebrities. He’s been a scriptwriter for the NHL Awards, Gemini Awards and documentaries, and was nominated for a Gemini Award for comedy writing on a special. His writing also appears in Cineplex, Movie Entertainment magazines and in the blog Original-Cin.

Daniel Warth

Daniel Warth, director,

Daniel Warth studied film at Toronto’s Sheridan College. His short films that have screened on a number of networks including Comedy Central and CBC as well as at festivals including Beijing International Film Festival, Worldwide Short Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Portland Film Festival, FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival and Slamdance Film Festival, where his debut feature, Dim the Fluorescents, won the 2017 Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Dick Mime (2010, short)
It Won’t Be Long (2010, short)
Petty Thieves (2013, short)
Dim the Fluorescents (2017)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
It Won’t Be Long (2010, short)
The Fox and the Chickadee (co-writer, 2012, short)
Petty Thieves (co-writer, 2013, short)
Dim the Fluorescents (2017)


Dim the Fluorescents, movie, poster,

Naomi Skwarna

Naomi Skwarna, actress,

Naomi Skwarna is a Toronto-based writer and actor. As a journalist, she writes for Hazlitt, The Hairpin, The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life, The National Post, The Believer, The Brooklyn Quarterly, Real Life, TIFF, and others. As an actor, she performed in Toronto and New York in the original production of Sheila Heti’s All Our Happy Days Are Stupid and in Birdtown & Swanville’s Even This Old Town Was a Forest. She made her film debut in the 2017 feature Dim the Fluorescents.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Dim the Fluorescents (2017)


Dim the Fluorescents, movie, poster,

Claire Armstrong

Claire Armstrong, actress,

Claire Armstrong is a primarily a stage actor. The Dora Mavor Moore award-winning actor and producer is also a co-founder of The Storefront Theatre, one of the leading independent companies in Toronto championing new Canadian work. Recent theatre credits include The Crackwalker (Factory Theatre); The Crucible (Theatre Calgary); Arcadia (Citadel Theatre); Black Coffee (Manitoba Theatre Centre); After Miss Julie for which she was given a Dora for Outstanding Performance, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Red One Theatre Collective); Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Tempest (St. Lawrence Shakespeare).

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Dim the Fluorescents (2017)

TV Series – Cast:
Revelation: The End of Days (2014, mini-series)
Running with Violet (2017)
Alias Grace (2017, mini-series)


Dim the Fluorescents, movie, poster,

Navin Ramaswaran

Navin Ramaswaran, director,

Navin Ramaswaran is a commercial director who also has built an impressive list of credits directing short films and features. His 2013 short, One More for the Road was included in the 2016 release, Bloody Bits: Shorts Compilation Vol. 1. His 2017 feature, Poor Agnes, was the winner of the Best Canadian Feature at Montréal’s Fantasia Festival.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Do Not Disturb (co-director, 2006)
Nara (2008)
Day 3 (2009, short)

I, Heart (2010, short)
Love/Infatuation (2010, short)
A Fork in the Road (2011, short)
One More for the Road (2013, short)
The Misfortune of Madeline Moody (2014, short)
Seek (2014, short)
Pete Winning and the Pirates: The Motion Picture (2015)
Chasing Valentine (2015)
Late Night Double Feature (2016)
Bloody Bits: Shorts Compilation Vol. 1 (2016)
Time Out (2017, short)
Poor Agnes (2017)

TV Series – at least1 episode of:
Pete Winning and the Pirates (2014)
In Public (2015)


Poor Agnes, movie, poster,

David Hyde

David Hyde, director,

David Hyde is an award-winning director short film director, music video director and veteran reality/documentary- reenactment TV director. Stegman is Dead was directed and co-written by David Hyde marking his feature-film directorial debut.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Choke. (2004, short)
Leo (2005, short)
Leo Volume 2 (2005, short)

Suzanne Rogers Presents: Oscar de la Renta (TV-2010)
In the Room (2015, short)
Stegman Is Dead (2017)

TV Series – at least 1 episode of:
Spectacle: Elvis Costello with… (2011)
Copper (2012)
Property Brothers – Buying + Selling (2013)
Come Dine with Me Canada (2013)
Yukon Gold (2014)
Ice Road Truckers Canada (2014)
Evil Encounters (2017)


Stegman is Dead, movie, poster,

Poor Agnes

Poor Agnes, movie, image,

98 minutes – Horror, Thriller
Festival Release date: July 19, 2017 (Fantasia)
Release date: November 10, 2017 (Toronto)
Canadian distributor:

Agnes is a serial killer. She kidnaps and tortures men before murdering them, and she’s good at it. Ambitious, cunning, and narcissistic, Agnes hides in plain sight within a rural town while defining her own systems of sport and romance. When Mike, a private investigator, shows up on her doorstep to look into the cold-case disappearance of one of her early victims, she seduces him and traps him in her basement. Through an unlikely alignment of survival strategy and remorselessness, Agnes bonds with Mike, and he becomes a willing participant in their psychological power game. The circumstances of their curiously morbid relationship progress as their dynamic evolves, and the film is sent into an engrossing tailspin.

Poor Agnes was filmed in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It had its World Premiere at the 2017 Fantasia Film Festival in Montréal, Québec.



Poor AgnesPoor Agnes
Crew:
Producer: Anna Jane Edmonds Ryan Keller
Executive Producer:

Jonathan Hlibka

Associate Producer:

Curtis Jensen

Director:

Navin Ramaswaran

Screenwriter:

James Gordon Ross

Cinematographer:

Bruce William Harper

Editor:

Sydney Cowper

Composer:

James Mark Stewart

Production Designer:

Stephanie Avery

Costume Designer:

Deanna Sciortino

Cast:Roles:

Lora Burke
Karen Scobie
Amy Marie Wallace
Robert Notman
Will Conlon
Stan Alto
Rodney Dwira
Neil Paterson
Kate Alice Phillips
Dennis Austin
Philip Contardo

Agnes
Crying Torture Survivor
Torture Survivor
Mike
Chris
Orderly
Father
Police Officer
Courtney the Cashier
Pawn Broker
Police Officer

Bernice Liu

Bernice Liu, actress,

B: January 6, 1979 in Prince Rupert, BC

Actress, singer, and commercial model Bernice Jan Liu attended Pineridge Elementary School and Prince Rupert Secondary School. After graduating from secondary school, she moved to Vancouver and enrolled at the University of British Columbia but did not complete her business degree. In 2000, she entered the Miss Chinese (Vancouver) Pageant, an annual beauty contest organized by Fairchild Television. The pageant helps selects Vancouver representatives for the Miss Chinese International Pageant in Hong Kong. Liu won the crown along with the title “Miss Photogenic” and went on to represent Vancouver being named Miss Chinese International in 2001. She was offered a contract by Hong Kong’s leading television company, TVB, where she began her acting career.

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

Ngo liu poh lut gau ching (2002)
My Dream Girl (2003)
Chung on chi ma gun (2004)

Mit moon (2010)
72 ga cho hak (2010)
The Legend Is Born: Ip Man (2010)
The King of Fighters (2010)
Perfect Wedding (2010)
Lost in the Pacific (2016)
Stegman Is Dead (2017)

TV Series – Cast:
Survivor’s Law (2003-2007)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Miu sau yun sum saam (2005)
Yan gan ching fat (2005)
Love Bond (2005)
Tut wai heng dong (2007)

Lion Moms (2015, 2017)
Margaret & David: Green Bean (2016)


Stegman is Dead, movie, poster,

Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light, movie, image,

84 minutes – documentary
Release date: May 20, 2017 (SXSW Film Festival)
Production Company: EyeSteelFilm
Distributor: Submarine Entertainment

In the south of France, scientists from 37 countries are building the most complex machine ever attempted: an artificial sun. If they get it right, it will illuminate the way to produce clean, cheap, abundant energy for millions of years. If they fail, it will be one of the biggest scientific failures of all time. Nuclear fusion has been the holy grail of energy for many decades now. It’s the process that drives stars, the ultimate source of energy in the universe. The possibility that fusion might be achievable on Earth as an energy source has driven scientists to the edge of reason for almost a century.

Let There Be Light had its World Premiere and was the opening film in the SXSW Film Festival Documentary Competition.



Let There Be LightLet There Be Light
Crew:
Producer: Mila Aung-Thwin Bob Moore
Executive Producer:

Daniel Cross

Line Producer:

Valerie Shamash

Director:

Mila Aung-Thwin
Van Royko

Screenwriter:

Mila Aung-Thwin

Cinematographer:

Van Royko

Editor:

Mila Aung-Thwin
Gilda Pourjabar

Composer:

Trevor Anderson

Cast:Roles:

Bernard Bigot
Alessandro Bonito-Oliva
Mark Henderson
Michel Laberge

Himself
Himself
Himself
Himself

Reid Asselstine

Reid Asselstine, actress,

Reid Asselstine started off as a film student but soon realized her talent as an actress when her fellow students kept on insisting that she act in their films. In 2011, she starred in Not Worth Mentioning, a short film that was chosen to screen in the Toronto International Film Festival’s Student Showcase. It was this role that led to her acting being seen by York University professor Barta, which eventually caused her to be cast in Wexford Plaza.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Not Worth Mentioning (2011, short)
I Made Out with the Marquis De Sade
(and Other Lovely Lies) (2014, short)
Wexford Plaza (2017)


Wexford Plaza, movie, poster,

Wexford Plaza

Wexford Plaza, still,

80 minutes – Comedy
Release date: December 1, 2017 (Toronto, Winnipeg)
Canadian distributor: LevelFILM

An offbeat comedy about a lonely female security guard (Betty) who works at a rundown strip mall. Isolated and friendless, a glimmer of hope appears when a charming bartender shows Betty kindness, leading to an unexpected moment of romance. Although Betty and her supposed newfound love are well meaning in their intentions, their behavior ends up causing both of their lives to unravel. Wexford Plaza is about two outcasts who are earnestly trying to improve their lives, but ultimately become deluded by their dreams. Wexford Plaza was an official selection at 14 film festivals including the 2017 Slamdance Film Festival, the
34th Torino Film Festival, the 2017 Atlanta Film Festival, the 2017 New Orleans Film Festival, the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival and the 2017 St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.



Wexford PlazaWexford Plaza
Crew:
Producer: Harry Cherniak Matt Greyson Joyce Wong
Executive Producer:

Victoria Shen

Associate Producer:

Jonathan Bunning
David Greyson
Janet Greyson
Mark Allen Wilson

Line Producer:

Kim Persona

Director:

Joyce Wong

Screenwriter:

Joyce Wong

Cinematographer:

Maya Bankovic

Editor:

Darby MacInnis

Production Designer:

Adam Belanger

Art Director:

Rachel Paarsalu-Parent
David Lafontaine (Set Decorator)

Costume Designer:

Sarah Lake

Cast:Roles:

Reid Asselstine
Darrel Gamotin
Francis Melling
Ellie Posadas
Mirko Miljevic

Betty
Danny
Rich
Celine
Anton

Sundowners

Sundowners, movie, image,

97 minutes – Comedy
Release date: August 25, 2017 (Toronto)
US Release date: December 2017
Canadian distributor: Search Engine Films

Filming weddings is a thankless job, so when Alex (Phil Hanley) gets the chance to shoot a destination wedding in Mexico and bring his own photographer, he doesn’t think twice about bringing his best friend, Justin (Luke Lalonde), despite his complete lack of experience. The duo see the wedding gig as an opportunity to escape their sheltered lives – but with their boss playing fast and loose with the details, they’ll be lucky to even find it. Shot in Columbia, standing in for Mexico, and Toronto, the cast list is in order of appearance. Sundowners marks the acting debuts of both Hanley and Lalonde.



SundownersSundowners
Crew:
Producer: Julia Rosenberg Tyler Levine Brian Robertson
Executive Producer:

John Bain
Diana Bustamante
Jorge Forero
Tyler Levine
Paola Andrea Pérez
Brian Robertson
Julia Rosenberg

Director:

Pavan Moondi

Screenwriter:

Pavan Moondi

Cinematographer:

Peter Dreimanis
A A Scott Mclellan (Mexico)

Editor:

Pavan Moondi

Composer:

Nick Thorburn

Production Designer:

Brian Robertson

Art Director:

Ramses Benjumea

Costume Designer:

J. Lindsay Bell
Maria Camila Botero

Cast:Roles:

Phil Hanley
Chris Locke
Luke Lalonde
Jill Frappier
Tim Heidecker
Leah Fay Goldstein
Nelson Delgado
Gabrielle Stuhr
Hector De la Pava
Cara Gee
Nick Flanagan
Dina Soto
Nick Thorburn
Amaury Cova
Estefania Cova
David John Phillips
Jackie Pirico
Jose Mauricio Quiceno
Anna Maguire
Clara Lomas
Martha Beatríz Gimenez
Annie Jannes Yance
James Hartnett
Trisha Blair
Lisa Ryder
David Moran
Morgan David Jones

Alex Hopper
Randy
Justin Brown
Justin’s Grandmother
Tom
Justin’s Ex Girlfriend
Taxi Company Employee
Van Girlfriend
Gran Domingo Resort Employee
Jenny
Mike
Mexican Singer
Nick
Maria
Lola
Father of the Bride
Sarah
Concierge
Jessica
Kate
Nana
Mexican Airport Attendant
Ben
Flashback Woman
News Reporter (Voice)
British Thug 1 (Voice)
British Thug 2 (Voice)

Stegman is Dead

84 minutes – Crime, comedy
Language: English
Release date: November 17, 2017 (Toronto)
Distributor: Raven Banner Entertainment

Meet Stegman. He’s dead. In this crime comedy, bizarre assassins must come together to unravel the puzzle of Stegman’s blackmail secret, and why he’s already dead on the set of his own porn film. Stegman’s secret is somewhere within the rooms of his expansive suburban seventies bungalow, and the cops are already circling. Gus and Evy, two of the central characters, must escape Stegman’s house only to discover the true nature of his secret at last, and with it, the awful realization that now… they have to break back in.



Stegman is DeadStegman is Dead
Crew:
Producer: Juliette Hagopian David Hyde Byron A. Martin
Executive Producer:

Michael Eklund
James Fler
Juliette Hagopian
Andrew Thomas Hunt
Peter Lam
Bernice Liu
Richard Lui
Michael Paszt
Brendan Roddy

Associate Producer:

Morgan Rollo

Director:

David Hyde

Screenwriter:

David Hyde
Stephen Kunc

Story Editor:

Jamie Gaetz

Cinematographer:

Ousama Rawi

Editor:

Geoff Ashenhurst
Luke Sargent

Composer:

Grayson Matthews

Production Designer:

Gordon Wilding

Cast:Roles:

Michael Eklund
Bernice Liu
Linnea Moffat
J. Adam Brown
Michael Ironside
Andrea del Campo
Aidan Ritchie
Stephen Eric McIntyre
Aaron Hughes
Aaron Merke
Arne MacPherson
Muriel Hogue
Tom Young
Frank Adamson
Ross McMillan
Kathleen Gallagher
Nancy Drake
Paul Essiembre
David Brown
Bj Verot

Gus
Evy
Angela
Jesse
Don
Diane
Sal
Kruger
Officer Finnigan
Officer Mulligan
Lars
Esther
Daddy Figure Porn Actor
Harry
Stegman
Sailor Moon Porn Star
Ethel
Johnson
Sergei
Police Officer #3

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