(April 26, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Greg Klymkiw was born in Winnipeg. His love for film began when he was eight years old and he saw the opening night performance of Planet of the Apes at Winnipeg’s Metropolitan Theatre. He realized there and then that he had no other choice than to be a film producer. Klymkiw studied English and Theatre at the University of Manitoba, but actually began his career as a journalist and broadcaster. His film and theatre reviews appeared in a variety of publications, including, The Winnipeg Sun; The Winnipeg Free Press and CBC Radio. KJymkiw also served as a repertory cinema programmer in Winnipeg and a film booking agent for rural cinemas in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and north-western Ontario.
Klymkiw went on to direct numerous theatrical productions for The Black Hole Theatre Company in Winnipeg. One of these shows starred Guy Maddin as Dr. Cukrowicz in Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer. Other plays directed by Klymkiw include William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life, Murray Schisgal’s Luv, Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie and Paul Zindel’s The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds. KJymkiw went on to produce several low-budget films and television series. With the birth of prairie post modern cinema in the 1980s, a Winnipeg art movement that gained major international acclaim, Klymkiw, once described as a “subversive punk renegade,” produced, acted in and distributed all of the major early works of Guy Maddin and John Paizs.
Directed by Cynthia Roberts and produced by Klymkiw, The Last Supper was named Best feature film and given a Teddy Award, which is an international film award for films with LGBT topics, presented by an independent jury as an official award of the Berlin International Film Festival.
Greg Klymkiw served as Director of Marketing for the Winnipeg Film Group before moving away. He returned to Winnipeg in late 2017 to become the organization’s Executive Director.
Greg Klymkiw was born in Winnipeg. His love for film began when he was eight years old and he saw the opening night performance Planet of the Apes at Winnipeg’s Metropolitan Theatre. He realized there and then that he had no other choice than to be a film producer. Klymkiw studied English and Theatre at the University of Manitoba, but actually began his career as a journalist and broadcaster. We list his credits as a Producer first.
Features & TV Movies: VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release
Springtime in Greenland (1982, short) Oak, Ivy and Other Dead Elms (1983) The International Style (1984) Tales From the Gimli Hospital (1988)
Archangel (1990) Smoked Lizard Lips (1990) Night Visions (1991) Careful (1992) Jack of Hearts (1993) The Last Supper (1995) Bubbles Galore (1996) Symposium: Ladder of Love (1996, documentary) City of Dark (1997)
(April 25, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Toronto-based conceptual artist Joële Walinga must have had a lot to wrap her mind around when it came to the making of her second film and first feature-length documentary. It’s titled God Straightens Legs and it’s about her mother’s diagnosis of breast cancer. Renée Davies, a Christian French-Canadian expat in the American South, made an uncommon and controversial decision following her diagnosis five years ago. She remained committed to her rejection of conventional medical treatments and opted for alternative approaches primarily healing through prayer. On December 25th, 2016, after cancer spread from her breast down to the bones in her legs, Renée suffered a fracture to her femur, leaving her stranded and bedridden. She remained in bed for over six months, each day believing and praying that the following day she would walk again. On the seventh month, Renée was informed that her bone had healed, albeit crookedly, and that she could work on regaining her mobility, beginning with a wheelchair.
Needless to say, this was greeted as just the first of several required miracles. While viewers of all faiths can accept this visual retelling of a highly personal story on its face value, it can also equally be assumed that some will not be quite so definite in their optimism. What is clear is that Renée Davies’ faith remained unwavering. The first half of God Straightens Legs explores Davies’ immobility, and the second half explores her newfound mobile freedom.
In writing about God Straightens Legs, Joële Walinga says, “I believe the film contains the subtle subtext of my own confusion and sadness, as well as my somewhat obvious inclination to make Renée happy, from giving her access to her dream bedroom, to taking her out to the pool on a sunny day (despite what looks like her indifference towards the outing). I mention this because, though I did not intend to include myself in the film, I believe I have ultimately seeped in and created a work with two subjects: the mother, waiting for a miracle, and the daughter, worried and sad, watching her mother wait.”
God Straightens Legs will have its World Premiere at DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver on Tuesday, May 8 2018 at 8:45PM at the Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. Click here to learn more about director Joële Walinga and follow the link to watch trailer for God Straightens Legs.
Joële Walinga is a conceptual artist working in film, performance, sculpture and community collaboration. Her work explores subjective experience, outsidership, and the aesthetics of empowerment. She studied intermedia at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and then at Montréal’s Concordia University.Her work has been shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Khyber Centre for the Arts, Narwhal Contemporary, Xpace Cultural Centre, the Roundtable Residency and Wendy’s Subway, and has been featured in Canadian Art, CBC Arts, Daily VICE, Art Matters, The Coast, Women and Hollywood and CANADALAND. God Straightens Legs is her first feature film and it will be debuting at the DOXA Documentary Festival in Vancouver on May 8, 2018. Born in Calgary, Joële Walinga moved to Ontario in 2000.
Born in Montreal, Erin Agostino is a graduate of that city’s Dawson College Professional Theatre Program. She was nominated for two Gemini awards for Best Ensemble Cast in CBC’s 18 to Life where she played the role of Ava Turner in 24 episodes of the series between 2010 and 2011. She plays the role of Nina Bloom on Murdoch Mysteries.
Features & TV Movies: VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release
Nausea (2007, short) Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom (voice, 2007)
You Are So Undead (2010) Laurentia (2011) The Howling: Reborn (VR-2011) Crisis Point (TV-2012) Soon to Be Infamous (2012, short) Dive (2013, short) GirlHouse (2014) John Lives Again (2017) Eye on Juliet (2017) Brad’s Status (2017) A Swingers Weekend (2017)Christmas Encore (TV-2017)
TV Series – Cast: 18 to Life (2010-2011) Murdoch Mysteries (2016-) The Kennedys After Camelot (2017, mini-series) ToonMarty (voice, 2017)
TV Series – Guest appearances: Bitter End (2009)
Blue Mountain State (2010) Supernatural: The Animation (voice, 2011) Being Human (2012) Seed (2013) Hemlock Grove (2015) Quantico (2015) The Art of More (2015) Beauty and the Beast (2016) Good Witch (2018)
105 minutes – Drama Festival release date: September 8, 2017 (TIFF – World Premiere) Release date: April 20, 2018 (Netflix) Production companies: The Gotham Group, 21 Laps Entertainment, Blue Ice Pictures Ltd., Motion Picture Capital Distributor: Netflix
Based on A.G. Sulzberger’s 2010 New York Times article “For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas” Jason Sudeikis co-stars as Matt Ryder, a struggling A&R executive for a boutique record label who is feeling more and more irrelevant as the music business grows more shallow and myopic. His world gets turned upside down when his estranged father’s nurse shows up unexpectedly in his office. Matt’s father (Ed Harris), a famed bad-boy photojournalist, is facing terminal cancer and his dying wish is for Matt to join him on a road trip from New York to Kansas to process his last rolls of Kodachrome film before the sole remaining lab closes and those captured moments are gone forever.
Kodachrome is a Canada/U.S. co-production and the second feature from Toronto director Mark Raso.
(April 18, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Toronto-born Mark Raso went to the University of Toronto and graduated with a BA in English Literature and Cinema Studies. He went on to study directing and screenwriting at Columbia University where he received an MFA in film. While at Columbia, Raso wrote, directed, and produced a number of short films that culminated in winning the Gold Medal, the highest honour a student can receive, from the Student Academy Awards of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His first feature, Copenhagen generated critical acclaim and his second feature, Kodachrome, enjoyed huge interest at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Shot entirely on film stock, Kodachrome costars Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen, and Ed Harris in a touching road movie that doubles as an elegy for analog in the digital age. It will be released as a Netflix Original on Friday of this week. Last week Mark Raso sat down with Jim Slotek to talk about The Making of Kodachrome.
(April 19, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Quick, name a film composer. Okay. We guess that most of you thought of John Williams. He has, after all, created the music for some of the most popular movies ever made including the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, the first two Home Alone films, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler’s List… need I go on? It’s understandable. He has been nominated for an Academy Award 51 times, at last count, and has won five Academy Awards, 24 Grammy Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards and four Golden Globe Awards.
This is a bit tougher: Name a Canadian film composer.
Two Canadian composers that should come to mind are Mychael Danna, who won both a Golden Globe and the Academy Award for his score for the film Life of Pi, and Howard Shore who has won three Academy Awards, three Golden Globes and four Grammy Awards. Shore has scored more than 80 films including almost all of David Cronenberg’s films. There are others. Many others in fact. But let’s face it. When someone suggests going to see a movie no one responds with “Who wrote the music?” The number one question is “Who’s in it?” Followed by, usually in this order, Who directed it, Where is it playing, What time is it playing?
Meet Andrew Lockington. He was born in Burlington, Ontario a usually quiet suburb a little west of Toronto. He’s been building a career for more than ten years and one of the early highlights was being named Breakthrough Composer of the Year through the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) in 2008 as well as being nominated for Discovery of the Year at the World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent, Belgium. He has won numerous BMI and SOCAN Film Music Awards.
What’s he written? You’re going to be surprised. In addition to a slew of Canadian films, including some my personal favourites (One Week, Maudie), Lockington made just about everybody sit up and take notice when the Warner Bros/Newline Blockbuster San Andreas grossed close to $475 million worldwide. He composed the epic score. He also wrote the music for the Golden Globe nominated Frankie and Alice starring Halle Berry.
Mychael Danna is often associated with Atom Egoyan and, as mentioned, Howard Shore is most often associated with David Cronenberg. Andrew Lockington has now composed the music for four Brad Peyton films including San Andreas, Journey to the Mysterious Island and the recently released Rampage starring Dwayne Johnson. For this film, Lockington drew upon his knowledge and love of world music, his orchestral skills and electronic experimentation for the creation of a unique score. Rampage features large orchestra, processed brass and world percussion, vintage computer game electronics, manipulated animal noises recorded in the jungle on two continents and The African Children’s Choir from Uganda. Click here to watch a trailer for Rampage.
As I and others have written before, the role of music in a film is to tell you what to feel. Think of the strident repetitive strings in that famous Hitchcock shower scene from Psycho. Or that time you cried in the dark theatre, surprising yourself that a film could get to you that way. It is a powerful element. In fact, from the earliest days when so-called “silent” movies were screened, there may not have been any dialogue or sound effects but there was, almost always, music. Who hasn’t heard that piano riff indicating a chase scene?
It is National Canadian Film Day. Here at Northernstars it’s been Canadian Film Day every day since we went online (as northernstars.net) in February of 1998. For more than 20 years we have celebrated Canadian film. We thought it appropriate to use this day to draw attention not just to a single composer, but to all film composers who are one of the most important contributors to any film and, unfortunately, usually, along with producers, one of the most overlooked.
Here’s to Canadian film. Go watch something today or tomorrow or this week. And pay a little attention to the music and wait for the credits to find out who it was that moved your emotions around with such ease. Try to remember the name. It’s how we can build a true Canadian star system.
Ralph 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.
(April 18, 2018 – Toronto, ON) We’re only eight days away from the 25th anniversary edition of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival. Because of who we are we and the audience we serve, each year around this time we focus on the Canadian films screening at North America’s largest and most important documentary festival. As we have in past years we again praise the festival for maintaining a Canadian section. It’s called Canadian Spectrum and this year it features 17 Canadian feature-length docs, a shorts program with four films in it and five other shorts that will screen with some of the features. But that’s just within the Spectrum program. There is a large number of other Canadian films throughout the festival.
For example, when Hot Docs kicks off on Thursday April 26th, it will be with the World Premiere of the Canadian film The Heat: A Kitchen (R)Evolution. This 75-minute film is the latest from Hot Docs veteran Maya Gallus and is in a section of the festival called Special Presentations. Gallus is a highly talented filmmaker with a string of successes. She won a Gemini Award for Best Direction in a Documentary for her 2007 feature-length film, Girl Inside. It premiered at Hot Docs, launched the 2007 season of The View From Here on TVO and played at festivals worldwide. Her provocative feature-length documentary Erotica: A Journey Into Female Sexuality, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for a Genie for Best Feature-Length Documentary and for Best Arts Documentary at Hot Docs. The film screened theatrically in Toronto, San Francisco, San Sebastian and Tokyo and was broadcast in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. Her 1991 film, Elizabeth Smart: On The Side of the Angels, which she co-produced, directed and wrote, premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival, and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. The 60 minute dramatic retelling of the life of the real Elizabeth Smart starred Jackie Burroughs.
The Heat: A Kitchen (R)Evolution focuses on the changing makeup of restaurant kitchens. Once, almost exclusively the territory of the brutal and bullying male chef, The Heat: A Kitchen (R)Evolution takes viewers behind-the-scenes to meet a few of the pioneers who have broke through the glass ceiling, including Anne Sophie Pic of Maison Pic in Valence, France – the only three-Michelin starred female chef in France and one of only a handful in the world, she has been dubbed “the “Queen of French Cuisine”; Angela Hartnett of Murano in London – a beloved UK star and two-Michelin starred chef who survived Gordon Ramsay’s kitchens to become his first female protége; Iron Chef and Top Chef Master Anita Lo, – she led the first all female team to beat an Iron Chef in the U.S. and closes her beloved Greenwich Village restaurant Annisa, after 17 years.
The film also introduces us to the new generation, including award-winning chef and media darling Amanda Cohen of the trendy vegetarian restaurant, Dirt Candy in New York’s Lower East Side; rising star Victoria Blamey, who received critical accolades for her culinary skills at the famed Greenwich Village Chumley’s in New York; Toronto favourite Suzanne Barr of Saturday Dinette, The Gladstone and Kid Chocolate, who is diversifying kitchens one restaurant at a time; renegade Toronto chef Charlotte Langley, who has done away with traditional brick and mortar to host elaborate dinners off the grid, as well as Toronto writer/former line cook Ivy Knight on why she left the industry. Maya Gallus and special guests from the film will be on hand following the Opening Night screening to take part in a Q&A at the Hot Docs Cinema.
The Heat: A Kitchen (R)Evolution will also screen on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, May 6.
There are 38 films in the Special Presentations section, eight of them are Canadian, including the World Premiere of The Trolley, which we have already covered, and a 25th Anniversary screening of Alanis Obomsawin’s Kanesatake: 270 Years of Resistance. The Trolley has one screening only at the Cinesphere at Ontario Place. Kanesatake: 270 Years of Resistance also has only one screening on Saturday, May 5 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. In late-breaking news, Hot Docs added the World Premiere of Barry Avrich’s The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst Kept Secret to its Special Presentations section.
Just a few highlights from The Canadian Spectrum include the World Premiere of a truly frightening documentary titled The Guardians. Set in the US city of Las Vegas, Toronto filmmaker Billie Mintz delves into the legalized seizure of property, money, bank accounts, wills, in fact the very lives of older people who are hospitalized against their wishes or need in a scheme that is in every way a scam. As one participant in the film states, “If you’re going to retire, do not move to Las Vegas.” At 104 minutes it’s a long film but compelling filmmaking and well worth the time.
OMNI: An Act Against Gravity is a quirky delight. The 80-minute doc looks at the efforts of a young Montreal engineer and inventor to create a fully operational hoverboard. The expression “nothing is easy” comes to mind and this film proves that. It also proves that patience and perseverance pay off.
Anyone who has driven through or flown over the various mountain ranges known collectively as The Rockies inevitably thinks “how did the first peoples and later explorers ever make it through this impossible and beautiful terrain?” This Mountain Life tracks the journey of a 60-year-old mother and her daughter as they spend six months trekking through the Rockies in a 77-minute film from director Grant Baldwin.
Canadian filmmaker John Walker is the subject of a special Focus at this year’s Hot Docs. We had the pleasure of interviewing Walker in 2016 when his film Quebec My Country Mon Pays screened at the festival. This year he has five of his films screening in the Focus feature. All but one will screen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. On May 1 it’s his 1989 film Strand: Under the Dark Cloth about renowned photographer Paul Strand. On May 2nd, A Drummer’s Dream will screen at the Scotiabank Theatre. On May 3rd Passage and on May 5th both The Fairy Faith and Men of the Deeps. Walker is one of the best documentarians this country has produced and you should make an effort to see at least one of the films in this important retrospective.
One of the films in Artscape is Canadian. It’s about legendary Canadian rocker Randy Bachman and is titled simply enough, Bachman.
Three of the six films in the Virtual Realty and Interactive section of the festival are Canadian. Anote’s Ark, Holy City VR and Living with Jaguars VR.
There is so much to see and every film on the schedule worthy of your time and attention. As we wrote last month, “This year’s slate of films was gleaned from 3059 submissions, resulting in a schedule of 246 films and 16 interdisciplinary projects from 56 countries in 14 screening programs. Organizers can be justifiably proud of the announcement that female filmmakers represent 50 per cent of the 2018 program.”
The 25th anniversary Hot Docs runs from April 26 to May 6. Enjoy. Click here for more information.
(April 17, 2018 – Montréal, Québec) The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) returns to Cannes for the second year in a row, this time with Patrick Bouchard’s animated short The Subject. Produced by Julie Roy, the film has been selected to screen in the 50th-anniversary edition of the Directors’ Fortnight, a section organized by the French Directors’ Guild and held in parallel with the Cannes Film Festival. This year’s Directors’ Fortnight takes place from May 9–19. The Subject is the first of Bouchard’s films to have made the cut of this international lineup. After Cannes, it will go on to screen in competition at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, which runs from June 11–16.
With The Subject, for which he also wrote the soundtrack, stop-motion master Patrick Bouchard (Bydlo, Dehors novembre, The Brainwashers, Subservience) has created his most intimate work to date. In the 10 minute film, an animator dissects his own body, extracting memories, emotions and fears that will nurture his work. As he cuts into his skin, various symbolic objects recalling his past emerge. Reaching the heart, he succeeds in identifying the burden he’s been dying to cast off.
Bouchard took charge of every aspect of the creative process for this rich, constructive, and creative experience—from inception to post-production, up to and including the film poster. Sets and props by Dany Boivin; offline editing by Sacha Ratcliffe and Theodore Ushev; sound design by Olivier Calvert.
“The NFB has always played a leading role in the production of animated films, both in Canada and internationally,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. “This one-of-a-kind creative centre has nurtured countless filmmakers and contributed to some of the major developments in the format. Being selected for the Directors’ Fortnight attests to the creative strength of our animation studios. Congratulations to Patrick Bouchard and the whole team!”
“Patrick Bouchard’s The Subject perfectly encapsulates production at the NFB’s animation studios,” said Julie Roy, Executive Producer, French Animation Studio, NFB. “Supporting an author (in this case, for the fifth time) by placing our full trust in him and giving him free rein in terms of the creative process—as it turned out, a process as risky as it was out of the ordinary—has resulted in a work that pushes the boundaries of animated cinema. We are very gratified that the Directors’ Fortnight recognizes the value of such a process.”
Andrew Lockington has scored the music for more than 40 television shows, made-for-TV movies and feature films including blockbusters like San Andreas that generated close to $475 million U.S. worldwide, the Golden Globe nominated Frankie and Alice starring Halle Berry, and the Fox film Rampage starring Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson and directed by fellow Canadian Brad Peyton. He also worked with Peyton on the Netflix Canadian series Frontier. In 2008, he was named the Breakthrough Composer of the Year through the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) and was nominated for Discovery of the Year at the World Soundtrack Awards. Lockington wrote the music for the 2018 Warner Bros. release Rampage. Directed by Brad PeytonRampage stars Dwayne Johnson as primatologist Davis Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance but shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, incredibly rare albino silverback gorilla. Naomie Harris and Malin Akerman costar. Click here to watch a trailer for Rampage, and be sure too listen to the music.
Features & TV Movies: VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release
At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story (TV-1998)
Xchange (2001) Stranger Inside (TV-2001) Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity (2002) Fast Food High (2003) Cosmopolitan (TV-2003) Touch of Pink (2004) Seed of a Thought (2004, short) Saint Ralph (2004) Cake (2005) One Dead Indian (TV-2006) Skinwalkers (2006) The House Next Door (TV-2006) How She Move (2007) Left Coast (TV-2008) Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) One Week (2008) City of Ember (2008) Deadliest Sea (TV-2009)
Frankie & Alice (2010) Beat the World (2011) Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) I’ll Follow You Down (2013) Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013) Siddharth (2013) Pirate’s Passage (TV-2015) San Andreas (2015) Incarnate (2016) The Space Between Us (2017) Meditation Park (2017) Rampage (2018) Time Freak (2018)
TV Series – at least 1 episode of: 1-800-Missing (2003-2006, 48 episodes) Independent Lens (2004) Sanctuary (2009-2011, 28 episodes)
Futurestates (2011) Primeval: New World (2012-2013) Aftermath (2016) Frontier (2016-)
Sladen Peltier is based in Ottawa and is a proud Ojibway from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve located on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario. His initial interest in Indian Horse, which is his feature film debut, was due to the hockey storyline. Sladen has been playing hockey in Ottawa since he was four years of age, and every March represents his First Nation in the Little Native Hockey League Tournament, which brings together First Nation hockey players from across Ontario.
Features & TV Movies: VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release
101 minutes – Drama Release date: April 13, 2018 Canadian distributor: Elevation Pictures
Based on Richard Wagamese’s award winning novel, Indian Horse sheds light on the dark history of Canada’s Residential Schools and the indomitable spirit of Indigenous people. Starring Canadian newcomers Sladen Peltier, Ajuawak Kapashesit and Edna Manitouwabe as well as Forrest Goodluck (The Revenant), Michael Murphy (Away From Her), Michael Lawrenchuck (Tokyo Cowboy), Johnny Issaluk (Two Lovers And A Bear) and Michiel Husiman (The Age Of Adaline), Indian Horse is set in Ontario in the late 1950s. Eight-year-old Saul Indian Horse is torn from his Ojibway (Anishnaabe) family and committed to one of Canada’s notorious Catholic Residential Schools. In this oppressive environment, Saul is denied the freedom to speak his language or embrace his Indigenous heritage while he witnesses horrendous abuse at the hands of the very people entrusted with his care. Despite this, Saul finds salvation in the unlikeliest of places and favourite Canadian pastime – hockey. Fascinated by the game, he secretly teaches himself to play, developing a unique and rare skill. He seems to see the game in a way no other player can. His talent leads him away from the misery of the school, eventually leading him to the Pros. But the ghosts of Saul’s past are always present, and threaten to derail his promising career and future. Forced to confront his painful past, Saul draws on the spirit of his ancestors and the understanding of his friends to begin the process of healing.
Paula Devonshire Trish Dolman Roger Frappier Christine Haebler
Stephen S.Campanelli Brent Disbrow Fei Disbrow Marna Disbrow Robert Disbrow Clint Eastwood Roger Frappier Aaron L. Gilbert Adrian Love Laurie May
Saul (6 Yrs.) Saul (15 Yrs.) Saul (22 Yrs.) Father Gaston Jack Lanahan Father Quinney Naomi Ruth Sam Benjamin (11 Yrs.) Evan Karen Fred Kelly Virgil Buddy Blackwolf Ernie Jack Lonnie (9 Yrs.) Lonnie (25 Yrs.) Rebecca Wolf Katherine Wolf Stu Little Chief Man with Axe Handle Working Man Doctor Kapuskasing Manager Shaboogesick
(April 10, 2018 – Toronto, ON) When tonight’s special hour-long episode of The Rick Mercer Report fades to black, it will mark the end of a remarkable 15-season run, more than 275 episodes of one of the most popular shows on television. Think about that. The show made its debut in 2004, and through the magic of television loyal fans have been able to travel across the country several times visiting both large cities and quiet corners of this vast nation.
“It’s been the best job ever hands down,” said Mercer. “I loved every minute of it. We had one goal in mind when we started this show and that was to explore and celebrate Canada every single week. When you love your subject matter that is an easy thing to do.”
Tonight he wraps things up by taking a look back at some of the most memorable moments of his adventures across Canada. Highlights include clips from his visits with the many Canadians who’ve shared their work place expertise with him and a look back at a few of the very special guests who showed up on the show. He also reviews some of his most daring feats, the show’s funniest sketches, his training sessions with Paralympic athletes, and one final rant.
“Thank you to Rick, Gerald and the entire team for making The Rick Mercer Report a tremendous and enduring success for 15 seasons,” said Heather Conway, Executive Vice-President, English Services, CBC. “Rick has built an incredible legacy by creating a space for communities across the country to share their stories through his unparalleled wit and compassion; it has brought us all closer together as a nation.”
Rick Mercer began his career in comedy performing and writing in his hometown St. John’s, Newfoundland with a series of one-man stage shows. In 1993, he launched his television career on CBC as one of the creators, performers and writers on the hit topical weekly show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. In 1998, he joined Gerald Lunz and Michael Donovan to create the satirical dramatic series Made In Canada, where he again starred and contributed as a writer. In 2001, his CBC special Talking To Americans became the highest-rated Canadian comedy special ever with 2.7 million viewers.
On July 1, 2014, it was announced that Rick Mercer had been made an Officer of the Order of Canada and he was inducted at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in September 2015. This past Canada Day, Mercer hosted the three-hour CBC special Canada Day 150! At last month’s 2018 Canadian Screen Awards, The Rick Mercer Report was presented with the Academy Icon Award. IN 2009 the series won the prestigious Golden Rose Award for ‘best comedy’ at the 2009 international Rose d’Or Television Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The Rick Mercer Report airs tonight, April 10 at 8 p.m. ET (8:30 NT) on CBC.
Samora Gloria Smallwood may have been born in Newfoundland but her family moved to Windsor, Ontario when she was still a young girl. She received her B.A in Drama from the University of Windsor and now makes her home in Toronto.
Features & TV Movies: VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release
Beneath Perception (2010, short) On a Break (2011, short) Club Utopia (2013) Exigent (2013, short) I Wish You Love (2014) Berkshire County (2014)
TV Series – Guest appearances: Karma’s a B*tch! (2013) Murder in Paradise (2013) Teenagers (2014)
Alysa King began appearing in front of the camera when she was just a child showing up in several nationwide commercials and magazines. When she had completed high school, she went on to post-secondary studies at Sheridan College, enrolling in the Theatre Arts program and graduating in 2005. She continued her education at Queen’s University in Kingston, graduating in 2009 with an honours degree in Dramatic Arts and English Literature and Language. She also went on to complete Teacher’s College in 2010.
(April 9, 2018 – Toronto, ON) There are some people who you just know will follow in their father’s footsteps. It came as no surprise to anyone that the young Stephen Low would grow up to work in the film industry. His father was, after all, a renowned National Film Board animator, producer and director. During the 1960s, Colin Low helped develop revolutionary film formats and for Expo ’67 in Montréal, he co-directed In the Labyrinth, a film that used 35mm and 70mm film projected simultaneously on multiple screens, and which is considered the precursor of today’s IMAX and OMNIMAX formats. Over the course of his career he picked up over 100 international awards for his work. How could Stephen not be attracted to filmmaking.
Stephen Low has been highly successful in his own right. For example his 3D short The Last Buffalo was produced for the Suntory pavilion at Expo ’90 in Osaka, Japan and became one of the most popular attractions at the fair, drawing close to two million viewers over six months. The film was the second produced in the revolutionary 15/70 3D medium for IMAX 3D theatres.
His newest project, The Trolley, explores the power and potential of a once nearly forgotten piece of 19th century innovation and is the first IMAX film selected to screen at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.
It struck me as an interesting bit of timing. Here is this marvellous piece of film technology focused on a topic that dates back to the mid-1880s, and it was made at a time when, despite the obvious attraction of seeing a movie on a GIANT screen, the invention of the smartphone with their tiny screens, seems to be the way most people now consume moving images. This growth, thanks in part to Vimeo or YouTube and a concerted effort by broadcasters to push their streaming services, now includes several films shot entirely on cellphones. Last year, for example, the Sundance hit Tangerine was shot on three iPhone 5s.
I turned to Hot Docs programmer Shane Smith to answer a few questions and he pointed out a few facts that helped him make the decision to select The Trolley. In addition to the film being largely focused on Toronto’s iconic streetcars, he reminded me that this is the festival’s 25th anniversary and with Toronto being home to the very first IMAX screen in Canada, it was a great opportunity to thank the people of Toronto for their support over the years. Cinesphere at Ontario Place opened on May 22, 1971 and recently went through an extensive renovation including the installation of the latest OMAX projection technologies.
The Trolley, narrated by Maurice Dean Wint, runs about 45 minutes and visits a number of cities around the world where streetcars are still in use and growing in popularity. Tracing the history of the trolley from its very beginning, the main thrust of the film is to bluntly remind viewers, and governments, that as climate change threatens to become more extreme here is a clean, pollution-free way to move huge numbers of people quickly and efficiently through cities old and new.
But what about IMAX in the era of the smartphone? “There’s no substitute for the cinematic experience,” said Shane Smith and he’s right. His decision was based in part on the film having “a great story” and the conviction that there will always be a place for “big stories on the big screen.”
When I suggested the cost of producing an IMAX film might ultimately be problematic, especially when compared to the cost of shooting on a cellphone, Smith pointed out that IMAX films often have extremely long runs in many of the IMAX theatres around the world. I immediately remembered the Toni Myers film A Beautiful Planet, which is still playing at the Ontario Science Centre. It opened on April 29, 2016.
Hot Docs runs from April 26 to May 6. The Trolley has one free screening at the Cinesphere at Ontario Place on Saturday, May 5. Click here for more information.
Features & TV Movies: VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release
Two Days Till Tomorrow (2002) The Poet (2007) Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost (TV-2007) Fire and Fury (2008, short) The Morning Party (2008, short) Deadliest Sea (TV-2009)
Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010) Committed (TV-2011) Family Man (2011) Cinnamon Girl (TV-2013) Poker Night (2013) Victims (2013) Pacific Rim (2013) Killing Daddy (TV-2014) Timber (2015, short) Below Her Mouth (2016) Mommy’s Little Boy (TV-2016) Anon (2017) Kodachrome (2017) The New Romantic (2018)
Mark Raso attended the University of Toronto where he received a BA in English Literature and Cinema Studies. He went on to study directing and screenwriting at Columbia University where he received an MFA in film. While at Columbia, Raso wrote, directed, and produced a number of short films that culminated in winning the Gold Medal, the highest honour a student can receive, from the Student Academy Awards of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His second feature, Kodachrome, enjoyed one of the biggest sales at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Shot entirely on film stock it costars Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen and Ed Harris in a touching road movie that doubles as an elegy for analog in the digital age. It will be released as a Netflix Original on April 20th, 2018.