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Jennifer Hodge de Silva

Jennifer Hodge de Silva, director,

B: January 28, 1951 in Montréal, Québec
D: May 5, 1989 in Montréal, Québec

Jennifer Hodge was born to Cullen Squire Hodge and Mairuth Vaughan Hodge Sarsfield. One of two children, she was highly influenced by the strong women around her. For example, her grandmother, Anne Packwood, was a teacher and community worker who received awards for her contribution to the Black community. Her mother’s career included broadcasting, diplomacy, and serving on the Board of Governors of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Carleton University, Ottawa. Her mother received the Chevalier de l’ordre national du Québec award in 1985. Hodge left Montréal to complete her second year of high school in Europe where she attended the L’École d’humanité in Hasliberg-Goldern, Switzerland. After completing high school, Jennifer Hodge returned to Canada to attend university in Toronto and completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Arts at Glendon College, York University in 1974. She added a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Television Arts at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in 1979. She married producer Paul de Silva in 1982. They founded Jenfilms Inc., which, among other projects, was behind the award-winning Neighbourhoods series that covered the history and character of various communities in Canada. Al Waxman served as host-narrator on the episode about Toronto’s Kensington Market.

Jennifer Hodge de Silva’s career in film spanned more than a decade. She spent her apprenticeship years at the National Film Board in Montréal. There she learned all aspects of the craft, from producing, researching and interviewing, to directing and editing. During that time she also worked on some independently produced films. While in France to attend the Cannes Film Festival in 1989, she became ill and returned to Canada. She died of cancer on May 5, 1989, at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, where she was born. Her work remains part of the discussion on Canadian and Black Canadian film. A biographical film, Jennifer Hodge: The Glory and the Pain (1992), covers her life and themes in her work as revealed in interviews with friends and relatives. Her films are often featured in Black History Month celebrations, and in reading lists of film courses. A commemorative film catalogue was produced by the National Film Board for Black History Month in 1992.

We have created a filmography based on a number of different sources and believe it to be fairly accurate but welcome any updates you might be able to provide.

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

A Great Tree Has Fallen (1973)
Potatoes (1978)
Fields of Endless Day (1978 co-directed with Terence Macartney-Filgate)
Dieppe 1942 (TV-1979, producer)
Helen Law: Portrait of an Immigrant Woman (1979, NFB Canada Vignettes)
Toronto’s Ethnic Police Squad (TV-1979)

Myself, Yourself (1980)
Joe David: Spirit of the Mask (1981),
Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community (1983 co-directed with Roger McTair)
The Edenshaw Legacy (1984)
A Day in the Life of Canada: Yukon (TV-1984)
In Support of the Human Spirit (1987)

TV Series:
Kensington Market (1985, Neighbourhoods)

Outremont-Montreal (1986, Neighbourhoods)

Porcupine Lake

85 minutes – Drama
Festival release date: September 2017 (TIFF)
Release date: February 23, 2018 (Toronto)
Production company: pUNK Films Inc.
Distributor: Films We Like

During a hot and hazy summertime in northern Ontario, 13-year-old Bea (Charlotte Salisbury) wants a best friend more than anything else, but when she meets boisterous Kate (Lucinda Armstrong Hall), she gets more than she imagined in this ultimate teen girl’s coming-of-age tale. Prone to fainting spells, and dripping with naiveté, Bea’s life changes when she meets Kate, boisterous, brash and eager to be Bea’s new best friend, and maybe more. Meanwhile, Bea’s protective parents Ally and Scotty struggle to maintain their own strained relationship while trying to figure out how to raise a burgeoning teen. Childlike Bea suddenly realizes that she’s facing adulthood, as well as the hard truth that all summers must end.

Porcupine Lake was filmed in Port Severn, Barrie and Parry Sound, Ontario. The cast is listed in order of appearance.

Porcupine Lake, movie, poster,



Ingrid Veninger

Executive Producer:

Randi Kirshenbaum
Melissa Leo


Ingrid Veninger


Ingrid Veninger


Benjamin Lichty


Chris Mutton


Carlin Nicholson
Michael O’Brien

Production Designer:

Ingrid Veninger

Costume Designer:

Hallie Switzer

Cast: Roles:

Charlotte Salisbury
Gwyllym Siberry
Delphine Roussel
Christopher Bolton
Jocelyne Lehto
Eric Lehto
Tony Cauch
Ingrid Berto
Maxime Robin
Doug Mclean
Kerri Rutledge
Lucinda Armstrong Hall
Keri Bailey
Shauna Bailey
Cassaundra Sloan
Grace Cowden
Mikael Amonsen
Brad Linton
Harrison Tanner
Jacqui Brown
Hallie Switzer
Aliisa Lehto
Walker Fournier
Perry Gendron
Hannah Bussiere
Marco Lubovich
Jean Gendron
Pam Martin
Tracey Devine
Dr. George Karasmanis


Movie Teen 1
Movie Teen 2
Dr. Row

Peter Lynch

Peter Lynch, director,

B: June 12, 1957 in Toronto, Ontario

Peter Lynch grew up in the East York area of Toronto where he spent a great deal of time fishing, playing hockey and singing in a choir. He was turned on to filmmaking by an uncle who obsessively filmed everything, but it wasn’t until his father took him to see John Ford’s Stagecoach that he knew he wanted to make films. When he was eleven he saw Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and re-confirmed his desire to become a filmmaker. Raised on as much pop culture as he was high art: from Beatles to Bach, from Picasso to Superman comics, after high school, Lynch spent two years being a ski bum in the Laurentians north of Montréal and then spent the next few years as a truck driver and on assembly lines. He then went to study Fine Arts at York University and found that he was more interested in anthropology than in most film courses. At York he discovered the ‘video revolution’. Lynch headed off to New York City to become a V.J. at various nightclubs, including “The Mudd Club” and “Danceteria.” There he combined images and music together and was amongst the first to show video art. He then moved into staging larger multi-media events, which would combine music, video, performance art and fashion. One of the most memorable was Kitchen Sync (1982) a landmark cultural event in Toronto, which featured performance art by Eric Bogosian, showcased Fab Five Freddy and the Rocksteady Crew and contemporary dance by Trisha Brown. Between 1983-1987 Lynch co-founded, co-produced and co-directed Video Culture International, an international festival which showed the latest in video and the new media expression from around the world. This event included a competition, conferences, exhibitions, symposiums, installation and multi-media performance events.

In the early 1990s, Lynch produced and directed a number of music videos, which aired on Much Music and MTV. He then started to work on short films, notably his first dramatic short Arrowhead, for which he received a Genie Award in 1994. In 1996 Lynch made the wildly successful Project Grizzly, one of the most acclaimed Canadian documentaries of all time. He then co-wrote and directed The Herd, a historical drama that was filmed in the Arctic. Lynch’s films have been broadcast and shown in festivals and theatres around the world.

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

Eyes Like Fire (VR-1990, short)
St. Bruno, My Eyes As a Stranger (1994, short)
Arrowhead (1994, short)
Project Grizzly (1996, documentary)
The Herd (1998)

Cyberman (2001, documentary)
Animal Nightmares (2003, short)
A Whale of a Tale (2004, documentary)
Dem Bones (2004, short)
Robotic Chair (2007,short)
A Short Film About Falling (2007, short)

The National Parks Project (2011, documentary)
Birdland (2018)

TV Series – at least 1 episode of:
Bloodlines (Who Shot Wolfe episode, 2007),
City Sonic (2009)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
St. Bruno, My Eyes As a Stranger (1994, short)
Arrowhead (1994, short)
The Herd (1998)

A Whale of a Tale (2004, documentary)
A Short Film About Falling (2007, short)

Birdland (2018)

Credits as a Producer:
Eyes Like Fire (VR-1990, short)
St. Bruno, My Eyes As a Stranger (1994, short)
Arrowhead (1994, short)

A Whale of a Tale (2004, documentary)
Robotic Chair (2007,short)
A Short Film About Falling (2007, short)

Birdland (2018)

Michael Ironside in Berlin

Michael Ironside in Berlin
Publicity still for The Harrowing courtesy of Film Mode Entertainment.

(February 17, 2018 – Toronto, ON) We’re not sure if the veteran Canadian actor will actually be there, but his 2017 film The Harrowing will have its World Market Premiere screening and European Film Market debut in Berlin tomorrow, February 18th.

Written and directed by veteran horror director Jon Keeyes (American Nightmare, Fall Down Dead), in addition to Michael Ironside, the horror feature costars Matthew Tompkins (Sicario), and Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy, G.i. Joe).

The Harrowing is a movie that is going to get audiences excited across the world,” said director Keeyes. “We’ve carefully crafted an intelligent, suspenseful, tense thriller that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats while driving them down a road of psychological twists and turns. Right out of the gate, we pull them in with an explosive opening sequence, and then keep them guessing as the mystery unfolds until we blow their minds in the final moments. Being able to construct such an intricate puzzle like this – that is both entertaining and thought provoking – has been a joy.”

Ironside plays Carl Logan, a jaded police lieutenant who must decide whether or not his officer is a killer. Vosloo plays Dr. Whitney, who runs a forensic hospital that’s conducting secret experiments on its patients. The film focuses on vice detective Calhoun, played by Matthew Tompkins, who is accused of the ritualistic murder of his best friend. Bent on finding the truth, he is plunged into Hell when he The Harrowing, movie, poster,goes undercover and discovers that demons might be real. This is a hard-boiled thriller in the vein of genre classics Jacobs Ladder and Angel Heart.

The Harrowing is carefully constructed to be a powerful synergy of elements that make it one of those rare ‘elevated’ genre films with true crossover appeal to a wide variety of hardcore fans, said Matthew Tompkins, who also serves as Producer. “The film is a potent mix of horror and supernatural elements that underpin a very smart, disturbing, and complicated psychological thriller…the idea of being able to drive the narrative utilizing all of these things, to truly pull that off, from both a commercial and artistic perspective, was a fantastic opportunity for us as Filmmakers.”

Clay Epstein of Film Mode Entertainment, which is handling the film’s international rights said, “We’re thrilled to screen The Harrowing to distributors and audiences for the very first time in Berlin. Horror and thriller fans are in for the ride of their lives with The Harrowing – a gripping, mind-bending, nail-biter of a film that has a great deal of worldwide commercial appeal with the recent success of the genre.”

The film generated over $733 million in ticket sales in 2017, making it the biggest box office year ever for a horror film.

Learn more about Michael Ironside.


Birdland, movie, image,

96 Minutes – Thriller
Release date: January 26, 2018 (Toronto)
Distributor: 108 Media

Sheila Hood is an ex-cop whose marriage is on the rocks. Rather than confronting her husband about an affair, she hides surveillance cameras in her home and watches his transgressions, becoming a voyeur of her own life. Her husband, Tom Kale, is an ornithologist who begins an affair with an ex-girlfriend, Merle James, whose beauty and fragility echoes that of the birds he studies. Ray Starling, the charismatic owner of a boutique hotel, is Merle’s lover, and has dealings with her father, Mr James, a powerful oil baron who operates in the shadows but whose influence touches the whole city. Merle’s younger sister, Hazel, is also drawn to Tom, but trapped in Starling’s web of power. Calvin is an cop whose loyalty to his ex partner, Hood, is tested when mounting evidence from her own surveillance tapes connects her and Tom to Starling’s murder, and perhaps even Merle’s mysterious death.

Birdland, movie, poster,



Katarina Gligorijevic
Peter Lynch

Executive Producer:

Daniel Iron


Ryan Reaney


Peter Lynch


Lee Gowan
Peter Lynch


Adam Swica


Caroline Christie


Laura Barrett

Production Designer:

Patricia Christie

Art Director:

Justin Chirico (Set Decoration)

Costume Designer:

Chanel Croker

Cast: Roles:

Kathleen Munroe
David Alpay
Benjamin Ayres
Joris Jarsky
Cara Gee
Melanie Scrofano
Stephen McHattie
Earl Pastko
Mal Dassin
Clark Backo
Grace Lynn Kung
Rong Fu
Clara Venice
Rachel Melas
Dan Mackay
Chris Armstrong
Ronald Tang
Yaroslav Kovalenko
David Neeson
Horace Abel
Royce Hercules
Maria Lerinman
Natalie Dale
Paul Dulgov
Timothy Duong
Stefanie Harrer
Adam Kennedy
Alisha Phillips
Laurence Tetrault
Bailey Zhang

Sheila Hood
Tom Kale
Ray Starling
Hazel James
Merle James
John James
Bob McIntyre, The Cowboy
Jay Flintlock
Girl on Train
Museum Assistant
Bass Player
Futron Energy Board Member
Futron Energy Board Member
Police Officer
Police Officer
Museum Cleaner
Bodyguard to Mr. James
Bodyguard to Mr. James
Bar Patron
Bar Patron
Bar Patron
Bar Patron
Bar Patron
Bar Patron
Bar Patron
Bar Patron

Shiners Returns to Toronto

Hot Docs, Shiners,
Production still from the documentary, Shiners.

(February 15, 2018 – Toronto, ON) The documentary Shiners had its World Premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian and International Documentary Festival in this city last year. It returns for a short run at the Royal Cinema this weekend and is well worth making the time to see it.

Writing about the film last year, Northernstars said, “Shiners is about putting your best foot forward thanks to the people who make sure your shoes look their best. It’s a delightful and uplifting story of people who have chosen to serve some special calling. People who are proud of their work and who often come from some surprising former occupations.” We called the film “intriguing and eye-opening.”

From the brash street shiners of New York City, to the masked shoe shine boys of La Paz, meet the men and women who make their living cleaning our shoes. Shiners travels the world to discover what it means to be a shoe shiner, and to show an insider’s view of this overlooked profession. People around the world have turned to shoe shining to provide for themselves and their families.

Shiners was directed by Montreal’s Stacey Tenenbaum, an award-winning creative producer and director who started her career in factual television. She founded H2L Productions, a Montreal-based boutique film and television production company in 2014. Shiners is her first documentary feature and she will be at two of the Toronto screenings to talk about her film and to answer audience questions.

Two NFB Shorts at Kids Fest

Two NFB Shorts at Kids Fest
Images courtesy of the National Film Board.

(February 14, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Two National Film Board (NFB) shorts will screen at this year’s  TIFF Kids International Film Festival: Christina Willings’ innovative short documentary Beauty, making its world premiere, and Christopher Auchter’s award-winning animated short The Mountain of SGaana.

In the 23-minute Beauty, we encounter a world of fixed positions and prescribed roles, expanding the definition of gender requires the courage to dive deep into understanding and acceptance. Written and directed by Christina Willings, Beauty explores the lives of five gender-creative kids, each uniquely engaged in shaping their ideas of what it means to be fully human. Claiming your own sense of gender when everything around you insists that you comply and conform can be challenging, and sometimes scary. But luckily, family and friends are there to help.

Free-flowing animated elements, ranging from images of octopuses to astronauts, draw together the kids’ shared experiences in beautifully rendered fantasias that celebrate the power of imagination and the flourishing force of self-determination. Playful, goofy, loving and brave—each of these remarkable kids has found their own way to break free and show the world what it really means to be your true self.

Beauty is produced and executive produced by Shirley Vercruysse for the NFB’s BC and Yukon Studio, based in Vancouver. Teri Snelgrove is associate producer.

The Mountain of SGaana is a 10-minute production from Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter. The short spins a magical tale of a young man who is stolen away to the spirit world, and the young woman who rescues him. Inspired by a traditional Haida legend and co-written with Annie Reid, this dream-like film brilliantly entwines traditional animation with formal elements of Haida art, brought to life by a rich palette and stylized effects.

Named Best Animated Film or Series for Young Audiences – Ages 6–12 at the 2017 Ottawa International Animation Festival, The Mountain of SGaana is produced by Shirley Vercruysse and executive produced by Shirley Vercruysse (BC and Yukon Studio) and Michael Fukushima (Animation Studio) for the NFB.

TIFF Kids International Film Festival runs March 9–18, 2018.

See These Women Fully Clothed

Women Fully Clothed, image,
Jayne Eastwood, Robin Duke, Kathryn Greenwood, Teresa Pavlinek. Photo by Ian Brown. Used with permission.

(February 13, 2018 – Toronto, ON) In case you haven’t been counting, the 13th annual Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival is only a couple of weeks away and one of the highlights of its run (March 1-11), is a special one night only performance of Women Fully Clothed on March 3, 2018 at the Royal Cinema. Think of it as a “ladies night out that’s not just for the ladies.”

Women Fully Clothed, features funny ladies Jayne Eastwood (Dawn of the Dead, Hairspray, Chicago), Robin Duke (Saturday Night Live, SCTV, Man Seeking Woman), Kathryn Greenwood (Wind at My Back, Whose Line Is It Anyway?), and Teresa Pavlinek (The Jane Show, Space Riders). Together they are a comedic tour de force. The combined talent and insight of these four women transform the banalities of everyday life into sharply observed social satire. Their unique brand of hilarious and extremely relatable humour has won over audiences all over the world from Just For Laughs to Edinburgh.

The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival is Canada’s premier festival celebrating scripted, ensemble comedy boasting 11 days of hilarity on five Toronto stages from more than 200 comedians. This year boasts over 60 sketch comedy acts including Bruce McCulloch’s Tales of Bravery and Stupidity, UK musical comedy viral sensation Flo & Joan; quick-witted quartet TallBoyz II Men; a remount of the 2017 Fringe hit 32 Short Sketches About Bees; a live album recording by The Williamson Playboys; plus Rapp Battlez 100, the milestone 100th edition of Toronto’s hilarious comedic rap throwdown.

The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival runs from Thursday, March 1 to Sunday, March 11, 2018 at The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen Street West; the Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor Street West and the Royal Cinema, 608 College Street West.

Women Fully Clothed takes to the stage only on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 8pm at the Royal Cinema.
Click here for more information and tickets.


Christopher Bolton

Christopher Bolton, actor,

Christopher Bolton began his acting career at 15 in CBC’s Air Waves co-starring with writer/director Ingrid Veninger. He attended the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto and created, produced and starred in the role of Cake for 26 episodes of the award-winning Showcase series Rent-A-Goalie.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

State Park (1988)

I Still Dream of Jeannie (TV-1991)
City Boy (TV-1992)
Ordeal in the Arctic (TV-1993)
Killing Moon (TV-1999)
The Third Miracle (1999)

Hendrix (TV-2000)
A Colder Kind of Death (TV-2001)
Dead by Monday (2001)
Global Heresy (2002)
Our Fathers (TV-2005)
All Hat (2007)
Fading Fast (2009, short)

Porcupine Lake (2017)

TV Series – Cast:
Air Waves (1987)
My Secret Identity (1989-1991)

Street Time (2002-2003)
Rent-a-Goalie (2006, 2008)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Street Legal (1989)

Neon Rider (1991)
Northwood (1992, 1993)
The Outer Limits (1997)
Cold Squad (1998)
Poltergeist: The Legacy (1998)
Nikita (1999)
PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal (1999)
Little Men (1999)

Blue Murder (2001)
Mutant X (2002)
Angela’s Eyes (2006)
The State Within (2006)
Life with Derek (2007)
Billable Hours (2008)

Breakout Kings (2011)
Flashpoint (2011)
The Listener (2012)
Republic of Doyle (2013)
Saving Hope (2014)

Porcupine Lake, movie, poster,
Poster for Porcupine Lake courtesy of Films We Like.

Delphine Roussel

Delphine Roussel, actress, actor,

In addition to her on-camera career, Delphine Roussel is also a voice actor who can speak English and French thanks to her French immigrant parents in Ladner, British Columbia. Roussel studied at The Vancouver Film School and has a BFA from Toronto’s Ryerson University. Before becoming an actor, she was a singer/songwriter in a Toronto band called blueScreen.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

The Limb Salesman (2004)
Most Guys Today (2006)

T Is for Thread (2011, short)
Halfway There (2012, short)
We Blinded the Sun (2012, short)
The Architecture of the Moon (2012, short)
Kimi (2012, short)
What Have We Done (2012, short)
Lively (2013, short)
Grace (2013, short)
Lady P (2014, short)
ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Last Breath (2014, short)
Simon’s Love (2014, short)
The Interior (2015)
Almost Adults (2016)
Suffer (2016, short)
Bloody Bits: Shorts Compilation Vol. 1 (2016)
Boys Will Be (2017, short)
Fail to Appear (2017, short)
Porcupine Lake (2017)

TV Series – Cast:
Revelation: The End of Days (2014, mini-series)
Sis Boom Bah (2018-)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Paranormal Witness (2012, 2013)
Breakout (2013)
Surviving Evil (2014)
See No Evil (2016)
Murder U (2016)
Killjoys (2017)

Porcupine Lake, movie, poster,
Poster for Porcupine Lake courtesy of Films We Like.

Gwyllym Siberry

Gwyllym Siberry, actor,

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Porcupine Lake (2017)

Porcupine Lake, movie, poster,
Poster for Porcupine Lake courtesy of Films We Like.

Charlotte Salisbury

Charlotte Salisbury, actress,

Charlotte Salisbury was attending grade 11 at St Thomas of Villanova in Windsor Ontario when she was cast to appear in Porcupine Lake, her first movie. She had previously been in a number of stage productions.
Also see: The Top 10 Canadian films of 2017

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Porcupine Lake (2017)

Porcupine Lake, movie, poster,
Poster for Porcupine Lake courtesy of Films We Like.

Shakespeare in Love, Revisited

Shakespeare in Love, Revisited, image,
Seana McKenna as Julius Caesar. Photography by Clay Stang – The Garden, courtesy of The Stratford Festival.

Shakespeare in Love, Revisited
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(February 2, 2018 – Toronto, ON) If I was forced to make a short list of films that I thought had really smart writing Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Shakespeare in Love would be on the list. Shakespeare in Love gets a lot of it smarts from Tom Stoppard, who cowrote the screenplay with Marc Norman. Stoppard, a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, also wrote, among many others, Empire of the Sun, Brazil, The Russia House and Billy Bathgate. Both Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill were written by Richard Curtis who also gave me some of my other favourite films including The Girl in the Café and the Black Adder TV series. But it’s Shakespeare in Love that came to mind. when I saw a recent performance of Shakespeare’s King Lear by the Groundling Theatre.

Part of the attraction was I had seen previous Groundling productions and liked what they were doing, plus the company was founded in 2011 by Canadian stage, TV and film actor Graham Abbey. But most of the attraction was seeing Seana McKenna in the role of Lear. In Shakespeare in Love we are treated to the fantasy of a women (Gwyneth Paltrow) appearing on stage at a time when all productions were an all-male affair. Women were first permitted to perform on the English stage in the early 1660s, after the Restoration of King Charles II. One date that is mentioned is 1629 when a touring troupe of male and female French players showed up in England. The first woman to appear in a Shakespeare play did so in 1660 – 44 years after the Bard’s death. So part of my interest in Lear, as the play was now named, was seeing a woman in the role traditionally played by a man.

McKenna was nothing short of brilliant as Lear and the relationship between her and her daughters achieved a poignancy that I think must have been unachievable with a man in the title role. In its time the play traces Lear’s descent into madness. Today, with Alzheimers the frightening scourge of an aging population, McKenna’s depiction of the disease’s unrelenting path is deft, tragic and heartbreaking.

Martha Henry and Brent Carver. Photography by Clay Stang – The Garden. Courtesy of the Stratford Festival.
Intrigued with the idea of women playing roles once reserved exclusively for men I remembered we had published a story last October about the Stratford Festival and about Martha Henry, who will turn 80 this month and will play Prospero in The Tempest, Shakespeare’s great drama of loss and reconciliation, and the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone.

What else might Stratford be up to?

 In addition to Martha Henry playing Prospero, Lucy Peacock will play Satan in Paradise Lost. Inspired by John Milton’s epic poem of the cosmic battle between good and evil, Satan’s revenge and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, this Stratford production is being billed as an “ultra-contemporary new drama” that is “fiercely engaging, irreverently funny and deeply moving.” And Seana McKenna returns to Stratford to take the title role in a production of Julius Caesar (pictured at the top of this article). This will be her 27th season at Stratford.

With women in Hollywood and Canada still overlooked for plum screen roles and now bringing to light decades of sexual harassment or assault, will the day come when women begin to inhabit the roles most associated with men? Will the next James Bond be played by a woman? What about Robin Hood? Maybe some remake of a Glenn Ford western; he made 27 of them. I wonder who might fill his cowboy boots in The Fastest Gun Alive?

It is more than simply interesting to see women take lead roles in Shakespeare plays. While the words remain the same, the accent, if you will, the perspective, the focus shifts and the story bends and is refreshed in a way that results in something far more than switching genders. I think it’s too soon to say if this is a trend and if what is happening on stage can translate to film. It might be something that only works best with Shakespeare. As noted in that October article, in a 2010 filmed version of The Tempest, Helen Mirren played Prospero, changing the character’s name to Prospera.

For a look at the complete calendar for the 2018 season at Stratford, click here.

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.

Diana Bang

Diana Bang, actress,
Thomas Middleditch and Diana Bang in a publicity still for Entanglement.

B: in Vancouver, B.C.

Diana Bang got her start in acting with the Asian-Canadian sketch comedy group, Assaulted Fish. She is best known for her role as Sook in Seth Rogen’s The Interview.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Ripples (2008, short)
Do You Know Me? (TV-2009)
Dandy Lions (2009, short)
Sorority Wars (TV-2009)
Misplaced (2009, short)

Call Me Mrs. Miracle (TV-2010)
The Edge of the Garden (TV-2011)
Panmunjom (2012, short)
Kiss at Pine Lake (TV-2012)
The Music Teacher (TV-2012)
Abducted: The Carlina White Story (TV-2012)
Lost Lagoon (2012)
Tom Dick & Harriet (TV-2013)
That Burning Feeling (2013)
Rocketship Misfits (2013, short)
No Clue (2013)
Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas (TV-2013)
The Price Is Precise (2015, short)
The Tree Inside (2015)
The Master Cleanse (2016)
PLAN b (VR-2016, short)
Never Better: A Closure Comedy (2017, short)
Entanglement (2017)
Lucy Dies (2017, short)
Status Update (2018)
Boundaries (2018)

TV Series – Cast:
Alice (2009, mini-series)

Eve of Destruction (2013, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Aliens in America (2008)

Fringe (2010)
The Killing (2011)
Continuum (2012)
Bates Motel (2013, 2017)
Rush (2014)
Convos with My 2-Year Old (2015, 2016)
Second Chance (2016)
Paranormal Solutions Inc. (2016)
No Tomorrow (2016)
Hard Days, Wet Nights (2017)
Lucifer (2017)
Imaginary Mary (2017)


85 minutes – comedy-drama
Festival Release date: May 19, 2017, Seattle Film Festival
Release date: February 9, 2018 (Canada, U.S)
Canadian distributor: Thunderbird

While searching for the meaning of his existence, Ben Layten (Thomas Middleditch) uncovers a family secret that leads him to a woman named Hanna… But when he and Hanna (Jess Weixler) inadvertently fall in love, his life becomes strangely complicated. Ben starts to realize that everything is amazingly and incredibly connected – and that the world might just be more inexplicable than he imagined, and that life, and love, is a lot more complicated than he ever imagined.

Entanglement, movie, poster,



Amber Ripley
Jason James

Executive Producer:

Jhod Cardinal
Tim Gamble
Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith

Line Producer:

Krista Kelloway


Jason James


Jason Filiatrault


James Liston


Jamie Alain
Gareth C. Scales
Christopher Watson


Andrew Harris

Production Designer:

Scott Moulton

Art Director:

Kara Hornland

Costume Designer:

Sekyiwa Wi-Afedzi

Cast: Roles:

Thomas Middleditch
Jess Weixler
Diana Bang
Randal Edwards
Marilyn Norry
Eric Keenleyside
Johannah Newmarch
Jena Skodje
Shauna Johannesen
Nicole Laplaca
Mackenzie Gray
Graeme Duffy
Viv Leacock
Denalda Williams
B.j. Harrison
Angelo Renai
Michael Bardach

Ben Layten
Hanna Weathers
Tabby Song
Betty Layten
Norm Layten
Dr. Jill Franklen
Alexa Bales
The Real Hanna
Street Photographer
Doctor Chang
Security Guard
Scruffy hobo

A Banner Year for Canadians at the 2018 Academy Awards

The Shape of Water, image,
Image from The Shape of Water courtesy of FOX Searchlight Pictures.

A Banner Year for Canadians and the Canadian Film Industry at the 2018 Academy Awards
By Wyndham Wise

(January 30, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Two films in 2017 shattered historical stereotypes of what Canadian films are and are supposed to be — Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water and Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049.

But I hear you say, what the heck are you talking about? Neither film is Canadian. Well, yes and no. While it’s a 100 percent American production from Fox Searchlight Productions, The Shape of Water is being enthusiastically embraced as Canadian due to the fact that it was shot entirely in Toronto studios with exteriors filmed in Hamilton passing for 1950’s Baltimore, and its entire production crew, apart from the top talent, was made up of local Toronto union members.

Of course, two Golden Globes, 13 Oscar and 12 BAFTA nominations — many going to those local union members — has made the Toronto media sit up and take notice and embrace The Shape of Water with civic pride. It also helps that Mexican-born director del Toro has made Toronto his home base for several years now.

By Canadian tax laws, Blade Runner 2049 is in fact a Canadian film. In reality, it’s an American movie, a joint venture between Alcon Entertainment, who own the rights to the Blade Runner franchise, and Sony Pictures made in association with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions and Vancouver’s Thunderbird Films. It was filmed entirely at the Korda Studios in Hungary.

Beyond its star, Ryan Gosling, and director, the film’s Canadian connection is tantalizing and extensive, earning its official minority co-production status with the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office, and tax credits from the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

Included in the 16-minute credit role at the end of Blade Runner 2049 are the names of these talented Canadians (this is only a partial list and does not include the dozens of special and visual effects artists, technicians and their assistants): Tim Gamble and Frank Guistra, executive producers with Thunderbird Films; Denis Villeneuve, director; Ryan Gosling, lead actor; Mackenzie Davis, supporting actress; Dennis Gassner, production designer; Renée April, costumes; Jo-Ann MacNeil, key makeup artist (also Csilla Blake-Horvath); Pierre Gill, second unit DOP; and special and visual effects from Framestore, Double Negative, Rodeo FX and MPC Montreal.

Blade Runner 2049 snared five Oscar nominations, a record for a Canadian film (which ties it with Atlantic City, a Canada-France co-production from the tax-shelter era), and eight BAFTA nominations (including one for Villeneuve for best director, something that the Academy unfortunately choose to overlook). Giustra, the founder of Lionsgate Films and a current director with

Blade Runner 2049, movie, poster,
Blade Runner 2049 poster courtesy of
Warner Bros. Pictures.
Thunderbird Films, and Tim Gamble, CEO of Thunderbird, worked for years with Alcon Entertainment to bring Los Angeles Police Department bounty hunter Rick Deckard back out of retirement and onto the silver screen. “We’ve been involved on this project for four or five years now and to see it finally being made is a dream come true,” Gamble said from his Vancouver office.

Blade Runner 2049 is a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic. Scott served as executive producer and gave Villeneuve, Hollywood’s most in-demand Canadian director, carte blanche. The sequel is cold, slow and grandiose, and perfectly captures the detached coolness of its predecessor. It unfolds at its own esoteric pace, more concerned with exploring the bruised psyche of Gosling’s K, and the dark corners of the dystopian world he inhabits, than with shootouts, beats-per-minute action sequences and spaceship chases. It’s an elegant and thoughtful continuation of a sci-fi classic, and Villeneuve’s enormous talent is on full display with this visually spectacular, tonally haunting, dream-like epic.

Am I the only one to notice that The Shape of Water is a mash-up of The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and Ron Howard’s Splash (1984), a film described as a love story between a young man and a mermaid. Bare with me a minute here. Substitute Sally Hawkins’ lonely hearts character in The Shape of Water for Tom Hanks’ love-starved bachelor in Splash; her buddy/comic foil Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water, movie, poster,Hanks’ brother, played by John Candy; the fish creature (Doug Jones) for Daryl Hannah’s mermaid; and Michael Shannon’s nasty bad guy for Eugene Levy’s comic version of the same character.

Despite the art-house pretensions and overriding Cold War themes of The Shape of Water, the storyline is basically the same as Splash and the end is almost a direct steal.

At the end of Splash, the army pursues Hanks and Hannah through the streets of Manhattan as they make a mad dash for the water; in The Shape of Water, it’s a murderous Shannon who chases the creature and Hawkins through the streets of Baltimore to the water’s edge. In both films the protagonists make it just in the nick of time; and in both films, Hanks and Hawkins instantaneously and magically adapt to life in the deep with their true loves.

In total, 13 Canadians have been nominated for Oscars this year, which has to be record number. Anthony Leo, co-producer of the animated feature The Breadwinner, a Canada-Ireland-Luxembourg co-production based on an award-winning Canadian novel by Deborah Ellis; Christopher Plummer for best supporting actor in Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World (it’s Plummer’s third nomination; he won in 2010 for Beginners); The Shape of Water’s sound editing and mixing crews, which includes Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira, Glen Gauthier, Christian T. Cooke and Brad Zoern; The Shape of Water’s co-producer, J. Miles Dale, and it’s production and set design team, including Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau; Winnipeg-born editor Sidney Wolinsky for The Shape of Water and Vancouver-born production designer Dennis Gassner for Blade Runner 2049.

Northernstars logo imageWyndham Wise is Editor of Take One’s Essential Guide to Canadian Film and former editor-in-chief of Take One: Film in Canada, as well as an occasional contributor to Northernstars.ca.

Blade Runner 2049

123 minutes – Sci-Fi Drama
Language: English
Release date: October 6, 2017
DVD release date: January 16, 2018
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Based on characters in Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? the story for Blade Runner 2049 was conceived by co-screenwriter Hampton Fancher. Set 30 years after the original film, Officer K (Ryan Gosling) is a new LAPD blade runner who unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years. Blade Runner 2049 is a USA-UK-Hungary-Canada co-production.

Also see: A Banner Year for Canadians at the 2018 Academy Awards.
Also see: This film was selected as one of the Top 10 Canadian Films of the 2010s.
Poster & Trailer courtesy of Warner Bros.

Blade Runner 2049, movie, poster,



Broderick Johnson
Andrew A. Kosove
Cynthia Sikes Yorkin
Bud Yorkin

Executive Producer:

Yale Badik
Bill Carraro
Tim Gamble
Frank Giustra
Val Hill
Ridley Scott

Co-Executive Producer:

Asa Greenberg
Ian McGloin


Dana Belcastro
Carl O. Rogers
Steven P. Wegner

Associate Producer:

Donald L. Sparks


Denis Villeneuve


Hampton Fancher
Michael Green


Roger Deakins


Joe Walker


Benjamin Wallfisch
Hans Zimmer

Production Designer:

Dennis Gassner

Art Director:

Paul Inglis (Supervising art director)
David Doran
Bence Erdelyi
Lydia Fry
Rod McLean
Stefan Speth
Alessandra Querzola (Set Decoration)

Costume Designer:

Renée April

Cast: Roles:

Ryan Gosling
Dave Bautista
Robin Wright
Mark Arnold
Vilma Szécsi
Ana de Armas
Wood Harris
David Dastmalchian
Tómas Lemarquis
Sylvia Hoeks
Edward James Olmos
Jared Leto
Sallie Harmsen
Hiam Abbass
Mackenzie Davis
Krista Kosonen
Elarica Johnson
André Lukács Molnár
István Göz
Pál Nyári
Joshua Tersoo Allagh
Zoltán Béres
Konstantin Pál
Ferenc Györgyi
Samuel Brown
Lennie James
Carla Juri
Kincsö Sánta
Barkhad Abdi
Harrison Ford
Ben Thompson
Suzie Kennedy
David Benson
Stephen Triffitt
Sean Young

Sapper Morton
Lieutenant Joshi
Angry Old Lady
File Clerk
Niander Wallace
Female Replicant
Doxie #2
Doxie #3
Memory Child
Scavenger #1
Scavenger #2
Scavenger #3
Scavenger #4
Scavenger #5
Scavenger #6
Orphanage Boy
Mister Cotton
Dr. Ana Stelline
Birthday Girl
Doc Badger
Rick Deckard
Elvis Look-A-Like
Marilyn Look-A-Like
Liberace Look-A-Like
Sinatra Look-A-Like

Someone Else’s Wedding

Someone Else's Wedding, movie, image,

86 minutes – Comedy-Drama
Festival release date: December 1, 2017 (Whistler Film Festival)
Release date: TBA
Production company: CCI Entertainment
Canadian distributor:

The fractured Haines family attempts a reunion as the eldest son gets set to marry in Montreal. It is a wedding that no one really wants to attend. Barbara Haines (Kathleen Turner) is the forceful matriarch who shows up with wimpy boyfriend Albert (Wallace Shawn) in tow. However, Barbara’s ex-lover Tammy (Francis Fisher) is also at the wedding and since she helped raise the kid, she feels she has some matriarchal privileges as well. Tammy also has a lot of unresolved animosity towards Barbara that has yet to be settled. The younger members of the wedding party also manifest a number of their own issues that bubble up on the occasion of this dysfunctional family get-together as a loud, hilarious, disaster of a wedding ensues.

Someone Else's Wedding, poster, movie,



Pat Kiely
Philip Svoboda
Robert Vroom
Arnie Zipursky

Executive Producer:

Berry Meyerowitz
Jeff Sackman

Line Producer:

Martha Fernandez


Pat Kiely


Pat Kiely


Robert Vroom


Michael Pierro

Art Director:

Sylvain Lemaitre
Élyse Bédard (Set Decoration)

Cast: Roles:

Jessica Paré
Kathleen Turner
Luke Kirby
Jessica Parker Kennedy
Kevin Zegers
Wallace Shawn
Frances Fisher
Cristina Rosato
Jacob Tierney
Kalinka Petrie
David La Haye
Nathaly Thibault
Arthur Holden
Albert Kwan
Johnny Griffin

Barbara Haines
Tammy Bergman
Mareva De La Torre
Hotel Guest

The Shape of Water leads Oscar® Noms

The Shape of Water leads Oscar® Noms
The Shape of Water image courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

(January 23, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Guillermo del Toro’s Golden Globe win as Best Director was a sure sign he would be on the list for the 90th anniversary Oscars® and he and his film, the marvellously crafted fantasy The Shape of Water rule the race with a total of 13 Academy Award nominations announced earlier this morning in Hollywood.

In essence, The Shape of Water tells the story of a mute janitor who falls in love with an imprisoned sea creature. Its 13 nominations, including Best Picture, are just one away from the record for the most in Academy Awards history. The 1950 film All About Eve was the first to be nominated for 14 Oscars®, followed by James Cameron’s Titanic and last year’s La La Land, which costarred Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Nominations are one thing, actually winning is something else. Only three films have won 11 of the coveted Academy trophies including Ben Hur in 1959, Titanic in 1997 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003. All About Eve and La La Land landed 6 awards.

In addition to del Toro for Best Director and the film for Best Picture, as Canadian media was quick to point out, the “shot in Toronto” The Shape of Water nominations include Richard Jenkins for Actor in a Supporting Role; Sally Hawkins, who starred in the Canadian hit Maudie, was nominated as Actress in a Leading Role; Octavia Spencer in the category Actress in a Supporting Role; Dan Laustsen for Cinematography; Luis Sequeira for Costume Design; Sidney Wolinsky for Film Editing; Alexandre Desplat for Original Score; Paul Denham Austerberry for Production Design; Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira for Sound Editing; Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier for Sound Mixing and Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor for Original Screenplay.

Blade Runner 2049 created a lot of buzz for Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, but he was not nominated for his work on the film. It did pick up nominations for Cinematography (Roger A. Deakins), Production Design (Sarah Greenwood), Sound Editing (Mark Mangini and Theo Green), Sound Mixing (Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth) and finally Visual Effects (John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover)

Christopher Plummer picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for All the Money in the World. It must have been a sweet moment for both Plummer and director Sir Ridley Scott. Scott wanted Plummer in the first place but the studio pushed for Kevin Spacey, who Plummer then replaced when all of Spacey’s scenes needed to be reshot after Spacey’s career quickly evaporated.

The Canadian co-production The Breadwinner is one of five films up for an Oscar® in the category Animated Feature.

The 90th anniversary Oscars will be handed out on March 4, 2018 and will be hosted for a second time by Jimmy Kimmel.

Stana Katic

B: April 26, 1978 in Hamilton, Ontario

Known for her role as Kate Beckett in the long-running series Castle, which starred fellow Canadian Nathan Fillion in the title role, Stana Katic began life in Hamilton, Ontario. She moved with her Croatian-born parents to Aurora, Illinois and graduated high school there in 1996. She returned to Canada to study at the University of Toronto and went on to the DePaul University Goodman School of Drama, where she studied acting. She also studied acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse acting school. Stana Katic plays the role of Emily Byrne in the 2018 US-Israeli co-pro series Absentia.

Features & TV Movies:

VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Acid Freaks (1999, short)

Shut-Eye (VR-2003)
Pit Fighter (2005)
Faceless (TV-2006)
Dragon Dynasty (TV-2006)
Company Man (TV-2007)
Feast of Love (2007)
Stiletto (2008)
Quantum of Solace (2008)
The Librarian III: The Curse of the Judas Chalice (TV-2008)
The Spirit (2008)

Truth About Kerry (2010)
For Lovers Only (2011)
The Double (2011)
Big Sur (2013)
Superman: Unbound (voice, VR-2013)
CBGB (2013)
Sister Cities (TV-2016)
The Rendezvous (2016)
Lost in Florence (2017)
Cadaver (2018)

TV Series – Cast:
Would Be Kings (2008, mini-series)
Castle (2009-2016)

Absentia (2018)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
The Handler (2004)
Alias (2004)
Dragnet (2004)
The Shield (2004)
JAG (2004)
The Closer (2005)
ER (2005)
24 (2006)
Brothers & Sisters (2006)
Heroes (2007)
CSI: Miami (2007)
The Unit (2007)

Fletcher Drive (2012)