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Celebrating Black History Month – Lyriq Bent

Lyriq Bent, Actor,
Lyria Bent in his role as Chekura in the mini-series, Book of Negroes. Click to enlarge.

(February 6, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Northernstars continues our look at the careers of a different actor, actress or director during Black History Month. Lyriq Bent was born in Jamaica and moved to Toronto with his family at the age of six. He did well in high school, and later attended Seneca College, graduating with high honours. He began working as a computer graphic technician; his plans, however, were short lived as he decided to take up acting on a dare. From his first appearanceas a non-speaking extra on the series Relic Hunter in 2000, this versatile actor has played an eclectic mix of roles and his multiple guest-starring television roles have kept him very busy. He is perhaps best known as Sgt. Frank Best appearing in 45 episodes of the hit Canadian cop drama Rookie Blue and for his role as Chekura in the CBC mini-series The Book of Negroes.

Read more about Lyric Bent.

Celebrating Black History Month – Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc, actress,

(February 5, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Karen LeBlanc is a multi-talented performer whose credits span film, television and stage. She could also be described as a mover and a shaker. A mover because her career has taken her from one end of the country to the other and back again. A shaker because part of her career was spent as a singer. She sung backup in touring rock bands like the Glass Tiger, soloed with orchestras, and starred in a Tina Turner tribute show. If you know anything about Tina Turner, that’s where the shaking comes in. As for moving, LeBlanc transferred to Vancouver from Toronto in late 2008 when she was cast in the first season of Defying Gravity, a sci-fi series launched by CTV, ABC, the BBC, and Germany’s ProSieben network.

Read more about Karen LeBlanc.

Celebrating Black History Month – Clement Virgo

Clement Virgo, film, director,

(February 4, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Clement Virgo arrived with his family from Jamaica in 1977. He attended West Preparatory Public School in north Toronto before the family moved to Regent Park, the city’s largest public-housing estate, known for its troubles with drugs and crime. He completed high school at Danforth Technical School, where his interest in men’s fashion landed him a job as a window dresser. Always very strongly visually oriented, film directing was a life-long dream for him. He applied for and was accepted into the inaugural 1991 Summer Lab program at Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre.

Read more about director Clement Virgo.

Celebrating Black History Month – Clark Johnson

Clark Johnson, actor,
Clark Johnson publicity still from The Wire. Click to enlarge.

(February 2, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Born in Philadelphia to interracial parents, Clark Johnson arrived in Montreal with his sister Taborah at the age of 15. He attended Concordia University and Eastern Michigan University on a partial athletic scholarship for football. He attended several other universities including Loyola and the University of Ottawa before ending up at the Ontario College of Art as a film major. Johnson was drafted by the CFL and even played stints with the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburg Steelers before he decided to make a go of it in the film and television business.

In 1980 he broke into the business as a special effects technician on David Cronenberg’s Videodrome and The Dead Zone. He began appearing in front of the camera with small parts in films like Nowhere to Hide, Adventures in Babysitting and Colors before securing a recurring part in the popular Canadian cop series Night Heat (1985–88). A busy and highly respected director, look for his new film, Percy, opening in August.

Read more about actor-director Clark Johnson.

Celebrating Black History Month – Rachel Crawford

Racehl Crawford, actress,
Rachel Crawford pictured as Danielle Berg in a CBC publicity image from the series This Life. Click to enlarge.

(February 1, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Once again this year Northernstars is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting the careers of a different Black Canadian actor, actress or film director each day all month long. Rachael Crawford began her acting career as a teenager in Toronto, but as her career blossomed she has been cast in projects in all of the major entertainment centres of North America including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Vancouver. She has worked with such names as Oprah Winfrey, Louis Gossett Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson, to name a few. Throughout her career she has garnered several Gemini and Genie nominations for her work, including her role in the Global Television series Traders and her role in Clement Virgo’s Rude which premiered at Cannes.

Crawford is probably best known for her performance as Petra in Patricia Rozema’s When Night is Falling as well as playing the lead in the Showcase series Show Me Yours.

Read more about Rachel Crawford.

Brett Donahue

Brett Donahue, actor,
Brett Donahue as John F. Kennedy Jr. in ReelzChannel's "The Kennedys - After Camelot"

B: February 1986 in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Brett Donahue is a theatre, film and television actor. He was chosen after an international talent search to play the role of John F. Kennedy Jr. in Muse Entertainment’s original four-hour mini-series The Kennedys: After Camelot.

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

Something Beneath (TV-2007)
My Winnipeg (2007)

Total Recall (2012)
The Shape of Rex (2013)
Alice (2013, short)
Gaysian (2013, short)
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax (TV-2014)
The Editor (2014)
Barn Wedding (2015)
Project: CNY (2016, short)
Come Back (2017, short)
Sleeper (TV-2017)
Radius (2017)
Her Story No. 3: In the Absence of Angels (2018, short)
Her Story (In Three Parts) (2018)
I’d Rather Be in Bed (2018, short)

Slaxx (2020)

TV Series – Cast:
The Other Kingdom (2016)
The Kennedys: After Camelot (2016, mini-series)
Bad Blood (2017, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Nikita (2012)
Beauty and the Bast (2012)
Suits (2013)
Republic of Doyle (2013)
Reign (2014)
Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (2017)
Private Eyes (2019)
Cerebrum (2019)

Barn Wedding, movie poster

Kylie Bunbury

Kylie Bunbury, actress,
Kylie Bunbury as Suhad, the peasant girl in the the mini-series, Tut. Image courtesy of Muse Entertainment.

B: January 30, 1989 in Hamilton, Ontario

Kylie Bunbury is best known for her portrayal of Lacey Porter in the ABC Family series, Twisted, as well as her co-starring role opposite Jonah Hill in The Sitter for FOX. From the mini-series Tut, she is pictured in the role of Suhad. In January 2018 it was announced that some 44 years after Get Christie Love! premiered on ABC, the network has officially greenlit a new drama pilot Get Christie Love, with Kylie Bunbury as the lead. Look for her in the role of Angie Richardson in the 2019 mini-series, Central Park Five.

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

Prom (2011)
The Sitter (2011)
No Kid-ding! (VR-2014, short)
Game Night (2018)
Get Christie Love (TV-2019)

Warning (2020)
Eat Wheaties (2020)

TV Series – Cast:
Twisted (2013-2014)
Tut (2015, mini-series)
Under the Dome (2015)
Pitch (2016)
When They See Us (2019, mini-series)
Brave NewWorld (2020)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Days of Our Lives (2010)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2018)
Robot Chicken (voice, 2018)

Prom, movie poster

Gabe Grey

Gabe Grey, actor,

B: in Erin Mills, Ontario

Gabe Grey is a Toronto-based actor best known for his roles as Dr. Ned Patel on Bomb Girls and as Dr. Naveed Mirali on Lucky 7. He costarred in Deepa Mehta’s Beeba Boys playing a character nicknamed Lovely.

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

America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story (TV-2003)
Tansen (2004, short)
Regret (2008, short)
One Last Shot (2008, short)

Toilet (2010)
Mispocha (2010, short)
The Haircut (2013, short)
Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy (TV-2014)
Beeba Boys (2015)

TV Series – Cast:
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures (2010, mini-series)
Charles Goes on a Date (2012, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
The Border (2008)
Covert Affairs (2010)
Nikita (2010, 2013)
Bomb Girls (2013)
Mayday (2013)
Off2Kali Comedy (2013)
Lucky 7 (2013)
Lost Girl (2014, 2015)

Gabe Grey is represented byc
Shari Quallenberg AMI Artist Management Inc. (Toronto)

Bernard Kira BMK-ENT (Los Angeles)

Beeba Boys, 2015 poster courtesy of Mongrel Media
Beeba Boys, 2015 poster courtesy of Mongrel Media

Peter O’Brian

Deborah Kara Unger and Peter O'Brian at the 2010 Canadian Film Centre. Photo © 2010 by Ralph Lucas.

B: January 1, 1947 in Toronto, Ontario

Born in Toronto, Peter O’Brian grew up in England but moved back to the city of his birth in 1959. He briefly attended the University of Toronto and then moved on to Emerson College in Boston to study film production, graduating in 1969 with a double major in mass communications and film. He returned to Toronto and first worked as an assistant director and production manager while developing scripts he could produce. The first film he produced on his own was the Dan Aykroyd vehicle Love at First Sight. He founded Independent Pictures in 1977 and went on to produce films that won a total of nineteen Genie Awards. Two of them, The Grey Fox (1982) and My American Cousin (1985) earned the Best Picture Genie. The poster for The Grey Fox was scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection. In 2005 O’Brian accepted the position as chair of the board of TVOntario.

Also see: Peter O’Brian’s Tribute to Philip Borsos.

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

Me (co-producer, 1975)
Love at First Sight (1976)
Outrageous! (associate producer, 1977)
Blood & Guts (1978)
Fast Company (co-producer, 1979)

The Grey Fox (1982)
My American Cousin (1985)
One Magic Christmas (1985)
Discovery (1986)
John and the Missus (1986)
Milk and Honey (1988)

Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1995)

The Art of Woo (executive producer, 2001)
Khaled (executive producer. 2001)
Hollywood North (co-executive producer, 2003)

Credits as a Director:
Hollywood North (2003)

René Jodoin

René Jodoin, animator,

B: December 30, 1920 in Hull, Québec
D: January 22, 2015 in Montréal, Québec

René Jodoin was born in Hull on December 30, 1920. After graduating from the École des beaux-arts in 1943, he joined the National Film Board, working with Norman McLaren in the Animation Section. Jodoin was among the first generation of filmmakers hired by McLaren at the NFB. Of all the filmmakers in the group, he is undoubtedly the one who was most influenced by McLaren. His flair for innovation and his artisan’s perception of animation were in keeping with the McLaren legacy. Jodoin directed a small number of films, his first being Alouette in 1944, which he co-directed with McLaren. In 1966, Jodoin founded the French Program animation studio which he headed until 1977. During that time, he brought together a team of young filmmakers. Taking his cue from his apprenticeship with McLaren, he encouraged experimentation, craftsmanship and diversity. Following his retirement from the NFB in 1985, René Jodoin began experimenting with filmmaking on his home computer. In 2001, the Government of Québec awarded him the Prix Albert Tessier, given to individuals with outstanding careers in Québec cinema. He produced 30 titles for the National Film Board. Following are his credits as a Director and animator.

Also see: René Jodoin: Philosopher Fonctionnaire

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

Alouette (1944, short, co-directed with Norman McLaren)

The Standard Range Approach (documentary, 1957, short)
The Jet Beacon LetDown (documentary, 1957, short)
The Automatic Radio Compass: Part II documentary, 1957, short)
Remain VFR (1958, short)

An Introduction to Jet Motors (documentary, 1960, short)
An Introduction to I.F.F. (documentary, 1960, short)
Propagation (documentary, 1960, short)
Julie, Part 3: Water Conditions (documentary, 1960, short)
Directivity (documentary, 1960, short)
Bandwidth (documentary, 1960, short)
Danse carrée (1961, short)
Notes on a Triangle (1966, short)
Spheres (1969, short)

Rectangle & Rectangles (1984, short)
A Matter of Form (1984, short)

Credits as an Animator:
Alouette (1944)
Let’s All Sing Together No. 1 (1944, short)
Let’s All Sing Together No. 2 (1944, short)
Let’s All Sing Together No. 3 (1945, short)
Let’s All Sing Together No. 6 (1945, short)

The Automatic Radio Compass: Part II (documentary, 1957, short)
Aural Null (documentary, 1957, short)
Remain VFR (1958, short)

The Global Struggle for Food (documentary, 1961, short)
Snow (documentary, 1961, short)
People by the Billions (documentary, 1961, short)
Man and His Resources (documentary, 1961, short)
Danse carrée (documentary, 1961, short)
Challenge to Mankind (documentary, 1961, short)
Can the Earth Provide? (documentary, 1961, short)
IFF Mark 10: Selective Identification Feature (documentary, 1963, short)
Notes on a Triangle (1966, short)
Spheres (1969, short)

Rectangle & Rectangles (1984, short)

Jean Yoon

ACTRA Toronto Honours Jean Yoon

Photo of Jean Yoon courtesy of CBC.

B: in Illinois

Jean Yoon is an actor and playwright based in Toronto who works regularly on both stage and screen. Recent credits include Bruce McDonald’s The Husband and The Time Traveler’s Wife and on the smaller screen with appearances on Orphan Black, The Expanse and Remedy. She is the voice of “Connie” on the Emmy Award winning PBS Kids show Peg + Cat; and she is especially proud of her work on the Radio Canada series L’Or, and on the CBC mini-series Dragon Boys for which she earned a Gemini nomination in 2007. Yoon originated the role of “Umma” at the 2011 Toronto Fringe production of Kim’s Convenience. The play was also produced for Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre and went on to more than 240 performances in six cities, before being adapted for CBC television.

Also see: ACTRA Toronto will Honour Jean Yoon with its 2020 Award of Excellence.

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

Cow Belles (2006)
The Dark Room (TV-2007)
Accidental Friendship (TV-2008)
Unlocked (2009, short)

Cancel Christmas (2010)
Dream House (2011)
Wishing Well (TV-2011)
Christmas with Holly (TV-2012)
Compulsion (2013)
Issues (2013, short)
Empire of Dirt (2013)
The Husband (2013)
Wedding Palace (2013)
Disconnection (2014, short)
Rupture (2016)
Project: CNY (2016, short)
John Lives Again (2015)
The Meaning of Life (2017)

TV Series – Cast:
The Path to 9/11 (2006, mini-series)
Dragon Boys (2007, mini-series)
The Trojan Horse (2008, mini-series)
Everything She Ever Wanted (2009, mini-series)

Peg + Cat (voice, 2013-2015)
Kim’s Convenience (2016-)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
La Femme Nikita (1998)

L’or (2001)
Blue Murder (2001)
Witchblade (2001, 2002)
Street Time (2002)
Odyssey 5 (2002, 2003)
Doc (2003)
1-800-Missing (2003)
Kojak (2005)
This is Wonderland (2005, 2006)
ReGenesis (2006)
The Best Years (2007)
M.V.P. (2008)
Instant Star (2008)
Being Erica (2009)

Unnatural History (2010)
Warehouse 13 (2010)
Rookie Blue (2010)
Lost Girl (2010)
Little Mosque on the Prairie (2012)
The Firm (2012)
Orphan Black (2013, 2016)
The Lottery (2014)
Remedy (2014, 2015)
Beauty and the Beast(2015)
The Expanse (2015)
Private Eyes (2016)
Baroness Von Sketch Show (2016)
Shoot the Messenger (2016)
Incorporated (2016)

Web Series:
Save me (2017)

The Meaning of Life, movie, poster,

Oluniké Adeliyi

Oluniké Adeliyi, actress,
Photo of Oluniké Adeliyi © 2018 R.A.Lucas

B: January 5, 1977 in Toronto, Ontario

Oluniké Adeliyi was born in Toronto and raised in St. Anne’s, Jamaica and Brampton, Canada. She got the acting bug at a very young age after being cast as the Artful Dodger in her middle school play Oliver Twist. She studied her craft at The Canadian Academy of Method Acting and continued her studies at the Professional Actors Lab working with one of Canada’s well-known artistic directors, David Rotenberg. A graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, she has performed in theatres throughout Canada and the U.S., playing leading roles in Blue Window, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Children’s Hour, Jitney and Michael Cristofer’s The Shadow Box. A multi-talented performer, she is also an accomplished dancer who has toured for major international recording artists including Shaggy, George Clinton and other renowned musicians. Her other stage performances include The Marriage of Anansewa by Efua Sutherland, Wedding Band, by award winning playwright Alice Childress, where she starred as Julia Augustine and as Fatumata in How To Stay Sane in Paris written and directed by award-winning director Omonike Akinyemi. Her full name is Wendy Oluniké Adeliyi. She is pictured at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards where she was nominated for her work in the film Boost.

Also see: CDN Films at TIFF 2020 – Take 2.

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

John Q (2002)
Undercover Brother (2002)
Do You Like to Watch Dot Com (TV-2003)
New York Minute (2004)

Saw 3D (2010)
Book Club (2010, short)
Two Cities (2010, short)
Who is Simon Miller? (TV-2011)
French Immersion (2011)
Her Husband’s Betrayal (TV-2013)
Three Days in Havana (2013)
The Returned (2013)
Half Way Home (voice, 2013, short)
Agape (2014, short)
A Wish Come True (TV-2015)
Group Home (TV-2015)
The Parting Glass (2017)
The Emissary (2017, short)
Boost (2017)
Taken Too Far (TV-2017)
The Drop In (2017, short)
Darken (2017)
GUION (2018, short)
Deep Space (2018)
The Prodigy (2019)
Chaos Walking (2019)
Tammy’s Always Dying (2019)
She Never Died (2019)
Sila (2019, short)

Akilla’s Escape (2020)

TV Series – Cast:
Flashpoint (2009-2012)
Workin’ Moms (2017-)
Deep Space (2019)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Blue Murder (2003)
The Border (2008)

Combat Hospital (2011)
Being Human (2012)
The Listener (2012)
Cracked (2013)
Republic of Doyle (2013)
Remedy (2014)
Saving Hope (2015)
Lost Girl (2015)
Killjoys (2016)
The Girlfriend Experience (2017)
American Gods (2017)
Deep Six (2018)

Akilla’s Escape, movie, poster,

Marcel Fournier

Photo © Lois Siegel. Used with permission.

B: November 10, 1932 in Drummondville, Québec
D: December 4, 2015 in Longueuil, Québec

For years Marcel Fournier led a family of stunt performers. Their fame was such that Ottawa filmmaker and photographer Lois Siegel made a documentary about them. Titled Stunt People, the film covered four generations of the Fournier family doing what they liked doing best: smashing cars, catching fire and falling off buildings for the fun of it. Their passion is action and adventure. The film was based on a short produced for the National Film Board and titled Stunt Family. Marcel Fournier was 83 when he died. Thought to have been in as many as 100 films, we have posted the few titles we’ve been able to find.

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

Les smattes (1972)
Keep it in the Family (stunts, 1973)
La mort d’un bûcheron (1973)
The Pyx (1973)
Y’a toujours moyen de moyenner! (1973)
Bingo (stunts, 1974)
East End Hustle (1976)
L’eau chaude, l’eau frette (1976)
Rabid (1977)
Les bons débarras (stunts, 1979)

Aéroport: Jeux du hasard (shunts, TV-1980)
Final Assignment (stunt coordinator, 1980)
Happy Memories (stunt coordinator, 1981)
Gas (1981)
Au clair de la lune (actor, stunt coordinator, 1981)
Covergirl (stunt double, 1984)

Une histoire inventée (1990)
Le vent du Wyoming (1994)

13 Scary Canadian Films

The Mask, movie,
This image from the Warner Bros. release The Mask was scanned from an original still set in the Northernstars Collection.

13 Scary Canadian Films for Halloween
by Wyndham Wise

(October 30, 2019 – Toronto, ON) Canadian horror movies rarely make it onto the curriculum for Canadian cinema studies, but nevertheless they occupy an important place in the canon. From The Mask, released in 1961, to the Resident Evil franchise, Canadian horror movies have broken new ground and box office records. The Mask was the first Canadian feature to be successfully released in the U.S.; Resident Evil: Afterlife became the highest-grossing Canadian movie worldwide. And while Canadian horror might be the orphan child of academia, it lives and thrives online and elsewhere. There are film festivals like Toronto After Dark and Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival and others that include the latest Canadian films from the dark side, as well as multiple websites dedicated to the genre and its fan base appears alive and well, at least in cyberspace.

I have chosen a sampling of 13 vintage and recent Canadian films for your Halloween viewing pleasure, from Bob Clark’s perennial favourite, Black Christmas, which some consider the first “slasher” film, to David Cronenberg’s early works, which earned him the reputation as the “Baron of Blood,” to the offbeat zombie films Fido and Pontypool, to werewolves

Poster scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
Poster scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
(Ginger Snaps), ghouls (Silent Hill) and demons from Hell (The Gate) — a veritable smorgasbord of fright, blood and gore. So warm up the DVD player or order from your favourite VOD supplier and enjoy.

(My own personal favourite, David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986) with Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, is the director’s masterful re-imaging of the 1958 original. Although it was shot in Toronto with Cronenberg’s regular creative team, it was financed by American producer/comedian Mel Brooks and does not qualify as a Canadian film.)

Black Christmas (1974) with Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea and Margot Kidder. As the holiday season approaches, one by one the residents of a sorority house are brutally slain by a heavy-breathing maniac armed with plastic wrap and some serious childhood traumas. The film acts as a somewhat less-than-graphic precursor to the impending run of slasher films in the later 1970s and 1980s (such as Friday the 13th and Halloween), offering a preview of conventions such as the prowling, subjective camera, menacing phone call from inside the house, the slaughter of sexy but dumb young women and the uncertain death of the killer. Black Christmas is a rarity among Canadian films. It was remade in 2006. In that version, the backstory of the killer is fleshed out with scenes of incest, cannibalism and butchery, which provide the only really interesting drama in this otherwise predictable chopping shop of a movie. Andrea Martin, who appeared as one of the sorority sisters in the original, is recast as the housemother, a part that went to Olivia Hussey in the original.

The Brood (1979) David Cronenberg scored a major commercial breakthrough with this, a painful divorce psychodrama masquerading as a horror flick. Samantha Eggar plays Nola, a woman whose rage at the break-up of her marriage manifests itself physically. Whenever she is especially upset, murderous little imps in anoraks go after her nearest and dearest with mallets. By prying into her unconscious, a psychiatrist (Olivier Reed) only exacerbates her anguish. Cronenberg has described The Brood as his riposte to Kramer vs. Kramer, although it is hard to imagine Meryl Streep eating her afterbirth; entertaining but gruesome.

The Changeling (1980) costars George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere and Melvyn Douglas. Scott plays a music lecturer/composer who buys a grandiose Seattle mansion to recover from a personal tragedy (his son was killed in a horrific traffic accident). The house turns out to be haunted by the avenging spirit of a child whose murder was covered up by a “changeling” (Douglas), who grew up to inherit a fortune and became a powerful industrialist and senator. This middling haunted-house tale is well shot and nicely designed, with a few good moments but uneven performances by the veteran Hollywood leads.

Fido (2007) with Carrie-Anne Moss and Billy Connolly. Just when you thought there was no way to spin a fresh zombie story, along comes the quirky Fido. In a black-and-white set-up, we learn that “space particles” descended on earth, re-animating the dead and leading to zombie wars. A scientist invents a device similar to a dog collar, which, once placed on the zombies, makes them quiet harmless. Timmy is a shy boy who lives in a small town right out of Blue Velvet. His mother (Moss) buys a zombie (Connolly) to keep him company. After initial hesitation, Timmy warms to his new friend, whom he names Fido, but things go horribly wrong when Fido’s collar goes on the fritz. Through a series of complications, this eventually leads to a localized outbreak of rampaging zombies, but all ends happily ever after. Fido is a hybrid: part horror film, part social satire and a rather odd remake of Lassie Come Home.

The Gate (1987) A storm brings down an ancient tree in the backyard of a Spielbergian suburban family home, and as soon as the parents leave for a long weekend, demons from Hell are unleashed on the unsuspecting teens (including a young Stephen Dorff). The Gate, a horror flick in the vein of Poltergeist, concentrates on the traditional fears of children – strange noises in the night, moving shadows, the death of a family pet, a monster in the closet – and although the happy ending is predictable, there are some truly frightening moments. The pint-size, flesh-eating demons (created by special effects wizard Randall William Cook) are particularly spooky and unpleasant.

Ginger Snaps (2001) A sophisticated attempt at grafting teen angst onto a werewolf tale, Ginger Snaps shows off plenty of mood, spirit and shrewd intelligence. Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) are smart teenage girls who have somehow avoided the onset of menstruation. The night that 16-year-old Ginger finally gets her period, she ends up doubly cursed by being attacked and mauled by a wolf. The film offers bursts of graveyard humour and revenge-of-the-repressed thrills, but as a genre picture it has too much on its mind and sometimes forgets to be scary enough to give basic horror thrills. Its success rated a sequel, Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed (2004), but the third instalment, Ginger Strikes Back: The Beginning, (2004), went directly to DVD.

The Mask 3D (1961) has a number of firsts to its credit. It was the first Canadian feature to be distributed in the U.S. by a major studio (Warner Bros.) and is Canada’s only contribution to the 3D craze of the 1950s, although it was released four years after the trend had died out in Hollywood. Movie patrons were given cardboard masks with built-in 3D glasses that they were instructed to wear whenever a character in film said: “Put the mask on — now!” The plot involves an ancient Indian ritual mask that drives those who wear it to murder.

Lobby Card for Prom Night scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
Lobby Card for Prom Night scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
Prom Night (1980) with Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen. Fresh from the success of Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis cemented her early reputation as the “screen queen” with this slasher tale of revenge. Four witnesses to a young girl’s accidental death years ago are targets of a stalking killer on the night of the high school prom. While definitely inferior to Halloween and Carrie, the two films that provide the framework for this low-budget knock-off, Prom Night survives as a cult favourite in the genre, and is the subject of a trivia question in Wes Craven’s Scream. A sequel, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II followed seven years later. Prom Night III (1989) and Prom Night IV (1992), went directly to video.

A multinational co-production, the Resident Evil franchise, based on the best-selling video game and staring Milla Jovovich, was launched in 2002. The second installment and No. 4 and No. 5, were shot in Canada, making them official Canadian co-productions. In Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) the ghosts are undead cannibals, released from the underground laboratories of a crazy biotech corporation to lay waste to a place called Raccoon City (for which Toronto does the stand-in honours). In the end, Toronto gets nuked. Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D (2010), the fourth installment, which was shot with same 3D technology used by James Cameron in Avatar, produced a worldwide gross of over $296 million, making it the top-grossing Canadian film to that time. In Resident Evil: Retribution 3D (2012), Alice (Jovovich) continued her battle against the undead in this fifth outing. The film has the distinction of being the first Canadian-produced film to open No. 1 at the North American box office during its first weekend of release. The next instalment, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is scheduled to open in late January of 2017.

Pontypool (2009) In this low-budget, one-set entry from Bruce McDonald, which takes place in the Ontario hamlet of the title, a grizzled DJ (Stephen McHattie), prone to quoting Roland Barthes and Norman Mailer holed up in his church basement broadcast studio along with his two production assistants, starts his morning show with reports of riots and cannibalism spreading throughout the countryside. More of a psychological thriller than a true zombie film, in officially bilingual Canada, the English language has become infected with an alien virus.

Shivers, movie,
Lobby Card for Shivers scanned from an original set in the Northernstars Collection.
Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977) David Cronenberg’s first two features remain unsettling benchmarks in the history of apocalyptic, low-budget, anti-establishment 1970s indie horror. Shivers is an over-the-top gruesome tale of a sexually transmitted disease that literally drives people crazy, and Rabid (1977) is about a woman (porn star Marilyn Chambers) whose plastic surgery operation leads to her being stung by a wicked bloodlust (much like a vampire), infecting her victims with a form of rabies. Both include some of the director’s more unpleasant obsessions, some rather campy gore and dark, subversive humour while he was working with cheaper budgets. Not for all tastes, undoubtedly, but essential viewing for enthusiasts of David Cronenberg.

Silent Hill (2006) is a multinational co-production shot in Canada and based on the popular, violent Japanese game manufactured by the Konami Corporation, the world’s fifth largest producer of video games. Rose (Radha Mitchell) desperately searches for her lost daughter (Jodelle Ferland) in the mysterious and terrifying town of Silent Hill, where they are both trapped. When dad (Sean Bean) arrives with officer Gucci (Kim Coates) in tow, we discover Silent Hill exists in a parallel universe full of demons, ghouls and creepy crawlies. Directed by Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf), it’s sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, opened wide just in time for Halloween 2012.

Visiting Hours (1982) with Michael Ironside, Lee Grant and William Shatner, is a nasty thriller about an outspoken feminist journalist (Grant) who decides to take a public stand against domestic violence. Unfortunately, her television rants attract a woman-hating psychotic (a very menacing Michael Ironside) who attacks and rapes her in her home. She ends up in a hospital, and her would-be killer soon follows to finish the job. William Shatner makes an appearance as Deborah’s concerned boss. Distributed in the U.S. by 20th Century Fox, this low-budget movie proved to be a box office success and launched Ironside’s career Stateside.

Northernstars logo imageThis article was written for Northernstars.ca by Wyndham Wise who has written about Canadian film for more than 40 years.

The images for The Mask, The Fly, Prom Night and Shivers were scanned from originals in the Northernstars Collection.

Jared Abrahamson

Jared Abrahamson, actor,
Photo of Jared Abrahamson at TIFF 2016 © 2016 by Ralph Lucas. Used with permission.

B: in Flin Flon, Manitoba

Born and raised in Flin Flon, Manitoba, Jared Abrahamson currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. After a stint working in the mines and competing as a pro mixed martial arts fighter, he attended the Vancouver Film School. Abrahamson had a lead role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film Finding a Family (2011) and parts in the ABC pilot The Manzanis. Watch for him playing Trever Holden in the 2017 TV drama Travelers.

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

Come Home Soon (2009,short)

Finding a Family (TV-2011)
Possessing Piper Rose (TV-2011)
Seattle Superstorm (TV-2011)
The Manzanis (TV-2012)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012)
Destroyer (2013, short)
If You Ask Me To (2014, short)
New (2014, short)
A Cold Night in a Small Town (2014, short)
The Submarine Kid (2015)
Blowtorch (2016)
Detour (2016)
Texas Heart (2016)
Hello Destroyer (2016)
Blowtorch (2017)
Sweet Virginia (2017)
Keep Watching (2017)
Be Afraid (2017)
Veracruz (2017)
Gun (2017)
Gregoire (2017)

TV Series – Cast:
Travelers (2016)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Awkward (2014, 2015)
Fear the Walking Dead (2015)

Hello Destroyer, movie, poster,

Milya Corbeil-Gauvreau

Milya Corbeil-Gauvreau, actress,

B: October 18, 2002

Milya Corbeil-Gauvreau’s work in the short film La Coupe (The Cut) was recognized with a Best Female Performance award at the Molise Cinema Film Festival in Italy. In 2017 she was given the Geneviève Bujold Award by Espoir du Cinéma Québécois for her work in the short, Les Rois mongols (Cross my heart).

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

Alexis le Trotteur (2010, short)
La Coupe (aka The Cut, 2013, short)
Démon (2014)
Nelly (2016)
Les roles Mongols (2017)
Speak Love (2018)
Teen Fever (2018)
Plume (2019, short)
Les Filles Aussi (2019, short)

TV Series – Cast:
Avec-moi (2019, mini-series)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Subito Texto (2016)
30 vies (2016)

La vie compliquée de Léa Olivier (2020)

Milya Corbeil-Gauvreau is represent by:
Sybille Sasse Talent and Modeling Agency
1600 Notre Dame West
Suite 205
Montreal, Québec
H3J 1M1

Phone: 1 (514) 934-0393
Fax: 1 (514) 934-0326
Email: info(at)sybillesasse.com

Nelly, movie, poster,
Poster for Nelly courtesy of Entertainment One.

Dylan Neal

B: October 8, 1969 in Richmond Hill, Ontario

Like Raymond Massey before him, Dylan Neal attended Appleby College after his family had moved from Richmond Hill to Oakville, Ontario. While attending Blakelock High School, he enrolled in the drama program and at the urging of the drama teacher, Dylan Neal signed with a talent agent in Toronto and began to go to auditions. It didn’t take long for him to decide this was the direction he wanted to go in. In 1992, he moved to Los Angeles, where his career quickly took off. He left LA in 2006 when he and his family moved to Vancouver so he could take the role of Mike Celluci on the Lifetime television series Blood Ties. In 2011, Dylan and family moved back to Los Angeles. He played the role of Jack Griffith on the series Cedar Cove. He plays Bob Adams in the Fifty Shades series of films.

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

Captain Power: The Beginning (TV-1989)

Prom Night III: The Last Kiss (VR-1990)
Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story (TV-1996)

The President’s Man (TV-2000)
XCU: Extreme Close Up (2001)
Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight (TV-2002)
40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)
Landspeed (2002)
Chupacabra Terror (VR-2005)
Locusts (TV-2005)
Extreme Dating (2005)
Mute (2005, short)
Vampire Bats (TV-2005)
Cradle of Lies (TV-2006)
Lethal Obsession (TV-2007)
Matters of Life & Dating (TV-2007)
Storm Seekers (TV-2009)

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
The Traveler (2010)
My Family’s Secret
He Loves Me (TV-2011)
Another Man’s Wife (TV-2011)
Ice Road Terror (TV-2011)
Obsession (TV-2011)
Dangerous Intuition (TV-2013)
A Wife’s Nightmare (TV-2014)
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
The Gourmet Detective (TV-2015)
The Gourmet Detective: A Healthy Place to Die (TV-2015)
Death Al Dente: A Gourmet Detective Mystery (TV-2016)
Fifty Shades Darker (2017)
Fifty Shades Freed (2018)
Truly, Madly, Sweetly (TV-2018)
BOULEVARD (2018, short)

TV Series – Cast:
Summer Storm (1988, mini-series)

The Bold and the Beautiful (1994-1996)
Hyperion Bay (1998-1999)
Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003)

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (2003)
Blood Ties (2007-2008)

Arrow (2013-2014)
Cedar Cove (2013-2015)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future (1988)
Learning the Ropes (1988)
War of the Worlds (1989)
My Secret Identity (1989)

E.N.G. (1990)
Manic Mansion (1990)
Top Cops (1991)
Catwalk (1992)
Sweating Bullets (1993)
Class of ’96 (1993)
Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1993)
Moloney (1997)
Life with Roger (1997)
Pacific Palisades (1997)
Profiler (1998)
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show (1998)
Working (1998)
You Wish (1998)
JAG (1999)
It’s Like, You Know… (1999)

Thieves (2001)
Relic Hunter (2002)
She Spies (2002)
I’m With Her (2003)
LAX (2004)
Kevin Hill (2004)
CSI: Miami (2005)
The War at Home (2006)
The Jake Effect (2006)
Psych (2008)
Stargate: Atlantis (2008)
The L Word (2009)
Wild Roses (2009)
Murdoch Mysteries (2009, 2017)
Smallville (2009, 2010)

Human Target (2010)
Life Unexpected (2010)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2011)
Rizzoli & Isles (2011)
Haven (2011)
Flashpoint (2011)
90210 (2012)
Ringer (2012)
Bones (2012)
Motive (2013)
Arrow (2013, 2014)
Dead of Summer (2016)

Fifty Shades of Grey, 2015 movie poster
Fifty Shades of Grey, 2015 movie poster


116 minutes – Drama
Language: English
Canadian release date: February 19, 2016
Canadian distributor: Entertainment One

Partially shot in Montreal, this is the true story of Jesse Owens (Canadian actor Stephan James), the African American track and field athlete who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Owens goes to Ohio State to study and while there, is spotted by coach Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis), who recognizes Jesse’s potential. He inspires Jesse to aim for gold at the next Olympics, to be held in Germany. Meanwhile American officials deliberate on whether the United States should participate or withdraw, due to Hitler’s Nazi regime and its treatment of Jews and other minorities. Race is a France-Germany-Canada co-production.

Race, 2015 movie poster


Stephen Hopkins
Louis-Philippe Rochon
Karsten Brünig
Thierry Potok
Jean-Charles Levy
Luc Dayan
Kate Garwood
Nicolas Manuel
Dominique Séguin

Executive Producer:

George Acogny
Jonathan Bronfman
Morgan Emmery
Scott Kennedy
Al Munteanu
Thierry Potok
Mark Slone

Line Producer:

Scott Kennedy


Stephen Hopkins


Joe Shrapnel
Anna Waterhouse


Peter Levy


John Smith


Rachel Portman

Production Designer:

David Brisbin

Art Director:

Jean-Pierre Paquet


Stephan James
Jason Sudeikis
Eli Goree
Shanice Banton
Carice van Houten
Jeremy Irons
William Hurt
David Kross
Jonathan Higgins
Tony Curran
Amanda Crew
Barnaby Metschurat
Vlasta Vrana
Shamier Anderson
Jesse Bostick
Moe Jeudy-Lamour
Gaetan Normandin
Jacob Andrew Kerr
Dondre Octave
Jeremy Ferdman
Giacomo Gianniotti
Tim McInnerny
Jonathan Aris
Nicholas Woodeson
Larry Day
Michèle Lonsdale Smith
Andrew Moodie
Adrian Zwicker
Bruno Bruni Jr.
Marcus Bluhm
Glynn Turman
Anthony Sherwood
Justus Carrière
Karl Graboshas
Steffen Mennekes
Ricky Watson
Frank Schorpion
Anian Zollner
Tim Post
Chantel Riley
John Maclaren

Jesse Owens
Larry Snyder
Dave Albritton
Ruth Solomon
Leni Riefenstahl
Avery Brundage
Jeremiah Mahoney
Carl ‘Luz’ Long
Dean Cromwell
Lawson Robertson
Joseph Goebbels
Eulace Peacock
Ken Seitz
Mel Walker
Frank Wykoff
Foy Draper
Ralph Metcalfe
Marty Glickman
Sam Stoller
Charles Sherrill
Alfred J. Lill
Fred Rubien
Francis Schmidt (football coach)
Emma Owens (mother)
Henry Owens (father)
Adolf Hitler
Hans Ertl
Wolfgang Furstner
Harry Davis
Reverend Ernest Hall
Carl Diem
Adolf Dassler
Reporter #2
Reporter #3
Hans Von Tschammer
Phil Diamond (head timer Ferry Field)
Quinella Nickerson
Announcer at Ferry Field

William Greaves – Biography

William Greaves – Biography
by Wyndham Wise

The Harlem-born William Greaves was Canada’s first black filmmaker. In 1948, he joined the fabled Actor’s Studio and studied alongside the likes of Marlon Brando, Anthony Quinn and Shelley Winters. He pursued an acting career on the New York stage, but unsatisfied with the parts he was being offered in button-down McCarthy-era racist America, he relocated to Montreal in 1952. There he joined the National Film Board of Canada, and for the next decade or so sharpened his skills as a filmmaker on shorts such as the award-winning Gold (1955, sound editor) and two from the the influential Candid Eye cinéma-vérité series, Blood and Fire (1958, editor) and Emergency Ward (1959, director and editor), which focuses on the goings-on of a busy emergency ward of a Montreal hospital on a Sunday evening. He directed his last film for the Board, Four Religions, in 1960.

Greaves later wrote about his reasons for joining the Board and working in Canada: “I had a very good opportunity in Canada. The Canadians were much more liberal than Americans. Race didn’t have that much meaning to them. And I was fortunate to be taken onto the production staff of the National Film Board, set up by John Grierson. I was taken by his social uses of film. He proposed ways in which film could be a social force, an educational tool. And this interested me.”

He returned home in 1962 and took a position with the United Nations, and was hired by the U.S. Information Agency to make several documentaries. He formed his own production company, William Greaves Productions, in 1964 and became committed to the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King. In 1969, he produced the Emmy Award-winning Black Journal, a news magazine for, by and about African-Americans for the National Educational Television (a direct predecessor to the modern PBS). In 1981, he was the executive producer on the Richard Pryor hit comedy Bustin’ Loose.

Greaves is now regarded as pioneer in the American independent film scene. In all, he has produced and directed more than 200 documentaries and has received more than 70 international film awards. Between 1969–82, he taught film and television acting at the Less Starsberg Theatre and Film in New York. He has been inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and received a Life Achievement Award of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers.

William Greaves died at his home in Manhatten after a long illness.

Also see: William Greaves’ filmography.

Northernstars logo imageThis mini-biography was written for Northernstars.ca by Wyndham Wise and is Copyright © 2013. It may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information about copyright, click here.

Ted Allan – Biography

Ted Allen, screenwriter,
Photo of Ted Allan © Lois Siegel. Used with permission.

Born in 1916 into a poor, Montreal, Jewish immigrant family, Ted Allan hungered for a larger world and had to figure out himself how to get there. Poverty, fascism, and anti-Semitism, together with a destructive madness in his family, led Allan, at age 17, to the Communist Party—the hope of the 1930s.

Age 20, he joined the International Brigade alongside Nonnan Bethune in the Spanish Civil War, and his war stories and dispatches from the front earned him a worldwide literary reputation. Later, blacklisted in the U.S. and censored by the CBC in Canada, Allan fled in the 1950s to London, where he became a leading television writer for the BBC and was at the centre of a progressive, dynamic coterie of writers, actors, and artists, including Lawrence Olivier, Sean Connery, Zero Mostel, Edna O’Brien, Mordecai Richler, and Doris Lessing.

Khruschev’s revelations of Stalinist reality, however, tore the core of Allan’s political belief system apart. Working through his disillusionment, Allen wrote some of his best work, including his play, The Secret of the World, judged by critic Bernard Levin as “one of the greatest tragedies of the era”; the screenplay for Lies My Father Told Me, based on his childhood love for his grandfather, and nominated for an Academy Award; Bethune: The Making of a Hero (adapted from his own biography, The Scalpel and the Sword); and, in collaboration with Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes, the screenplay for Lovestreams (adapted from his play, My Sister’s Keeper, based on Allan’s relationship with his sister), winner of the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival.

Northernstars logo image
This biography was copied from the media notes for the Gala Film/National Film Board documentary co-production, Ted Allan: Minstrel Boy of the 20th Century.

Also see: Ted Allan’s filmography.