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Cocksure Lads Opens 2015 Canadian Film Fest

;Cocksure Lads Opens 2015 Canadian Film Fest;
(March 25, 2015 – Toronto, ON) We doubt anyone reading this will not have heard of The British Invasion. Spearheaded by The Beatles in the 1960s, an invasion of sorts took place when British rock ‘n’ roll replaced an almost exclusive grasp on the radio dial long held by American singers and bands. The upside, after knocking Canadian music just about off the dial, is there was growing pressure on the broadcast regulator to guarantee a place on radio for Canadian music and in 1972 content rules came into being. Any successful Canadian musician can trace their success, in part, to that year and that regulation. But don’t think The Cocksure Lads Movie is a documentary.

With all that history obviously rumbling around in the head of musician-filmmaker Murray Foster when he sat down to write his first feature screenplay out came The Cocksure Lads Movie and it launches the 2015 Canadian Film Festival tonight in Toronto.

;The Cocksure Lads Movie poster;A non-profit organization devoted to the celebration, promotion and advancement of Canadian filmmaking talent, the CFF exclusively screens Canadian films with the goal to provide filmmakers with valuable showcasing and networking opportunities and to offer the public homegrown productions to view and enjoy. And it has been successful over the years.

“The CFF has expanded from three to four days, and this year’s lineup is a testament to the wealth of diversity present in the Canadian film industry,” said Bern Euler, Executive Director and founder of the Canadian Film Fest. “We’re very proud to celebrate the talent that is present and emerging in our own backyard.”

The Cocksure Lads Movie is a hilarious feature-length musical comedy about an English band on the cusp of stardom who arrive in Toronto for their first-ever North American tour. Ten minutes after arriving, they get into a fight over royalties and break up. It`s cast is a combination of British, Canadian and British-born Canadian actors with a music pedigree that can’t be touched. Written and directed by Murray Foster of Moxy Fruvous and Great Big Sea fame, the original music was written by Foster and bandmate Mike Ford. Great Big Sea lead singer Alan Doyle has a small role in the film as well. No theatrical release date has been announced for The Cocksure Lads Movie, so this might be your only chance to see it for a few months.

There is a full program of features and shorts available online. Take a look at the closing film as well. Also making its Toronto premiere, Pretend We’re Kissing costars Dov Tiefenbach, Tommie-Amber Pirie and Zoe Kravitz.

Serge Giguère Honoured with a Jutra

by Maurie Alioff

;Serge Giguère © 2015 by Maurie Alioff;
Photo © 2015 Maurie Alioff.

(March 18, 2015 – Montréal, QC) Overwhelmed by the coverage, including our own, of Xavier Dolan`s Mommy winning an incredible 10 Jutra Awards was the story of a film by renowned Québec documentarian, Serge Giguère. It is titled Le mystère MacPherson (Finding MacPherson), a feature produced by the prolific cinematographer-director’s company, Les Productions du Rapide-Blanc, made with the National Film Board and the winner of the Best Documentary Jutra on Sunday night. Like many of Giguère`s films, it was years in the making..

Le mystère MacPherson zeroes in on animation filmmaker Martine Chartrand, who devoted ten years of her life to creating a movie about the relationship between legendary folk singer Félix Leclerc and a Jamaican called Frank Randolph Macpherson. Leclerc met his friend following the chemical engineer’s emigration to Quebec in 1917. Naturally, it’s surprising that Leclerc, so focused on Québécois rural life, would connect with a man from such a different culture, and even write a song inspired by the Jamaican called “MacPherson.”

For the NFB, “The film is a story about memory: a memory of the song that would push animation filmmaker Martine Chartrand to create the striking and poetic animation MacPherson, which was made using 35mm film to shoot a series of paintings on glass, while revisiting her own history. This highly personal and historical journey was captured by Giguère, who accompanied Chartrand from the very start. A sympathetic look at an artist at work, Le mystère MacPherson is also a steadfastly humanist film that highlights the imperceptible but unbreakable links that bind us to each other. “

During his long career, Giguère and his longtime collaborator, ex-wife Sylvie Van Brabant, have sought out one-of-a-kind characters rooted in the funkiest aspects of Quebec culture. Giguère’s films can have a freewheeling quality that reflects subjects like jazz drummer Guy Nadon and the irreverent performer, Oscar Thiffault.

Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette wrote, in part, “You really should look this one up — it’s a moving story about race, friendship, Quebec history and the strange world of animation filmmaking.”

Click here for more about Serge Giguère.

Mommy Sweeps Jutra Awards

by Maurie Alioff

;Mommy wins 10 Jutras © 2015 by Maurie Alioff;
Photos © 2015 Maurie Aloff

(March 15, 2015 – Montréal, QC) When the Québec film community gathered for its annual celebration of itself and the year’s best work, the ceremony turned out to be an unusual one. Not because one movie swept the major awards; that has happened before.

The fact is, there’s never been anyone like Xavier Dolan in the history of Quebec cinema: 25-years-old, five films in five years, the latest one, Mommy, an award-winner at Cannes, and the recipient of nine trophies at the Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Dolan is a peripatetic writer-director who engages in just about every aspect of a project: he produces, edits, designs costumes, and oversees the promotion. Obviously hard working and totally committed, he is also a playful young ;Nancy Grant and Xavier Dolan © 2015 Maurie Alioff;man who sparkles with glamour. An actor since childhood, Dolan has star power that seduces both the media and the public. He’s an original who never spouts the political, social, and creative philosophy platitudes typical of certain Quebec filmmakers gone by.

As the Prix-Jutra show ramped up, most observers were convinced that even though Dolan’s disturbing, high-flying, breath-taking Mommy was up against some good movies, particularly Stépahne Lafleur’s deadpan comedy Tu dors Nicole, it would most probably take all the major awards. This prospect distressed some people in the industry, especially during a period when many Québec movies are both lackluster and tanking at the box-office. As the night unfolded, the predictions of the various pundits proved to be true. At one point actor Antoine Bertrand called the event “Le Gala des Prix Mommy.”

Not only was Mommy the year’s biggest artistic success, and the year’s top money-earner, Dolan is now poised to jump to another level with his first English-language picture, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, which he wrote with another young actor-writer-director, Jacob Tierney. The movie will star Jessica Chastain, who has befriended Dolan, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, and Kit Harington, (Jon Snow in Game of Thrones). It’s a huge turning point for an artist who is firing on all cylinders, and there’s never been a Jutra moment like this before.

By tradition, the first award announced is for Best Supporting Actress, and repeating what happened in Toronto at the beginning of the month, the Jutra went to Suzanne Clément for Mommy. The actress, who appeared in Dolan’s I Killed My Mother and starred in his Laurence Anyways, seemed breathless, excited, and a little scattered as she accepted the prize. Dressed simply in a white skirt and black sleeveless top, she connected strongly with the audience, which ;André Turpin © 2015 Maurie Alioff;roared its approval, happy to see her win. Immediately following, Mommy was awarded the prize for the most successful film outside Québec.

After a few Jutras that didn’t go to Mommy, Dolan won for Best Screenplay. On stage he appeared subdued and serious in a dark suit, thanking his father, an Egyptian-born actor and calling his Quebecoise mother his “inspiration.”

Immediately following the screenplay award, the brilliant cinematographer and sometime director André Turpin (pictured) picked up his Jutra for Best Cinematography for Mommy, which deploys a radically narrow aspect ratio that suggests Instagram or cell phone footage. (The Rihanna-Kanye West-Paul McCartney video Four-Five Seconds seems to have been inspired by Mommy’s format).

Another unusual feature of the 2015 Prix-Jutra was the fact that Dolan competed against himself with his darkly comic thriller, Tomà la ferme, which took a best The Best Supporting Actor prize for Pierre-Yves Cardinal.

When it was all over Mommy had taken 10 Jutra Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Antoine Olivier Pilon), Best Actress (Anne Dorval), and the Cineplex Billet d’or, which is given to the Québec film that earns the most at the box office. In their acceptance speeches, Dolan and Pilon were more coolly dignified than spilling ;André Melançon © 2015 Maurie Alioff;over with emotion although Dolan did make a loving speech about Quebec cinema and society, which he said never lies and is always passionate.

One of the evening’s emotional highlights was Anne Dorval’s onstage appearance. Close to Dolan, and the woman he has called his muse since their first collaboration in I Killed My Mother, she tearfully thanked him for “everything you gave me.” For sure, Dolan’s uncanny ability to work with actors has unleashed her talent. “She wanted to do something as far away as possible from my first film and from herself,” Dolan told me when Mommy screened at TIFF. And certainly the emotionally volatile, working class, spike heels and tight jeans-wearing eternal teenager she plays in Mommy is far removed from Dorval’s real life as an Outremont artiste.

The other big emotional moment was veteran moviemaker André Melançon’s acceptance of his Prix-Hommage honour. Best known for the children’s films La guerre des tuques and Bach et Bottine, Melançon has been struggling with serious illness. He delivered an impassioned speech that touched on the importance of cinema for Québec society, and then as a hommage to La guerre des tuques the audience got pelted with what looked like a deluge of snowballs.

The Ricardo Trogi feature 1987 picked up three Jutras for Best Artistic Direction, Best Costumes and Best Hair. It was nominated for Best Picture as was the black and white Tu dors Nicole, honoured with Jutra Awards for Best Sound and Best Original Music.

Do Not Track Launches at Tribeca Film Fest

;Do Not Track launches at Tribeca Film Fest;
(March 11, 2015 – Montréal, QC) Hot on the heels of five wins at the Canadian Screen Awards, the National Film Board is launching a new digital documentary series that`s all about what you’re doing right now: spending time on the Internet. Do Not Track, the series title, raises a question that touches each and every web user

News from The Northernstars Collection

News from The Northernstars Collection, image,

News from The Northernstars Collection
by Ralph Lucas, Publisher

(March 9, 2015 – Toronto, ON) Long time fans of Northernstars.ca will know that we try very hard to have as much original and exclusive content as possible. Part of that is republishing articles, reviews and interviews from our Take One Magazine digital archives, which we purchased in 2007. And part of that is our ever-growing Northernstars Collection, where we acquire posters, stills, lobby cards, magazines and other ephemera dealing with Canadians in the movies from the silent era in Hollywood to more recent productions. Our oldest piece dates to 1885. Picking through some of our more recent acquisitions there`s a magazine from 1924 and a series of 4 stills showing James Cameron at work on Titanic.

Ghostbusters II, image,
This set of lobby cards was scanned from originals in the Northernstars Collection.
The photo above was scanned from a series of lobby cards for Ghostbusters II. With the recent news that there will finally be a new instalment in the series and this time with an all female cast, we thought we should add these lobby cards to an earlier purchase of a set of lobby cards from the first Ghostbusters movie. Made in 1989 the sci-fi fantasy comedy was produced and directed by Ivan Reitman. The film grossed some $215 million and received mixed reviews. The main cast consists of Bill Murray as Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz, Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett, Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler, Rick Moranis as Louis Tully and Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore.

This set of 8 lobby cards were in excellent condition and while not an expensive addition to the Collection, it was a chance to grow the collection and have images of Canadian costars Dan Aykroyd and Rick Moranis.

It’s hard to find photos of Ivan Reitman at work. We did, however, jump at the chance to get images of two other Canadian directors at work. In one, Canadian Film Centre founder Norman Jewison is pictured directing a scene from his hit movie, Moonstruck. Released in 1987, Roger Ebert gave it 4 out of 4 stars. It stars Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia Dukakis.

Norman Jewison, director,
Scanned from an original image in the Northernstars Collection.
Nominated for six Oscars® at the 60th Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, it won for Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. Jewison did win the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for this film that went on to gross over 91-million dollars at the North American box office. Roger Ebert, writing about the movie, said, “Reviews of the movie tend to make it sound like a madcap ethnic comedy, and that it is. But there is something more here, a certain bittersweet yearning that comes across as ineffably romantic, and a certain magical quality.”
James Cameron, film director,
Scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
The other photo we’re showing here is one of four shots of Canadian-born James Cameron at work on Titanic. Due to his father’s career, the family moved to Orange County and Cameron went to California State University to study physics. Although he got good marks, he switched his major to English. He dreamed of being involved in filmmaking, a dream that had started as a young boy when he saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. Finally surrendering to his dreams, he dropped out of school and took a series of menial jobs including working in a machine shop, being a truck driver, a school bus driver, and painting pictures, which allowed him to write the stories he wanted to write. After toying with making his own short films, he landed a job as a miniature model maker for the Roger Corman Studios. Titanic was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won eleven, including the awards for Best Picture and Best Director, tying Ben Hur (1959) for the most Oscars won by a single film. Its initial worldwide gross was over $1.84 billion, the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark and remained the highest-grossing film of all time until Cameron`s 2009 film Avatar surpassed it in 2010. A 3D version of Titanic, released on April 4, 2012 to commemorate the centennial of the sinking, earned it an additional $343.6 million worldwide, pushing the film`s worldwide total to $2.18 billion. It became the second film to gross more than $2 billion worldwide after Avatar.
The Sweet Hereafter, movie, poster,
Special Edition, Cannes Grand Prix winner poster for The Sweet Hereafter. A Northernstars Collection poster.
While not a picture of Atom Egoyan, one of the posters we added to the collection in the last few months is from one of his most successful films, The Sweet Hereafter. This particular poster is a bit of rarity in that it was issued shortly after winning special recognition at the 1997 Cannes International Film Festival. This teaser poster from Alliance Films was meant to generate interest in the film before its official opening and official poster were released in Canada. This poster joins an earlier acquisition of a set of 8 stills from the making of The Sweet Hereafter.

One of the earliest Canadian posters we have acquired is from the 1950 Jan Rubes and Susan Douglas thriller, Forbidden Journey. It didn’t do well at the box office, but what Canadian film did in 1950? We haven’t used the poster in this article but if you click on the link to the movie you can see it there. Trivia fans may want to note that character actor John Colicos plays a bit part as a student in this film.

Gordon Pinsent, actor,
This photo of Gordon Pinsent by Gail Harvey was taken during the making of John and the Missus and was purchased by the Northernstars Collection
Another rarity and a great find for us was a photo of Gordon Pinsent during the making of his film John and the Missus.Released in 1986, John And The Missus is a romantic drama which unfolds during the early 1960s when the fate of an isolated mining community could be determined by the Government’s resettlement program. The Munn family, John, the Missus and their son, Matt, are legends in their town of Cup Cove. Not only are they the descendants of the town`s founders but they are among the most enthusiastic boosters Cup Cove’s traditional way of life. A cave-in at the mine gives the government`s representative the opportunity to close the mine permanently. The resulting crisis tests not only the deep love John and the Missus have for each other and their family, but also threatens the existence of the town itself. Costarring Gordon Pinsent and Jackie Burroughs, Pinsent also wrote and directed the movie based on his novel. What also made this particular image interesting for us is that it was taken by Gail Harvey.

Other images for actors Donald Sutherland, John Qualen, John Ireland, Christopher Plummer and others have also been added to the collection, as well as a set of 4 lobbycards for the British made House of Fright starring Paul Massie, a set of 8 lobbycards for the Donald Sutherland/Kate Nelligan film Eye of the Needle, 8 lobbycards for the film House by the Lake and 8 lobbycards for the John Candy comedy Who’s Harry Crumb?

We’ve also added many posters including one for the National Film Board production of the Tim Southam film, Drowning in Dreams, and a copy of the poster for the Michel Brault 1999 film, Quand je serai parti… vous vivrez encore, which is titled in English as Long Winter. Many of these acquisitions have yet to be scanned and added to Northernstars.ca but if you check back we’re always updating and cycling new content into our existing pages, as well as adding new pages on a daily basis.

Deanna Durbin, actress,
Scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
Two of our favourites from earlier times include singer-actress Deanna Durbin and Toronto-born “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford. We have so many images of these two actresses that its’ impossible for us to use them all online. What attracted us to this particular image of Deanna Durbin was the caption on the back of the photo. Headlined “Deanna Durbin to be June Graduate,” we were instantly reminded of how young the Winnipeg-born star was when she was making movies for Universal. The caption goes on in part to say, “Deanna Durbin, singing star of the screen, will graduate for her high school studies at the end of June. Her graduation exercises will find her in the midst of her eight Universal picture, Spring Parade, on which camera work has just begun.” Things like this are hard for us to resist.

Also, just about anything with Mary Pickford’s name on it will get our attention. It’s been a year or so since we did a count but there are probably 125 items related to her in our collection, yet we can still be tempted if there is something compellingly different about what we’re offered.

Mary Pickford, actress,
Scanned from an original magazine in the Northernstars Collection.
This image intrigued us immensely. Was Mary Pickford ever interested in the supernatural? “I didn’t know I had been accused by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of being a spiritualistic medium!” begins a 1924 article in Movie Weekly Magazine. How could we possibly turn down a chance to acquire a copy of the whole magazine, in fairly good condition given its age? In addition to the story, which we plan to republish in its entirety in early April on Pickford’s birthday, there’s a great photo of the star herself front and centre on the page.

The article, by Grace Kingsley, also contains some interesting details about the time of the interview that led to this piece. At one point Kingsley writes, “We were sitting on the edge of the Haddon Hall set — a gorgeously realistic reproduction of beautiful, old historic Haddon Hall with its quaint leaded glass panes in the bow windows, its stately steps and its charming lawn. Mary, as Dorothy Vernon, was clad in a ravishing green and silver costume of the period and looked lovelier than I had ever seen her.”

We don’t buy magazines that often but over the years the Northernstars Collection has added quite a few. In addition to the articles that are our primary reason for being interested, there are often secondary articles which might be about young and up and coming Canadian stars, or just shorter articles about established stars.

In addition to articles about and by Mary Pickford, we have also republished early articles about the world’s first movie star, Florence Lawrence, and an article written by Marie Prevost whose career and life had a particularly sad ending. If you click through the various pages we have on Pickford, Lawrence and Prevost, you will see that we have quite a solid collection of photos and other items about these early stars of the silent screen.

Now in our 15th year of publishing, the Northernstars Collection is just one of several initiatives we hope will help Canadians and the world learn more about today’s Canadians in the movies and the Canadian history of Hollywood.

Thanks for your support.

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.

Pretend We’re Kissing to Screen at Indie Series

;Pretend We're Kissing at Canadian Indie Series;
(March 6, 2015 – Toronto, ON) There has been significant discussion over many years — decades in fact — about the key weakness in the Canadian film industry, distribution. Small films with small budgets can’t expect to be given the same screen time a huge Hollywood blockbuster will get given the investment the theatre chain pays in renting the film from the distributor. Even relatively successful Canadian films never seem to last very long on the big screen. There have been various attempts to put bums in seats, none of them successful no matter how dedicated the small band of advocates are, most if not all surviving as non-profit corporations funded largely by the whims of various levels of government and various government agencies. Yet, years later not much has changed. Now comes a new attempt and this one has promise of success because it is being initiated by a theatre chain.

It`s called The Canadian Indie Film Series and it`s a curated series of Canadian Independent films that will enjoy a sneak preview on the first Wednesday of every month at 18 Landmark theatre locations in Canada. Each movie will then be available that month in select partner cinemas.

The Canadian Indie Film Series started earlier this week with the Canadian Screen Award nominated feature film The Valley Below. It screened on March 4th at 18 Landmark Cinemas across Canada and will go on to play for week long engagements in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa and elsewhere. Between March 4th-7th, the cast and crew will travel to Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Hamilton for special appearances and Q&A’s

The second film in the series is the debut feature film for Canadian actor-writer-direct Matt Sadowski, Pretend We’re Kissing. Chosen to be the closing film for the Canadian Film Festival in Toronto, it will screen there on March 28. A few days later, on April 1, it will screen as part of The Canadian Indie Film Series in Landmark Cinemas locations across Canada.

The film follows Benny and Jordan, two regular, everyday people who have a whirlwind weekend romance. Dov Tiefenbach (Harold and Kumar, Sympathy for Delicious) plays Benny, a nebbish character who struggles to make a real romantic connection and Tommie-Amber Pirie (Michael: Tuesday and Thursdays, Bitten) is Jordan, a girl hell-bent on proving magical love can exist. Benny`s roommate Autumn, is brought to life by Zoë Kravitz (Divergent, Mad Max: Fury Road), an unemployed, bi-sexual hippy who is also a self-diagnosed agoraphobic.

Click here for more about Pretend We’re Kissing and for a link to a trailer for the film. Click here to learn more about the Canadian Indie Film Series. If enough people see these movies the concept will grow and if it becomes successful other chains may copy the idea and if that happens we may finally have a viable, sustainable Canadian film biz.

India’s Daughter this Sunday on CBC

;India`s Daughter this Sunday on CBC;
(March 3, 2015 – Toronto, ON) This Sunday, March 8, is International Women`s Day. In honour of the day and the women it celebrates, the CBC is joining other networks around the world airing a special documentary titled India`s Daughter. In a land that can sometimes seem magical and can sometimes claim to be the seat of the world peace movement, there is a violent belief system that rules its archaic and unnecessary caste system which at its heart places women at risk and often places them in danger.

India’s Daughter is the story of the gang rape and murder of a young woman that shocked the world and sparked riots and protests all over India. Grieving parents and one of the rapists tell the story of the night six men brutally assaulted 23 year old medical student, Jyoti Singh while driving around Delhi, India`s Capital, in a bus.

“So many of our people grow up thinking that a girl is less important than a boy is,” said then Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dixit. “Because she`s less important you can do what you like with her.”

On December 16, 2012 Jyoti and a male friend boarded a private bus to return home after going to a movie. The six men on the bus objected to a girl and unrelated boy being out alone and in order to teach them a lesson they beat her friend unconscious and brutally assaulted and gang raped her for almost an hour as the bus rode round and round the highways, before throwing them out of the bus and into a ditch. Against all odds, Jyoti survived two weeks but died after multiple surgeries.

Jyoti Singh`s father, Badri Sing once commented, “For a father who once upon a time let his baby girl sleep over him, who held her in his arms and played with her, who held her finger and taught her to walk…to have to set fire to that daughter during cremation by his very hands…this is very difficult. The most difficult.”

The brutal and brazen crime inspired Indians to take to the streets for over a month and protest their country`s tragic problem of systemic violence against women. Ordinary men and women withstood tear gas, water cannons and police brutality to demand changes in India`s attitudes towards women. The collective outrage has led to changes in law and the first glimmers of change in a deeply ingrained mindset.

India’s Daughter also examines the values and mindsets of the rapists whom the filmmakers had exclusive and unprecedented access to interview between their conviction and expected hanging. It exposes a skewed patriarchal society in which an institutionalized view of women as second-class, and even undesirable, citizens leads to such heinous crimes against women. It makes an impassioned plea for change and reveals the deadly price one young woman and her family have paid for the continuing tragedy of violence against women.

“Our daughter`s name is Jyoti Singh. In death she has lit a torch…she posed a question. What is the meaning of ‘a woman?’ I wish that whatever darkness there is in the world should be dispelled by this light,” said her father.

India`s Daughter is being aired around the world to coincide with International Women`s Day (March 8). It is a UK-India co-production. Director-Producer Leslee Udwin is a BAFTA award winning producer for East is East, her first feature film. The follow up to that film, West is West premiered at TIFF in 2010.

India`s Daughter airs on CBC`s The Passionate Eye on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 10 PM ET/PT

Jessica Paré in Irish Film Fest Opener

;Standby to Open Toronto Irish Film Fest;
(March 3, 2015 – Toronto, ON) The 2015 Toronto Irish Film Festival, which could call itself TIFF. but doesn’t, preferring the distinctive TIRFF, opens this Friday. It`s the 5th annual showing for this relatively new fest and the opening film is a doozy. It`s titled Standby and it costars Brian Gleeson and Mad Men costar Jessica Paré. “We’re delighted to be celebrating five years of TIRFF”, said Michael Barry, co-founder of the festival. He went on to say that the festival “has become an annual event for Toronto’s Irish community and for everyone who loves Irish film. We owe a lot to our sponsors and partners, and above all our audience, who have helped us reach this landmark year.”

Standby is all about a 20-something land named Alan (Gleeson) who is spectacularly down on his luck. Stood up at the altar and recently fired from his banking job, he finds himself working with his mother as a part-time tourist advisor at Dublin Airport. It`s there he comes face to face with first love Alice (Paré), stuck on standby for a flight home to New York. Their summer romance ended eight years previously with Alan promising to return to the US one day. He never did, and they haven’t spoken since. Seizing his chance, Alan convinces a reluctant Alice to stay one more night in Dublin. Over the course of an unforgettable evening, they may just realise that they are more ;Standby, movie poster;compatible than ever. But time is running out on this brief encounter. When does an unexpected second chance, become the one you’ve always been looking for?

Directed by borthers Rob and Ronan Burke, Standby kicks off the festival that only runs from Friday until Sunday. This year`s fest is a tale of three cities. Dublin is centre stage in Standby. Saturday’s program features two very different takes on Belfast during the The Troubles with Good Vibrations, a riotous chronicle of Terry Hooley’s life, owner of the eponymous record store, instrumental in developing Belfast’s punk rock scene. Then, ’71 is a gripping fusion of charged political drama and action-thriller starring Jack O’Connell and is set against the backdrop of West Belfast and follows the riveting story of a young British soldier trapped behind enemy lines.

Also on Saturday is the Toronto Premiere of Gold, the feel good story of an estranged father (David Wilmot) who returns to Dublin to reconcile with his daughter (Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones) and her mother, unintentionally wreaking havoc in their lives.

On Sunday, TIRFF’s annual Shorts Program showcases a strong line-up of Ireland’s up-and-coming filmmakers.

The Toronto Irish Film Festival wraps on Sunday with the Northern Irish artist and filmmaker Marcus Robinson’s documentary tribute to NYC with a story of post 9/11 renewal. Titled Rebuilding the World Trade Center, the film is the epic story of hope that is emerging from the rubble and chaos of 9/11. Since 2006, Belfast artist and filmmaker Marcus Robinson has spent over 2,000 days filming the vast new towers rising out of the bedrock of New York City. Using a combination of observational documentary and breath taking time lapse photography this dramatic and stylish film is an artist’s tribute to the tenacity of New York’s construction workers and the spirit of renewal and endeavor that permeates this unique project construction site. The connection? New York is a city whose history is bound up with the Irish immigrants who helped build it.

Click here for a link to the Toronto Irish Film Festival and other festivals happening in March.

Canadian Screen Awards, By The Numbersby Ralph Lucas, Publisher

Canadian Screen Awards, By The Numbers
by Ralph Lucas, Publisher

;Xavier Dolan and Nancy Grant © 2015 R.A.Lucas;
All photos © 2015 by Ralph Lucas

(March 2, 2015 – Toronto, ON) The third annual Canadian Screen Awards wrapped last night at one of the glitziest venues in the country, the large and lavish Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. It was a packed house and it contained a who`s who of the Canadian film and television industries. In the media room as the pre-broadcast awards were being handed out it soon became apparent that the feature film Mommy, and the TV series Orphan Black would capture most of the awards and it was a foregone conclusion before the gala broadcast began that by the end of the night those two titles would win their categories.

Xavier Dolan’s drama Mommy swept the Canadian Screen Awards winning an incredible nine of the coveted trophies including Best Motion Picture, Best Director for Dolan. Dolan is pictured above with Producer Nancy Grant. Continuing the count, cast members Anne Dorval won for Best Actress, Antoine-Olivier Pilon took the Best Actor award and Suzanne Clément won Best Actress in a supporting role.

Orphan Black won Best Dramatic Series and Best Actress for star Tatiana Maslany, which was a repeat of last year capping a remarkable 10 awards, most of them handed out before the broadcast, which led to the speculation, which turned out to be right.

Sticking with the numbers story, Producer Don Carmody was on hand to pick up the award for top grossing film at the box office for the period epic Pompeii, which was shot in Toronto. Although the award is based strictly on Canadian box office numbers, it came as a bit of a revelation when presenter Enrico Colatoni revealed that the film topped more than 100-million dollars in worldwide distribution. Pompeii also dominated in the technical awards with five wins including costume design, art direction and visual effects.

One of the highlights of the evening, in addition to Andrea Martin putting a stellar performance as host, was the appearance of recent Oscar®-winner Julianne Moore as a presenter. She was nominated for her role in David Cronenberg`s Maps to the Stars. Again looking at the numbers, the film was nominated for 11 CSAs but only picked up two. There was some suggestion that her win as Best Actress at Cannes for this film gave her an edge but as mentioned above, Mommy got in the way. The film did win Best Supporting Actor for John Cusack but he was, unfortunately, not in attendance.

Some of my personal favorites won awards last night including Torill Kove for her animated short Me and My Moulton, and Reg Harkema for his brilliantly conceived and executed documentary, Super Duper Alice Cooper.

To take a final look at the count, a total of 25 awards were presented before the Broadcast Gala, which aired on CBC. During the show another 18 Canadian Screen Awards were handed out. A complete list of the 2015 nominees and winners is available online.

Northernstars.ca congratulates all of the nominees and winners at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards.

Canadian Screen Awards – Night Two

Canadian Screen Awards,

Canadian Screen Awards – Night Two
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(February 26, 2015 – Toronto, ON) Things kicked up a notch at the second night of the Canadian Screen Awards last night at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto. You could tell by the sudden appearance of the TV cameras, almost totally absent the night before. Also, and without prejudice of any kind, a lot of the awards on the first night went to the people behind the scenes, the people that actually pour their heart and souls into getting the work side of showbiz done. Last night there were some pretty big names in attendance, including Rick Mercer, Callum Keith Rennie and Paul Gross (pictured above) who was honoured by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television with the Earle Grey Award for Lifetime Achievement.

“The Academy is honoured tonight to be able to recognize the creators and artists of Canada’s favorite drama, comedy, and kids’ television programming, that entertain and inspire us,” said Academy Chair, Martin Katz.

Helga Stevenson, Academy CEO, added “You, the producers, artists and craftspeople of the Canadian screen industry are critical to this country. The arts, and more specifically, our moving image arts, define us and connect us.” At which point the host, comedian Darrin Rose, launched into his routine. Being a non-broadcast event and since he was playing to a different audience, he used the exact same banter he had used the previous night but was a bit smoother having had some practice with the material.

Following is an edited list of the winners of a Canadian Screen Award lsited by category:

Best Achievement in Casting:
Orphan Black – Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion
Space (Bell Media)
Sharon Forrest, Susan Forrest

Best Animated Program or Series:
Rocket Monkeys
Teletoon (Corus Entertainment)
(Breakthrough Entertainment)
Dan Abdo, Mauro Casalese, Mark Evestaff, Joan Lambur, Ira Levy, Jason Patterson, Stephanie VanBruggen and Peter Williamson

Best Children’s or Youth Fiction Program or Series:
MuchMusic/MTV (Bell Media)
(Epitome Pictures Inc.)
Stefan Brogren, Sarah Glinski, Matt Huether, David Lowe, Linda Schuyler, Stephen Stohn and Stephanie Williams

Best Costume Design:
Murdoch Mysteries – Murdoch in Ragtime
Alexander Reda

Best Direction in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series:
Degrassi – Hypnotize
MuchMusic / MTV (Bell Media)
Phil Earnshaw

;Don McKellar © 2015 R.A.Lucas;
Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series:
Sensitive Skin – The Return Of The Other Davina
HBO Canada (Bell Media/ Corus Entertainment)
Don McKellar (pictured)

Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series:
The Best Laid Plans
Peter Moss

Best Direction in a Dramatic Series:
Orphan Black – Mingling its Own Nature With It
Space (Bell Media)
TJ Scott

Best Entertainment Special:
Michael Bublé’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special
CTV (Bell Media)
(Chanci Ventures)
Bruce Allen

Best Host in a Pre-School, Children’s or Youth Program or Series:
The Adventures of Napkin Man – Just Me in a Tree
Yannick Bisson

Best Host in a Variety, Lifestyle, Reality/Competition, or Talk Program or Series:
Don’t Drive Here – Port-Au-Prince
Discovery Channel Canada (Bell Media)
Andrew Younghusband

Best Original Music Score for a Program:
Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery
Robert Carli

;Rick Mercer © 2015 R.A.Lucas;
Best Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series:
Rick Mercer Report
(Island Edge Inc.)
Gerald Lunz, Rick Mercer (pictured), Tom Stanley

Best Visual Effects
Vikings – Invasion
History Channel Canada (Shaw Media)
Dennis Berardi, Michael Borrett, Ovidiu Cinazan, Jeremy Dineen, Maria Gordon, Bill Halliday, Eric Lacroix, Jim Maxwell. Julian Parry and Dominic Remane

Best Writing in a Comedy Program or Series:
Call Me Fitz – Baby’s First Brothel
TMN / Movie Central
(Bell Media / Corus Entertainment)
Derek Schreyer

;Jordan Gavaris © 2015 R.A.Lucas;

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Series:
Orphan Black – Mingling its Own Nature With It
Space (Bell Media)
Jordan Gavaris (pictured)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Series:
Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy
Global (Shaw Media)
Ali Liebert

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role or Guest Role in a Comedic Series:
Mr. D – Donor Dinner
Jonathan Torrens

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role or Guest Role in a Comedic Series:
Spun Out – Stalkblocker
CTV (Bell Media)
Lauren Ash

;Aislinn Paul © 2015 R.A.Lucas;

Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series:
Degrassi – My Own Worst Enemy
MuchMusic/MTV (Bell Media)
Aislinn Paul (pictured)

Best Performance in a Guest Role, Dramatic Series:
Motive – Pitfall
CTV (Bell Media)
Callum Keith Rennie

A complete list of Canadian Screen Award winners can be found on the Academy’s website. Northernstars.ca congratulates all of the nominees and winners.

Canadian Screen Awards – First Night

;Canadian Screen Week Begins;
All images © 2015 by Ralph Lucas

(February 25, 2015 – Toronto, ON) The first of three Canadian Screen Awards celebrations took place last night at the Sheraton Centre opposite City Hall in downtown Toronto. In the large crowd were some of the movers and shakers of the industry including uber-producer Don Carmody, newscasters Wendy Mesley and Sandy Rinaldo, producer-director Barry Avrich and many, many more. The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television presented 50 awards in the categories of News & Sports, Documentary, Lifestyle, Reality and Digital Media. Hosted by comedian Darrin Rose the non-broadcast event was opened by Academy Chair, Martin Katz, who said, “Tonight we kick off the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards celebrating the ‘Canadian reality’ in all its forms, from news and documentaries to sports, lifestyle and reality programming. We congratulate all the nominees and winners who bring the reality of the Canadian experience to the screen.”

“It is your talent, determination and yes, your sense of fun, which bring diverse stories to our many screens,” said Helga Stephenson, Academy CEO. “The Academy is proud to recognize you, the Canadians creators delivering excellence in television and digital media year-round.”
;Helga Stevenson © 2015 R.A.Lucas;
One of the big winners last night was the documentary, Our Man in Tehran, which picked up a total of four Canadian Screen Awards.

Following is a complete list of award-winners by category:

Barbara Sears Award for Best Editorial Research: Tales From The Organ Trade History Channel Canada (Shaw Media) Ric Esther Bienstock, Sheila Mandell, Anastasia Trofimova

Barbara Sears Award for Best Visual Research: Apocalypse WWI – Fury TVO / Knowledge Network (TVO, Knowledge Network) Valerie Combard, Elizabeth Klinck

Best Biography or Arts Documentary Program or Series: UNSUNG: Behind the Glee TVO (TVO) (Shaftesbury) Scott Garvie, Christina Jennings, Moze Mossanen, Jeff Spriet

Best Cross-Platform Project – Children`s and Youth Sponsor | Bell Fund: Grojband – The Show Must Go On! (Secret Location, Fresh TV) Noora Abu Eitah, Ryan Andal, Pietro Gagliano, Tom McGillis, James Milward

Best Cross-Platform Project – Fiction: Played – Interference (Secret Location, Bell Media, Back Alley Film Productions) Ryan Andal, Lisa Collings, Melonie de Guzman, Marty Flanagan, Pietro Gagliano, Janis Lundman, James Milward, Greg Nelson, Chris Skinner, Lindsay Zier-Vogel

Best Cross-Platform Project – Non-Fiction: Big Brother Canada Digital (Secret Location) Ryan Andal, Lynne Carter, Michala Duffield, Zach Feldberg, Sean Fernie, Pietro Gagliano, CJ Hervey, Cynthia Long, James Milward, Emily Morgan, Christine Shipton
;Drew Taylor © 2015 R.A.Lucas;
Best Direction in a Documentary or Factual Series: Wild Canada – The Eternal Frontier CBC (CBC) Jeff Turner

Best Direction in a Documentary Program: Our Man in Tehran TMN / Movie Central (Bell Media / Corus Entertainment) Drew Taylor (pictured), Larry Weinstein

Best Direction in a Lifestyle/Practical Information Program or Series: Income Property – Jamie HGTV Canada (Shaw Media) Marc Simard

Best Direction in a Live Sporting Event: 2013 Grey Cup TSN (Bell Media) Paul Hemming

Best Direction in a Reality / Competition Program or Series: The Amazing Race Canada – What`s it Take to Get a Cup of Tea CTV (Bell Media) Rob Brunner

Best Documentary Program: Sponsor | bravoFACTUAL: Our Man in Tehran TMN / Movie Central (Bell Media / Corus Entertainment) (Rhombus Media Inc., Film House Inc.) Niv Fichman, Drew Taylor, Larry Weinstein

Best Factual Program or Series: Ice Pilots NWT History Channel Canada (Shaw Media) (Omnifilm Entertainment Ltd.) Michael Chechik, David Gullason, Gabriela Schonbach

Best History Documentary Program or Series: Apocalypse WWI TVO / Knowledge Network (TVO / Knowledge Network) (Ideacom international, CC&C) Josée Roberge, Eric Michel, Josette D. Normandeau, Louis Vaudeville, Pascale Ysebaert

Best Host or Interviewer in a News or Information Program or Series: W5 CTV (Bell Media) Tom Kennedy

Best Lifestyle or Talk Program or Series: Income Property HGTV Canada (Shaw Media) (SKIT Inc) Jennifer Dick, Jenna Keane, Al Magee, Scott McGillivray, Kit Redmond

Best Live Sports Event Sponsor | Dome Productions Olympics – Gold Medal Hockey Game – Women CBC (CBC) (CBC) Chris Irwin, Brian Spear

Best Local Newscast CBC News: Toronto CBC (CBC) (CBC Toronto) Dwight Drummond, Dayna Gourley, Alan Habbick, Anne-Marie Mediwake, Alexandra Sienkiewicz

Best National Newscast: Global National Global (Shaw Media) (Global News) Kenton Boston, Dawna Friesen, Michael Hennigar, Doug Sydora, Doriana Temolo

Best News Anchor, Local: Global BC News Hour Global BC (Shaw Media) Chris GailusBest News or Information Program CBC News: the fifth estate – Made in Bangladesh CBC (CBC) (CBC) Tarannum Kamlani, Mark Kelley, Lysanne Louter, Aileen McBride

Best News or Information Segment: W5 – The War Zone CTV (Bell Media) Mary Dartis, Garry Dwyer-Joyce, Paul Freer, Denis Langlois, Victor Malarek, Jerry Vienneau

Best News or Information Series: CBC News: the fifth estate CBC (CBC) (CBC News) Julian Sher, Jim Williamson

Best News Special CBC News: Moncton Shooting – The Capture of Justin Bourque CBC (CBC) (CBC News: The National, CBC News Network, CBC New Brunswick) Derek Desouza, Mark Harrison, Darrow MacIntyre, Mark Ross, Kate Scroggins

Best Original Interactive Production Produced for Digital Media: Fort McMoney (TOXA, NFB) David Dufresne, Raphaëlle Huysmans, Philippe Lamarre, Hugues Sweeney

Best Original Music for a Non-Fiction Program or Series: Tales From The Organ Trade History Channel Canada (Shaw Media) John Welsman

Best Original Program or Series produced for Digital Media – Non-Fiction: A Short History of the Highrise (The New York Times, NFB) Katerina Cizek, Gerry Flahive, Jacqueline Myint, Jason Spingarn-Koff

Best Photography in a Documentary Program or Factual Series: Our Man in Tehran TMN / Movie Central (Bell Media / Corus Entertainment) John Minh Tran

Best Photography in a Lifestyle or Reality / Competition Program or Series: Survivorman – Survivorman: Argentina Travel & Escape / Science Channel (Blue Ant Media Production Inc/Discovery Communications LLC) Max Attwood

Best Photography in a News or Information Program, Series or Segment: 16×9 – Lev Tahor Global (Shaw Media) Kirk Neff

Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series: Our Man in Tehran TMN / Movie Central (Bell Media / Corus Entertainment) Steve Weslak

Best Picture Editing in a Factual Program or Series: Mayday – Into the Eye of the Storm Discovery Channel Canada (Bell Media) Daniel Hawkes

Best Picture Editing in a Reality/Competition Program or Series: The Amazing Race Canada – What`s it Take to Get a Cup of Tea CTV (Bell Media) Jonathan Dowler, Al Manson, Kyle Martin, Seth Poulin, Michael Tersigni

Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Non-Fiction Program or Series: Big Brother Canada – Finale Slice (Shaw Media) Peter Faragher, Andy Roskaft, Sandra Svendsen

Best Reportage, Local: Mount Polley Mine Disaster Global (Shaw Media) John Daly, Jas Johal, Marc Riddell

Best Reportage, National CTV News – They Would Bury the Children Last CTV (Bell Media) Janis Mackey Frayer

Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series The Nature of Things – Invasion of the Brain Snatchers CBC / Radio-Canada (CBC /Radio-Canada) (CBC / Radio-Canada) Sue Dando, Mike Downie, FM Morrison, David Wells

Best Sound in a Documentary, Factual or Lifestyle Program or Series: Our Man in Tehran TMN / Movie Central (Bell Media / Corus Entertainment) Martin Lee, David McCallum, Sanjay Mehta, Brennan Mercer, Jane Tattersall

Best Sports Analyst in a Sports Program or Series: 2014 NHL Playoffs – Game 7- Los Angeles/Anaheim TSN (Bell Media) Ray FerraroBest Sports Feature Segment Re/Orientation TSN (Bell Media) Brent Blanchard, Mike Farrell, Paul Harrington, Josh Shiaman, Ken Volden, Aaron Ward

Best Sports Opening/Tease: 2013 Grey Cup TSN (Bell Media) Matt Dunn, Owen Ewers, Michael Farber, George Hupka

Best Sports Play-by-Play Announcer: 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games CBC (CBC) Jim Hughson

Best Sports Program or Series: What If: The Unlikely Story of Toronto`s Baseball Giants Sportsnet (Rogers Media) (Fadoo Productions Inc, TBJ 2014 Docs Inc.) Corey Russell

Best Writing in a Documentary Program or Factual Series: Tales From The Organ Trade History Channel Canada (Shaw Media) Ric Esther Bienstock

Best Writing in a Lifestyle or Reality / Competition Program or Series: The Amazing Race Canada – What`s it Take to Get a Cup of Tea CTV (Bell Media) Rob Brunner, Mark LysakowskiDonald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program Sponsor | Rogers Group of Funds Tales From The Organ Trade History Channel Canada (Shaw Media) (Associated Producers Ltd.) Ric Esther Bienstock, Felix Golubev, Simcha Jacobovici

Four previously announced Academy Special Award winners were also presented last night: The Diversity Award was given to The Exhibition (Damon Vignale, Robert Straight and Miho Yamamoto). The Humanitarian Award was given to Michael Landsberg. The Digital Media Trailblazing Award went to Jeffrey Elliott. And The Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism was given Ric Esther Bienstock.

Northernstars.ca congratulates all of the winners of a 2015 Canadian Sreen Award.

Also see: Canadian Screen Awards – Night Two.

Ottawa Animation Fest Calls for Entries

;Ottawa International Animation Festival call for entries;
(February 25, 2015 – Ottawa, ON) It is one of the world`s most important gatherings for animated filmmakers and the people, young and old, who love to watch animated movies. It`s the Ottawa International Film Festival (OIAF) and once again this year hey have issued a call for entries. As their media release states, the OAIF is “seeking state-of-the-art, thoughtful, funny and provocative animated films to showcase at venues in the national capital region from September 16th through the 20th.” While that may seem like a long way off, the deadline for submissions is a lot closer.

Animators are invited to submit their recent work into one of the Festival’s eight categories:

1. Feature Animation
2. Narrative Short Animation
3. Experimental/Abstract Animation
4. Undergraduate Animation
5. Graduate Animation
6. Commissioned Animation
7. Short Animation for Children
8. Animated Series for Children

If you’re interested in submitting you should read the Official Rules and Regulations available on the OIAF website before submitting your work. “We’ve made some changes to the categories this year. We eliminated the school showreel and high school categories along with merging series, promotional and music video into a new commissioned category,” said the Festival’s Artistic Director, Chris Robinson. “We think this will strengthen an already strong competition selection.”

The OIAF will be accepting entries for this year`s competition until May 15th, and DVDs and submission URLs until May 29th. Best news: there is no entry fee.

Each year the OIAF receives more than 2,000 entries from all over the world. Each submission is carefully reviewed by the Festival’s in-house selection committee. Approximately 150 films will be chosen for Official Competition and Out-of-Competition Showcase screenings. Prizes are awarded to the top films in each category. The Official Competition will be decided by a peer jury of animators, filmmakers, producers, directors, and artists.

This year’s jury includes Chris Dainty (Ottawa, Canada), Kasper Jancis (Tallinn, Estonia), Maral Mohammadian (Montreal, Canada), Igor Prassel (Slovenia), Leah Shore (Brooklyn, NY, USA), and Saschka Unseld (Hamburg, Germany).

The Ottawa International Animation Festival has been providing screenings, exhibits, workshops and entertainment since 1976. The annual five-day event brings art and industry together in a vibrant hub and attracts more than 28,000 artists, producers, students and animation fans from around the world.

For more information about this year’s Festival, as well as the online entry form, visit the OIAF online. Questions about submitting a film may be sent to entries@animationfestival.ca or made by telephone at 613-232-8769.

Canadian Screen Week Beginsby Ralph Lucas, Publisher

Canadian Screen Week Begins
by Ralph Lucas, Publisher

;Canadian Screen Week Begins;
Photo © 2014 Northernstars.ca

(February 24, 2015 – Toronto, ON) With the Oscars® all said and done, except for the lingering armchair critics, attention in Canada should shift to the Canadian Screen Awards which launch the first of three nights of award ceremonies tonight in this city. Tonight`s awards are for the nuts and bolts of television. By that I mean, and say with respect, the solid bits and pieces of television we can always rely on: news, sports and lifestyle programming. But here`s two quick questions. First, name any five films that were competing for an Academy Award. Now, name the five films that are competing for a Canadian Screen Award.

We expect our regular visitors will do better than the average Canadian. We suspect that the average person in the street has little or no knowledge of which Canadian films are up for an award and that tells us that neither Northernstars nor the industry itself is doing a good enough job promoting our national industry.

The problem remains one of distribution. Canadian films rarely get the same screen time that the big Hollywood blockbusters do. Of the five films that are up for an Award this year — they’ll be handed out on Sunday night — at least one was never seen outside Québec. Here are the titles of the five nominated films:

Cast No Shadow – Chris Agoston, Christian Sparkes, Allison White (producers)
Fall – Mehernaz Lentin (producer)
In Her Place – Igor Drljaca, Yoon Hyun Chan, Albert Shin (producers)
Maps To The Stars – Martin Katz, Michel Merkt, Said Ben Said (producers)
Mommy – Xavier Dolan, Nancy Grant (producers)
Tu dors Nicole – Luc Déry, Kim McGraw (producers)

A quick search for Tu dors Nicole on Tribute.ca produced this response: “Your search did not return any results in movies.” A search for information about In Her Place indicates the film opened in Toronto earlier this month and is now playing in Toronto and Calgary. Because it was made and screened at various festivals in 2014 it qualified for the judges, but if the general, non-festival filmgoer has yet to see it, what good is an award or even a nomination that might arrive as the film finishes its miniscule run in a tiny handful of cinemas across this vast nation?

Getting back to the TV awards tonight and tomorrow night, it is clear this is the most successful part of our on-screen industries. Building up weekly audiences, often in the million-plus range, television shows provide a solid foundation and a reguar paycheque for producers, directors and actors. Here are a couple of lists for the TV shows that are in the running for awards:

These are the programs in the running for the Shaw media Award for Best Dramatic Series:
19-2 on Bravo! (Bell Media)
Continuum on Showcase (Shaw Media)
Motive on CTV (Bell Media)
Orphan Black on Space (Bell Media)
Remedy on Global (Shaw Media)

The nominees for the Bell Media Award for Best Comedy Series include:
Call Me Fitz on TMN / Movie Central (Bell Media / Corus Entertainment)
Mr. D on CBC (CBC)
Seed on City (Rogers Media)
Spun Out on CTV (Bell Media) (
Tiny Plastic Men on Super Channel (Allarco)

And, looking ahead to Sunday night`s Broadcast Gala presentation, here are the nominees in a number of different film categories:

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role | Interpr

Canadian Film Festival Announces 2015 Lineup

;Canadian Film Festival Announces 2015 Lineup;
(February 19, 2015 – Toronto, ON) Bern Euler, Founder & Executive Director of the Canadian Film Festival has announced the lineup for the 2015 CFF. Spanning a 4-day weekend at The Royal Cinema in Toronto from March 25-28 , this year’s festival will present eight feature films and 16 short films and will open and close with the Toronto premieres of two Toronto-shot films.

“The CFF has expanded from three to four days, and this year’s lineup is a testament to the wealth of diversity present in the Canadian film industry,” said Euler. “We’re very proud to celebrate the talent that is present and emerging in our own backyard.”

The Canadian Film Fest’s main purpose is to showcase fresh voices in Canadian independent filmmaking to Torontonians. In addition to film screenings over the course of the four days, the CFF has an expanded Industry Series for filmmakers including a VFX Master Class with Alex Boothby (Fight Club, Black Swan) and Mike Sevigny (The Naked Saint), and industry panels including screenwriting and distribution.

The CFF has also partnered with the Harold Greenberg Fund to create the CFF’s Harold Greenberg Screenwriting Competition – a unique opportunity for Canadian screenwriters to win $10,000 in financial support for their written feature-length screenplays. The deadline for submissions is March 4, 2015.

Following is a list of the films scheduled for this year`s Canadian Film Festival:

Opening Night Film: The Cocksure Lads Movie. This hilarious musical comedy is about an English band on the cusp of stardom that arrives in Toronto for their first-ever North American tour only to break up ten minutes later. The film marks the directorial debut of Murray Foster (pictured), whose life was focused primarily on music before he decided to try his;Murray Foster; hand at film. Born in Toronto, Foster attended the UofT, obtaining an honours degree in English. While he was there, he formed Moxy Fruvous with three high school friends: Mike Ford (his future Cocksure Lads collaborator, now two-time Juno nominee), David Matheson (currently playing with Ron Sexsmith, among others) and Jian Ghomeshi. The cast of The Cocksure Lads Movie includes Alan Doyle, Lyndon Ogbourne, Luke Marty, Ed Hillier, Adam McNab, Chelsea Leaman, Peter Higginson, Sophia Fabili, Laura Vincent, Laura Trembley, Marc Hallworth, Brandon Sim James, John Fray, Willard Gillard.

Closing Night Film: Pretend We’re Kissing. In this film, a character named Benny needs to get out and stop over thinking everything. It’s holding him back from growing up and finding love. By chance, he meets and falls for Jordan, a somewhat dorky girl obsessed with the notion of fate and hell-bent on finding a magical kind of love, he realizes that he might be able to actually move forward in life…if he can only get out of his own way. Director: Matt Sadowski. Cast: Dov Tiefenbach, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Zoë Kravitz. (Toronto Premiere)

Other feature films include:

BARN WEDDING: Fashion blogger Emma is gearing up for her picturesque summer wedding to longtime boyfriend Colin, when she finds out they have to move the wedding up six months so Colin can take a new job out of town. With her best friend, Emma is determined to have her rustic “Pinterest” worthy wedding in the middle of winter. Director: Shaun Benson. Cast: Emily Coutts, Kelly McCormack, Brett Donahue, Shaun Benson, Kate Corbett, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Kaleb Alexander, Christopher Hayes. (World Premiere)

BEN’S AT HOME: Newly 30 and single Ben is heartbroken and cynical. He makes the unusual decision never to leave his house again, which reveals the struggles that follow the extent to which social media shapes our personal lives. Director: Mars Horodyski. Cast: Dan Abramovici, Jess Embro, Jim Annan, Inessa Frantowski, Craig Brown, David Reale, Rob Baker, Kimberly-Sue Murray, Emma Fleury, Ruth Goodwin, Sarah Booth. (Toronto Premiere)

LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: During a late night taping of “Dr. Nasty’s Cavalcade of Horror”, bloody chaos takes place during the screening of two features (“Dinner for Monsters” and “Slit”). Samantha/Nurse Nasty is frustrated by how the show is being run by its womanizing director and its drunk and crazy host Dr. Nasty. “Dinner for Monsters” tells the story a down and out chef who is hired to cook a special meal for a rich and powerful couple for a midnight dinner party. In “Slit”, Brad has an underground freelance business of cutting people for relief and profit. Directors: Navin Ramaswaran, Zach Ramelan, Torin Langen. Cast: Jamie Elizabeth Sampson, Nick Smyth, Jeff Sinasac, Colin Price, Caleigh Le Grand, Sandra Da Costa, Brian Carleton. (Canadian Premiere)

NOCTURNE: This film has been described as an offbeat urban fairy tale about an insomniac who falls in love with a sleepwalker. Haunted by her past, and dogged by her present, Cindy can’t sleep, and sketches to relieve her growing anxiety. A fellow worker, Armen, constructs origami – but acts oddly. Lost in her own world, Cindy chooses to follow Armen through his, and slowly and improbably, their relationship blossoms. Director: Saul Pincus. Cast: Mary Krohnert, Knickoy Robinson, Ian Downie, Marcia Bennett. (Canadian Premiere)

RELATIVE HAPPINESS: Plus–sized and 30 years old, Lexie Ivy is a feisty Bed & Breakfast owner who desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. In small town Nova Scotia, that’s no easy task, especially when the most eligible bachelor is Joss, the rough handyman fixing her roof. But, after a series of hilarious mishaps and reality checks, Lexie opens her heart and eyes to see that love may be a lot closer than she thought. Director: Deanne Foley. Cast: Melissa Bergland, Aaron Poole, Johnathan Sousa, Susan Kent, Joel Hynes, Molly Dunsworth, Rob Wells. (Toronto Premiere)

SHOOTING THE MUSICAL (previously titled AFTER FILM SCHOOL) is a dark, comedic mockumentary about a group of young film school graduates attempting to create the most offensive film of all time: ‘High School Shooting the Musical’. Director: Joel Ashton McCarthy. Cast: Bruce Novakowski, Chris Walters, Rebecca Strom, Lisa Ovies, Rory W. Tucker, Casey Margolis, & Gigi Saul Guerrero. (Toronto Premiere)

For more information and a list of the short films on the 2015 schedule, click here to find a link to the Canadian Film Festival and other March film festivals listed on Northernnstars.

X Company Premieres on CBC TV

;X Company debuts on CBC;
(February 18, 2015 – Toronto, ON) Once upon a time on the outskirts of Toronto, Canada created the first spy school in the free world and, pictured above, it was called Camp X. Sir William Stephenson, the man James Bond was based on, was the head of Camp X. Advertising giant David Ogilvy mastered the power of propaganda at Camp X before becoming one of the most celebrated advertising giants of Madison Avenue. The camp opened on December 6, 1941, a day before the U.S. was forced into the war by the Pearl Harbour bombings. It went on to become not just an espionage boot camp for Britain, the United States, and Canada, but also as an international intelligence hub vital to winning the war. Tonight, inspired by remarkable true events, CBC turns back the clock for X Company, a new drama series set in the thrilling and dangerous world of WWII espionage and covert operations.

X Company comes with some very solid credentials. The creators of Flashpoint and the producers of Orphan Black joined forces to produce this new period drama. Working with an international cast, X Company follows the stories of five highly skilled young recruits torn from their ordinary lives to become highly skilled agents at an ultra-secret training facility, Camp X. In the series premiere tonight, the head of Camp X, Duncan Sinclair (Hugh Dillon), pulls out all the stops to convince his British counterpart that Alfred Graves (Jack Laskey), a fragile young man with a perfect memory, would make a good Allied agent.

Meanwhile Sinclair’s first team is already behind enemy lines working to thwart a German plot to slaughter an entire village. Shot on location in Hungary last summer, the series highlights Canada’s epic role in the war, which has largely remained unseen for many Canadians.

The international ensemble cast stars Evelyne Brochu (Orphan Black, Pawn Sacrifice) as Aurora, a half Jewish-;X Company cast, CBC;German, half French-Canadian, trilingual strategist and undercover specialist; Jack Laskey (Endeavour, Hatfields and McCoys) as Alfred, a gentle soul with synesthesia – a condition that cross-wires one sense with another, giving him near-perfect memory; Warren Brown (Luther, By Any Means) as Neil, an English ex-copper specializing in weapons and combat who lost his family in the Blitz; Dustin Milligan (No Clue, Extract) as Tom, a Madison Avenue advertising wunderkind, intimately familiar with the mechanics of persuasion, propaganda and seduction; and Connor Price (Being Human, Carrie) as Harry, the team’s radio operator, explosives specialist and gadgeteer.

Rounding out the cast is, as mentioned, Hugh Dillon as Duncan Sinclair, who runs the secret training facility Camp X and Lara Jean Chorostecki as Sinclair’s right-hand woman, Krystina Breeland.

CBC should be congratulated for pulling together a wonderful website that provides some great backstory on both the characters and on the real Camp X. On that page there`s a remarkable bit of detail about how the CBC itself played a vital role in this new world of espionage and foreign intrigue. And there`s a scene from tonight`s premiere episode.

Viewers will be able to enter the secret world of X Company with a weekly Debriefing, which is an online interactive experience including new content tied to the week’s current episode, also available online. You will be able to examine classified agent dossiers, tour important locations, watch training videos, read additional documents, and more. In addition, episodes will be available online in real-time as each broadcast of the series will become available on the CBC Player during the broadcast to Atlantic Canada.

X Company debuts tonight, February 18 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC Television. A special encore presentation of the series premiere will air on Wednesday, February 25 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) followed immediately by the series’ second episode, Trial by Fire. Click here for more on X Company on Northernstars.ca

Inside Out Marks 25 Years

;InsideOut Film Festival marks 25th year;
(February 12, 2015 – Toronto, ON) The Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, one of the worlds largest LGBT film festivals, has reached an important milestone and will celebrate 25 years of showcasing the most groundbreaking, powerful and entertaining work in LGBT cinema when the 2015 edition kicks off in May. Since its 1991 debut at Toronto`s late Euclid Cinema, the Festival has grown from an audience of 3,000 to an expected audience of over 37,000 and has doubled the number of films programmed. The Festival has grown alongside the LGBT community and its programming has continuously been a reflection of its changes and evolution.

This year’s Festival will take place from May 21 to May 31, 2015 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. As part of the 25th anniversary celebration, Inside Out has curated a special Retrospective Series featuring audience’s favourite LGBT classics, and rarely seen work by outstanding Canadian LGBT artists. Each film in the series will feature a Canadian short film that first screened at the inaugural festival in 1991. The screenings will take place on February 25, March 11, March 25, April 8, and May 6. Additional films in this program, which will screen during the festival, will be announced at a later date. Tickets will be priced at $5.50, a nostalgic nod to the cost of a ticket to Inside Out 25 years ago.

“Over the years Inside Out has brought our communities together to celebrate our accomplishments, raise awareness of the struggles of LGBT people and to lose ourselves in entertaining tales projected through a distinctly queer lens,” said Scott Ferguson, Executive Director of Inside Out. “We are incredibly grateful to the hundreds of artists, individuals, organizations and companies that have contributed to our success.”

“Not only are we proud of the enormous growth of Inside Out within the LGBT community, but also of its increasing ability to reach mainstream audiences through the programming of universal themes of love, pain and the search for acceptance,” said Andrew Murphy, Director of Programming at Inside Out. “The Festival’s founders set out to make Inside Out a permanent and important fixture on Toronto’s LGBT culture scene, and its inspiring to know they’ve far exceeded their goals.”

Along with the Retrospective Series audiences can expect festival programming and activities that include Gala Presentations, the Local Heroes showcase, the Icon Documentary Series, the Competition Program, artist talks, panel discussions, workshops and more.

The following films will be included in the Retrospective Series:

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) Directed by Stephen Frears February 25, 7:30PM TIFF Bell Lightbox – Cinema 3 Synopsis: In a rough London suburb rife with racial tension ;My Beautiful Launderette, movie poster;and poverty, handsome young Omar, together with his English friend Johnny, inherits a run-down laundrette from his rich uncle. As the space transforms, complete with muzac and video screens, their own relationship begins to blossom.

The Children’s Hour (1961) Directed by William Wyler March 11, 7:30PM TIFF Bell Lightbox – Cinema 3 Synopsis: At an exclusive girl`s school managed by best friends, Martha (Shirley MacLaine) and Karen (Audrey Hepburn), a mean-spirited student causes controversy and outrage when she makes accusations of an “unnatural relationship” between the two women. Based on the eponymous 1934 play by Lillian Hellman.

The Wedding Banquet (1993) Directed by Ang Lee March 25, 7:30PM TIFF Bell Lightbox – Cinema 3 Synopsis: A young, gay professional living in New York plots to avoid coming out to his family by marrying a woman. His plan hilariously backfires when his parents insist on visiting from Taiwan to attend the wedding.

Show Me Love (1998) Directed by Lukas Moodysson April 8, 7:30 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox – Cinema 3 Synopsis: A coming-of-age comedy set in a Swedish town called Åmål, deemed “the most boring place in earth” by 15-year-old resident Elin. Unbeknownst to Elin, her classmate Agnes is in love with her. As the two friends grow closer, Elin copes with her burgeoning feelings for Agnes by turning to a local boy, Johan.

The Hanging Garden (1997) Directed by Thom Fitzgerald May 6, 7:30PM TIFF Bell Lightbox – Cinema 3 Synopsis: After ten years of being estranged from his family, Sweet William returns home to Nova Scotia for his sister`s wedding. The past lingers as his sister’s new husband, Fletcher, flirts shamelessly with William, bringing back memories of the painful relationship they once shared. When his mother disappears, William must confront the haunting visions of his past and the unfinished business he left behind.

The 25th Anniversary Toronto LGBT Film Festival that runs from May 21 to 31, 2015. Click here for more Toronto film festivals. Click here for Canadian and international film festivals listed by month

Cineplex and Autism Speaks to offer Sensory Friendly Screenings

Cineplex and Autism Speaks
to offer Sensory Friendly Screenings

;Cineplex and Autism Speaks to offer Sensory Friendly Screenings;
(February 9, 2015 – Toronto, ON) Cineplex Entertainment has announced plans to offer a schedule of Sensory Friendly Screenings at select theatres across Canada. What this means, basically, is 2D projection, increased auditorium lighting, lower sound volume and smaller crowds. The program was developed in concert with Autism Speaks Canada and will provide an opportunity for individuals and families living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to enjoy new releases in a relaxed environment.

“Our goal is to make movie-going accessible to as many Canadians as possible,” said Pat Marshall, Vice President, Communications and Investor Relations, Cineplex Entertainment. “This partnership with Autism Speaks Canada ;The SpongeBob Movie, poster;provides an opportunity to see the latest family movies in a comfortable environment, at a reduced price.”

In addition to showing films in 2D, with increased house lighting and lower speaker volumes, theatres will provide a nearby calm zone for families who want a break from the screening. These screenings will take place during off-peak times, before theatres open to the general public. Families will also be able to bring outside food into auditoriums to accommodate dietary restrictions.

The first Sensory Friendly Screening takes place next Saturday, February 14, 2015, with The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Sensory Friendly Screenings will run on select Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. Titles and booking information will be announced on Cineplex.com up to two weeks in advance of each screening.

“We are proud to partner with Cineplex on the Sensory Friendly Screening program,” said Jill Farber, Executive Director, Autism Speaks Canada. “We congratulate Cineplex for its awareness of the unique needs of the ASD community and for providing families an opportunity to enjoy a movie together in an especially welcoming environment.”

Ticket prices for guests of all ages attending Sensory Friendly Screenings will be the current child ticket price at the participating theatre.

Participating theatres include:

Cineplex Cinemas Langley (Langley, BC)
Cineplex Odeon Sunridge Spectrum Cinemas (Calgary, AB)
Cineplex Odeon North Edmonton Cinemas (Edmonton, AB)
Cineplex Odeon Centre Cinemas (Saskatoon, SK)
SilverCity St. Vital Cinemas and XSCAPE Entertainment Centre (Winnipeg, MB)
SilverCity London Cinemas (London, ON)
Galaxy Cinemas Waterloo (Waterloo, ON)
Cineplex Cinemas Mississauga (Mississauga, ON)
Cineplex Cinemas Vaughan (Vaughan, ON)
Cineplex Odeon Morningside Cinemas (Scarborough, ON)
Cineplex Odeon South Keys Cinemas (Ottawa, ON)
Scotiabank Theatre Halifax (Halifax, NS)

For more information on Sensory Friendly Screenings, visit Cineplex.com/SensoryFriendly.

Rodeo FX Gets VES Award for Birdman

(February 5, 2015 – Montréal, QC) Montreal-based Rodeo FX has something to…ah, crow about. We couldn’t resist. The nine-year-old visual effects house that also has offices in Québec City and Los Angeles was given a Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for its work on Birdman, which has seven Oscar® nominations including Best Picture. The VES award is for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture, and is one of the preeminent awards in this industry.

Rodeo FX continues its recent run of industry honors, including the Emmy and HPA Awards the facility won in 2014 for the visual effects it created for the TV series Game of Thrones. The VES Award was handed out last night at a black tie event in Beverly Hills to Ara Khanikian, the VFX supervisor, and Ivy Agregan and Isabelle Langlois, the VFX producers on Birdman. The VES Awards recognize outstanding VFX work

Isabelle Langlois, image,
Isabelle Langlois, Rodeo FX
in film, TV, commercials, and gaming and the VFX producers, supervisors, and artists who create that work.

“This team of visionary filmmakers and artists has invented a new way of making movies,” said Langlois, VFX producer at Rodeo FX. “Audiences don’t realize how much work went into Birdman, which makes this such an extraordinary technical achievement. Ara and I are thrilled to share this award with the amazing team at Rodeo FX who worked so hard on Birdman.”

In addition to the obvious VFX in the movie, Rodeo FX was tasked with seamlessly stitching together all the individual scenes to create the illusion that the entire film was shot in one continuous take. “It is so rewarding to create seamless visual effects that serve the story,” said Khanikian,VFX supervisor at Rodeo FX. “We contribute to the magic of the movie, supporting an amazing story that will carry away the audience with its intense emotional currents.”

Birdman was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu with cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki and stars Micheal Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts.

“Birdman is a real masterpiece, not only because of the storyline and performances, but because of the technical accomplishments of incredible cinematography, editing, and imperceptible visual effects,” said Sébastien Moreau, president of Rodeo FX. “It was an honor to collaborate with these passionate filmmakers on this extraordinary movie.”

Rodeo FX was founded in 2006 by Moreau, a former Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) artist, Rodeo FX has grown to more than 200 accomplished artists and professionals with studios in Montreal, Quebec City, and Los Angeles. The company has delivered visual effects for more than 70 feature films, including Unbroken, Birdman, Lucy, Edge of Tomorrow, 22 Jump Street, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Pacific Rim, and Now You See Me. The Rodeo FX advertising division created the opening sequence for this year’s NFL Super Bowl in addition to NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Pompeii takes 1st Golden Screen Award

Pompeii takes 1st Golden Screen Award

;Pompeii wins Golden Screen Award;
(February 4, 2015 – Toronto, ON) Pompeii, the historical drama set in 79 AD and stars Kiefer Sutherland as a corrupt Roman Senator has won the first ever Cineplex Golden Screen Award for Feature Film. The announcement was made this morning by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. Along with the annoncement of two other Golden Screen Award categories.

Known previously as the Golden Reel Award, the honour is given annually to the Canadian film that earns the highest domestic box office of its year. Pompeii grossed over $4 million in Canada in 2014, and triggered producer Don Carmody`s ninth win of this award. Previously, he took the title for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2014),;Don Carmody; Resident Evil: Retribution (2013), Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), The Art of War (2000), Johnny Mnemonic (1996), Porky’s (1983) and Meatballs (1980).

“Pompeii represents his ninth win of the Academy’s top box office prize so we are especially delighted to present the newly named Cineplex Golden Screen Award for Feature Film to Don Carmody for Pompeii this year. The Academy also extends sincere congratulations to Pompeii`s Canadian distributor, Entertainment One, on this success,” said Academy Chair Martin Katz.

The name change to Cineplex Golden Screen Award for Feature Film reflects the expanded scope of the Academy, as do the newly minted Golden Screen Award for TV Drama / Comedy and the Golden Screen Award for TV Reality Show.

“Once again, the Academy is taking steps to increase the relevance of the Canadian Screen Awards to Canadian viewers with this important acknowledgement,” said Academy CEO Helga Stephenson. “Fans across the country love these series, these stories and characters in a big way, and the Academy is proud to recognize them. Congratulations to all of the finalists.”

Based on data provided by Numeris (BBM Canada), these are the Top-Rated 5 programs in each genre for the 2013-2014 broadcast year:

The Golden Screen Award for TV Drama / Comedy Finalists are:

THE LISTENER – CTV (Bell Media) (Shaftesbury) Using his intuitive powers and enhanced policing skills, telepath Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik) faces new professional and personal challenges as he helps solve crimes with the Integrated Investigative Bureau .

MOTIVE – CTV (Bell Media) (Foundation Features and Lark Productions) Each episode of MOTIVE begins by revealing not only the victim, but the killer as well. It’s not a “whodunit,” it’s a “whydunit,”a question faced by spirited female Vancouver homicide detective Angie Flynn as she begins to piece together the clues from the crime.

MURDOCH MYSTERIES – CBC (CBC) (Shaftesbury) Set in Toronto at the dawn of the 20th century during the age of invention, Murdoch Mysteries is a one-hour drama centred on Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), the methodical and dashing detective who pioneers innovative forensic techniques to solve gruesome murders.

ROOKIE BLUE – Global (Shaw Media) (Entertainment One Television International) After the bullet wounds and trauma of last season, life at 15 Division goes on for young cops, Andy, Sam. Chloe and Nick. Andy and Sam reunite and she`s tasked with training a challenging new rookie, under the watchful eye of a tough inspector.

SAVING HOPE – CTV (Bell Media) (ICF Films and Entertainment One) Pulse-pounding surgeries, adrenaline-fueled breakthroughs and sultry romances force the doctors of Hope Zion to navigate unchartered waters. Alex faces doubts over her abilities as a surgeon and the men in her life. Charlie discovers mind-challenging medical miracles and Joel battles his inner demons as he treats patients on the streets.

The Golden Screen Award for TV Reality Show Finalists are:

THE AMAZING RACE CANADA- CTV (Bell Media) (Insight Production Company Ltd.) THE AMAZING RACE CANADA is a skills-based competition show in which two-person teams, who have a pre-existing personal relationship, race against other teams. Competitors strive to arrive first at “pit stops” at the end of each leg. The first team to the final pit stop wins the grand prize.

BATTLE OF THE BLADES – CBC (CBC) (Insight Production Company Ltd.) Battle of the Blades is an original Canadian series that pairs NHL hockey greats with elite female figure skaters for an elimination style weekly competition. The pairs compete in figure skating performances judged by an expert panel that offer comments and marks for each performance. These marks are combined with the television audience votes to determine the winner.

BIG BROTHER CANADA – Slice (Shaw Media) (Insight Production Company Ltd.) BIG BROTHER CANADA follows a group of strangers who live together in a house that records their every move, 24 hours a day. Each week they compete in challenges and one by one, vote each other out. Last house guest that remains wins the grand prize as voted by a jury.

DRAGON’S DEN – CBC (CBC) (CBC) Launching a business is no small task. No matter how big an idea you think you have, it still takes a lot of work and a ton of cash. Enter the Dragons’ Den, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business concepts and products to a panel of Canadian business moguls who have the cash and the know-how to make it happen.

MASTERCHEF CANADA – CTV (Bell Media) (Proper Television) Canada’s Top 50 home cooks begin their quest to become the first ever MASTERCHEF CANADA and win a $100,000.00 prize. The home cooks will have to show off their cooking skills in intense culinary challenges in order to impress the judges Michael Bonacini, Claudio Aprile, and Alvin Leung.

The star of Pompeii, Kiefer Sutherland will be a presenter on the live Canadian Screen Awards broadcast on CBC on March 1, 8pm (8:30 NT).