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Becoming Burlesque in Toronto


(January 2, 2017 – Toronto, ON) Maybe it’s the influence of La La Land or maybe just the endless fascination with a form of entertainment called Burlesque, but a new dance drama described as empowering begins shooting today in Toronto. Becoming Burlesque stars Shiva Negar (pictured) in the role of Fatima, a second-generation, mixed-race, secular Muslim woman, who discovers her voice through dance.

Struggling with her sense of belonging, Fatima navigates between modern city surroundings and mixed family cultural expectations, when she gets seduced by the fearless world of a Burlesque cabaret. There she becomes empowered to redefine herself, and unleashes a brave and confident alter-ego, “Babylon.”

Becoming Burlesque is the debut feature film by director/writer Jackie English, best known for directing the Bravofact! short film Duty Calls, starring Sean Cullen and Deb McGrath, which was awarded Best Actress (Short) at the Canadian Film Festival, 2016, and the short film NIMBY, that won 1st place at the Toronto Underground Film Festival (TUFF) in 2011.

Rounding out the cast is Khalid Klein (Heroes Reborn, Killjoys), Severn Thompson (Helix, Rookie Blue) Sam Kalilieh (American Gothic, Beauty and the Beast, 12 Monkeys) Farzad Sadrian (Pacific Rim, The Grid), Courtney Deelen (Suits, Murdoch Mysteries) and Katelyn McCullogh (Reign).

Award-winning Burlesque entertainer Pastel Supernova (artistic director of Love Letters Cabaret) will choreograph and feature the Cabaret’s dancers. The dance numbers were workshopped by Love Letters Cabaret at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Director of Photography will be handled by Clement Lush (Duty Calls, The Cart), and editing will be handled by brothers Jason and Brett Butler.

Makeup for the film production has been donated by MAC, and through a partial grant William F. White is providing equipment. The production of Becoming Burlesque includes the financial participation of Telefilm Canada.
The shoot is scheduled to wrap on January 19 and this early in the production phase, no release date has been announced.