In Other News
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
(April 17, 2023 – Toronto, ON) We love Canada Screen Week. In fact, we think April should be designated Canada Screen Month. It isn’t just the Canadian Screen Awards that happen in April, there are at least eight film festivals happening across Canada including the 30th anniversary edition of the Hot Docs Film Festival, which kicks off on April 27th. April is also the month that gave us some of the most famous Canadian names in early Hollywood including actors Walter Huston and Cecelia Parker, director Allan Dwan, Fifi D’Orsay and America’s Sweetheart and co-founder of United Artists, Mary Pickford.
Other big name Canadians in film born in April include the late director Paul Almond, producers Don Carmody, Roger Frappier, Sydney Newman, actors like John Drainie, Doug McGrath, Donald Pilon, Philip Akin, Erik McCormack, Simu Liu, Seth Rogen, Paul Gross and animator Norman McLaren. Actresses include Jane Mallett, Pauline Martin, Shirley Douglas, Francis Hyland. We celebrate Canadian filmmakers 365 days a year and in April alone there are 185. Canadian Screen Month it is, as far as we’re concerned. Now, in other news…
With the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards behind us, here are some bits and pieces of other film news we regret and sincerely apologize for not getting to sooner.
Award-winning director, Kent Donguines of Aimer Films and Jacob Crawford of Crawford Filmworks have announced the start of principal photography on their feature documentary, Treasure of the Rice Terraces, in which Donguines, a Filipino-Canadian filmmaker, sets out on a journey of self-discovery to meet the 106-year-old Indigenous tattoo artist, Apo Whang-Od, unearthing the global impact of traditional tattooing and the need to end its stigma, preserve Filipino cultural heritage and fight for cultural sovereignty. Directed by Donguines and written by Donguines and Zlatina Pacheva (Run the Burbs, Kim’s Convenience), Treasure of the Rice Terraces is being filmed in Manila and Buscalan, Philippines and in Vancouver and will be released in 2024.
Rama Rau’s Coven will have its World Premiere on April 28 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Witches, priestesses, Obeah… every society has its words for women with perceived supernatural power. The words can convey reverence, or hatred. In Coven, three women who’ve come to identify as witches, seek to examine their past and present with similar goals. All three seek mentors and people like themselves, and travel in far-flung directions for answers. We’ll have more on Coven this week on Northernstars.
The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival wrapped yesterday but we love this idea: the festival screened new movies free for anyone under 25. Kudos to the Next Wave Film Festival.
We don’t normally cover non-Canadian films, but we’re planning an article highlighting some of the non-CanCon films at Hot Docs this year. One that comes to mind today is World Premiere of Soviet Barbara: The Story of Ragnar Kjartansson. It’s from Icelandic filmmaker Gaukur Úlfarsson and follows the world renowned artist as he opens his most explosive exhibit on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine. Capturing the tensions between capitalism and soviet history, Soviet Barbara pushes us to ask where free speech and art belong in our increasingly policed world. More on Hot Docs coming soon.
Nüman Films has announced a son-father documentary-adventure series, Nation Untamed, will have its world premiere on APTN on May 27 at 8 PM. The 13 episode 30-minute series stars Sam Karney and his father, Chuck Karneyn as they embark on a series of memorable and challenging wilderness adventures where they participate alongside Indigenous Knowledge Keepers who still do things the traditional way. Throughout these daring expeditions, Sam learns valuable bush skills that help him forge a deeper connection to both his Métis heritage and how today’s Indigenous hunters and gatherers carefully balance ancient traditions with modern techniques and technology. Every experience brings the two closer together, and helps Sam gain more respect as a bushman in his old man’s eyes as they share in the learning side by side. At the heart of the show is a sense of fun, curiosity and adventure shared by father and son, highlighting the value of family and relationships from both our main characters, as well as those within the many communities they encounter along their journeys.
More film news, coming soon.
Ralph Lucas is the founder and publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film and reviewing movies while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.