Tag Archives: Telefilm

Telefilm finances 7 new projects

Montreal, Telefilm Canada announces that seven English-language projects across the country will move forward through the selective and performance component of the national feature film production programs of the Canada Feature Film Fund, the Low Budget Independent Feature Film Assistance Program and the Theatrical Documentary Pilot Program.

“Telefilm Canada is committed to supporting talented creators who turn out high-quality works that speak to audiences at home and around the world,” said Wayne Clarkson, the Corporation’s Executive Director. “The investment decisions announced today are rich in diversity. They illustrate Canada’s vibrant imagination and we are confident that they will make their mark with the public.”

Adoration (Ontario/Nunavut region; Producers: Atom Egoyan, Jennifer Weiss and Simone Urdl; Director/Writer: Atom Egoyan; Distributor: Maximum Film Distribution Inc.; Telefilm investment: $2.8 million) is the story of a Toronto school teacher who uses a news story about a man who put his pregnant girlfriend on a flight to Israel with explosives in her hand luggage. A security guard discovers it and saves the passengers on the plane, including the young woman and her unborn child. This dramatic news item is used by the French teacher as the basis of a school exercise. Simon, a 17-year old student, is inspired by this event and retells the story from the point of view of the couple’s child. Using his own familial drama as a backdrop, he concocts a “project” around this created persona and using the Web, sends it out into the world – with unexpectedly widespread and forceful results.

Blindness (Ontario/Nunavut region; Executive Producer: Gail Egan, Potboiler Productions; Producers: Niv Fichman, Sonoko Sakai, Bee Vine Pictures Inc. (Japan), Andrea Barata Ribeiro, O2 Films (Brazil); Writer: Don McKellar; Director: Fernando Meirelles; Distributor: Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution; Telefilm investment: $2.5 million) is a metaphor for the world in the 21st century. A plague of blindness strikes a nameless city. After a few cases are reported, the state and the military begin to round up the newly blind, quarantining them in an abandoned mental hospital. The first group of seven people forms the core of the story: the first victim and his wife, the eye doctor who treated our first victim; his wife, the car thief, the prostitute, the small boy. It is their progress through this nightmare world of death, filth, fear and destruction that we follow – as society and morality crumble around them.

The Cassandra Syndrome (Quebec region; Producers: Lucie Tremblay, Jeremy Edwardes, Brice Garnier, Mark Achbar, Elizabeth Carson, Liette Michaud; Writers: Harold Crooks, Louis Caron, Denis Delestrac; Director: Denis Delestrac; Distributor: Capri Releasing; Telefilm investment: $444,400 through the Theatrical Documentary Pilot Program) examines the origins and reality of the militarization of space. In a language tinted with irony and peppered with shocking facts, the film opens a debate that until now has been reserved for the specialists, some of whom maintain that the arms race in space can only lead to apocalypse.

Mr. Nobody (Quebec region; Producers: Christian Larouche, Philippe Godeau, Jean-Yves Asselin; Writer/Director: Jaco Van Dormael; Distributor: Christal Films; Telefilm investment: $2 million) is the story of Nemo. As he lies on his deathbed, time ceases to exist and he relives his life not only as what it was, but what it could have been.

Stone of Destiny (Western region; Producers: Rob Merilees, Andrew Boswell; Writer: Charles Martin Smith; Director: Charles Martin Smith; Distributor: Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution; Telefilm investment: $3.5 million) is the dramatization of the true story of Ian Hamilton’s bold gesture to draw international attention to the Scottish separatist cause. Fuelled by intense patriotism, Ian and three other collaborators decide to travel to London and repatriate the Stone of Destiny – symbolic relic designating the ruler of Scotland – from Westminster Abbey.

Sheltered Life (Western Region; Producers: Andrew Koster and Lori Lozinski; Writer: Katherine Schlemmer; Director: Carl Laudan; Telefilm investment: $200,000 through the Low Budget Independent Feature Film Assistance Program) is the story of 16-year-old Josephine Nash and her mother, Candice, who over a period of a several days, come to terms with the unspoken rules that govern their relationship. A small room with two narrow beds in a women’s transition house brings them face to face with the truth: as their psychological relationship to violence changes, so do they.

Timekeeper (Quebec region; Producers: Réal Chabot, Dean English, Lorraine Dufour; Writers: Louis Bélanger, Lorraine Dufour; Director: Louis Bélanger; Distributor: Christal Films; Telefilm investment: $3 million) takes place in the Northwest Territories in the late sixties: the workers building the railroad aren’t very happy with Martin Bishop’s arrival. At 16 years old, Martin is naïve and idealistic and this threatens those who are trying to make crooked bucks off the whole operation. Martin won’t play their game and the foreman, a real tyrant, decides to make him pay dearly for his honesty.

Telefilm renews theatrical doc. pilot program

Montreal, Telefilm Canada, together with partners CBC Television, The Rogers Group of Funds and the National Film Board of Canada, is pleased to announce the one-year renewal of the Theatrical Documentary Pilot Program, with funds in excess of $2 million, for the production and completion of feature-length documentaries intended for Canadian theatrical release.

The continuation of this program is a direct response to discussions with the Canada Feature Film Fund industry Working Groups and documentary filmmaking communities, and addresses the needs of each market.

Originally set up in 2005-2006 as a one-year pilot program, the Theatrical Documentary Pilot Program financed the development and production of seven English- and French-language documentaries, as well as the completion of six English- and French-language documentary projects from across Canada.

“We are pleased to be paving the way towards a more permanent solution where financial resources are earmarked specifically for this genre,” states Wayne Clarkson, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada. “Until that time, the renewal of the Theatrical Documentary Pilot Program is a ringing endorsement for the documentary community. We welcome the participation of the National Film Board of Canada, for the Pilot Program’s second year, in this unique private-public partnership.”

“As Canada’s public producer and a long-time champion of theatrical documentaries, the National Film Board of Canada is excited to join the Theatrical Documentary Pilot Program,” said Claude Joli-CÅ“ur, Acting Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. “The Pilot Program is an exciting way for us to work together to strengthen the Canadian documentary industry and bring more signature docs to the screen. The NFB has a proven track record in high-profile co-productions, and we look forward to connecting with independent producers who share our passion for groundbreaking, socially engaged cinema.”

The Rogers Group of Funds is also enthusiastic about the renewed partnership: “Rogers is pleased to again support this initiative as it builds upon our long-standing commitment to documentary film production in Canada," said Robin Mirsky, Executive Director. ”We were so impressed with the quality of last year’s proposals that the decision to re-commit was an easy one."

CBC Television is once again on board and committed to supporting the documentary community. “We’re pleased to be a part of this exciting initiative,” said Richard Stursberg, Executive Vice-President, CBC Television. “As the country’s number one platform for documentaries, CBC Television is proud to support a program that brings a measure of financial stability to filmmakers working in the genre. And, by bringing documentaries to a wider audience through theatrical release we can expose even more Canadians to the outstanding and important work being done by this country’s documentarians.”

Eligibility criteria, guidelines and application forms for the Theatrical Documentary Pilot Program will be available in June 2007.

Telefilm supports 14 English language projects

Montreal, April 5, 2007 – Telefilm Canada is pleased to announce the financing of 14 English language feature length films from across the country, through the selective and performance component of the national and regional feature film production programs of the Canada Feature Film Fund, as well as through the Low Budget Independent Feature Film Assistance Program and the Theatrical Documentary Pilot Program.

Almost Heaven (Producer: New Dawn Productions Ltd. – Shel Piercy & Cynthia Chapman; Writers: Richard Beattie & Shel Piercy; Director: Shel Piercy; Distributor: Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution) is the story of Mark, a charismatic, alcohol-fuelled director of a television fishing show, struggling to stay sober while forced to work with a temperamental star: his ex-wife! Because the fish won’t bite, Mark poaches a dead fish from a local pub owner Bert (Tom Conti) to stage a catch for the cameras; it all goes horribly wrong and he is lambasted by feisty fish expert Nicki (Kirsty Mitchell).

The Bend (Producer: Melissa Malkin, Jennifer Kierans & Debra Kouri; Writer/Director: Jennifer Kierans; Distributor: Filmoption) revolves around Jason Campbell and his family as they prepare to commemorate the one year anniversary death of his brother Kirk. Kirk’s death has torn the family apart. When Kirk’s girlfriend and best friend show up for the ceremony, Jason attempts to recreate that tragic prom night to find out what went wrong.

Control Alt Delete (Producer: Hard Drive Films Inc. – Stephanie Symns & Lynne Stopkewich; Writer/Director: Cameron Labine) presents the story of Lewis’s internet porn addiction. When it puts an end to his relationship, he throws himself into his work. By day, he’s a wholesome, loveable computer whiz, but by night he aims to set a new world record in “self-love.” Lewis eventually succumbs to his need for sexual gratification with the computer itself.

Down to the Dirt (Producer: Newfound Films Incorporated – Anna Petras; Writer: Justin Simms & Sherry White; Director: Justin Simms) is a film based on the acclaimed first novel by Joel Hynes. Down to the Dirt traces a young man’s comically tragic voyage from loneliness and obsessive love via vandalism, booze, drugs, abortion, lies, dead cats and poetry to ultimate self-acceptance and a positive future.

Eastern Promises (Producers: Serendipity Point Films & Kudos Films – Robert Lantos, Paul Webster, Stephen Garrett, David M. Thompson, Jeffrey Abberley & Julia Blackman; Writer: Steven Knight; Director: David Cronenberg; Distributor: Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution) follows the mysterious and ruthless Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen), who is tied to one of London’s most notorious organized crime families. His carefully maintained existence is jarred when he crosses paths with Anna (Naomi Watts), an innocent midwife trying to right a wrong, who accidentally uncovers potential evidence against the family.

Fiercelight: When Spirit Meets Action (Executive Producer: Big Picture Media Corporation – Mark Achbar & Betsy Carson; Producer: Fiercelight Films Inc. – Cherilyn Hawrysh; Co-Producer: National Film Board – Gerry Flahive; Writer/Director: Velcrow Ripper). In today’s world of raging wars, high depression rates and threat of global collapse, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless. Fuelled by the belief that another world is possible, Ripper travels to the four corners of the globe searching for remarkable individuals who are awakening the world to the power of spirit meeting action

Finn on the Fly (Producers: Amaze Film + Television, Stephen Onda Productions – Suzanne Berger, Teza Lawrence, Mike Souther, Michael McGowan & Stephen Onda; Writers: Mark Jean, Teza Lawrence, Kellie Benz & Mike Souther; Director: Mark Jean; Distributor: Seville Pictures) is a family comedy about a life-loving, Frisbee-playing dog named Finn and his shy 13 year-old owner Peter. Both their lives are changed when Finn is accidentally transformed into a human when a science experiment goes wrong in Peter’s neighbour’s garage. This is a story about friendship, loyalty and learning to trust your instincts.

Forgotten Women (Producer: Hamilton-Mehta Productions Inc. – David Hamilton & Noemi Weis; Writer/Director: Deepa Mehta & Dilip Mehta) is a feature-length documentary set in India which exposes the destitution, exploitation, and virtual slavery of many of the 33 million Hindu Widows living in India today who are forced by age old traditions to live out their remaining years in institutions where they are isolated from and shunned by society at large.

Global Metal (Producer: Global Banger Productions Inc. – Scot McFadyen, Noah Segal & Sam Dunn; Writer/Directors: Sam Dunn & Scot MacFadyen) focuses on heavy metal fan and anthropologist Sam Dunn who travels across the globe to observe and research the globalization of heavy metal music. His travels span Brazil, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, China, Poland and Iran. Whether it’s Indonesian black metal, Brazilian death metal or Iranian power metal, Sam discovers that metal allows young people to articulate their own form of rebellion.

Portage (Executive Producers – Henry Gerstel, Uwe Feuersenger, Nicholas D. Tabarrok; Producer: Common Films Inc. – Jaty Tam & Matthew Miller; Writer: Sascha Drews; Director: Ezra Krybus, Matthew Miller & Sascha Drews) tells the story of a voyage into the Canadian wilderness gone awry when the trip’s leader accidentally dies and the four remaining teenage girls must find their way back to civilization with a body in tow.

Real Time (Producer: Lucky Andy Productions Inc. – Ari Lantos, Julia Rosenberg & Paula Devonshire; Writer/Director: Randall Cole; Distributor: Maple Pictures Corp.) is a comic drama about a compulsive gambler who is given one hour to live by the man hired to kill him. Moving from funny one moment, to intense and even tragic in others, this film takes place in real time and explores what we do with the real time we have in this world.

Saving Luna (Producer: Mountainside Films Ltd. – Suzanne Chisholm & Michael Parfit; Directors: Suzanne Chisholm & Michael Parfit; Writer: Michael Parfit) When a lone killer whale, Luna, gets separated from his pod in a remote Vancouver Island fjord, he seeks companionship from people. In a magnificent landscape, different groups of people fight over their wildly differing views of who Luna is: to the Natives, he’s the spirit of a chief; to boaters, he’s a lumbering friend; to conservationists Luna is a cause; to scientists Luna is trouble; and to the filmmakers, he’s a lonely, lovable street kid whale.

They Wait (Producer: They Wait Productions Inc. – Andrew Koster; Writers: Travis McDonald, Carl Bessai & Doug Taylor; Director: Ernie Barbarash; Distributor: Films TVA) is an intense psychological thriller about a young mother and her six-year-old son who come face to face with the mysteries of two murders and a great crime against the Chinese community into which they have recently arrived from Shanghai.

Waterlife (Executive Producer: Big Picture Media Corporation- Mark Achbar & Betsy Carson; Producer: Primitive Entertainment Inc. – Kristina McLaughlin, Michael McMahon; Writer/Director: Kevin McMahon) tells the story of how the greatest body of fresh water on Earth – which accounts for roughly 90% of all fresh water available to the US – is slowly transformed as it travels through the thickening machinations of the society lining the coast.

Telefilm/Canadian selection at Sundance

Montreal, November 30, 2006 – Telefilm Canada is proud to announce that seven Canadian feature-length films have been officially selected at the prestigious 2007 Sundance Film Festival – the strongest Canadian line-up since 2003. Four of the Canadian filmmakers will be returning to the Festival for their sophomore year: Jennifer Baichwal (The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adam’s Appalachia; 2003), S. Wyeth Clarkson (deadend.com; 2003), Sarah Polley (I Shout Love; 2002) and Ian Iqbal Rashid (Touch of Pink; 2004). The 2007 Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Utah, January 18¬-28.

“It’s a great honour having such an incredible year for Canadian cinema at Sundance,” enthused Wayne Clarkson, who will be attending the Festival for the first time in his capacity as Executive Director at Telefilm Canada. “Canada is also pleased to be at Sundance to take advantage of the sales, promotion, financing and networking opportunities.”

The Canadian contingent for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival is comprised of:
(short film line-up will be announced by the Festival on December 6, 2006)


Away From Her (US premiere)

Directed by Sarah Polley; produced by The Film Farm and Foundry Films Inc.; Canadian distribution by Capri Releasing; US distribution by Lionsgate Films; world sales by Hanway Films

Away From Her is a screen adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story, The Bear Came Over the Mountain. Grant moves his wife Fiona into a nursing home specializing in Alzheimer’s disease. But when he sees her again, she has forgotten him and turned her affection to another resident. Fiona becomes deeply depressed, prompting Grant to embark on his greatest act of self-sacrifice. Film premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival as a Gala.

World Cinema Competition: Dramatic

How She Move (World premiere)

Directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid; produced by Sienna Films Inc.; Canadian distribution by Mongrel Media; world sales by Celluloid Dreams

16-year-old stellar student Raya is on the fast track to success until the unexpected death of her sister, a drug addict, changes everything. Scrambling for a way to clear her family’s financial hurdles, she turns to a most unlikely arena: the electrifying world of step dancing, a type of dance that combines jazz and hip-hop, with cheerleading, tap dancing and stomp moves.

Rêves de poussière (France/ Canada/ Burkina Faso coproduction; US premiere)

Directed by Laurent Salgues; produced by Athenaïse productions, Corporation ACPAV Inc., and Sahélis Production; world sales by Wide Management

Mocktar, a Nigerian peasant, comes looking for work in a gold mine in Northeast Burkina Faso. In this cage made of wind and dust, he hopes to forget the past that haunts him. While becoming familiar with his new life, Mocktar starts to loose his roots. Film premiered at the 2006 Venice Film Festival and has since garnered awards in Belgium and France.

World Cinema Competition: Documentary

Manufactured Landscapes (International premiere)

Directed by Jennifer Baichwal; produced by Mercury Films Inc., Foundry Films Inc., and the National Film Board of Canada; Canadian distribution by Mongrel Media; US distribution by Zeitgeist Films

Manufactured Landscapes follows Edward Burtynsky through China as he photographs the country’s massive industrial revolution. The film leads us to meditate on our impact on the planet, and shifts our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it. Winner of The Toronto City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival.

On a Tightrope (Norway/Canada coproduction; North American premiere)

Directed by Petr Lom; produced by Piraya Film, Lom Films; world sales by Films Transit International

The daily lives of four children living in an orphanage who are learning the ancient art of tightrope walking becomes a metaphor for the struggle of the Uighur’s, China’s largest Muslim minority, who are torn between religion and the teachings of communism. World premiered in the Silver Wolf Competition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

Park City at Midnight

Sk8 Life (International premiere)

Directed by S. Wyeth Clarkson; produced by Travesty Productions; Canadian distribution and world sales by Travesty Productions+Releasing

Eight sk8rs are brought together to make the ultimate “sk8 tape.” Crashing at the legendary “Crashpad,” they soon discover its days are numbered and band together to save it. Landing tricks, evading security guards, and wild road trips fill their days, but it will all be for nothing if they can’t save the place they call home. World premiere at the 2006 Whistler Film Festival.

Fido (US premiere)

Directed by Andrew Currie; produced by Anagram Pictures Inc.; Canadian distribution by TVA Films; US distribution and world sales by Lionsgate Films

Welcome to Willard, a small town lost in the idyllic world of the 1950s, where the sun shines every day, everybody knows their neighbour, and rotting zombies carry the mail. What begins as a small town story about a boy and his best friend becomes a biting satare about our world, the price of fear, and the rewards of risking love. Fido will rip your heart out. Fido premiered in the Toronto International Film Festival’s Canada First! Programme

Telefilm supports 13 english language projects

National production projects

Quebec region

Emotional Arithmetic (Producers: Production Arithmetic Qu̩bec inc. РSuzanne Girard, Arithmetic Ontario Productions inc. РAnna Stratton; Writers: Jefferson Lewis, Paolo Barzman; Director: Paolo Barzman)

Melanie Winters returns home from the mental institution to play hostess to two childhood friends who bring with them memories of their internment in concentration camps as teenagers.

Ontario & Nunavut region

All Hat (Producer: New Real Films Inc. – Jennifer Jonas; Writer: Brad Smith; Director: Leonard Farlinger ) is based on Brad Smith’s novel of the same name and tells the story of Ray Dokes, a charming ex-ballplayer, who returns home from jail to discover the rural landscape of his childhood transformed. Ray must find a way to stop Sonny, Ray’s nemesis and the spoiled heir to a thoroughbred dynasty, from his grand plan to turn the farmland into a subdivision. One false move and Ray will land back in jail, but he comes up with a plan to stop Sonny and right some wrongs.

Western region

Stone Angel (Producers: Liz Jarvis, Kari Skoglund; Writer/Director: Kari Skoglund) is based on the much-loved and critically acclaimed Margaret Lawrence novel of the same name. Hagar Shipley is aged and ailing – but would rather die than go into a nursing home. The witty, irascible and fiercely proud Hagar, faced with the prospect of a nursing home, sets out on a preposterous journey in search of the safe haven of an abandoned ocean side house she remembers from happier times.

Newton and Leo (Producers: Menlo Park Movies Ltd. – Dean English, Karen Powell, Marc Stephenson; Writers: George Toles, Daegan Fryklind; Director: Jesse Rosensweet) is an animated, mythical reworking of modernity’s legendary inventor Thomas Alva Edison. Leo is turned into an electrical boy by his father, Thomas Galileo Newton, in this comedy-adventure set in the expressionistic-Victorian, cinematic fantasy world of Pickerton Park.

Regional production projects

Atlantic region

Pushing Up Daisies (Producers: Standing 8 Productions – Chaz Thorne, Bill Niven, John Watson, Pen Densham; Writer/Director: Chaz Thorne) is the story of Oliver Zinck and how his life changes when he inherits a Nova Scotian funeral home from his estranged father. Completely in debt, Oliver discovers that by creating corpses in his own way and then providing funeral services, he can make some fast cash. Pushing Up Daisies is a dark comedic exploration of the depths of greed, ambition and desire.

Ontario & Nunavut region

Amal (Producer: New Real Films Inc. – Executive Producers: Robin Cass, Peter Starr, Producers: David Miller, Steven Bray; Writer: Shaun Mehta and Ritchie Mehta; Director: Ritchie Mehta) is a based on the short film by Shaun Mehta of the same name and tells the story of an auto rickshaw driver, who attempts to do the right thing following a tragic incident with a young beggar girl.

Breakfast With Scot (Producer: Miracle Pictures Inc. – Paul Brown; Writer: Sean Reycraft; Director: Laurie Lynd) is a contemporary comedy about a ‘straight’ gay couple whose lives are turned upside down when they become the reluctant, temporary guardians of Scot, a recently orphaned and flamboyant 11-year-old boy.

Young People F*!@king (Producers: Copperheart Entertainment – Steve Hoban; Tracey Boulton; Writer: Martin Gero & Aaron Abrams; Director: Martin Gero) is a wickedly funny sex comedy about five twenty-something couples who, over the course of one night in Toronto, try to have some seemingly straightforward sex but run into problems along the way.

Western region

Normal (Producer: Normal Film Company Inc. – Andrew Boutilier; Writers: Travis McDonald, Carl Bessai; Director: Carl Bessai) An accident in the past causes ripples of tragedy in the lives of the people connected to it, in particular the victim’s bereaved mother, his best friend, and the middle aged man responsible for the crash. Normal explores the fragility and humanity of people who are searching for redemption.

Walk All Over Me (Producer: Chaos A Film Company – Carolyn McMaster; Writers: Robert Cuffley, Jason Long; Director: Robert Cuffly) is a darkly comedic thriller laced with love, latex and empowerment. Alberta, a twenty-something cashier, moves to Vancouver into the home of her former babysitter (dominatrix-for-hire Celene) and rescues a handsome "john" accused of stealing a fortune from his crooked boss/ex-best friend.

Low-Budget Independent Feature Film Assistance Program

Western region (post production)

Acts of Imagination (Producers: Springate Combs Inc. – Caroline Combs, Michael Springate; Writer: Michael Springate; Director: Caroline Combs) chronicles the loves of brother/sister immigrants from the Ukraine through their relationships with others.

The Green Chain (Producers: I Love Trees Productions Inc. – Mark Leiran-Young, Donna Wong-Juliani, Tony Wosk; Writer/Director: Mark Leiran-Young) is a powerful, funny and thought provoking film about the conflict between loggers and environmentalists, people on both sides of the battle who love trees – and are willing to risk anything to protect their personal visions of the forest and our planet.

Immigrant (Producers: Japanese Polka Dancing Films Ltd. – Bojan Bodruzic, Shirley Vercruysse; Writer/Director: Bojan Bodruzic) follows two parallel stories about Bosnian immigrants in Canada who fled their homeland to escape the war. The first looks at the tumultuous relationships between a Bosnian filmmaker and his Canadian girlfriend; while the second is about a widower, who has a hard time letting go of his past.

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