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Banff world media festival Issue May / June 2013



Jesse James Miller’s diary on the making of Becoming Redwood and The Good Son

Force Four Entertainment’s comedy starring Adam Korson gets serious in competition for Rockie Award



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Martin Cummins’ Hell in a Handbag




The Banff World Media Festival is a must-attend market for the international community but beyond the pitching opportunities, the festival also explores the latest trends in content creation and gives Canadian TV a platform to shine.

5 bits and bytes


9 Legal BrIEFS

The top five teams in the CineCoup Film Accelerator will pitch their movies at Banff where one project will receive $1 million in production financing and a guaranteed release in Cineplex Theatres.

10 Beginnings

18 Seeing double Vancouver filmmaker Jesse James Miller recounts how he managed to make two films at the same time, the comedy Becoming Redwood and the documentary The Good Son …. and lived to write about it.

Production Update

7 BC Indie Scene

12 Profile 13 Behind the Scenes 30 FINAL EDIT

22 TO HELL AND BACK Martin Cummins is the writer, director, producer and star of the indie horror comedy Hell in a Handbag, a movie he spent years trying to finance until a friend-turned-angel investor handed him the cash.

24 WHO You Gonna Pitch? A list of Canadian English-language TV channels, the shows they buy and the executives in charge of commissioning.

Cover: Adam Korson stars in the Rockie nominated Seed; photo by Mike Tompkins. Contents: The cast of Seed; photo by Mike Tompkins. Reel West Magazine is a wholly owned enterprise of Reel West Productions Inc. It exists and is managed to provide publicity and advertising that supports the growth of the Western Canadian Motion Picture Industry. Executive publisher: Sandy P. Flanagan. Editor: Cheryl Binning. Publisher: Ron Harvey. Sales: Randy Holmes, Adam Caddell creative Director: Andrew von Rosen. art director: Lindsey Ataya. Photo Editor: Phillip Chin. Contributors this issue: Nathan Caddell. Janos molnar Reel West Magazine is published six times per year. Subscriptions Canada/US $35.00 per year (plus $10.00 postage to USA). Reel West Digest, The Directory for Western Canada’s Film, Video and Television Industry, is published annually. Subscription $35.00 per year (plus $10.00 postage to US). Both Publications $60.00 (plus $10.00 postage to USA) Prices include GST. Copyright 2013 Reel West Productions Inc. Second Class Mail. Registration No. 0584002. ISSN 0831-5388. G.S.T. # R104445218. Reel West Productions Inc. Suite 114 – 42 Fawcett Road, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, V3K 6X9. Phone (604) 553-1335 Toll Free: 1-888-291-7335 Fax: (604) 451-7305 Email: info@reelwest.com URL: reelwest.com. Volume 28, Issue 3. Printed In Canada. To subscribe call 1-888-291-7335 or visit our website at reelwest.com. Reel West welcomes feedback from our readers, via email at editorial@reelwest.com. All correspondence must include your name, address, and Phone number.

Reel West MAY / June 2013


Production update

What’s coming. What’s shooting. What’s wrapped.

Continuum airs Sundays at 9pm et/pt on Showcase. Photo c/o shaw media

Tim Burton Brings Big Eyes to B.C. Contiuum Wraps its Second Season


ilmmaker Tim Burton is bringing his gothic macabre sensibilities to Vancouver this summer to direct the movie Big Eyes. But this isn’t a horror or fantasy flick. It’s a bio-pic entering on the life of artist Margaret Keane who rose to fame in the 1950s and 60s by painting pictures of doe-eyed children. The screenwriting duo Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander (who worked with Burton on Ed Wood) penned the script, which tells the story of Margaret and her husband Walter’s rise to fame as an art world power couple, until their divorce, resulting in a decades-long battle over


rights to the artwork. Walter claimed he was the mastermind behind the work, prompting Margaret to challenge her ex to a “paint-off” in court to prove who was the rightful artist. Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams will star as the kitsch art icons. Big Eyes is produced by Alexander, Karaszewski, Burton, and Lynette Howell. The film shoots through to end of August with production manager Brendan Ferguson and production coordinator Nicole Ogichi. Actors George Clooney and Hugh Laurie (House) are also landing in Vancouver this summer for the Disney film Tomorrowland. The sci-fi

feature takes its name from the section of Walt Disney World that contains Space Mountain and is written by Damon Lindeloff (Prometheus, Lost) and stuntman Jeff Jensen. Disney is not revealing plot details at this time, although according to HitFix, the film follows a teenage girl, a genius middle-aged man, and a young robot who attempt to get to and unravel what happened to Tomorrowland, which exists in an alternative dimension, in order to save Earth. The movie is directed by Brad Bird, who helmed Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. The producers are Jeffrey Chernov and Lindeloff;

the DOP is Claudio Miranda; the production designer is Scott Chambliss; the production manager is Stewart Bethune; and the location manager is Ann Goobie. Tomorrowland is scheduled to shoot August through to January 2014. Another feature starting early summer is an untitled psychological thriller about Eadweard Muybridge, a world-famous 19th century photographer who took pictures of nude and deformed subjects and is credited with pioneering motion photography by capturing animals and humans in action. His personal life was also highly dramatic: he killed his wife’s lover and was convicted of homicide. The movie stars Saskatoon native Michael Eklund (The Call, Watchmen) and is directed by Kyle Rideou and produced by Josh Epstein. The duo also wrote the script, which is based on a play created by Electric Company Theatre. This project marks Rideout and Epstein’s feature debut. They previously made the short Wait for Rain, which won best science fiction/fantasy at last year’s Comic-Con International Film Festival and the short Hop the Twig, awarded best short film on CBC’s Short Film Face Off. A couple of TV movies are shooting in North Vancouver this June and July: Jinxed is exec produced by Scott McAboy, directed by Stephen Herek and production managed by Jim O’Grady; and The Hunters is exec produced by Jason Netter, produced by Heather Ann Puttock and Ian Brikett, and production managed by Darcy Wild. An eighth season of the detective

Reel West MAY / June 2013

comedy Psych began production in May in North Vancouver. The USA Network series stars James Roday as a young crime consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department whose “heightened observational skills”allow him to convince people that he solves cases with psychic abilities. The exec producers are Steve Franks, Kelly Kulchak, Chris Henze, and Mel Damski with Gord Mark as producer. Scott Williams is DOP, Eric Norlin is production designer, Wayne Bennett is the production manager, Deb Bose and Karen Lo are location managers and Rob Paller is SPFX coordinator. Psych shoots until end of July. The second season of the hit Show-

case/SyFy series Continuum has just wrapped production. The series stars Rachel Nichols as a detective from the year 2077 who finds herself trapped in present day Vancouver and searching for ruthless criminals from the future. Continuum is executive produced by Simon Barry, Patrick Williams, Tom Rowe, Lisa Richardson, and Matthew O’Connor and produced by Holly Redford. Dave Pelletier and Michael Wale were DOPs, Chris August was production designer, Tia Buhl was production manager, Alan Bartolic and Greg Jackson were location managers and the SPFX coordinator was Mike Walls. n

Bits and Bytes SIM Digital Buys PS Production Services Camera supplier SIM Digital has acquired equipment rental house PS Production Services, which has offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax. “When this opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t think of two companies that better complemented one another,” said Rob Sim, President and CEO of SIM Digital. SIM Digital is a rental facility specializing in digital production equipment and workflow services and has offices across the USA, Canada and China. The company has been on a buying spree the past few years, acquiring Bling Digital in 2009 and Master Key Finishing in 2012. With this latest purchase SIM strengthens its position as a comprehensive service provider for the film and TV industry. “PS is already recognized as a first class grip and lighting facility and when you combine that with our expertise in cameras along with our Bling Post Division, we now have the ability to bundle and deliver full-service solutions,” said SIM’s Chief Operating Officer John DeBoer. PS was founded in 1972 by Doug Dales and has grown to employ over 130 people. “While everyone at PS is tremendously proud of what we have achieved together, the passing of company founder Doug Dales in 2010 made it inevitable the company would be sold,” said PS President and CEO Douglas Barrett, who is stepping aside to pursue other opportunities. “PS and SIM are both great companies and I know that together they will be unstoppable.” All SIM Canadian offices are now offering digital cameras, lenses & accessories; lighting, grip and package trucks, as well as Bling Post Services including dailies, data management, off-line post production and finishing.

William F. White Buys Vancouver Camera Company William F. White International is purchasing Telescopic Camera Cranes of Vancouver, which is the largest supplier of Technocranes in the country and houses one of the largest fleets in the world. Photo By Kharen Hill

“Telescopic Camera Cranes is a perfect synergistic fit for us and this important expansion of our national specialty camera offerings has been in the works for many months now,” said Combweb Chairman and CEO Paul Bronfman. Telescopic Camera Cranes Ltd. founding partners Andrew Mulkani and Barrie Wells

Motive Renewed

CTV has ordered a second season of the Vancouvershot cop drama Motive. The series averaged 1.1 million weekly viewers throughout the season, making it the number one new Canadian series of the 2012/13 broadcast year. This summer, Motive’s first season will be re-aired on CTV, in simulcast with ABC. The series is produced by Vancouver companies Foundation Features and Lark Productions. Production on 13 new episodes begins this summer with James Thorpe and Dennis Heaton as showrunners. The cop show stars Kristin Lehman (The Killing) as spirited Detective Angie Flynn, Louis Ferreira (SGU Stargate Universe) as her thoughtful and patient partner, Detective Oscar Vega, and Lauren Holly (NCIS) as the team’s lead medical examiner, Dr. Betty Rogers. The series twists the usual cop procedural, by revealing the victim and killer at the start of the episode, leaving investigators and the audience searching for clues as to the motive for the crime. Reel West MAY / June 2013

will continue in their roles as president and vice president of the company. “This partnership is the perfect fit for both our companies,” stated Wells. “Through Whites, clients across Canada will now have unhindered access to one of the largest fleets of cranes in the world.” This acquisition follows Comweb/WFW’s recently announced $20 million investment in new production technologies and a $40 million financing agreement with BMO Financial Group. “We’re excited that BMO has shown confidence in us with the largest refinancing in our company’s history,” said Bronfman. “We’re investing in the next 50 years,” added Bronfman. “The company’s unwavering commitment to market leadership and innovation never stops. Our continued mission is to remain at the forefront of our industry by being the first in Canada to introduce the most cutting-edge production tools, enabling filmmakers to do what they do best – tell their stories. We will also continue to invest several million dollars per year in order to maintain and enhance our market leadership position.”

Nfb Developing Multi-Platform Pay Service For Docs The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has announced plans to create a multiplatform subscription service offering multilingual auteur documentaries. The service, akin to Netflix, will be available on the Web, connected TV and mobile devices. It will launch in 2014, first in North America and then in Europe. Users will be able to access films from around the world, and create their own playlists, which they will be able to share with others. Documentary and subject experts will also guide viewers through the offerings. “We are convinced that this new service will be an enormous boon to the global documentary community,” said NFB Chairperson Tom Perlmutter. “It will build audiences, enable documentary creators and filmmakers to be connected more directly and almost instantaneously with their audiences, and serve as a commissioner of original documentary programming.” The new service will be funded in partnership with the private sector and the NFB is currently looking for partners.


Brad Pelman joins CineCoup Former Alliance Films exec Brad Pelman is being retained by the CineCoup Film Accelerator as president, distribution and sales. Pelman departed Alliance Films following the sale of Maple Pictures, a company he co-founded and served as co-president of since 2005. “Brad brings over 20 years of experience in all aspects of program distribution,” said J. Joly, CineCoup founder and CEO. “His no nonsense approach to business, impressive track record and enviable contact list make him a valuable addition to the CineCoup team.” Pelman will help secure pre sales

Immigration Law Group catherine a. Sas, Q.c. csas@millerthomson.com Registered Foreign Legal Consultant with the State Bar of California

agreements for CineCoup projects and play a key role in supporting the distribution and sales of CineCoup’s top project, which will receive up to $1 million in production financing and a theatrical release in Cineplex theatres in 2014. The CineCoup Film Accelerator competition gives filmmaking teams the opportunity to package their projects and build fan support on the CineCoup social web platform. The Top 10 projects are optioned for development and a jury will select one project to receive up to $1 million in production financing and guaranteed release in Cineplex theatres.

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DADS Goes Viral

A half hour pilot for the web series DADS received 100,000 YouTube views and 1900 subscriptions in its first 24 hours after release. DADS is a comedy series about a group of early 30’s long-time friends, now turned stay-at-home dads, as they explore the meaning of being a parent from an irreverent perspective. “We were so excited to see the views, likes and subscription numbers rise at such a ferocious pace,” says cocreator and executive producer S. Siobhan McCarthy. “We have been creating this series since early 2010 and are so happy to be finding our audience,” added cocreator Adam O. Thomas. DADS pilot and teaser was directed by Peter DeLuise and features Patrick Gilmore, David Lewis, Sean Amsing, Matty Granger, Aleks Paunovic, Julia Benson, Sonja Bennett, and McCarthy. The executive producers are McCarthy and Kate Green who left the project in July 2012 to pursue other endeavors. The producers are Tracey Mack and Thomas. DADS is on the web at www.dadsdotcom.com. Reel West MAY / June 2013

Indie Scene

Who Needs a Broadcaster? Indie TV Pilots Find a Home Online


Photo c/o rainmaker Entertainment

n the independent film & television scene, what was once out of the realm of possibility for lower

Paul Armstrong Producer

Rainmaker and Blockade Partner on Ratchet and Clank

Vancouver-based animation studio Rainmaker Entertainment and Blockade Entertainment are producing Ratchet and Clank, an animated theatrical feature film based on the popular Playstation video game franchise. Ratchet and Clank is published by Sony Computer Entertainment America and developed by game developer Insomniac Games. It follows two unlikely heroes — a fool-hardy “lombax” and a pint-sized robot — who travel through the universe, saving it from evil forces. The CG-stereoscopic film will be directed by Jerricca Cleland and produced by Blockade’s CEO Brad Foxhoven and VP of development David Wohl. The Executive producers is Rainmaker president Michael Hefferon. Kim Dent Wilder is supervising producer with Kylie Ellis as producer. The script is from Insomniac Games senior writer TJ Fixman (One Night on the Hudson). The movie is set for a 2015 release. Whistler Call for Submissions The 13th annual Whistler Film Festival is seeking submissions for its 13th edition, running December 4 to 8, north of Vancouver in the mountain resort town of Whistler, B.C. The festival will feature up to 40 features and 50 short films from Canadian and international filmmakers. “We are anticipating another exciting year at Whistler in 2013.” says Paul Gratton, WFF’s Director of Programming. “Whistler is a festival Reel West MAY / June 2013

that honors Canadian and international talent, and is committed to discovering new films and filmmakers from around the world. “ June 28th is the regular film deadline, but films can be submitted as late as July 26 (late film deadline) and August 2nd (WithoutABox extended late film deadline). The 2013 festival will feature six juried competitive sections and one audience award.

budget productions is now becoming more and more likely. TV series pilots, once prohibitively expensive, are now makeable on lower budgets due to the increased production value that digital allows and the increased experience levels indie filmmakers have gained. An example is the B.C.-shot TV pilot The P.I. Experiment. Created and self funded by Ani Kyd and Toby Lindala, “along with blood, sweat and tears,” the 22 minute pilot follows a struggling business of misfit, degenerate, and somewhat professional private investigators, played by Kyd, Alex Diakun, Graem Beddoes and Daniel Arnold. The bait for the cast and crew often working on these low or no budget indies is the chance it could get picked up as a TV series. “It’s a great opportunity to play a character that I might not normally be seen as,” says Arnold. Also attached to P.I. and slated to direct is Amanda Tapping, who straddles both the mainstream TV world (she starred in Stargate SG-1) but also executive produced Sanctuary, which had indie roots as a web-series before getting picked up by the SyFy Channel. Like Sanctuary, many indie TV pilots are streamed online to build up an audience, then get pitched to broadcasters. “We can create it, write it, shoot it and shop our own vision for a fraction of the money that it used to cost,” says Kyd, who is currently shopping P.I. to broadcasters. “Using your pilot as a visual script demo shows the networks what you are trying to go for and that you can pull it off.” Siobhan McCarthy, who received a Women in Film and TelevisionVancouver Banff Mentorship, has shot a half-hour pilot called DADS, co-created with Adam O. Thomas. DADS follows a group of long time friends, now stay-at-home dads, trying to hold onto their pasts while

surviving the present, and features many of Vancouver’s leading leading actors, including David Lewis, Matty Granger, Patrick Gilmore, Sonja Bennett and Julia Benson. And just like P.I. Experiment, DADS has attracted one of Vancouver’s leading directors, Peter DeLuise (Stargate SG-1). “The climate of the industry has changed tremendously in the last five years and it’s a lot harder to get development funding to create a pilot from a broadcaster, especially for ‘newer’ talent,’” says McCarthy. Thomas and McCarthy spent over three years chasing broadcasters, but in the end decided to change their strategy post Banff 2012, putting the pilot on a YouTube Channel where it garnered over 100,000 views, proving that there is an audience for the series. Aubrey Arnason, also a 2013 Banff attendee as a Bell Media Fellow, is pitching an indie TV pilot, I Don’t, in which single girl Max Carson is living her TV dream but starring in her biggest nightmare, a hit TV Wedding series. Everyday Max is forced to face her fears/annoyances surrounding that ‘love’ thing, based on Aubrey’s own experiences as the producer and host of the reality series The Wedding Bells and The Proposal. “More and more people are making indie spec pilots because it is easier to show an idea than to talk about what it will be like,” says Arnason. “The industry is full of proactive people who recognize that you have to make things yourself in order to survive.” Arnason has completed two other lower budget TV pilots, The Range and Kits for City TV (Rogers) for under $200,000 with broadcaster and Telefilm money. Although Rogers passed, that hasn’t stopped Aubrey from continuing to shop The Range. And if she receives no bites on I Don’t, she will follow the example of many indie pilots waiting for a TV home and turn it into three-minute webisodes, build an audience and hope the broadcasters then take notice. By getting your project online, there are new opportunities to build a fanbase and get green-lit to series. “If you are feeling defeated, remember... never give up,” says Kyd. “There are so many options these days”. n 7


WIFTV Banff World Media Festival Mentorship recipient NIMISHA MUKERJI Photo by ERICH SAIDE


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WIFTV Banff Mentorship Recipients Siobhan McCarthy and Nimisha Mukerji are the recipients of the WIFTV Banff World Media Festival Mentorship. A partnership between Women in Film & Television Vancouver (WIFTV) and the Banff World Media Festival, the program gives two WIFTV members the opportunity to attend the Banff World Media Festival, receive mentoring consultation, and take part in WIFTV’s Pitch Workshop. Mukerji was selected for her documentary project Tempest Storm: Burlesque Queen, a feature documentary about the tumultuous and dramatic private life of one of America’s greatest sex icons. McCarthy was chosen for Dads, a transmedia comedy series about being a man and a dad for the X-Why bother Generation. McCarthy is being mentored by Alex Raffe, head of production for Thunderbird Films (Mr. Young, Package Deal). Mukerji ‘s mentor is Genie award-winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal (Payback, Let it Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles). Cash for Prairie Producers

on-set stills & all types of photography metrotownmedia.com Call Janos (John) Molnar at 604.339.4083


Eleven production companies in Alberta and Manitoba will receive money from the new Rogers Development Fund. The revolving loan program was created by Rogers Media and the Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) to benefit Prairie producers. The companies are: Edmontonbased Anaid Productions, Funtime

Productions, Panacea Entertainment and The Company of Writers; Pay Dirt Pictures of Calgary: Tyler Funk, based in Banff; and from Winnipeg, Media Rendezvous, Merit Motion Pictures, Original Pictures, Deborah Carlson and High Definition Pictures. The fund will begin accepting applications to its second round beginning July 15. Reel West MAY / June 2013

Legal Briefs

New Staff at Brightlight Vancouver’s Brightlight Pictures has appointed David Hovan as chief operating officer and Alexander Suelzle as Vice president, finance. “Our new management team positions Brightlight to continue to expand in new directions,” says Brightlight chairman Shawn Williamson. Hovan brings 35 years of expertise in administration and financial management of the arts and entertainment industries to the Brightlight team. Suelzle has 15 years experience in

domestic and international financing, mergers and acquisitions, business valuations, audit and taxation. Suelzle also serves as CFO for several other companies and is the managing partner at Alexander Christopher & Associates Inc. Chartered Accountants, a firm providing both Canadian and US business strategy, audit, valuation, finance and tax services. Brightlight also recently appointed David Oland as VP Business and Legal Affairs and Kristen Bell as director of the same department.

NSI Board Appointment

Prem Gil, director of content at Telus, has joined the National Screen Institute – Canada board. “Her dedication to emerging screen creators and quality content, and her excellent reputation in the industry will be an asset to the organization,” said NSI board co-chairs Brad Pelman and Raja Kanna in a statement. “She also gives another Western Canadian voice to the board.” Prem directs the curation of TELUS’ Optik TV video on demand storefront across screens and drives the development of local programming initiatives in B.C. and Alberta for Optik Local, TELUS’ contribution to community television. “I have long admired the work of NSI,” said Gill. “The commitment to training Canada’s writers, directors and producers is second to none, and I am delighted to join this dynamic board at such an exciting time for the organization.” Barrett Launches Barcode Doug Barrett, former President & CEO of PS Production Services, has opened barcode SDG, a strategic and governance advisory firm catering to the media industry. Barrett has been involved in the production and broadcast industries for over 35 years, first as a lawyer, then as a business leader. Reel West MAY / June 2013

From 2004 to 2008 he was Chair of the Canadian Television Fund. He is currently the CTV Professor of Broadcast Management at the Schulich School of Business and sits on the Board of the Canadian Media Production Association and the Advisory Board of the Feldman Agency in Vancouver.

Points for Performers: Understanding CAVCO’s Leading Role Policy


n April, the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) issued a call for comments to help

Doran Chandler Entertainment Lawyer

clarify how to define “Lead Performers” for the purposes of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credits (i.e. “Canadian-content tax credits” or “CPTC”) especially for non-fiction and documentary productions. To be eligible for the Canadian-content tax credits, a production must obtain at least 6 out of 10 possible “points” for Canadian key creative personnel involved in the production. There is a further requirement that at least one of the six points must be for a Canadian lead or second lead performer. The only exception to the lead performer point requirement is in relation to non-fiction or documentary productions. If CAVCO, after reviewing a production, agrees that there are in fact no lead performers, the requirement would not be applicable. However, 6 points would be still required in relation to other Canadian personnel. Allotting a point for a lead performer is a two-step process. First, it must be determined if there are any “lead performers” and, if so, it must then be determined who the first and second lead performers are. In the case of many documentary productions, although there may not be any actual “actors,” for the purposes of CAVCO’s determination, it does not necessarily mean that there are no performances being given. CAVCO will consider the performances of narrators, hosts, panel judges, singers, dancers and subjects in lifestyle shows when determining whether or not there are performers and if so, whether they have a leading role. CAVCO will review the following three factors in determining if a performer is considered a “lead performer”: 1. Compensation; 2. Billing; and 3. Time on screen. When considering the compensation paid, CAVCO will look at the amount paid relative to other performers. If the first lead performer is paid a substantial fee (e.g., $1,000,000) and the next lead is paid far less (e.g. $10,000), CAVCO may see that as an indica-

tion that the claimed second lead performer is not in fact a “lead performer”. CAVCO will also consider all benefits provided to the performers in making its decision, including travel and living costs, contingent compensation (i.e. net profits) and other expenses. In reviewing credits, CAVCO will look not only at the relative on-screen positions, but will also review how the performers are promoted in publicity for the production, including press releases and paid ads. CAVCO may also review information on IMDb as well as any other information that may be available, both online and in print media. If a claimed lead performer is not promoted as a lead, CAVCO may take the position that the performer is not in fact a lead. In cases where Canadian and nonCanadian lead performers are paid equal amounts, CAVCO will rank the non-Canadians above the Canadians. For example, if there are 2 nonCanadian leads and 1 Canadian lead all paid the same amount, the lead performer “point” may not be granted and the production would not be eligible for the tax credits. If there are only 2 performers in a production, if they are not of equal importance, the secondary performer is not automatically considered a “lead performer”. Generally, a performer’s on screen time is a very important factor in determining the lead performers. However, CAVCO has indicated that it will consider the content and importance of the performance as well as total screen time in making its assessment. In non-fiction series where the same individuals are included in more than one episode, those individuals will be considered to be the lead performers, even if they are simply carrying on with their normal activities and not acting. CAVCO does allow an exception to the lead performer requirement for documentary productions with no lead performers and which receive less than 6 points, so long as all occupied creative positions are held by Canadians. CAVCO will be accepting written comments to the lead performer policy until May 31, 2013 from industry stakeholders to help further define and clarify its policy on lead performers in relation to the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credits. n 9

Photo by Janos Molnar


Reel West MAY / June 2013


A Meandering Magnificent Journey Producer Victoria Hirst first dipped her toes into the world of filmmaking in Britain. But a leap across the pond to Toronto, and now Vancouver, has led to many rewarding adventures.


fter I gave up my short lived dreams of being a lawyer and an archaeologist, the first thing I remember I wanted the most was to see my name go up in lights and to make a difference in the world. I trace my destiny back to age 16, when I transferred from Hornsey Girls School, in North London, where I aced my O-Levels, to the Latymer grammar school in Enfield, when I flunked my A-Levels. Distracted by boys and Friday nights at the pub, I had to abandon lofty ambitions of becoming a lawyer. Dusting myself off, I convinced myself that archaeology was the way to go. Two weeks on a dig, in the cold, wet soil of a London church burial site, convinced me otherwise. Later that summer, when I was offered a place at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland to do a BA in Combined Humanities I jumped at the chance. It was so completely different from what I’d been planning, totally random. But I was excited by the opportunity to dive into these experimental new courses in Media and Theatre Studies. I acted, directed and produced plays for three years. I was lucky enough to secure a placement at BBC Radio in Manchester where over 3 months, I learned how to produce a radio play, and a second placement with Michael Billington, the Theatre Critic for The Guardian. We went to see plays in the West End together and I was given the chance to write reviews for one of the country’s revered critics. That was nerve wracking. What I learned, of course, is that it’s far easier to criticize, than create. After my third year at Uni, begging and borrowing for each play we did, I vowed never to work in theatre. Within weeks of graduating I sent letters to every film and TV company in London. It was during a time when people actually sent out rejection letters and — since it was the pre-Channel 4 “influx of money to revive the British film industry” — I got a lot. But I only needed one yes, and it was a mat leave at Film and General Productions (Gregory’s Girl). Clive Parsons (sadly deceased) trusted me to read scripts, write reports and to be his assistant. His TV partner at the time was Judy Craymer who went on to Mamma Mia fame and fortune. When my gig was up, Clive’s career advice was to go to Canada. Britain was too much doom and gloom at the time. I had close family in Toronto, so I packed my bags and gave myself six months to try it out. It was 1990, and within two weeks I had a job at the CBC. It was nothing special, but the connections I made there led to others. I tried my hand in commercials, working at McWaters and DVLA. And then I interviewed with Patricia Rozema, who was looking for an assistant. Recently returned from Cannes with White Room, she needed someone to sort through and read all her unsolicited scripts. Suddenly I was generously welcomed into Toronto’s indie film community. As Patricia did more of her own writing, I started working with her then partner Alex Raffé, coordinating with film festivals, organizing film elements and being in the hustle and bustle of logistics and planning. It seemed more akin to my skill set, and it was then I realized I wanted to be a film producer. When David Wellington’s I love a Man in Uniform was green lit, I segued from Alex’s assistant to Paul Brown’s. Working with him I was fortunate enough to participate and witness every part of making the film. The hours were long, the learning curve huge, but by the time we rolled into post, I knew I’d found my joie Reel West MAY / June 2013

de vivre. Having earned my stripes, I stayed with Miracle Pictures as Associate Producer on Soul Survivor and I was in charge of product placement and contra deals, which proved to be immensely rewarding. By the time we wrapped and were into the throes of post, I knew I was prepped to produce myself. I joined Paragon as production manager on a children’s show called Kratts’ Creatures and then I was asked to produce a short film, Chris Bolton’s The Tooth, for the Canadian Film Centre. I had the best time ever, finding a crew, securing freebies and making an entertaining albeit quirky first film. The film went on to festivals and left me wanting more – producing was really fun. When Susan Cavan asked me if I would co-produce Joe’s so Mean to Josephine, I was thrilled. It was Peter Wellington’s first feature. Armed with a budget significantly less than his brother David had, we embarked on an ambitious journey through Toronto locations. Fortunately at that time, “being Canadian” did make a difference and the doors we needed opening were opened. I was proud to be so actively involved in a vibrant filmmaking community - I’d found my calling. I produced a couple more short films, including my “fun-nest”, Breakfast with Gus directed by Siobhan Devine.I took a First AD’ing gig shooting winter exteriors in Saskatoon. It was as a favour for a friend (strangely we’re still friends). I also PM’d Hidden Agenda starring Christopher Plummer, which we shot nights on the site of the old Gooderham and Worts factories before they became the trendy Distillery District. And then I got a call from Lions Gate that kept me busy for the next two years. First there was Prisoner of Love starring Naomi Campbell. Remember her first fight with her assistant? I was in her hotel at the time, trying to persuade her team that we needed her to come to set. Fun times! And then, American Psycho. It was a roller coaster ride from day one, including losing our “office location” on the morning of our tech survey because the story of our filming in Toronto had been prematurely leaked to the press. Locked in by actor availabilities, we scrambled to build a whole office set in four days. It was a tough shoot, and Mary Harron disliked me, but when she recommended me for one of her recent projects, I finally understood why everyone compares production to giving birth. After American Psycho, I chose to follow my calling; to develop, raise money and produce projects that I loved, rather than continue on the “work for hire” path. I was creatively driven to put flawed characters and stories onto the big screen and I didn’t mind that my pocket book took a nose-dive. Affected by Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Stephen Frears, I was committed to indie filmmaking and yes, still wanting to make a difference in the world. So I made it my mission to meet filmmakers who held a similar vision. Century Hotel was my first project. While dysfunctional characters inhabited the hotel room, it was the hotel room itself whose character was the through line. David Weaver and Bridget Newson wrote, with David Weaver directing, and I produced my little heart out to the tune of $750K. Our anthology structure and schedule meant that we attracted some great talent - Chantel Kreviazuk, Raine Maida, Mia Kirshner, Lindy Booth and Colm Feore. Meanwhile we built our sets from recycled flats, 11


Photo C/o pink monkey

Nicole Oliver Actress Nicole Oliver is a multi-faceted talent who believes in diversification: she hosted the Slice lifestyle series Crash Test Mommy; voices a number of animated characters, including Zoe on Littlest Pet Shop and Princess Celestia on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; and has a guest-starring role on the new TV series Rogue, which premieres this month on The Movie Network and Movie Central. She also works consistently in the voice-over market for companies like American Express, Starbucks and Wireless Wave. Oliver’s nine-year old son William Ainscough has followed in her footsteps and plays the lead, Billy, in the City comedy Seed. Oliver plays his teacher in several episodes. Hometown: Born in Ottawa, raised in Toronto. I came out to Vancouver in the mid 90s to do a guest spot on The Outer Limits and went back and forth on the LA, Vancouver, Toronto triangle until I met my husband and fell in love and settled in Vancouver. We have been married for 12 years and have two boys. Start date: I was a ballet dancer and wanted to go pro but I blew my knee out in high school, which dashed that dream so instead I did a high school play in grade 12. I remember walking on the stage and thinking this is pretty cool, so I told my dismayed parents I wanted to be an actor. My parents said okay but go to school and get a degree. Go for it. So I went to York University and took the theatre program, graduated and never looked back. Most memorable working experience: I did a turn on Rogue and it reminded me of why I love being an actor. I played an alcoholic mob wife and my husband had just been shot. I worked with Marton Csokas who plays the lead gangster and director David Frazee. The actors on set were digging layer after layer … it was an amazing experience because I felt like I was playing again. It is great to be reminded of why you wanted to do this in the first place. If I won an Oscar I would thank: My family and also my agents. I have been lucky. I have been with the same agency for 23 years, Characters Talent Agency, so I would thank my agents Murray Gibson and Caroline Young. Also, I did a movie a long time ago with Eva Marie Saint, who was popular with Alfred Hitchcock back in the day. She told me a story about how in this biz don’t let them get into your heart; remember who you are and what is important to you. That has stuck with me so I would give her a tip of the hat. Working with your son on Seed: It was a treat. It was a challenge. It was so surreal. I am really proud of him. The hardest part was not to let my mom brain kick in. My character is a teacher who doesn’t like his character very much so every time I found myself thinking ‘look at you go’ I had to remember that I don’t like him. It was a wonderful experience and he will either thank me or blame me for wherever this path leads him. Latest role: I have an indie film coming out this summer, a mockumentary called Leap 4 Your Life, directed by Gary Hawes of Vancouver. And cartoon-wise I am recording the fourth season of My Little Pony and the second season of Max Steel, which just premiered on Disney XD and Teletoon. My latest five year plan: I am always about changing and evolving. I like to do things I am fearful of most. So I want to try stand-up. I would like to get back to the stage and do some Shakespeare. And I want to segue into directing cartoons and animation so I am starting to write my first short film. n


sought donations from every “wrapping” production and shot in a non-sound proofed warehouse. We premiered to a sold out audience at Toronto, but our second screening was the morning the twin towers came down so our TIFF party stopped there. We did the tour of other Canadian Film Festivals but like so many well-intended Canadian films, didn’t make anything the box office. We were undeterred at the time. I was stoked when Alliance Atlantis approached me to co-produce Owning Mahowny, a $10 million, UK/Can copro. We scouted in Atlantic City and the director Richard Kwietniowski and I had a blast. Who wouldn’t with the brilliant method actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Hurt whose war stories entertained us all? I saw the film to the end and we celebrated in both Sundance and at the Berlin Festival before it was released theatrically worldwide. TWIST, written and directed by Jacob Tierney, was the embodiment of “alienated and dysfunctional” characters – a modern interpretation of Dickens transported to the streets of Toronto staring Jacob’s BFF Nick Stahl. We got the film in the can for $60K and completion money trickled in along the way. We premiered at the Venice film festival – pure magic. After that Jacob and I traveled together to Halifax, Croatia and Moscow Film Festivals. Jacob went on to prove, “make your first film and travel the world”, and I discovered a new joy; the work/travel combo. Then came the BMW short film. After the success of the UK series, I thought working with an ad agency and a high profile client would remind me of what it was like working with gads of money. Patrick Sisam was the writer/director and while we had a fantastic premiere at TIFF during the Holt Renfrew party, there was a tad too much narrative for the BMW demo. It was a shame, because we didn’t get to make any more. In 2006 Sarah Polley invited me to be involved in Away From Her at first draft stage, and we moved forward very fast. It was a team effort - Danny Iron, Jennifer Weiss, Simone Urdl, all of us justifying to Telefilm why the film was going to cost more than a typical first film, and then Sarah was flying off to the UK to pitch Julie Christie. First day of PP and we’re exterior cottage, -35 degrees Celsius, Bracebridge, and it’s a miracle a lens didn’t break. Julie and Gordon Pinsent’s opening volley was one of the most profound moments of the film. Cut to the Oscar

nominations and we’re sooo excited. I then worked on Global Metal – the first documentary I did with Banger Films. Myself and five guys, on tour in Japan, Indonesia, China, Poland, Israel, India and Brazil. What happens on the road stays on the road, until there’s a need for therapy to recover from it. It was an unforgettable adventure, which a year later, led to Flight 666, a doc about Iron Maiden’s Somewhere Back in Time tour. We flew on their private jet to 13 countries in 3 months. Five star hotels (albeit 2-3 nights per city), crazy fans, a tough road crew who partied hard and really famous rock stars. A life-changing journey! It was hard to come back down to earth after such tremendous travels but Suck, a rock and roll vampire movie, seemed highly appropriate. Directed by Rob Stefaniuk and EP’d by Gabriella Martinelli, we struggled through a constant shortfall in the financing and distributor woos all the way through production and post. We never reached the potential of a theatrical release, so thank goodness for the Canadian festival system. At TIFF, we found our homegrown audience and got to hear the applause for one night. Shortly thereafter, and after 10 years of trying, I laid to rest my own projects. Despite development deals with CTV, Movie TV, and Movie Central, my film and TV projects never really moved far enough forward to allow writers to actually quit their day jobs. My directors were equally despondent and needed to make a living, so they pursued their own “work for hire” objectives. I “consulted for hire” on other people’s projects, which also didn’t get financed. And then a new adventure arose – Alex Raffé offered me a Producing day job, a move to BC and so to present day. Mr Young – a tween multi-cam sitcom for Thunderbird and YTV — was such a dramatic move from earnest filmmaking and I love it. We laugh every day, we shoot a new episode every week, we have instant audience feedback and before I know it, I’ve been here for nearly three years. We’re now in prep on a new show by the same showrunners, Dan Signer and Howard Nemetz, and I hope to continue for many, many years to follow. I love this city, I love our crew and I really love to laugh. Thank you to all of those who have supported me on this meandering magnificent journey, I wouldn’t be here without you. n Reel West MAY / June 2013

behind the scenes

CHRIS MCIVOR and JEFF PEELER of the newly formed FRANK Digital.

FRANK Digital MidCan and Frantic merge commercial production and post


ith more than 50 collective years as successful independent production companies, the commercial production division of Frantic Films and the post production division of MidCanada Production Services Inc. merged together earlier this year to form a brand new independent full service production company, FRANK Digital. At the helm is CEO, and former MidCan Operations Manager, Chris McIvor. Coming in from the Frantic Films side is President and Executive Producer Jeff Peeler. Frantic Films still operates as a film and television production company for broadcast and is headed by CEO Jamie Brown. Midcan, now focusing solely on equipment rentals and sales, is still under the leadership of founder Wayne Sheldon. Although, this merger might have surprised some within the Manitoba industry, it was a natural step forward for the two divisions. In the past few years Frantic Films and MidCan have collaborated on some major projects, the most notable being CentrePlace Manitoba for the Vancouver Olympics and a web series pilot named WindCity. “We started discussing other joint ventures and the advantages of our combined talents and resources started becoming more and more clear,” says McIvor. “MidCan had a tremendous production facility but a small production management team. Frantic had a fantastic commercial production and creative team but a relatively small amount of technical resources. Together we can compete on the national and international stage for commercials, corporates, interactive media and other branded content” One of the biggest advantages of the merger is that FRANK Digital is now a one-stop shop. “We are full service from start to finish,” says Peeler. “We really collaborate

Reel West MAY / June 2013

with our clients to combine the creative with technology and execute targeted solutions. “We’re able to work with advertising agencies, marketing companies, film studios and directly with clients.” On the interactive side, FRANK offers experienced graphic designers, multimedia specialists and an award winning animation department that can create content for any application. But what’s unique to FRANK as a production company is that they also provide post production services for outside producers. FRANK is Manitoba’s most comprehensive fully HD production house with more than 10-thousand square feet of audio and video post-production facilities. Services include ten HD/SD edit suites, three DaVinci Resolve colour timing and finishing suites, closed captioning, down-conversion, descriptive video, visual effects and animation, duplication and multi-format transfer and a an online digital dailies service. FRANK can upload dailies, offline and online media at 100Mbps, allowing producers, directors and editors to view HD content from anywhere in the world within minutes! Frank also has Manitoba’s only Dolby Certified 5.1 digital audio mixing theatre and print master facility. A large recording studio features 14’ ceilings and a Heintzman grand piano as well as multiple pro-tools suites available for recording, editing, mixing and ADR. And with MidCan in the same building, you can get all your crew and equipment needs taken care of as well. “All the elements are here,” says McIvor. “And judging by how busy we have been since our launch in January, I think we are delivering a much needed service.” For more information on FRANK Digital go to their website at www.frankdigital.ca or follow them on twitter @wearefrankca n 13

Festival Feature Seed is nominated for a Rockie Award at this year’s Banff World Media Festival. Photo by Mike Tompkins

Banff World Media Festival: Showcasing Canada to the World Seed, Heartland and Pitchin’ In represent Western Canada at the international Rockie Awards Story by


Cheryl Binning

he Banff World Media Festival juggles several mandates: serving as a development and production market; honoring the best in international TV through the Rockie Awards; and exploring the big issues and challenges facing the content production world via master-classes and panel discussions. “This year we have more formal opportunities than ever to meet with international development executives and pitch,” says Ferne Cohen, Executive Director of the Banff World Media Festival. “But what sets Banff apart in addition to its focus on the development and production side, as opposed to the buyer side, is the high-impact panels with global leaders on market-driven topics. So that’s a balance we work into our program.” Another key focus of the festival is to give Canadian producers and productions a chance to shine. “We are bringing the world to our backyard so we want to make sure it is a platform where Canadians can show off what they have to offer,” says Cohen. Banff serves as a platform for Canadian TV by providing producers with opportunities to pitch the international market, learn from innovative leaders in master classes and through The Rockie Awards. The competition attracts over 1,000 entries from over 40 countries. This year several Western Canadian companies are representing Canada at the Rockie awards: Heartland, 14

produced by SEVEN24 Films and Dynamo Films of Calgary for the CBC, is nominated in the youth-fiction category; Pitchin’ In, produced by Winnipeg’s Frantic Films for Food Network Canada, is nominated in the lifestyle and information category; and Seed, produced by Vancouver’s Force Four Entertainment for City, is nominated in the sitcom category. The business opportunities for Canadian companies at the festival will be bolstered this year. “The number of international development executives attending has grown substantially and the number of face-to-face meetings has expanded,” says Cohen. “It’s becoming a must-attend event for the international community because of the business they get out of it.” The ‘Face to Face with a Decision Maker’ series is an opportunity to meet with top international development executives from the world’s leading networks, broadcasters, production companies, and digital distribution platforms. Delegations from Asia, Australia, Ireland, UK, Europe and the USA are all attending the festival. “Our growing international numbers indicate we have established ourself on the world stage as a business hub,” says Cohen. The Co-Production, Co-Venture and Co-Financing Business Market, launched last year, is being expanded based on the success of the inaugural program. “It is positioning Banff as the international conduit between all these territories and connecting people with new partners and new financing models in a formal stream,” says Cohen. Reel West MAY / June 2013

Digital platforms, online video, mobile devices and social media are changing the way content is being made and the way viewers interact with programming. The festival’s nextMEDIA program is hosting the inaugural TV Everywhere stream that will explore the financing, production and distribution of content on the evolving digital landscape. “Content is being delivered across numerous devices so the question is who is commissioning content for these devices; what are the monetization models and how can I connect with them to do business,” says Mark Greenspan, Executive Director of nextMEDIA. “TV Everywhere answers those questions.” On the financing side, the TV Everywhere program will look at successful scripted online content that uses alternative financing models, such as crowdsourcing and Kickstarter. Among the speakers is Bernie Su, Co-Creator, Executive Producer and Writer of the hugely popular and award-winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. A modern-day imagining of Pride and Prejudice, the series (unfolding over 150 videos totaling nine hours and 30 minutes of content) is told in real time and interactively via online video and social media across YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and a website. To raise financing, the producers pre-sold a DVD set on Kickstarter and became the first film

Heartland is nominated for a Rockie Award at this year’s Banff World Media Festival.

Reel West MAY / June 2013

and video project to achieve over 600% of its initial funding goal, with over $380,000 raised. [see sidebar] Innovative Canadian companies will also be showcased in the line-up, including Toronto-based Secret Location, an interactive agency which combines online, mobile, animation and transmedia storytelling to build large-scale digital entertainment projects, including the online component for Big Brother Canada. On the distribution side, there are lots of new players: Netflix is commissioning big budget series like House of Cards; Hulu recently started streaming new episodes of cancelled network TV soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live; Amazon is programming children and comedy series; and YouTube recently announced it is launching paid subscription channels. “We are looking at these online studios that are funding bigger budget series,” says Greenspan, pointing out that representatives from online companies Hulu, Yahoo!, Google and AOL are attending the festival. Another new programming stream at nextMEDIA is The Content Marketing & Media Strategy Summit, focused on the intersection of advertising and content, with discussions on media buying, selling and creation. Sessions will explore branded content properties, content marketing, and the changing world of media buying. In branded content, Greenspan

points out that companies like Coca Cola are interested in becoming content creators and partnering with producers to make that content, and working with publishers and broadcasters to get access to audiences. “We have some interesting branded entertainment companies coming that are hybrid companies that fit in between production and advertising and marketing,” explains Greenspan. For example, The Alchemists Entertainment Group, based in Brazil and LA, has built original transmedia narratives and content for clients like Coca-Cola, CW, Elle Magazine, and the NFL. “Even Canadian broadcasters now have marketing services divisions, like CBC’s branded content initiative,” adds Greenspan. “Producers can submit content ideas to the CBC and they work with brand partners to do deeper integrations into their show, product placement and other kinds of activations.” Last year, around 2000 delegates attended the festival and Cohen says all indications suggest this will be the biggest Banff yet. “The idea is to continue to grow and turn this event into an even bigger global production and development market,” says Cohen. “We see Banff as the conduit pulling Asia, Europe, and the US together to meet for innovative deal making and partnership. We want to be a magnet with an even bigger pull.” n


Q&A with Bernie Su, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Reel West: How do you build audience for an online project? Bernie Su: Having a great hook helps. We knew early on we had a sexy hook – Pride and Prejudice, modernized, as a video diary. And we knew the book had feverish fans who would at least check us out. But then it’s up to us to keep them coming back. That’s why quality is so important. The best form of advertising is word of mouth, especially in our social media society. It something doesn’t resonate with you, then you aren’t going to share it on Twitter. We embraced the format, we weren’t trying to make something for TV, and we went into this wanting to make the best Pride and Prejudice adaptation we could make. RW: How did you finance the web series? BS: Our strategy was to finance the making of the first 24 episodes ourself, keep the budget low, and release it gradually to see if we could build an audience. We were a hit right out the gate and got a YouTube partnership. After 24 episodes we needed to make more content and had make enough money from ads to finance the second block of videos. But we still had to keep the budget low and we paid really low rates so after month six we partnered with DECA, a multi-channel network, and they financed the rest of the series. RW: Now that Lizzie is wrapped, what’s next? BS: We are developing a new major series but that will take time and we don’t want to lose our fan base in the meantime, so we are launching a shorter, bridge series, Welcome to Sanditon, featuring the character of Gigi from Lizzie. n 15

Festival feature

Patrick Gilmore and Peter New star in Alien Abduction

CineCoup Pitches at Banff

Winning film gets $1 million and a Cineplex theatrical release Story by

Cheryl Binning


he CineCoup Film Accelerator competition is coming to a close at the Banff World Media Festival where five filmmaking teams will pitch their movie to a panel of experts and one will be chosen to receive $1 million in production financing and a guaranteed release in Cineplex Theatres. Telefilm has also indicated they will invest in the winning CineCoup project. “At Banff our top five teams will be put on the hot seat in front of 200 industry leaders and a jury who will ask some tough questions and choose a winner,” says J. Joly, the Vancouver entrepreneur who created CineCoup to fast-track the development, marketing and financing of feature films. “After we announce the winner I will challenge other producers in the room to make the four remaining projects,” adds Joly. 16

Sage Brocklebank of Vancouver is the producer of the crime thriller Scam. It’s among the top ten projects vying for a spot at the Banff pitch session. “It’s a great opportunity to meet important contacts in Canadian film, not just for this project but for other projects down the road,” he says. The jury at Banff will include Michael Kennedy, Cineplex’s executive VP of Filmed Entertainment, and producer Robert Lantos. The CineCoup competition began with 91 projects from filmmaking teams across the country who participated in a series of social media marketing missions designed to package their projects and build fan support. “We want these teams to think like entrepreneurs,” explains Joly. “This isn’t film school, this is tough love, it’s like running a triathalon. In 60 days you will know if you are making a movie so the idea is to accelerate the process.” Fans play a key role by providing feedback on the project and voting to help their favourite projects advance. Based on mission success, online voting, and project evaluation, the 91 projects have been culled down to a top ten. On June 3rd (after press time), the top five heading to Banff will be revealed. Reel West MAY / June 2013

Election UPdate

Nowhere But Up From Here

Solomon Rogers and Arjun Rikhraj in Grade Nine

Jordana Largy in The Fall

“It’s been an eye-awakening experience to learn about all the things you can do with social media to effect your audience,” says Brocklebank. “You can create value for a project through social media. It really is a currency.” Scam, written by Allen Morrison, and to be directed by Patrick Sabongui, is the story of a phone scammer who preys on seniors. “It’s a redemption story,” explains Brocklebank. “The scammer is in a custody battle and needs money to provide for his 3-year-old son and he tries to scam an old man who is estranged from his own son. Together they take down the scam cartel so it’s about broken characters trying to do the right thing.” To build up fan support for their film, the Scam team created stickers and got people to put them up all over the world and tweet pictures of the locations where the stickers were posted. The stickers have a bar code so by scanning the sticker with an iPhone, the film trailer is launched. “The stickers empowered our fans to go out and spread the word and they had fun putting them up in cool Reel West MAY / June 2013

places,” explains Brocklebank. “For example, a friend took stickers to the Coachella Music Festival and put them up on tents.” All of the top ten projects have been optioned by CineCoup and the company’s president of distribution Brad Pelman is shopping the projects to international buyers and sales agents. Vancouver’s Jeff Cassidy is the writer and director of the top ten project Bad, a dark crime drama about a brother and sister who become involved in criminal activity and find a family in this underworld. Riley Walsh and Kristian Cayman are producing. “It’s a film about family values in the most messed up way possible,” says Cassidy, who has been working on the script for the last five years, in between his day job as a focus puller in the film industry. “This competition inspired me to push ahead and get the script finished,” he says. “Cinecoup may have created the new paradigm for independent films,” adds Cassidy. “They put the power back into the filmmaker hands with social media.” n

The victory of the BC Liberals in May’s provincial election will not deter film industry workers from keeping the momentum going on their grassroots awareness campaign to promote the importance of the sector to the province’s economy and culture. “We were very successful in educating a lot of people about who we are and what we do,” says Save BC Film spokesman Wayne Bennett. Over the past year the B.C. industry has lost work to Ontario, which offers a more lucrative 25% tax credit on all production spending. But the Liberal government has previously stated that it won’t increase B.C.’s 33% film and TV labour tax credit to compete. Bennett is undeterred. “Prior to the election, we had had good meetings with members of the sitting government and we look forward to building on those relationships as we move forward,” he says. Save BC Film is asking their supporters to keep contacting their local MLA’s and encouraging them to look at new means to support the industry. The Motion Picture Production Industry Association of B.C. (MPPIA) congratulated Premier Christy Clark on her victory. “British Columbia is rich with resources in the creative industries; with the right vision, strategy and investment from government and the private sector, we are positioned to be leaders in the entertainment production market and in the global creative economy,” said chair Peter Leitch. Alvin Sanders, an actor and president of the Union of BC Performers (UBCP) believes educating the public on the spin-off benefits of the film and TV industry is key. “People just have to get that into their heads, that when I get paid, I take that money and I spend it at the Safeway store, and Starbucks,” he says. “And they take that money and they pay taxes on the money I’ve spent with them. So the TV film money, it’s money that keeps on giving, it doesn’t just stop, it just keeps on flowing.” Manjit Bains, a Vancouver Film School Graduate, has worked on over 25 different productions. But with the slowdown in the film industry she has had to take on a part-time administrative job. But she remains optimistic. “There’s no place to go but up,” she says. n

- by Katja De Bock 17

Diary Feature

Seeing Double

Jesse James Miller on set of Becoming Redwood

Jesse James Miller’s diary on making two films in less than two years Vancouver filmmaker Jesse James Miller has had a whirlwind couple of years, making two movies back-to-back. The coming of age comedy Becoming Redwood is based on Miller’s own life, and tells the story of a boy who witnesses his parent’s separation and believes if he beats the world’s greatest golfer he can bring his family back together. The Good Son is a documentary about the life and career of boxing icon Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. Miller shot both films in 2011 and went back and forth editing them through to completion in 2012. And now the blood, sweat and tears are paying off. Becoming Redwood has picked up numerous awards and recently completed a Canadian theatrical run and The Good Son will be released this summer in US theatres and is gaining attention as a 2014 Oscar contender. Both films are also nominated for the B.C. film industry’s Leo Awards. Diary by

Jesse James Miller 1982 Ray Mancini wins the title for his father against Arturo Frias in Vegas. It is one of the greatest one round fights ever and I remember Ray being a big star at the time. I was 12. 18

1998 I finished my first draft of Becoming Redwood and then moved to Los Angeles with my wife Jennifer Copping. 2009 Fast forward nine years. I’ve now directed a couple features and gone through a few producers for Becoming Redwood. The model I’m trying to use in Canada for this film isn’t normal -- do it privately. This is mostly because I’ve never gotten a grant (I shoulda used my Jewish last name - Kaufman). However the other reason is I feel the script is far too progressed to go into development with Reel West MAY / June 2013

Telefilm and that’s what being pushed on me by every producer. Every one. The script however is ready for one more re-write that I’ve planned out, but I’ve dug my heels in and won’t do it until it’s optioned and I’m finally paid. After all, it’s only been 11 years and the script is in shooting form. DECEMBER 2010 I turn 40. I wrote Becoming Redwood when I was 28.... Then I get a call that floors me. They want me to come in to meet about directing a feature length documentary on the life of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. “You know who he was”?.... EVERYONE KNEW RAY if you were a boxing fan back then. So I go in, hear the pitch and agree to terms. I wait for the call to go meet with Ray. It’s surreal. JANUARY 2011 I fly to L.A and shoot the first interview with Ray. We hit it off right away. The interview goes amazingly well. Financier and producers watch as he cries about his father during our interview. I wrap it early so Ray can go to his son’s ball game. “Jesse, wanna come”? What? So I hop in Ray’s car and we go to Santa Monica high and hang out. I go have dinner with his family after and share a bottle of wine. Ray is just so honest and open. In documentary speak, this is a dream. I know we can push areas a bit more, as long as he trusts me, we’re good. This day I’ll never forget. MAY 2011 Me and a small crew of 3 (DP Ian Kerr, Gaffer and sound guy Simon Doucet, and line producer Adam Scorgie) set off for South Korea. I’m going to interview DeukKoo’s son. The son that the world never knew about. When Deuk-koo died after the 1982 fight against Ray, his fiance, Young-Mi was 3 months pregnant. She had the baby and kept it from the public. She also didn’t tell her own son who his father was....until he found out himself at seven. I’ll be the first to ever interview them. South Korea is fantastic and the shoot goes better than planned. I interview not only Jiwan and Young-Mi, but DeukKoo’s trainer and his best friend. I also take Jiwan and his mother to DeukKoo’s grave site. We get back and I feel we have a shot a great film. JUNE 2011 Whirlwind shoot. I go to Youngstown for a 3 day shoot, then we go to Los Angeles for 2 days. Before that leg, however I’m in New York and get a call from the Redwood producers saying we are green-lit to go. It’s a lot to take in, but a dream comes Reel West MAY / June 2013



true. I’ll be able to finally create my film Becoming Redwood. I don’t think about how I’m going to pull it all off, I just go. We go hard in Youngstown (4 interview days in 4 different locations) and then film a very emotional meeting in Los Angeles where Jiwan Kim (Deuk-koo’s son) and Young-Mi meet Ray. It’s an overwhelming experience and there’s massive pressure because Ray will only give me one take at the meeting. We lose a camera guy at the last moment, then miraculously Simon Doucet calls his brother in L.A who knows a guy. He turns out to be a very experienced operator who saves the day. I would’ve taken over Bcam, but it would’ve hurt. One-take with the meeting goes amazing. I film a

dinner after they meet at Ray’s house and I feel like I’m in a Cassavettes film. It’s surreal, brutally honest, emotional and joyous all in one. I’ll never forget that night. The next day we fly back to Vancouver. I start casting Redwood the next morning. Shifting gears into a script that I’ve worked (at this point) 12 years to get off the ground. Coming of Age, family dramedy. I hit the ground running. No break, no problem, I’m casting Redwood. JULY 2011 Pre-production is a tug of war. One day I think we are going to camera, the next is a dive-bomb mission that Jonathan Livingston Seagull would have been proud of. Every push and pull turns out to be worth it as I find Ryan Grantham to play Redwood

and the rest of the casting goes amazing. If this thing goes, it’ll work. One last dive-bomb as we need more days, more money, more stress, but the producers come up with enough to get us to camera and off we go. JULY-AUGUST 2011 We start production late July and it’s a dream, except for the first day and a half that we lose to a technical difficulty. I cry that night. Yep. However the next morning I re-group on the long drive to set. I remember the sun and I remember hearing a Doug Paisley tune...whatever it was, we never looked back during production. Everyone is well cast, well prepared. Camera department is great, sound guys are great, our design team is 19

Deuk-Koo Kim’s best friend, Sang Bong

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini on the set of The Good Son

Deuk-Koo Kim’s fianceé, Young-Mi, went into seclusion with her child following Kim’s death


amazing, wardrobe, make-up, everyone. The set is vey relaxed, dailies are looking great and the performances more importantly are on the mark. Ryan is putting on a great performance. Everyone has bought into what I’m trying to make - a coming of age family dramedy. It’s not a golf film. SEPTEMBER 2011 We wrap Becoming Redwood late August and I’m supposed to start writing The Good Son, but haven’t gotten the transcripts. Things are being delayed and I can’t figure out why. At the same time I’m supposed to be writing, I start cutting Redwood in my studio with my editor Charlie Renfrew. We work really well together. It’s peaceful. No distractions, just back to Redwood and his journey. I love this part of filmmaking. The creation becomes alive - piecing things together. OCTOBER 2011 The Good Son gets pushed until January. Not sure why, but it doesn’t seem to be urgent. The film isn’t due until September of 2012, so I continue forward with Becoming Redwood. I deliver my directors cut mid-month. It’s well received and the dance begins. My ratio ended up being 3 to 1. DECEMBER 2012 Becoming Redwood is locked on the 11th (officially not until January). The locked cut is almost exactly like my directors cut, so of course, I’m happy. At the same time this is going down, I still don’t have my transcripts for The Good Son. There’s been very little communication with the producers on that film and I’m becoming worried. FEBRUARY 2012 The great Schaun Tozer starts working on Becoming Redwood and the equally talented sound designer Jon Ritchie is on the job. We are in good hands as we’ve worked together for years now. All prepared together. I feel I have my creative companions back now after 5 months of editing purgatory... Charlie doesn’t speak much.... FINALLY I get my transcripts for The Good Son that same month. I write a paper edit in 3 weeks and send it off. It’s green-lit and I start cutting in my studio again with, you guessed it, Charlie Renfrew. MARCH 2012 I start colour correcting Becoming Redwood with Andrea Chelebak at Central. Andrea brings so much to the project. We did tests together (I cut a trailer before the rough cut to get the movie sold and also test colour tones/looks with AnReel West MAY / June 2013

drea) that are paying off. The movie looks amazing and most of my RED worries are gone. The Good Son cut is also progressing. There’s an emotional underbelly that is very deep. MAY 2012 Schaun has done it again. His score for Redwood floors me. On top of that, all the needle drop music I selected looks like we’ve got rights to use. Things are sounding great on Redwood. At the same time I design 6 sets with Chad Krowchuck (production designer on Redwood) and his gang for The Good Son. We shoot in his studio with my good friend Ken Johns and Bruce Borland. This is a dimension of The Good Son that I feel will help connect all the stylistic and story principles I’ve set out on that project to do. The dailies look great. Charlie cuts them into the rough cut. I fly to Los Angeles with the cut and show it to the financier. We are at the Four Seasons in his room. I’m about to have a heart attack when the film is over because there’s absolute silence. He turns to me and he’s crying...I also take a copy over to Ray’s house. This is probably the most nervous I’ve ever been. He watches it in his living room while I shoot broll in his front hallway!!!... (I decided to shoot all the stills in camera...just to make it

Reel West MAY / June 2013

“The champ and I hug. You hear that? The 1982 lightweight champion of the world and I hug it out in his living room.” easier!). Again, I hear the last cue and it’s silent. I walk in and Ray stands up. I kinda feel like he might tap my chin, but instead he says “You made a great movie Jesse.” The champ and I hug. You hear that? The 1982 lightweight champion of the world and I hug it out in his living room....Superchannel then buys the rough cut for Canadian broadcast. Good start. JULY 2012 I lock The Good Son. Schuan is writing another amazing score. I’m telling you, the guy’s incredible. We work on the mix at Jon’s studio on Bowen. It sounds amazing. I go back to Central and Colour Correct with Andrea again. Five days of bliss. I basically re-enact the process of Redwood with The Good Son.

AUGUST 2012 We lay back Becoming Redwood. Watching it go to tape at Finale was a beautiful experience. All alone, after 14 years, I’m done. The tech doesn’t see me crying in the small room. The Good Son mix is done as well. We lay that back later that month. Now I’m numb and can’t slow down. My body and mind have been working constantly for 18 months on two different films. The ups and downs of both films have taken a bit of a toll on me physically and mentally. My family has stuck by me and we are about to have another child. Ya, why not!? Jen and I have Cian, who’s now 6. Our next is due early October. But now I wait. I wait for my new family member and

also to see what my two films will do when they are grown up, when they are thrust into the world. SEPTEMBER 2012 Becoming Redwood is the gala film at the Edmonton Film Festival. It’s a great time and we win the Jury prize for best Canadian film. The Good Son opens 5 days later at the Hampton’s Film Festival. I don’t attend because Jen is about to burst. OCTOBER 2012 Keen Indigo Miller is born on October 6th. Becoming Redwood premieres at VIFF October 11th and Jen (who put on an incredible performance as the female lead Jade), Cian, Keen and myself attend. It’s a family affair. We win most popuConinued on page 23


Feature Story

MARTIN CUMMINS stars in Hell in a Handbag. Photo by Adam Myhill

The making of Hell in a Handbag: Martin Cummins gets by with a little help from his friends Story by


Nathan Caddell

artin Cummins is sitting on a bench in front of a flower shop at the corner of Main and 20th in Vancouver. He inhales a cigarette and looks to the sky as cameras roll on his indie film Hell in a Handbag. With a scraggy beard, long, dark hair and multiple tattoos, he isn’t the sort of actor that you’d imagine getting his start in a Disney production. But, lo and behold, that’s exactly how the North Delta born and raised Cummins started his career, appearing in two episodes of the adventure series Danger Bay. “I did theatre in high school (Seaquam Secondary) and my grandfather was watching the news and saw a commercial for a Disney TV series having open auditions in Vancouver,” explains Cummins. “So he said ‘Oh Martin’s a real good actor, he should go for that.’ He drove me to my first audition and I had a bunch of call-backs on it, and he drove me to every one of them. By some happenstance I got the job.” Much has changed since then. For one thing, Cummins has altered his career from fresh-faced Disney actor to savvy independent film veteran. He is the writer, director, producer and star of Hell in a Handbag. This movie marks his second directorial effort and his first since 2000’s We All Fall Down (which he also wrote, produced and acted in). Hell in a Handbag is a horror comedy that chronicles the adventures of Father Michael (Cummins), an embittered gun-toting exorcist priest as he fights


a covert battle against Satan. Helping the priest out in his quest is his gang of misfits: the leather-clad Sister Joan (Christine Wallace), rabbi Ratzenberger (Brian Markinson), Russian bodyguard Silver (Callum Keith Rennie), vampire pal Terrance (Ian Tracey) and cross-dressing techie Ellis (Jarod Joseph). But as much as things change, they stay the same. 26 years after his grandfather drove him to his first audition, Cummins is relying heavily on family and friends to get his film made. Cummins had tried to make Hell in a Handbag for years but ran into the same troubles of any indie filmmaker: money. Luckily, one of Cummins’ friends, a lawyer named Stephen Mansfield, was there to save the day. “He called me one day and said he might be able to get the money for a film, which in this day and age in Canadian film you just go ‘You have to be kidding me. You….you what? You can get money for an independent film? What are you, crazy?’” says Cummins, still in disbelief. “So we talked about it, and through some friends of his, we put it together.” Mansfield’s heroics are but one instance of Cummins’ circle of trust coming together to help him out in this production. The crew is filled with his old friends and co-workers and filming and studio locations have been taken care of at a low price, thanks to some kind parents and in-laws. “My fiancée Christine’s dad owns a roofing company called Design Roofing and we’re actually using his trucks, so he’s been very kind,” says Cummins. “As well he has a warehouse space on the other side of 200th and Maple Ridge so that’s what we’re using as our studio space and where we’re doing all our builds.” “When you’re on the other side of 200th, it’s another 12 percent on laReel West MAY / June 2013

bour in terms of the tax benefits,” adds Cummins, citing the B.C. Film and Television Tax Credit Regulation laws. “My dad also happens to live on the other side of the Lions Gate, so we shot the graveyard scene in his front yard.” Cummins may appear to be the luckiest man in independent film, but all of this was only possible because of the personal connections he has made over the years. Nowhere is that clearer than in the cast — an array of stars of Canadian film, all of whom are close with Cummins. The list includes Callum Keith Rennie (Memento), who Cummins named one of his kids after; Brian Markinson (Mad Men), Munro, whom Cummins has known since high school; and Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG-1). “I put the calls out to friends and they came and helped out,” says Cummins. “Vancouver actors are good like that, they get something fun and they’re just like ‘Oh sure, I’ll come and do that.’ So everybody kind of went ‘Marty’s doing a movie, let’s help him out!’“ Cummins’ decision to play one of the leads was made out of necessity.

He sees Hell in a Handbag as the first in a series of three movies, so it makes sense that he and his fiancée Christine Wallace play two of the main characters. “I didn’t write it for me to play the character,” says Cummins. “We think it really works as three little movies and it’s one of those things where if you’re going to make three movies, you have to have your main characters and be able to hold on to them. So Christine and I will be available. If we know we’re doing a movie, that’s what we’re doing. But if I cast somebody else and they get a series or go off and do something else, then you don’t have a movie anymore.” Although three films is eventually the plan, Cummins remains focused on the task at hand, which is to try and get Hell in a Handbag a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. “We want to scissor together our cut as well as we can,” says Cummins. “What we’re going to send to them will be a temp soundtrack and we won’t have our special effects completed, but hopefully they’ll get the idea and think it’s fun and they’ll be interested in having it play there.” n

Photo by Adam Myhill

Jesse James Miller cont. from page 21

lar film. My work is done and there’s nothing else I can do. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, letting go, but one I’m familiar with. The kids have flown the coop, and they are growing up. MAY 2013 Both Becoming Redwood and The Good Son get theatrical runs. Redwood is in Canada and The Good Son will be released this summer in the U.S. Ray and I have become good friends and are working on a script together that we hope to shoot in Youngstown this summer. Time has passed and I feel closure now on Reel West MAY / June 2013

both films. Becoming Redwood was a learning experience. I’ll most likely never make a film that close to me again. People told me it was a bold move and as I look back, it was. I’m not saying I’ll never make anything that open — I will, that’s who I am, but I’ll just base it on someone else’s life! Both films still have lots of chutzpha left though! Redwood is still opening across Canada and The Good Son: the life of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini will be shown to millions on a major American TV network in November and it’s garnering Oscar worthy buzz. Stay tuned! n

Based on Arcana’s best selling comics, Pixies is currently in production as an animated feature film

Vancouver’s Marvel: Arcana Studios sets its sight on being the next Marvel Comics Empire In 2003, Vancouver native Sean Patrick O’Reilly decided to chase his dream and open his own comic book studio. He wrote and self-published the first issue of a comic-book called Kade from a studio in his basement and brought it to Comic-Con in San Diego where his hero, Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, signed a copy and wished him luck in his journey. A couple years later, O’Reilly’s Arcana Studios grew to become one of the largest comic book publishers in Canada. They publish over 250 original intellectual properties in 400 graphic novels. But O’Reilly didn’t stop there: he wanted to create a shared universe for his characters, akin to the way Lee has built his Marvel enterprise. “The whole comic book-to-film industry became pretty popular and we followed that trend, opening up an LA animation studio in 2012,” says O’Reilly, who maintains an office in Vancouver as well. Arcana’s library of intellectual properties contain well over 5,000 characters and he’s currently working to bring some of them to the big screen. Kagagi: The Raven (world’s greatest Native American superhero) is being made into an animated series. The Gwaii, a Moonbeam award-winner for best children’s graphic novel, is about a young sasquatch in the Canadian wilderness. Written by O’Reilly and fresh off being launched into a mobile app, it’s being adapted into a mini-series. The Pixies, about an auto mechanic haunted by a group of pixies that force him to right his wrongs, is being developed into an animated feature film which O’Reilly is producing. “We’re looking at continuing to develop, produce and control our own comic book content, the same way Marvel has done,” explains O’Reilly. - by Nathan Caddell n


TOP ROW: David Kines, Hollywood Suite; Carole Bonneau, Astral Television Networks; Vibika Bianchi, Corus; Kevin Wright, Astral Television Networks. SECOND ROW: Kevin Gregg, Astral Television Networks; Corrie Coe, Bell Media; Craig Colby, Blue Ant Media; Ken MacDonald, Bell Media. THIRD ROW: Jocelyn Hamilton, Corus; Jay Switzer, Hollywood Suite; Sally Catto, CBC; Marcia Martin, Blue Ant Media. BOTTOM ROW: Maureen Levitt, Super Channel; Joan Jenkinson, Zoomermedia; Michael Goldsmith, Astral Television Networks.


Reel West MAY / June 2013

2013 network guide

Who you gonna pitch? A guide to who’s buying what in Canadian TV

Between the mergers and acquisitions; new channel launches; and hirings, firings and reorganizations at Canada’s television networks, remembering who’s who and who’s doing what can be a mindblowing puzzle. Fear not. Starting this year, Reel West is compiling an annual list of channels, mandates and executives to help you better position your pitches to the right people. ASTRAL TELEVISION NETWORKS Channels


The Movie Network Series: Highly entertaining dramatic and comedic storytelling; character-driven material, both limited and on-going half-hour and one-hour series with high production values and a cinematic visual approach. Attracted to material with surprising and unpredictable characters with a fresh perspective on the world that they inhabit. Not interested in conventional crime, legal and medical procedural shows, sitcoms, youth or lifestyle programming, web (only) series or documentary series. Films: Pre-buys approximately 40 films per year and acquires an additional 20 more, ranging from big-budget theatrical films to low-budget films from first-time directors, feature-length documentaries and commercially driven made-fortelevision movies. Documentary: A small appetite for documentary but do pre-buy and acquire a select number of feature-length documentaries, specifically highly entertaining pop culture docs with broad audience appeal and potential for theatrical release.

Family Channel Serves kids, tweens, teens and their families and airs a mix of series, movies and specials comprised mostly of programming from Disney US and Canadian original productions, as well as other acquisitions. Family has seen great success with live-action comedies, both single and multicamera, that appeal to its focus of kids 8-14. The channel is keen to find programming that complements its current comedic lineup and that could also work on Disney XD.

Disney XD Targets boys aged 6-12 while still inclusive of girl audiences with series, movies and short form content that focus on comedy, discovery, sports, accomplishment and adventure. The channel has seen success with live-action, both single and multi-camera, as well as animated comedies. Reel West MAY / June 2013

Disney Junior Target demographic is kids 2-7 and looks for engaging and development-based programming for younger children and showcases series with a focus on magical, musical and heartfelt stories that feature beloved classic and contemporary characters.

TELETOON Target demographic is Kids 6-11, skewed to boys but girl-inclusive. The channel is looking for animated properties that uphold the principles of imagination, bring on the awesome and dial up the laughs...all served with a side order of random. Comedy should be the driver, but looking for shows with heart, too, and new levels of cartoon awesomeness! The channel is not looking for educational or preschool programming.

TELETOON at Night Target demographic is Adults 18-49. Looking for programs that fit in with the channel’s already strong line up of broad-appeal family comedies, ie The Simpsons, Family Guy and Futurama. The comedy should come from a place of discomfort and subversion – parody, stereotypes and satire are the staples of primetime. Executives

• Kevin Wright, Senior Vice President, Programming, Astral Television Networks • Aubie Greenberg, Director, Original Programming, Movie Services, Astral Television Networks • Kathleen Meek, Manager, Original Programming, Movie Services, Astral Television Networks • Michael Goldsmith, Director of Original Programming, Kids, Astral Television Networks • Sarah Haasz, Production Executive, Kids, Astral Television Networks • Carole Bonneau, Vice-President, Programming, TELETOON Canada Inc. • Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content, TELETOON Canada Inc.




Bravo! Entertaining, intelligent, high-end programming that caters to an adult audience (aged 25-54). Formats of interest include: high-quality dramatic series, observational documentary series (reality), and competition reality series.

The Comedy Network Scripted or unscripted comedy series including single-cam or multi-cam sitcoms, panel shows, game shows, and talk shows appealing to adults aged 1834. No feature films or docs, and limited animation.

CTV Big-tent, high-quality programming, universal in theme, driven by unique and exceptional characters. Close-ended episodic series, realitycompetition shows and some mini-series.

Discovery Channel Series focusing on science, technology, adventure and nature; world around us; interesting people doing interesting things, that contain curiosity, surprise and great take away, and are as much about the WOW as the HOW. Target is 18-49 year old male with high curiosity factor.

E! Caters to Canadians who loves gossip, reality shows and candid profiles of the world’s biggest stars. Looking for reality, makeover/lifestyle and entertainment series based in the world of celebrities and pop culture.

MuchMusic & MuchMore Caters to youth who want to keep connected to the world of music and pop culture. Looking for drama, reality-doc, and music and entertainment series geared to teens and young adults.

Space Sci-fi and fantasy filter, commissioning one-hour series, unscripted and competition series. Key demo is adults 18-54. Not commissioning for children, youth, feature film, MOWs or mini-series.


• Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production • Trish Williams, Director, Drama, Independent Production • Rebecca DiPasquale, Production Executive, Drama • Tom Hastings, Production Executive, Drama • Gosia Kamela, Production Executive, Drama • Sarah Fowlie, Director, Independent Production, Comedy • Kara Haflidson, Production Executive, Comedy and Factual • Bill Lundy, Production Executive, Comedy • Robin Johnston, Director Independent Production, Factual and Reality & Head of Regional Outreach • Kara Haflidson, Production Executive, Comedy and Factual • Tina Apostolopoulos, Production Executive, Factual and Reality • Heather Williamson, Manager, Program Development, Discovery Channel • Edwina Follows, Director of Commissioning and Programming, Discovery Channel • Ken MacDonald, Vice President, Programming, Discovery Channel


AUX, Bite, Cottage Life, eqhd, HIFI, OASIS HD, radX, Travel+Escape Commissioning for

AUX National music channel showcasing concerts, documentaries, interviews and music videos from rock to hip hop.

BITETV Comedy-focused channel that airs sitcoms, sketch comedy, stand-up, films, comedy and shorts.

Cottage Life Entertaining stories and compelling characters with a focus on food, real estate, renovation, outdoor entertaining, sports and recreation with Cottage Life twist.

OASIS TV Series and one-offs that provide viewers with a 25

unique perspective on wildlife and nature.

The Passionate Eye

Travel + Escape

Showcases a selection of the world’s best, most creative and provocative documentaries. The focus is primarily contemporary, character-driven stories dealing with political, social, environmental issues and current affairs — provocative and often controversial documentaries that help Canadians better understand the world they live in and the issues they deal with.

Engaging and dynamic travel and adventure series that show gripping people pursuing their passions all over the world.

Eqhd Thought-provoking documentaries that explore science, history and culture designed to inspire and engage.

HIFI Musical and art-based programming in the form of films, concerts, documentaries, and more.

radX Action and adventure such as high adventure activities, extreme sporting events, and actionthemed films. Executives

• Marcia Martin, Senior Vice President Original Content •S  am Linton, Executive in Charge of Production, Travel+Escape, Cottage Life, RadX, Bite •C  raig Colby, Director of Production, Oasis, HIFI, Aux

CBC Channels


CBC Scripted Prime Time Comedy Looking for the strongest and most original comedic properties for conventional and digital delivery; interested in ideas that are unique, compelling and entertaining and, most importantly, very funny. Current development priorities are scripted half-hour series for 8:00pm and 8:30pm for conventional broadcast during weekday time slots. The channel is looking to reach a broad 25+ audience. They will consider all forms and styles of comedy (including single cam, multi cam and in-studio, sketch and standup, live-action, half-hour series), but in particular are looking for single camera, contemporary comedies that are grounded in reality: relatable settings, scenarios, themes and stories; series featuring entertaining but realistic characters, with comedy coming from character and small stories. Comedies should reflect a world that is familiar to, and will resonate with, a broad Canadian audience. They are not looking for serialized shows (although some episodes may be serialized over small story arcs).

CBC Scripted Prime Time Drama Seeking the strongest and most original and contemporary properties for conventional and digital delivery. Dramas should regularly attract a broad viewership and be sophisticated, absorbing, and, above all, entertaining. Particularly interested in: Onehour programs that can air between 8 to 9 p.m. and/or 9 to 10 p.m.; Light, action oriented dramas; Characterdriven dramas; Procedural dramas (medical/legal); Two-hour TV movies, for an 8 p.m. timeslot; One hour or two hour holiday perennial movies; Some limited series (between 6 and 8 episodes) for stories of a more epic nature. For TV movies and limited (mini)series, programming should be based on historical or cultural significance to Canadians, or based on important Canadian literary properties.

The Nature of Things Presents stories that are driven by a scientific understanding of the world and full of adventure, drama and insight. Programs entertain and provoke audiences by engaging with the people and personalities behind the science. (Science, medicine, technology, wildlife and the environment).

DOC ZONE CBC’s flagship documentary series explores and expands on the major issues of our time. Informed, exciting and eventful, DOC ZONE presents a sweeping panoramic view of what matters most to Canadians. 26

Kids’ CBC Pre-School, mornings - Target Age: 2-6 yrs:

Programs and interactive projects that are highly entertaining and developmentally appropriate to age target; have clear and well - executed educational goals that support the “whole child” in the areas of creative expression, socio/ emotional intelligence, cognitive learning, physical development and awareness of themselves and the world around them; strive for gender equality to be reflected; are full of engaging, memorable characters; tell great stories; encourage kids to think and do; are tied to a book or an appropriate, well-established brand; show outstanding production value (art design, music and casting); are unique and have a great hook that sets it apart from other projects Saturdays and “Preschool Plus” Target Age - 4-9: Programs and interactive projects that: appeal to preschoolers but also children in the early elementary grades; are highly entertaining; are full of engaging, memorable characters; tell great stories; can be any genre: 2D, 3D animation, live action; less obviously education than pure preschool shows, but still with some level of educational content, whether it be direct (i.e. a game show) or more subtle (pro-social content); pushing the envelope in animation or design and with a fresh and original look. Schoolage: limited financing available for school-age programming therefore looking for pitches with creative financing models and strong interactive properties with potential for a series of broadcast shorts.

Factual Entertainment & Branded Entertainment Develops and acquires new programming and formats in four genres: Talk, Reality, Afternoon/ Lifestyle, Gameshows And Variety/ New Performing Arts & Live Event Programming. The Branded Entertainment Development Initiative provides the chance to be part of the creation and development of new daytime programs that incorporate strategic partnerships with outside brands, in an effort to create opportunities that go beyond traditional broadcast avenues.

CBC News Network (CBCNN) Specializes in News, Current Affairs Documentaries. No spill into the USA.


documentary channel Commissions approximately 10 to 12 one-hour and feature length documentaries each year that are engaging, relevant stories that resonate with Canadians from coast to coast. Subject matter covers a wide spectrum and while stories tend to focus on contemporary social issues, the channel commissions from several documentary genres. Executives

• Julie Bristow, Executive Director, Studio & Unscripted Content • Jennifer Dettman, Head of the Factual Entertainment Department • Sandra Kleinfeld, Director of Development, Studio & Unscripted Programming • Jessica Schmiedchen, Manager, Development, CBC Factual Entertainment • Sally Catto, Executive Director, Commissioned and Scripted Programming • Jenny Hacker, Senior Director, Scripted Prime Time • Patrick O’Sullivan, Executive in Charge of Production, Scripted Prime Time (Patrick has primary responsibility for taking new pitches) • Helen Asimakis, Executive in Charge of Production, Scripted Prime Time

• Sarah Adams, Executive in Charge of Production, Scripted Prime Time • Michelle Daly, Executive in Charge of Production, Scripted Prime Time • Sandra Picheca, Executive in Charge of Production, Scripted Prime Time • Nataline Rodrigues, Executive in Charge of Production, Scripted Prime Time • Mark Starowicz, Executive Director, Documentary Programming • Michael Claydon, Area Executive Producer, Documentary Programming • Linda Laughlin, Senior Producer, Documentary Programming • Catherine Olsen, Executive Producer Documentaries, CBC News Network • Susan Dando, Executive Producer, Science & Natural History Unit • Caroline Underwood, Senior Producer, Science & Natural History Unit • Frances-M (FM) Morrison, Senior Producer, Science & Natural History Unit • Bruce Cowley, Creative Head, Digital Channels • Kim Wilson, Creative Head of TV, Children’s & Youth Programming, Kids’ CBC • Carla DeJong, Executive In Charge of Production and Development CBC Children’s & Youth Programming, Kids’ CBC



CHCH Has a primetime line up featuring movies, news magazines shows and hit dramas.

Rewind Primarily broadcasts feature length films from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s targeted toward the Generation X demographic.

Silver Screen Broadcasts films from the 1930s to the 1960s; including feature films, silent films, serials, shorts, and more.

Movieola Programs Canadian short films (online only). Executives

• Jennifer Chen, VP Programming at Channel Zero

CORUS Channels


CMT Offers a family-friendly line-up of comedy, music, movies and real-life reality.

Movie Central Commissions original drama and comedy series and pre-licenses Canadian feature films and documentaries.

HBO Canada A multiplex channel of Corus Entertainment’s Movie Central (Western Canada) and Astral’s The Movie Network (Eastern Canada).

W Network Focuses on compelling entertainment for women,

commissioning documentary series and lifestyle programs.

YTV Features programming that is quirky, unpredictable and funny for the whole family. Currently commissioning: animated quirky, squash-andstretch, character-driven comedies; live action comedies; and family targeted reality.

Treehouse Prides itself on providing preschool content that is safe, entertaining, imaginative and playful. Currently commissioning: funny, character-driven series with heart. Executives

• John MacDonald, Vice President, Television, Head of Programming and Production, Corus Entertainment • Jocelyn Hamilton, VP Original Programming Kids, Comedy & Drama • Laura Baehr, VP, Networks & Marketing, Kids and Family • Ted Ellis, VP Head of Kids and Family Programming • Helen Kim, Director, Programming, Kids & Family • Jamie Piekarz, Director, Original Programming Kids • Vibika Bianchi , VP, Original Programming, Lifestyle, Reality & Factual Entertainment • Maria Farano, Director of Original Programming - Lifestyle, Reality & Factual Entertainment • Kelly Shouldice, Director of Original Programming, Reality & Factual Entertainment • Margo Harper, Director of Original Programming, Reality & Factual Entertainment • Jocelyn Hamilton, VP Original Programming Kids, Comedy & Drama (Movie Central and HBO Canada) • Julie Di Cresce, Director of Original Programming (Movie Central) • Chris Bell, Production Executive (Movie Central)

FIGHT NETWORK A combat sports network dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, including fights, fighters, fight news and fight lifestyle. Fight Network airs live events and news coverage, as well as fight-themed movies and series. Executives

• Chad Midgley, VP Programming & Production • Ariel Shnerer, Programming Manager


 WarnerFilms, MGM Channel, Sony Movie Channel, AXN Movies, Hollywood Suite On Demand

WarnerFilms Channel for classic, modern and critically acclaimed films.

MGM Channel Oscar® winning films, modern masterpieces, and golden age classics.

Sony Movie Channel Featuring comedy, romance, and drama from a range of award-winning films.

AXN Movies Non-stop action and adventure movies. Executives

• Jay Switzer, Chairman • David Kines, President


GameTV, WFN: World Fishing Network, NHL Channel Reel West MAY / June 2013


Buckley DoDDs

Specializes in game-related programming such as game shows, reality television programs and gaming-related feature films.

chartereD accountants 1140-1185 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, B.C., V6E 4E6

World Fishing Network

• Provincial and Federal film tax credits • Auditing and accounting services • Cross boarder transactions • HST filings • Corporate restructuring • Financial statement preparations • Personal tax planning and tax returns prepared 30 years experience

broadcasts fishing-related programming, including recreational and sport fishing and lifestyle programming.

NHL Channel Offers 24 hour a day coverage on and off the ice. Executives

• John Brunton, Chairman

Con Buckley 604.688.7227




Knowledge Network Programs creative documentaries, arts and culture, drama and children’s programs from Canada and around the world.

Knowledge Kids Programs for kids 2 to 8 focusing on social skills and problem solving.

BBC Kids Programs for preschoolers through to teens in the form of live-action and animated comedies and dramas, reality shows, and documentaries. Executives

• Rudy Buttignol, President and CEO of Knowledge Network and President of BBC Kids • Murray Battle, Director of Independent Production and Presentation • Lisa Purdy, Director Knowledge Kids and BBC Kids • Michele Paris, Senior Manager Children’s Programming, Knowledge Network, BBC Kids





CITY Prime time comedy, drama, reality and lifestyle series, with broad appeal to large, urban markets.

OLN A one-stop destination for adrenaline pumping action and adventure entertainment. Larger than life personalities take viewers on intense and rugged journeys across Canada and the world in pursuit of knowledge, competition and prey.


OUTtv Airs entertainment and lifestyle programming for LGBT audiences and is currently seeking factual, documentary and reality programs that feature or that are of interest to the LGBT community. Submissions for episodic drama and feature films are also welcome. The network’s focus is on content and characters that are relatable and relevant to the LGBT community. Executives

• Brad Danks, Chief Executive Officer • Philip Webb, Head of Production • Nicky Forsman, Head of Development



Global Target demo adults, 18-49. For scripted content, commissioning guidelines are the same as for Showcase. For factual content, Global commissions hour-long episodic reality and documentary series and one-off documentaries for the Obsessions strand.

Showcase Target demo adults 25-54. The drama team commissions one-hour dramas and half-hour comedies aimed at adults 25-54 for Global Television and Showcase. They are looking for edgy, challenging and dramatic one-hour concepts with strong narratives and an episodic motor for both conventional and specialty channels, with the edgier and more provocative “cable” concepts for Showcase. Shows that do well for for them include Rookie Blue, Haven, XIII, and Lost Girl. On the half-hour front they are looking for half-hour comedies that fit well with the current Showcase schedule and are able to sustain audiences week after week. Episodic comedies that encourage co-viewing are ideal.

History Channel

Ethnic and multicultural and third-language documentary and drama programs.

Commissioning half hour and one-hour, six to thirteen episode factual series aimed at adults 25-54. Popular topics on the channel include: archaeology, ancient history, war and conflict, history of science and technology and innovative social history. Shows that do well for include Yukon Gold, Ice Pilots, Canadian Pickers. The channel’s audience craves relevant, newsworthy stories, told in a hands-on, active style. Exclusive access to authentic and entertaining characters and places bring viewers to the network. High quality CGI-driven series remain a hit.


Food Network Canada

BIO A mix of biographies and reality series, giving viewers behind-the-scenes access to the stories of celebrities and famous personalities.


Geared to young adults and featuring the latest in entertainment, gaming, pop culture and technology as well as comedy series.

Proudly supporting film and video production in Western Canada since 1980.

• Marni Goldman, Production Executive, CityTV, OLN, FX Canada, G4, Bio • Carol Commisso, Production Executive, CityTV, OLN, FX Canada, G4, Bio • Dave Grunier, Production Coordinator, CityTV, OLN, FX Canada, G4, Bio • Paritosh Mehta, Director of Independent Production Development, Omni Television Documentary and Drama Fund


• Malcolm Dunlop, Executive Vice-President, Programming • Claire Freeland, Director of Original Programming, City, OLN, FX Canada, G4, Bio

Commissions half hour and one-hour, 6 to 26 episode Lifestyle series aimed at adults 25-54 that connects viewers to the world of food. The channel is currently interested in entertaining, prime time formats that have the potential of multiple seasons. They are looking for dynamic hosts/characters, along with fresh new formats. Shows that do well include Top Chef Canada and You Gotta Eat Here. Reel West MAY / June 2013

HGTV Canada


Target demo adults 25-54 and commissions half hour and one hour, 6 to 26 episode Lifestyle series focusing on all things related to the home. Focused on entertaining, prime time and highlyformatted shows that can be easily repeated. Also hunting for dynamic host/characters/fresh faces and new formats that stretch the audience and potentially get new viewers to HGTV. Shows that do well include Holmes Make It Right, Leave It To Bryan, Income Property and Real Potential.

A dance channel and destination for cutting-edge music videos, exclusive interviews with the world’s top DJs, and an all-access pass to the hottest events in the world of electronic dance music. Looking for informative multiple episode series about dance or music with focus on artists and lifestyle.

Slice Commissions half hour and one hour, 6 to 26 episode Lifestyle series aimed at adults 25-54, focusing on what women want to talk about. They are looking to create entertaining, dramatic, emotional and sometimes hard-hitting episodes of television, all under the umbrella of relationships, finance, dating, fashion and reality. Also interested in dynamic new host/characters along with fresh, new formats. Shows that do well include Money Moron, Ex-Wives of Rock and Big Brother Canada. Executives

• Christine Shipton, Vice President of Original Content • T ara Ellis, Senior Director, Original Drama Content •R  achel Nelson, Director, Original Drama Content •S  usan Alexander, Production Executive, Original Drama Content •S  tephen Finney, Production Executive, Original Drama Content •S  arah Jane Flynn, Senior Director, Original Factual Content •N  ick Crowe, Director, Original Factual Content • L ynne Carter, Production Executive, Original Factual Content •A  ndrew Johnson, Production Executive, Original Factual Content •B  arbara Shearer, Production Executive, Original Factual Content  en Rotterman, Production Executive, Original •B Factual Content • E mily Morgan, Senior Director, Original Lifestyle • L eslie Merklinger, Director, Original Production, Lifestyle • T anya Linton, Director, Original Production, Lifestyle • T racy MacTaggart, Production Executive, Original Lifestyle Content •K  athy Cross, Production Executive, Original Lifestyle Content •H  olly Gillanders, Production Executive, Original Lifestyle Content •A  ndrea Griffith, Production Executive, Original Lifestyle Content •N  ancy Franklin, Production Executive, Original Lifestyle Content •C  hristine Diakos, Production Executive, Original Lifestyle Content



ichannel IChannel is a national information channel that explores the political and social issues that affect the lives of all Canadians. Looking for entertaining, provocative multiple episode series about issues and stories that matter to Canadians.

The Pet Network Dedicated to delivering entertaining and informative stories about the beloved animal companions who share our lives. Looking for multiple episode series about animals or movies with animals as the primary character. Reel West MAY / June 2013


• Victoria Fusca, Vice President, Program Acquisitions • Don Gaudet, Vice President, Programming & Production

SUPER CHANNEL A national Pay Television network that prelicences Canadian content movies, feature length documentaries and series. They favour premium content that has a big screen feel. Executives

• Sandy Perkins, Vice President, Programming • Marguerite Pigott, Head of Creative Development • Maureen Levitt, Creative Development Executive, Western Canada and the Territories

TVO Commissioning for

Canadian POV documentaries Canadian POV documentaries: Creative, groundbreaking, social-issue, point-of-view documentaries (predominantly one hour) that explore the human condition, are of direct relevance to Canadian audiences, and open windows on diverse points of view that challenge conventional thought.


The Definitive Producing Workbook For the producer, the world of independent film and television production is often surrounded by a sea of paperwork. The contracts, documents and requirements of agencies are constantly in flux. Nothing is definitive, every contract has its own set of particulars and every deal is different. "Boilerplate" agreements are open to negotiation. Rules can be flexible. The PW4 will help guide a producer through some of the overwhelming volume of documents involved in the world of independent film and television production. Legal writers review the standard clauses and reveal issues of concern to producers negotiating contracts. Many sample agreements are included for reference. The book provides a comprehensive overview of national and provincial funding bodies and engaging stories and words of wisdom by seasoned producers.

Order your copy today: 604-685-1152 info@womeninfilm.ca

TVOKids exists to help Ontario’s 21st century learners be successful in school and in life. TVOKids commissions multiplatform content for every kind of young learner and covering virtually all Ontario Curriculum areas for Grades JK-5 with a focus on math, science and literacy. Executives

• Nancy Chapelle, Managing Director, Content and Programming • Jane Jankovic, Commissioning Editor • Pat Ellingson, Creative Head of Children & Parent’s Media


ONE, VISIONTV Commissioning for

ONE Lifestyle and entertainment programming relating to yoga and meditation, weight loss and fitness, sex and relationships, natural health and nutrition, and alternative medicine.

VisionTV Multi-faith, multicultural, and general entertainment programming aimed at the 45+ demographic. Religious subject matter as it intersects with groundbreaking thinking and discoveries in politics, science, archeology, social/cultural/world issues, and religious leaders/icons; Speculative fiction, i.e., supernatural/paranormal/apocalyptic themes; and Music programs featuring well known hymns and gospel music. Executives

• Joan Jenkinson, Vice President Independent Production & Multi-faith Content n 29

Final Edit

Arctic Air is nominated for 14 Leo Awards Photo by Phil Chin

Continuum and Arctic Air Lead Leo Award Nominations


he sci-fi TV series Continuum is leading the pack, garnering the most nominations for the B.C. film industry’s annual Leo Awards. Produced by Reunion Pictures, Boy Meets Girl Film Company, and GKTV for Showcase, Continuum received 16 nominations, including best program, direction (for William Waring and Patrick Williams), screenwriting (Simon Barry), cinematography (Michael Wale), and picture editing (Allen Lee and Alison Grace). Omnifilm’s CBC drama series Arctic Air picked up 14 nominations, including best program, screenwriting (Ian Weir and Sarah Dodd), picture editing (Franco Pante), casting (Corinne Clarke, Jennifer Page) and lead performances by Kevin McNulty and Pascal Hutton. Jesse James Miller’s feature film Becoming Redwood is also vying for

14 Leo Awards, including nominations for best motion picture (producers Joely Collins and Chad Willett), direction and screenwriting (Miller), cinematography (David Crone), sound (Scott Aitken), lead performance by Jennifer Copping and Ryan Grantham, and best supporting performances by Willett, Derek Hamilton and Scott Hylands. The movie Camera Shy, produced by Leah Mallen and Galen Fletcher received seven nominations, including best film, direction (Mark Sawers), and screenwriting (Sawers and Doug Barber); while the film Lucille’s Ball, produced by Karen Wong and Lulu Keating, picked up six nominations, including best motion picture, cinematography (Thomas Billingsley), and editing (Jeanne Slater). The TV movie Ring of Fire, produced by Reunion Pictures, received

12 nominations, including best program, cinematography (Jon Joffin), production design (Eric Fraser, Tyler Harron) and picture editing (Alison Grace). Eve of Destruction, also produced by Reunion, is vying for 11 awards, including best TV movie, cinematography (David Pelletier), production design (Chris August, Kate Marshall) and editing (Allen Lee). In the short drama category, Binner, written, directed, shot, edited and produced by Jay Fox and Steve Deneault, received eight nominations in all the major categories. Mark Ratzlaff’s Beauty Mark, Darcy Van Poelgeest’s Corvus, and Caroline Coutts’ The Old Woman in the Woods, each have seven short film nominations. The documentary series Battle Castle, produced by Ian Herring, Maija Leivo, Elizabeth Murray and

Thomas Clifford, received seven nominations, including best doc series, directing (Herring), cinematography (Sean F. White) and screenwriting (Nicole Tomlinson). Jesse James Miller’s The Good Son is up for five awards including best feature length documentary and a directing nomination. Receiving four nominations each are the documentaries Occupy: The Movie (directed by Corey Ogilvie and produced by Ogilvie and Andrew Halliwell); Blood Relative (directed by Nimisha Mukerji and produced by Mark Ratzlaff and Mukerji); and Do You Really Want to Know? (directed by John Zaritsky and produced by Kevin Eastwood). In animation, Slugterra, produced by Asaph Fipke, Chuck Johnson, Ken Faier and Nancy Lees, received eight nominations; and Max Steel: Monstrous Alliance, produced by Sharan Wood and Kim Dent Wilder, received four nominations. The YTV series Mr. Young, produced by Thunderbird Films, is vying for seven nominations in the children’s program or series category, including best direction (Jon Rosenbaum) and screenwriting (Jennica Harper, Ryan W. Smith and Cameron Labine). R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, produced by Front Street Pictures, is up for six Leos, including best youth or kids program, and directing nominations for Neill Fearnley, James Head and Ken Friss. The web series After (produced by Ivan Hayden, Jason Fischer, Kirk Jaques and Robin Dunne); Fools For Hire (produced by Nicholas Harrison, Mike Cavers, and Neil Every); and Yoga Town (produced by Jill Hope Johnson and Ashwin Sood) received two nominations each. The 15th annual Leo Awards will be handed out on June 7th and 8th at galas in Vancouver. n

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www.reelwest.com Reel West MAY / June 2013

Profile for Ron Harvey

May June 2013: Reel West Magazine  

Trade Magazine for the Digital, Film and Television Production Industry

May June 2013: Reel West Magazine  

Trade Magazine for the Digital, Film and Television Production Industry

Profile for reelwest