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2013 We st ern M agazine Awards Finalist Summer 2015

$5.00

Film, TV, online and Digital Production IN Western Canada

Canadian Mail Publication Sales Agreement  Number: 40006834

Banff World Media Festival 2015

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Continuum HumanTown Richard Lucas WolFCop 2 & more

anita adams S t r e a m i n g C a n a da’ s G r e at e st H i ts o n C a n a da S c r e e n s


Co nte n ts

Summer 2015

6 6

The Secret Origins of Lucas Talent

Canadian super agent on learning to walk before his agency took flight. - by Mark Leiren-Young

10

A nita Adams Channels Canadian Cinema

The First Weekend Club turns every day into Canada Day for Canadian classics with new online platform. - by Tom Hawthorn

14

Q&A with Simon Barry

Traveling the timelines - the past, present and future of Continuum.

20

Q&A with Ferne cohen

Going behind the curtain at the Banff World Media Festival.

24

ComedyCoup Kids Looking for an All New Hall

Sketch troupe HumanTown creates an new comic universe. — by Nathan Caddell

27

WolfCop Keeps on Howling

Even silver bullets can’t keep WolfCop from returning 2 the silver screen. - by Nathan Caddell

4 angle on Mark Leiren-Young 13 LEgal Briefs Nathaniel Lyman 19 Indie Scene Paul Armstrong 23 Western Tv, Eh? Diane Wild 29 Digitally Yours Erica Hargreave 30 The Window Mark Leiren-young

@reelwestmag coVer: Anita Adams; Photo by Phillip Chin. contents: Richard Lucas; Photo by Tav Rayne. 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: Mark Leiren-Young. Publisher: Ron Harvey. Sales: Randy Holmes, Adam Caddell creative Director: Andrew von Rosen. art director: Lindsey Ataya. Photo Editor: Phillip Chin. Contributors (editorial): Paul Armstrong, Nathan Caddell, Erica Hargreave, Tom Hawthorn, Nathaniel lyman, diane wild. Contributors (photography): Tav rayne. Copy Editor: Caroline Dyck. Reel West Magazine is published Four 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 USA). Both Publications $60.00 (plus $10.00 postage to USA) Prices include GST. Copyright 2014 Reel West Productions Inc. Second Class Mail. Registration No. 0584002. ISSN 0831-5388. G.S.T. # R104445218. Reel West Productions Inc. 2221 Hartley Ave., Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, V3K 6W9. Phone: 604-553-1335 Toll Free: 1-888-291-7335 Fax: 604-451-7305 Email: info@reelwest.com URL: reelwest.com. Volume 30, Issue 2. Printed In Canada. To subscribe call 604-553-1335 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 Summer 2015

3


A ng le o n

Rocky  Mountain  Hi! Finding  Inspiration at Banff w r it t e n By M ark Le ire n-Yo u ng

M

y first time attending

tory it was more like the mastodon

alert: either they weren’t as ama-

We also asked Banff boss, Ferne Co-

the Banff World Tele-

in the room.

teur as they looked, or someone on

hen, for her take on the evolution

TV sent their hit counts spiraling

of the festival and what to expect

into the stratosphere.

this year.

vision Festival in 1999

We were still on the cusp of TV’s

convinced me that I really wanted

golden age - before TV became HBO.

to write for TV. I was a playwright

It’s easy to forget that prior to the

I also saw a lot of elk, ate some

Two years ago the Banff Festi-

and journalist, I’d just sold my first

age of the Sopranos it was still such

great late night pizza and spent as

val was the scene of the launch of

screenplay and I couldn’t imagine

a shock when movie stars like Lowe

much time as possible hanging out

CineCoup’s first feature - WolfCop.

why I’d want to get serious about

deigned to appear on the small

with old friends from across the

This issue writer Nathan Caddell

television.

screen that any time it happened

country and making new ones.

looks at ComedyCoup - and the re-

Then I attended a Master Class with a writer who’d written a

they tended to be showered with Emmys and Golden Globes.

On the work front - which is what the Fest is officially about and

turn of return of officer Lou Garou in WolfCop 2.

Broadway smash that turned into

Sorkin’s answer was that TV

I’d better be clear on that for Rev-

For this issue’s cover story Tom

an Oscar-winning feature film be-

writers who created and ran their

enue Canada and anyone who just

Hawthorn profiles Anita Adams -

fore writing his first TV series, a

own shows were like writers spon-

convinced their boss to spring for

the First Weekend Club’s first star,

sitcom. Now, instead of going back

sored by the Medicis and that no

their registration and four nights at

- who just launched a platform to

to Broadway - which, to my mind

writer in history ever had as much

the Fairmont— I remember my first

showcase our movies, Canadas-

was the Holy Freaking Grail - or try-

room to play as a writer with their

TV agent telling me that everyone

creens.ca

ing to win another Academy Award,

own TV series. He was the first writ-

I could possibly want to meet was

If you haven’t logged in yet,

which is a trophy most writers

er I’d ever heard explain what I’ve

at the closing BBQ. Others swore by

please bookmark the site now. It’s

would put on the mantle next to or

since heard a million times - that

the karaoke nights.

okay, I’ll wait...

above the Grail, this guy was devel-

movies are a director’s medium and

Just the idea of all of our ma-

oping a new TV series. He wanted

TV is a writer’s medium. Theatre, of

jor TV producers cutting loose in

Adams is making her first visit

to show us the promo trailer and

course, is a rare medium.

cowboy boots, or belting out their

to Banff in about a decade and

favourite

she’s excited to find out what’s

Pretty impressive catalogue, eh?

rolled what was very likely a tape.

Then Sorkin talked about cre-

There was Rob Lowe in bed with a

ating universes and I thought… I

made the idea of making Canadian

changed...

woman talking about his mysteri-

want to do THAT.

TV seem less daunting, more like a

hear things have changed a lot, but

place I wanted to play.

of course the environment is the

ous boss named, “POTUS”.

The Banff Festival is more of a fo-

high

school

anthems,

besides the name. “I

After watching one of the first

rum for producers than writers, but

Our wonderful Western Canadian

same, which is truly magnificent.

ever sneak peaks of The West Wing,

almost every year I’ve attended I’ve

TV, Eh? columnist Diane Wild was

One of the things I loved most then

someone asked Aaron Sorkin the

come away inspired by a speaker,

also inspired by a Banff panel. In

though was going down to the Saint

same question I was dying to.

a panel and, of course, the other

this issue’s column, Wild shares the

James pub at the end of the day

guests.

story of how Banff helped trans-

and connecting with all these big

form her into a true champion of

wigs in a more casual environment.

the Canadian TV scene.

It helped to break the ice in some

Why TV? Why not keep writing for Broad-

Personal Banff highlights include

way, or Hollywood, or… The mod-

attending an eco-media talk featur-

erator avoided bluntly asking what

ing Dr. David Suzuki and Daryl Han-

Paul Armstrong talked to a few

cases. I can’t wait to experience it

everyone was secretly, or not so

nah, a Master Class with Michael

producers who are making the

this year.” Neither can the other two

secretly, thinking, “something re-

Moore and a fantastic talk on the

rounds at this year’s festival (be

thousand or so people set to attend.

spectable and prestigious,” but it

secret origins of some of the world’s

sure to say, “hi” to them). And Erica

And whether you’re at this year’s

was the elephant in the room. Or

first viral videos that revealed how

Hargreave is intrigued by one of the

Banff Fest or not, you may be work-

since Banff is near dinosaur terri-

online hits really happened. Spoiler

Fest’s new new media programs.

ing on a show that launches there. n

4

Reel West Summer 2015


Photo by tav rayne

Op e ning R e e l

Life with Lucas How a Mosquito Bite Turned Richard Lucas into a Super Agent

M

Writ t e n By M ark Le ire n-yo u ng y first encounter with future Canadian super agent

dent reviewer is Last Call, the professional debut of Morris Panych and Ken

Richard Lucas was in 1981, when I attended a play he’d

MacDonald, who’ve gone on to become two of Canada’s most acclaimed

directed at the University of British Columbia. Lucas

theatre creators. I remember thinking Panych and MacDonald were going

was a seasoned Master’s student delivering his thesis

places. I thought Lucas was too. I expected him to graduate to a major

production - a modernized take on Moliere’s classic

Canadian theatre company.

comedy, The Misanthrope. I was a smart-assed undergrad reviewing for the

Instead, I didn’t see him again until just after Expo 86. He wasn’t direct-

campus paper. Over thirty years later I can still conjure flashes of the show

ing anymore, he was an agent running his own small talent company out

Lucas staged in the Dorothy Somerset Studio. It was colourful, vibrant and

of an office in Gastown.

funny and I have vague memories of the upbeat, energetic, musical score.

In July, 2014, his not-so-small company took-over JR Talent and Muse,

I was delighted and terrified to discover my review for The Ubyssey now

Lucas moved to Victoria (although he’s still working with his company

exists online - until I saw that I began by saying what a shame it was

every day) and agent Eric Edwards took over as Lucas Talent’s leading

that more people wouldn’t get to see the show I described as a,” dynamic

man (his official title is president). “It seems like we’re the second largest

comedy with a lot of style and a lot of flair.” The review went on to use the

agency in Canada now,” says Lucas. “I think Characters in Toronto is a little

word “fun” a half dozen times.

bit bigger than us.”

The only other production I still remember from my brief stint as a stu-

6

I knew Lucas was one of Canada’s top agents, I knew his clients loved

Reel West Summer 2015


him, but I’d always wondered what happened to the promising director I’d admired at UBC. Meeting in his classic oh-soBritish English Cottage style home in Victoria to discover how Lucas Talent became western Canada’s largest agency, I finally found out why Lucas left the theatre. We were in his cozy living room and a framed script page signed by comedy legend Lucille Ball was resting on his piano. Since I had a hard time believing that an agent who reps some of Canada’s biggest stars was easily starstruck, I was curious about the story behind the only autograph he ever collected. It turned out the Lucy story is the

“I opened up with names of people who casting directors already liked and knew, so even if they didn’t know me they had to deal with me because I was their agent...”

- Ri c h ard Lucas

Lucas story. After directing The Misanthrope, Lucas went on the road doing the

tered. “I couldn’t walk or talk very

stars Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie and

wrapped Oct. 13th. Lucas Talent

dinner theatre circuit as an actor

well and I couldn’t act again be-

Patrick McKenna, plus a pair of now

launched two days later.

and director, working with Lucy’s

cause I would have brain seizures

ubiquitous Vancouver comic actors

His roster included actors Lucas

longtime on-screen foil, Gale Gor-

and slur my words and not walk

- Gary Jones and Denalda Williams.

knew from programming the Fly-

don (best known as the banker Mr.

straight.” He certainly couldn’t fin-

“I was literally dealing with agents

ing Club and from his days as a

Mooney in The Lucy Show). If you’re

ish his degree, because he could

from all over the world - Japan, Ger-

student at the University of Alberta

not old enough to recall Lucy, she

no longer read. “The words would

many, L.A., everywhere, and the ones

(where he’d done his undergrad).

was wacky and Gordon was her

jump around on the page. I couldn’t

in Vancouver weren’t that great. So

“Because I’d worked professionally

perpetually-exasperated

drive because my brain would tell

at the end of the fair, my boss, Nancy

acting and directing already, I had

me the light was red when it was

Boake, came up to me and she said,

a lot of contacts. So I opened up

yellow. It was really scary,” says Lu-

‘What are you thinking of doing after

with names of people who casting

cas. “It was really scary.”

the fair?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m not sure,

directors already liked and knew,

straight

man. “Gale kind of stopped yelling at her and started yelling at me,” says Lucas with a laugh. “We did these

Instead of returning home from

but I see there’s film and television

so even if they didn’t know me they

shows in Calgary, Edmonton, Regi-

a successful tour, Lucas returned

work starting to come in and I have

had to deal with me because I was

na, Winnipeg. He went around yell-

to Vancouver for rehab and slowly

some good contacts and the agents

their agent.”

ing at me in different shows. I was

regained the ability to read, write

in Vancouver -’”

making the big bucks.”

and walk. Even after he recovered,

Boake finished the thought for

of the comedians he’d booked into

His first official client was one

Lucas planned to save all his

Lucas no longer felt sure enough

him. ‘You need to open an agency,’

Expo - Rosie O’Donnell. Lucas of-

money, then return to UBC to fin-

on his feet to step back on stage.

she said, ‘You’d be really good at it,

fered to be her Canadian agent and

ish his oral exams. “In my time to

He had to do something different,

you should.’ So I did.”

even though she didn’t need much

get a Master’s degree - in addition

something that wouldn’t require a

to all the course work and two the-

return to the spotlight.

Just before his job ended at Expo,

agenting

in

Canada,

O’Donnell

Lucas took a quick vacation to Los

agreed and Lucas Talent had a

sis productions - you had to have

In 1986, Lucas began working

Angeles. “That’s how I got to meet

headliner. There were eleven other

a working knowledge of a second

part-time, lining up talent for Expo

Lucy.” Lucas was visiting Gordon

clients on a brochure he produced

language. And you had to do oral

86, Vancouver’s upcoming World’s

on set when the grande dame of

to announce his agency’s existence,

exams from basically Aeschylus

Fair. This led to his first full-time

comedy came over and introduced

including his Second City vets

to modern day and get quizzed in

job since getting sick. He was hired

herself. “Lucy sidled up to me and

Stiles and Williams and his U. of A.

front of a panel.”

to produce on-site entertainment

she said, ‘Gale’s never had people

classmate, Frank C. Turner.

Everything changed when he

and program the comedy venue

on set all the years I’ve worked

was getting yelled at by Gordon in

known as The Flying Club. His gig

with him. You must be pretty spe-

Winnipeg and Lucas lost his voice.

included booking comedians like

cial, honey. Do you want me to sign

Turner credits the theatre back-

Literally. He’d been stung by a mos-

Rosie O’Donnell and casting his

something for you?’ And I went, ‘I’d

ground with his longtime agent’s

quito - and it wasn’t infected with

own made-in-Vancouver version of

love that.’ So, she ripped off —”

success. “Having worked as an ac-

gamma radiation.

Second City. “I dealt with Vancou-

“I just about died,” says Lucas.

ver agents, trying to get as many

“Me and ten cows got encephalitis

B.C. people as we could in the com-

and I had to learn how to walk and

pany. It was a great company.”

He looks towards the memento resting against his piano.

“The actors felt that I, you know, spoke their language,” says Lucas.

tor for a few years he has a great understanding of the peculiarities

“That’s the front page of Gale’s

of the actor’s life,” says Turner.

script for the week. It’s not the last

“He’s also one heck of a negotiator.

talk all over again. My brain and

Great is an understatement. The

episode that they ever shot, but it’s

Actors make very poor self-pro-

my nervous system were fucked…

Second City material the troupe

the last one that ever aired. And

moters. He really goes to bat for his

Did you ever see the movie Awak-

was given to launch their show was

she signed it for me. It was pretty

clients.”

enings with Robert De Niro? Yeah?

stale, but the talent Lucas put on

cool.”

That’s encephalitis.”

stage was astonishingly fresh. His

Then Lucas returned to pilot-

Lucas has his pet theory ready.

players included future comedy

ing the Flying Club. His Expo job

“There’s a book that’s a bit of a bible

His life - and career - were shat-

Reel West Summer 2015

Asked what makes a good agent,

7


“Our business gets ugly sometimes, so we really do try to take care of people as well as we can. You try to steer people the right way. I’m not going to tell anybody what their values are or aren’t, but you know, we tell our clients, ‘Don’t ever do anything that hurts your soul. You’re allowed to say no.’” - R i c h a r d Lu c as

tion to every clause in every contract. “Some of those contracts, they can be like 40 pages of gobbledygook in terms and conditions, and standard terms. I find that a lot of people don’t read them. To me, it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle. I love those things.” In order to have the time to study those jigsaw puzzles, Lucas says his agency is careful about who they take on - and always limits the size of their roster. “We’re not the Sears catalogue of talent.” But their catalogue seems to have someone for every casting agent. It’s tough to turn on the small screen without spotting at least one Lucas client in a leading role. Louis Ferreira is the male lead on CTV’s Motive. Matt Frewer is on TNT’s The Librarians, SyFy’s Olympus and Cinemax’s The Knick. Sophia Lauchlin Hirt is another Olympus goddess. Mitchell Kummen and Rhys Bond were just cast as leads in UP TV’s Ties That Bind. Paul Johansson played Ferg Donnelly on Mad Men. And Emily Bett Rickards is leading lady Felicity Smoak on CW’s Arrow. Lucas says his agency grew in part because people asked to come on board. The company began representing writers in 1991, when Dacia

that Michael Shurtleff wrote called

Dear, wonderful, young people.

mention names, but a client who is

Moss asked to become his first lit-

Audition and I think that sums it up

Most recently, Cory Monteith was

well-known and had a leading role

erary agent. Moss has since retired

best. He says - and I’m not going to

a Lucas Talent client when he got

in a well-known series shooting in

and Anna Archer now reps off-

quote it exactly from memory - but

Glee, and just the nicest kid in the

Ontario phoned and said, ‘They’ve

screen talent like directors, writers

he said that all agents are shits but,

world. He was banging pots and

just given me a new scene. I’m

and editors.

if you’re lucky, you’ll get one with

pans in our taping room for his au-

nude and it’s a love scene with an-

Edwards joined nearly twenty

a mothering instinct. That kind of

dition. And another, I don’t know

other woman.’ And I was just like,

years ago after a stint with To-

sums it up. I think one of the rea-

if you remember Julie Patzwald.

‘no fucking way, not in a million

ronto’s Livent. He was sent to Van-

sons that we’ve been so successful,

She won lots of awards and was

years.’”

couver to keep an eye on the Ford

and why those other companies

very well-known. You know, these

Lucas called the producers to

Centre. Then Lucas had an opening

were happy to join us, is because

are wonderful young people who

discuss the script - and the deal

for a new assistant. “And lucky me,”

we have a great reputation. We’ve

just...” He takes a moment to find

he’d drafted.

says Lucas. “He applied and moved

never screwed anybody. We work

the words.

“I ripped them up one side and

on up from there. Eric is awesome.”

ethically and we know we have a

“Our business gets ugly some-

down the other. ‘Read the contract,

Lucas shared an office with JR

really, really good reputation in

times, so we really do try to take

we don’t do that unless you pres-

Talent for five years. “We just loved

the business. I like to sleep well at

care of people as well as we can.

ent it to us and it’s discussed. She

them and they wanted to be part of

night. I’ve never done anybody out

You try to steer people the right

has full approval if something like

Lucas. And then we reached out to

of a dime.”

way. I’m not going to tell anybody

that happens blah blah blah blah

Muse Talent, which is an awesome

Mothering definitely comes with

what their values are or aren’t but,

blah.’ Never heard anything back,

agency that Kim Barsanti had start-

the job. “Part of the excitement

you know, we tell our clients, ‘Don’t

checked in the next day, ‘How’d ev-

ed and we worked out a deal where

of the business is trying to help

ever do anything that hurts your

erything go?’ She said, ‘Oh, it was

they happily joined us and that’s

people make good choices and to

soul. You’re allowed to say, no.’”

fine. They were good with me, but

how we became so much bigger.”

grow a career and stay mentally,

Part of protecting a client is cov-

that poor other girl, they made her

and emotionally, and money-wise,

ering their butts in contracts - and

take all her clothes off and do some

healthy. And our business is really

making sure the contracts keep

nasty stuff.’ So that’s why it’s worth

hard. We try very hard, but we’ve

their butts covered regardless of

having a good agent.”

had three clients along the way

what the director wants them to

Lucas says moments like these

lar. Everything comes up and ev-

who sadly have committed suicide.

do. “Another good story, I won’t

are why agents have to pay atten-

erything goes down, right? And we

8

Lucas says the timing of the expansion made sense for everyone. “Our business is just like the market, or real estate, or the dol-

Reel West Summer 2015


felt we were at the start of another up and it was time for us to make some big moves and we guessed right. Last year was a great year and this year isn’t any better, but it’s still good. So we guessed right on the dollar and call me smart, call me lucky, whatever you want. The dollar went from around par down to eighty cents. And in our business I don’t give a shit what anybody says, it’s about the money, it’s always about the money. People can talk about, ‘we have lovely crews, we have a great talent pool, blah blah blah blah blah’ it’s all about the money.” Since

taking

over

JR

and

Muse, Lucas Talent now has 15 agents and Edwards offers up the client stats: “We have approximately 450 actors in total on our combined rosters who act in films, TV, on stage and in commercials. Each agent looks after their own, smaller number of clients. We have an exclusive roster of 25 writers, directors and picture editors. Our background division represents 225 extras.” As an agent, Lucas is resigned to the idea that most of the work for his clients is in the service industry and that a key to keeping careers thriving is staying visible and viable in the US. Lucas says it’s vital to make sure clients like Tricia Helfer (Killer Women) don’t disappear from the American radar. So even when he books Helfer on a Canadian shows he wants to insure that it’s on the air in the US. “As much as

Lucas Talent’s grand opening brochure, sent out into “the world” in November of 1996.

she loves Canada and is a proud Canadian, she’s worked too frick-

images c/o lucas talent

ing hard to not have a platform in US television.” As a fan of Canadian culture, Lucas keeps hoping local shows and

thing positive to say. The thing that

ing. He’s sharing some amazing

up in Laval. “You can do the movie

companies will catch fire, but over

has changed most is people like

stories he’s come across about an

script,” says Lucas with a laugh. “A

almost thirty years in the biz he’s

myself and other people in the

unknown part of Canadian theatre

drag queen being chased by the Ge-

watched a lot of sparks fizzle out. “I

industry who have made a living

history. The working title of his the-

stapo. Son of an Italian count. Gets

wish I saw signs that we were grow-

from it, but it makes me sad that

sis - The Untold Stories of LGBTQ Pio-

on a boat to Canada and becomes a

ing our industry,” says Lucas. But

we’re not more evolved with our

neers of Canadian 20th Century The-

famous drag queen performing for

after rattling off new players he’s

homegrown product.”

atre. “I’m jazzed about this,” says

integrated audiences and becomes

One thing that has changed. Lu-

Lucas with a huge grin on his face.

a star playing the female leads in

cas finally delivered one last thesis

“I’m having a ball. I’m having the

straight plays under the name of

“There are some wonderful peo-

project to UBC (a 55 page paper on

best time of my life right now, just

Gilda. But we don’t know anything

ple trying to make it happen, but

The Misanthrope) and received his

being able to kinda keep my hand

about her,” says Lucas - frustrated

85 per cent of our work right now

Master of Fine Arts degree in 2012.

in the things that interest me.”

that this potential icon has van-

rooting for, he follows with an even longer role call of the departed.

is about the US and they’re here

Now he’s living another dream.

His fave stories of Canada’s LG-

ished from our collective memory.

with the tax credits and the 80 cent

He moved to Vancouver Island, in

BTQ pioneers include the implau-

Once again Lucas is set to fulfill

dollar. I wish I could see it change,

part to go back to school at the Uni-

sible tale of a Quebecois drag phe-

what seems to be his true destiny

but I don’t see it changing, which

versity of Victoria to get his PhD in

nom he learned about years ago

- making other people he believes

is sad. I’m trying to think of some-

Theatre. This time he’s not direct-

from a former boyfriend who grew

in famous. n

Reel West Summer 2015

9


Photo by Phillip Chin

10

Reel West Summer 2015


Cove r Fe atu re

Anita Adams: Working for the Weekend Canadscreens.ca Creates New Platform For Canadian Cinema

F

Writ t e n By To m H awtho rn

riday night, staying in. Can’t decide what to watch, so let’s check

was prepared to say goodbye to a good idea that was simply too difficult to

in with Atom Egoyan, who knows a thing or two about movies.

bring to market.

He suggests Barney’s Version. Who doesn’t like Paul Giamatti? But I’ve seen it.

‘We were close to throwing the towel in,” she said. “So frustrating.” The plan was in limbo.

He suggests Cosmopolis. Love David Cronenberg (and, hey, more

In October, 2013, Adams attended the annual MIPCOM (Marché Internatio-

Giamatti) but it’s been a tough week and I’m eating takeout and I’m not sure

nale de Programmes Communications) trade conference in Cannes. Telefilm

I’m in the mood for bodily fluids à la Cronenberg.

invited her to join their table for one of the keynote presentations. Also at

He suggests Incendies. Great reviews, but heavy subject matter. Anything lighter?

the table was Deborah Drisdell, a Canadian film and television veteran who was responsible for the NFB’s digital initiatives. “I was telling her my woes

He offers Defendor. Arthur Poppington haunts tough city streets at night

about trying to get this platform off the ground,” Adams said. It was a casual

seeking to bring down his nemesis, Captain Industry. Woody Harrelson as

conversation, but the NFB had a platform, so a partnership seemed possible.

the star-crossed crime fighter. Elias Koteas as the villain. Sandra Oh being fabulous, as always. Perfect.

Adams presented a proposal and talks continued. At one point, Adams felt another face-to-face meeting would be helpful. At the time she was tem-

Truth be told, I don’t know Atom from Adam. The director is one of ten

porarily living in the south of France at Montpellier. By coincidence, Dris-

celebrity curators who offer picks at CanadaScreens.ca, a video-on-demand

dell, who lived in Montreal, was preparing to visit a daughter in Paris. Adams

service launched online in April.

hopped on a high-speed train for the three-hour journey north and the wom-

The creation of the First Weekend Club, whose mandate is to promote

en met again over a glass of wine. Their rendezvous — in the 6th arrondisse-

Canadian film, in partnership with the National Film Board, the new ser-

ment at the prestigious Café de Flore, selected because the café’s name is

vice offers a selection of homegrown movies for online rental. The first 45

also the title of Jean-Marc Vallée’s romantic drama from 2011.

titles range from such well-known films as Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter and

A third part of the puzzle was solved when the Toronto-based indepen-

Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch to lesser-known fare such as the French-language

dent distributor eOne signed up, making available its catalogue of Canadian

Starbuck and Sarah Prefers to Run. There’s Gunless and Hobo with a Shotgun and

movies.

The Bang Bang Club, as well as Pompeii, La Florida, and 3 Days in Havana. And if you don’t like those, there’s SUCK, Fubar and The F Word. The service is intended to make available across this vast land a selection of Canadian films, some of which had limited theatrical release in a nation in which only a handful of cities even screen the domestic product.

Adams was at a movie event in Vancouver when Marguerite Pigott of the Canadian Media Production Association suggested the idea of celebrity curators. Adams’ response: “Damn, that’s a good idea.” The original plan was to invite a dozen stars with the hope of getting four. They wound up with ten.

“If you live in Yellowknife, good luck seeing a Canadian film,” said Anita

“People might know Tatiana Maslany or Jason Priestly, but they might not

Adams, 46, executive director of the First Weekend Club, a non-profit organi-

be familiar with Waydowntown or another lower-budget Canadian film. Or

zation that supports and promotes Canadian films.

even The Trotsky, ” she said.

In an echo of the famous Variety headline “Sticks nix hick pix,” the hope is

The star curators include Egoyan, Cronenberg, Maslany, Priestly, Guy Mad-

that the Canada Screens service will generate headlines reading, “Sticks pick

din, Michael Dowse, Sarah Gadon, Robert Lantos, Zoie Palmer (“I know I’ve

hoser flicks.”

seen a great movie when I feel somewhat exhausted by the end”), and Sarah

The ease of ordering the movies — a few clicks and you’re good to go — belies the many years it took to bring the platform online.

Polley. The films Polley selected are not yet available for rental. One of the oddities was the correlation between the selections by Maddin and

The original plan was for the First Weekend Club to go it alone. After three

Dowse, two filmmakers with distinctly different visions. Both picked Incendies,

years of wrestling with e-commerce glitches and security headaches, Adams

Monsieur Lazhar, Naked Lunch, The Sweet Hereafter, as well as Dowse’s headbanging

Reel West Summer 2015

11


cult comedies Fubar and Fubar 2.

some really good stuff. The mental-

mother. She also made several ap-

The model readily lent itself to Cana-

The fee for the online rentals

ity is if you don’t hear about it, if it’s

pearances in the television series,

da, where many domestic films were

starts at $3.99 and lasts for 48 hours.

not in movie houses, if there’s no

The Dead Zone.

opening and closing in about the

The service enters a crowded mar-

star power around it, it’s not going to

ketplace where the likes of Netflix of-

be good. Boy, is that ever wrong.”

She produced short films, worked

time it took to watch Hockey Night in

as a development officer for Orca

Canada. A movie booked for one week

fers a wider selection of movies and

Born in Vancouver, her father was

Productions, and served as associate

does not leave enough time for word-

television series at a flat monthly fee.

a stockbroker while her mother op-

producer for the Crazy8s filmmaking

of-mouth to spread across a city. The

Canada Screens rejected that model.

erated a private, post-secondary

project.

First Weekend Club picked worthy

“You need a substantial library to

school. Her earliest film memories,

In 1998, she began a script-read-

Canadian films, creating enough box-

make that work,” Adams said. “You’d

like so many of us, revolve around

ing series called Alibi Unplugged.

office interest on the opening week-

have to pay a lot more to the rights

the trauma of Bambi bereft at his

“I wanted to get back in the lime-

end to ensure the movies would have

holders upfront. We don’t have the

mother’s death. (“So devastating.”)

light,” she said. “The intention be-

longer theatrical releases.

financial backing to do that. The

Then as now, Adams is a sucker for

hind that was I would solicit scripts

The First Weekend Club later

route we’ve chosen makes the most

the big, entertaining blockbuster,

by selling the idea to writers that I

spread across the country and now

sense for us.”

from Indiana Jones to the Star Wars

would cast their scripts with some

boasts about 15,000 members. The

Only in Canada, a land where

saga. (“Probably saw Star Wars seven

of the best actors I knew. I’d in-

nonprofit organization, which relies

some video stores classified Cana-

times in the theatre. I felt so alive

vite production companies and di-

on federal funding, has promoted

dian movies as “foreign films” would

and transported.”)

rectors to come and find scripts.

more than 200 Canadian films.

domestic cinema be considered a niche product. Adams knows only too well how difficult it can be to win people over to the original visions found in Canadian filmmaking.

Though she works trade shows

Quite a successful little venture.”

Though the Canada Screens proj-

and schmoozes at galas these days,

It had been her hope to return to

ect has launched with a modest

she began her career in front of the

acting, but she found she could not

number of titles, Adams is working

camera.

host, produce and perform. Instead,

on plans to add ever more content,

the performance fell away and she

including television series, which

became an event producer.

should be online within a year. As

“I was always seeking attention,” she said. “I travelled all over the

“I had the attitude I fight against

place modelling. That was clearly

The success of the script-reading

well, she wants to include short

now,” she said. “I was a snob about

going to come to an end and I still

series led to the First Weekend Club,

films, web series, and low-budget

Canadian film. That Canadian film

wanted to be in the spotlight, so I

which began in Vancouver in Febru-

independent films, including those

was not worth seeing. That it was

moved into acting. I was never par-

ary, 2003. The idea was borrowed

that have never had a theatrical re-

garbage. That was me. I was one of

ticularly good at it, but I loved it.”

from the United States, where an Af-

lease. Now, thanks to Adams, wher-

Her credits include A Wrinkle in

rican-American group organized out-

ever you are in this vast land, if you

What changed her attitude?

Time, a Disney-produced, made-for-

ings to movies produced by, directed

have an internet connection, you

“Being exposed to it. Wow, there’s

TV movie in which she portrayed a

by, or starring African-Americans.

can find a slice of CanCon bliss. n

those people.”

12

Reel West Summer 2015


L e g al B rie fs

A review of APTN’s Terms of Trade Agreement By Nath a n iel Lyma n

I

ndigenous producers and film-

less than 51% owned by First Na-

tion does not apply to a fee-based

• APTN may also acquire, at the

makers, and those seeking to

tions, Inuit, and/or Métis Canadian

producer (with no equity participa-

producer’s discretion in exchange

partner with indigenous pro-

persons. In addition to the produc-

tion), or if the producer is acting as

for a 50/50 revenue share, trans-

ducers or filmmakers, should be

tion company ownership require-

a mentor, a volunteer, a minority

actional

aware of the Terms of Trade Agree-

ment, the production itself must

partner or in support of an emerg-

in-flight and DVD rights in Canada;

ment which is specific to the Ab-

have an aboriginal person in at

ing filmmaker.

original Peoples Television Network

least two out of the three positions

(APTN). This Agreement was negoti-

of producer/executive

ated between APTN and the Alliance

writer, or director. 

of Aboriginal

Media

Profession-

producer,

There is a cap in the Terms

Other

key

counterpart between the Canadian Media Producers Association and the major Canadian broadcasters, the Terms of Trade Agreement regulates the development, production and licensing of original programs, and is aimed at striking a balance between the broadcaster and independent producers.   In APTN

fulfilling and

the

its

mandate

CRTC

of

require-

ments, the Terms of Trade Agreement facilitates

the

production

of indigenous programs to meet the broadcaster’s Canadian content quota.  All development and license agreements between Canadian producers and the APTN must conform to the Terms of Trade Agreement. However,

the

download,

• Producers retain the rights highlights

of

the

to enter into foreign distribution

Terms of Trade Agreement include:

agreements in all media, subject

• No less than 20% of the broad-

only to a limited holdback to al-

cast license fees are payable upon

low APTN to exploit its “world pre-

als (AAMP), and came into effect on September 1st, 2014. Much like its

on-demand,

miere” rights; and

To be eligible to apply for development or enter into licensing agreements with APTN, an independent producer must be a Canadian production company that is no less than 51% owned by First Nations, Inuit, and/or Métis Canadian persons.

Agreement

• APTN may contribute equity financing and/or pay a “super-license fee” to obtain a higher revenue share percentage and/or profit participation in the production. In many ways the Terms of Trade Agreement follows the model of its CMPA counterpart. The Terms of Trade Agreement is set to expire when APTN’s broadcasting license is up for renewal in 2018.  In early May 2015, it was announced that APTN is partnering with

Castalia

Communications,

a US-based media company, to launch a cable channel providing similar programming for indigenous and non-indigenous audiences in the United States. This development offers potential for new licensing opportunities within

does not apply to second window

of Trade Agreement which re-

signing a broadcast license agree-

APTN and its affiliates, and may

or shared window agreements, in-

stricts the same independent pro-

ment, and no more than 15% may

have an impact on future iterations

house and service productions, pro-

ducer from entering into more

be held back until final delivery of

of the Terms of Trade Agreement. n

grams based on formats, or pro-

than two broadcast licenses with

the project (payment schedules for

grams that are acquired by APTN.

APTN in the same fiscal year. This

development fees are individually

Nathaniel Lyman is an associate at

To be eligible to apply for de-

limit is meant to promote access

negotiated);

Chandler Fogden Aldous Law Corpo-

velopment or enter into licensing

to the broadcaster by the broader

• APTN acquires exclusive Cana-

ration, a Vancouver-based boutique

agreements with APTN, an inde-

indigenous production community,

dian broadcast, internet streaming,

entertainment law firm. He practices

pendent producer must be a Cana-

and encourage diversity in pro-

and free and subscription on-de-

in the areas of film, television, digital

dian production company that is no

gramming. However, this restric-

mand rights in all languages;

media, and music.

Reel West Summer 2015

13


photo by Diyah Pera

14

Reel West Summer 2015


Q u e st io n & A nsw e r

Exploring the  Past, Present and Future of Continuum with Creator Simon Barry W r it t e n By M ark Le ire n-Yo u ng

Continuum may explore the future, but as the made-in-Vancouver sci-fi series proved every episode, no one can truly predict it. The cast and crew of the critically acclaimed Showcase series about a time-traveling cop, a revolution and the fine line between heroes, villains and martyrs was facing two separate timelines at the end of their third season. In one timeline, the series ended. In the other, the characters would live at least one more season. Then, in the kind of plot twist that defines the series, the broadcaster offered a third timeline at the last possible moment. Continuum would come back - but the team would only have a half dozen episodes to wrap up a multiverse full of plotlines. Creator Simon Barry told Reel West the future was never in doubt. He always believed Continuum would come back. I talked to Barry about the past, present and future of the series that gave the talent behind some of the world’s best sci-fi shows the chance to create a made-in-Canada glimpse of the future, set in Vancouver, playing the unfamiliar role of Vancouver. Q: Was there a date when you

Did you have a date like that? If

that Hugh Dillon was not able to

log meeting Escher in an art gallery.

thought… I guess this is done?

you approached it or passed it,

return to the show due to a pre-

We used the existing scene and re-

Simon Barry: That day never

what was that like?

vious commitment. It was a real

wrote it because Kellog now had

happened. Because nobody ever

SB: Yes we had a date where we

problem because his story was not

information he didn’t have in the

said ‘you’re cancelled’ you simply

lost our option on the cast. We were

resolved and he was obviously still

previous version. Time Travel can

fall into the belief that it’s going

renewed prior to that date, but be-

alive. I wrote a scene where early in

be handy some times. We were able

to come back, no matter how long

cause the order was only six, it void-

season three, Kellog murders him.

to re-shoot Stephen Lobo only, so

you’re asked to wait. It might take

ed some of the actor options that

Hugh was unable to shoot that

we changed his dialogue and used

time, but the absence of a definite

guaranteed a longer season. It was a

one scene. We realized we were

the existing season two footage of

‘no’ feels like a delayed ‘yes’ always.

bit unnerving to know some actors

screwed until we noticed that be-

Hugh Dillon. Then, at the end of the

Now you know what an optimistic

could simply say no, but I knew the

cause Alec and Kiera had travelled

scene, we see a double for Hugh get

person I am in general.

cast were eager to come back and it

back a few weeks, we could re-play

killed. It worked because Hugh is

Q: I know from working on se-

wasn’t going to hold us up.

some scenes from season two and

in the whole scene right up to the

ries TV that there’s a specific date

Q: Did you have to replace a set or a

have the outcome change based

final shot. We simply re-edited his

where contracts run out and the

cast member or a key crew member?

on Alec and Kiera traveling back in

performance to match the changes

cast no longer has to come back.

SB: In season three we found out

time. One of those scenes was Kel-

we made to Kellog’s lines.

Reel West Summer 2015

15


Q: The day you got the word the show was back… How did you find out? Who was the first person you told? Who had the coolest reaction?

SB: The day we found out for sure was a relief, but I had known for months that the network was looking for a way to work with us and bring Continuum back for a final season. The real news was that it would be only six episodes. I think the first person I told was my wife, Jacquie. The reaction from everyone was pretty much the same. Thrilled that we were going to be able to finish the story, worried that we wouldn’t have enough time to do it. Q: What was it like reassembling the team?

SB: Reassembling the crew was the most surprising aspect of coming back. because we’d been off for a long time, and because we only had a short season, I was worried that most of our crew and department heads would have moved on. I was wrong. About ninety percent of our crew came back to finish the show. It still boggles my mind that so many talented people either held off taking work, or left the show they were on to come back to Continuum. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of as a producer - That we built an environment where talented people wanted to come work and create and make a show they could be proud of. Q: How was the first day back on the job?

SB: First day was me and the writers looking at each other with blank sheets of paper. I had a pitch for the end of the show, but I wanted to hear their ideas first. It was an amazingly productive and collaborative day and the end result is a shared vision for the end of Continuum. Q: What was it like on your first day back in the writer’s room, realizing you had to end the series?

SB: It was fun to riff with the writers and reflect on all the previous seasons and storylines and draw from that to make the ending better. Q: Was there a day where you got to watch something coming together - a performance, a set,

(Top) Amanda Tapping directs Rachel Nicols while stunt coordinator Kimani Ray Smith looks on. (Middle) Filming Continuum in Vancouver. (Bottom) Simon Barry directs SMITH and NICHOLS. photos by Diyah Pera.

16

Reel West Summer 2015


something cool in post… and you

less attractive. We had a real chal-

thought yeah, we’re back?

lenge finding a location for our fina-

SB: I think cutting episode 401

le. We finally found a great location

with Allan Lee made me feel like

that satisfied everything we needed.

I’d never left. There’s a large aspect

We knew we had the Plaza of Na-

of making Continuum that is a force

tions police station set as we were

unto itself. Something you can’t

holding it in the event we were re-

tame or control, you only think you

newed. That was a gamble that paid

can. In this way, the show kind of

off. We made a decision to use it

comes together with its own per-

knowing it wouldn’t be used again.

sonality. When I watched 401 it re-

Yes that’s a major hint.

minded me that I was simply wit-

Q: A key moment/day delivering

nessing a process that is made up

that first episode?

of many, many moving parts. That’s

SB: I literally just delivered it yes-

what makes the show unique.

terday. I’ll let you know after the

Q: What can you tell us about com-

network gives me their notes.

ing up with the idea for the ending?

Q: Are all the airdates set in Cana-

SB: I had been preserving an end-

da and elsewhere?

ing idea from the first season, but

SB: Only Canada. July 26th pre-

it was not contextual to the new

miere on Showcase.

things we had added to the show

Q: Any cool responses from other

in the form of mythology and

countries?

characters and some plot points.

SB: We discovered that there is a

I wanted my original ending to fit

big fan base in Brazil and Turkey.

into the new elements of the show.

They have been very vocal on social

It only took a week for myself and

media and disproportionately ac-

the writers to find a way to make it

tive compared to other territories.

work inside the new reality of the

Q: Any amazing fan responses/

show since season one.

campaigns you’d like to let people

Q: That first day reconnecting with

know about?

stars, what had to be done to get the

SB: Some of our most active Twit-

team back together?

ter fans have become friends online

SB: We all got together for the

over the 4 seasons. We found a way

first cast read-through dinner at

to get them all together in Vancou-

L’Abbatoir a few days before shoot-

ver to meet in person for the first

ing started. It was a big love fest

time and visit the set. They came

and a lot of laughs. Victor was the

from the UK, various U.S. States

only one missing because he was

and eastern Canada. It was cool to

still in Brazil shooting his new

be part of that meeting.

show. He Skyped in and we put him

Q: Anything you can tease about

at the end of the table on a laptop

killing/wrapping a favourite actor

like he was just another guest. It

that isn’t a major spoiler?

was a celebration of sorts.

SB: No spoilers. Ever.

Q: And your first day back on set?

Q: Anything you can tease about

SB: It started with myself, Pat Wil-

the last episode?

liams and Rachel Nichols giving a

SB: It will be epic and everything

short speech to the crew, thanking

the fans expect from an episode of

them for coming back and remind-

Continuum.

ing them to enjoy the camaraderie

Q: Any chance of Continuum con-

and creativity and to treat this sea-

tinuing after this - a rescue by an-

son as a ‘Victory Lap’. The days work

other network? A movie? A comic

involved a majority of the cast which

book?

made it a lot of fun but slowed things

SB: I doubt it will continue in the

down from a shooting perspective.

same form, but there are definitely

Kind of like the first day back at

spin off opportunities that could

school after summer vacation.

play out in TV, novel or graphic novel

Q: A key moment or three with

form. A movie could work for sure.

production/crew/locations - like

Q: And what are you up to next?

were there any challenges around

SB: My new company, Reality Dis-

losing key sets because you were

tortion Field has now set up six

down so long?

new genre projects with both US

SB: We re-designed the season to

and Canadian companies. Hope-

not be dependent on a studio space

fully that means a new series goes

as the short schedule makes that

to production sooner than later. n

Reel West Summer 2015

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Reel West Summer 2015


I ndie S ce ne

Producers Prep To Make the Best of the Fest By Pau l Ar mstr on g

T

he Banff World Media Festi-

er on the Best Short Film winner,

decision makers and commission-

I worked on a film called, The Twist-

val, held this year June 7 to

Anxious Oswald Greene, which gar-

ing editors, it is integral to success

ed Slipper which is in the Short Film

10, remains one of the lead-

nered a total of 13 Leos. 

to attend Banff. It takes time to build

Corner. My goal for 2015 was to step

ing festivals in the world for media-

The latest short he executive

trust and genuine relationships with

up my game as a director/ producer

makers to pitch a project. Originally

produced through the contest, The

people, which is sometimes more

and build a stronger international

a TV-only event, Banff has become

Timekeeper, was recently selected

important than building relation-

presence whilst strengthening my

a global showcase for all forms of

by the Cannes Short Film Corner as

ships with companies, as execu-

relationships with colleagues out-

digital media.

one of 38 films out of 2,393 shorts

tives move from one company to the

side of Canada. I have five feature

Three BC filmmakers heading to

entered to be profiled in their Coups

next,” says McCarthy. She’s planning

films that I am pitching in Cannes.

Banff this year are first-timers writ-

de Coeur and was nominated for

to meet with Bell, Corus, CBC, TNT,

The films are all listed on Cinan-

er-director Mark A. Lewis and pro-

nine Leo Awards.

TBS, MarVista, Fox, Super Channel,

do. Most of my meeting requests

ducer Robert Heimbecker and Banff

Heimbecker

Yahoo, and BBC.

for Cannes are follow up meet-

vet S. Siobhan McCarthy.

says,

“self-distri-

bution via the internet is exciting

Plus, she adds, “there are a lot of

ings from the initial meetings that

Lewis and Heimbecker will be

I took at the EFM and Berlinale in

pitching several projects including

February. I am focused on build-

School Of Fish, a TV series targeting

ing relationships with sales agents,

internet-based consumers.

and distributors whilst seeking out

In School Of Fish, Jason, a talented actor, quits acting and runs from his girlfriend. Debauchery ensues and Jason’s best friend decides to make a documentary about him. Before long the camera captures truths Jason would prefer to keep hidden. “Our objective at Banff is to develop relationships with television and internet broadcasters and distributors as well as established production companies that are interested in the direction we are taking with School Of Fish and our development slate,” says Heimbecker. Adds Lewis, “we are interested in telling provocative and personal stories. The kind of content you would find Sundance and HBO excited about it. The landscape of television is changing as broadcasters discover that there is an appetite for darker and more challenging content. We are Canadian

“The landscape of television is changing as broadcasters discover that there is an appetite for darker and more challenging content.”

and are looking for partners in the

- M a r k A . Le w i s

Canadian broadcast world who are open to taking risks with this type

potential co-production partners in England and Ireland. As a Canadian born to immigrant parents, I hold English and Irish Citizenships and am presently learning how to navigate financing and co-productions in the EU so that I can best serve my slate of productions accordingly”. At Banff she brings a slate of projects, both web and traditional broadcast, and will be pitching a number of them with business partner, producer Tracey Mack. Projects to be pitched include the award-winning series Parked, an edgy comedy about stay at-home dads and breadwinning moms, for which they are seeking to finance season two; Whiskey Fabric, a scripted comedy series about a group of female friends breaking into the whiskey world hoping to find love, lust, and laughter; a serialized edgy dramatic series with the working title 1% penned by actor Camille Sullivan; and a feature film, Glendale, which McCarthy plans to direct in

of content.”

the Yukon next year.

Telling stories on his own terms

but limited. Selling our content to

networking opportunities.

It is a

Despite the intensity it will take

has worked well for Lewis. His first

established broadcasters and in-

great place to meet fellow producers,

to pitch at Banff, McCarthy is find-

feature, Ill Fated, loosely based on

ternet distributors is still the most

writers and people you may want to

ing the time to pay it forward, giving

his own adventures in small town

effective way of reaching audiences

collaborate with in the future.”

back to Women in Film in Vancou-

BC, premiered at TIFF. He followed

and finding a sustainable financial

And McCarthy can collaborate

ver and Toronto, who have support-

that up with The Thaw starring Val

return.” And Banff is the place to

on many levels, being a producer,

ed her at Banff in the past, by men-

Kilmer.

find them.

director, writer, showrunner and ac-

toring whomever they choose as the

Heimbecker wears many hats

Vancouver based S. Siobhan Mc-

tor. A short she co-stars in and be-

scholarship recipient this year.

including producer and actor and

Carthy of red trike media has no ar-

came a co-producer on, the Crazy8s

That is the spirit of Banff. n

is an executive producer of the Cel-

gument with that, having attended

Twisted Slipper, played in the Cannes

luloid Social Club’s Hot Shot Shorts

Banff countless times.

Short Film Corner last month.

Contest, for which he won a Leo

“As a West Coast based producer,

“This year I am attending Cannes

Award last year for being a produc-

who doesn’t have regular access to

as a part of the Producers Network.

Reel West Summer 2015

Paul Armstrong is a film producer who also produces The Celluloid Social Club and the Crazy8s Film Event.

19


Q u e st io n & A nsw e r

Banff Boss Ferne Cohen Connects Over How to Connect at Banff W rit t e n By M ark Le ire n-Yo u ng

Do you Banff? How do you Banff? Should you Banff? The Banff World Media Festival (formerly the Banff Television Festival) turns 36 this summer. Reel West quizzed executive director Ferne Cohen about her origins, the secrets to a successful festival experience and how Banff fits into the Canadian cultural landscape. Q: Can you share your secret ori-

without Banff.

gins. How did you end up with the

For the last few years we’ve com-

Festival?

missioned an independent study at

Ferne Cohen: Not so secret. I

Banff and it has shown most recent-

was a television production lawyer

ly that over two billion dollars in

for Alliance and then with Alliance

deals are attributable in some way

Atlantis after the merger for many

to Banff – so we are definitely hav-

years. After leaving law, I found my

ing a huge impact on the industry.

way to Banff where I could stay in

Q: The festival has evolved over the

the entertainment industry, which

years from TV to “media” - how is it

I love so much, in a more creative

still evolving?

role - and get exposed to all aspects

FC: It is still evolving as the indus-

of the industry.

try evolves – digital used to be its

I get a bird’s eye view of the in-

own stream whereas now nextME-

dustry and the incredibly talented

DIA is inextricably linked into much

people and companies who are

of what happens at Banff – the cen-

creating the world’s best content.

tral theme is content across all plat-

It is an amazing role and I am very

forms and genres.  We are evolving

appreciative of the opportunity to

with the industry to highlight new

serve the industry in this way and

business models like MCN’s, OTT

hopefully make a difference, and al-

- VOD and SVOD, Virtual Reality,

low amazing deals and content to

etc. through our nextMEDIA stream.

come to fruition in part because of

Q: Was there a debate over switch-

the platform we offer.

ing from “TV” to “media”?

Q: When I first attended the fes-

FC: No, it was fully endorsed by

tival the idea was that instead of

the Board of Directors who wants

flying to Toronto for the “$1000 cup

the event to be current, forward-

of coffee” with execs I could meet

Photo submitted

looking, and to best reflect the reali-

them closer to home. Is that still

ties of the industry and their busi-

part of the formula?

book all the meetings you want over

festival?

nesses.

FC: The idea is that Banff offers a

four days – in addition to network-

FC: Each year I hear anecdotally

Q: What’s new and exciting at

comprehensive program and offers

ing opportunities to reinforce new

about so many deals that are start-

Banff this year?

synergies and efficiencies that don’t

contacts and thought leadership to

ed, moved along or closed at Banff

FC: We’re launching a Brand +

exist without it – rather than book-

position you for success in the in-

– every year people tell me that this

Content Exchange to examine the

ing separate business trips you can

dustry.

or that project would never have

integration of brands into content

come to Banff and see everyone you

Q: What are some of the biggest

been made or this or that partner-

and examine new business models.

need in one place at one time and

deals that have been made at the

ship would never have happened

The program will consist of thought

20

Reel West Summer 2015


“Nowhere else can producers and broadcasters attend such a comprehensive event dedicated to the development, production and monetization of content across all genres and platforms.”

leadership keynotes, fireside chats, sessions and case studies; curated face-to-face

meetings

between

brands/agencies and content executives and a VIP dinner to bring decision makers from the brand and content side together. We also have new market access programs including 1) the Telus Fellowship Program; 2) the Shaftsbury/ Smokebomb AMP Accelerator Digital Pitch Competition; and 3) the Independent Production Fund Digi Producer Program. A+E Networks’ President and CEO, Nancy Dubuc and Shaw Media President Barb Williams are also

which is really effective to help del-

broadcasters/buyers from around

Q: Which other countries do you

hosting the first inaugural Global

egates manage their time.

the US to attend?

chase

Our website is always being up-

FC: Broadcasters and buyers from

from - and what are the challenges?

is an invite only event.

dated and offers the latest news

the US want to attend as they know

FC: We are successful in bring-

Q: Are there any secrets for hav-

on keynotes, master classes, ses-

Banff is the largest event dedicated

ing in international delegations

ing a successful festival experience

sions, networking, workshops and

to the development, production

from around the world – this year

(i.e. booking meetings in advance,

roundtables, receptions and special

and monetization of content. They

we have broadcasters/delegations

which I always forget to do)?

events like our Awards Galas.

want to use Banff as a platform to

from the US, UK, Mexico, China,

Women In Power Luncheon, which

broadcasters

and

buyers

FC: Yes! Really studying the sched-

We offer a session at the begin-

do business, take meetings and net-

Ireland, Australia, France, Argen-

ule for an event like Banff is key –

ning of Banff on Sunday afternoon

work with peers from around the

tina, Germany and more. The chal-

there is a lot going on and so much

for newcomers or anyone who

world and have access to amazing

lenge is the number of competing

to take advantage of. The key is to

wants a refresher course in taking

content and development opportu-

events and making sure you get in

plan ahead and make sure you are

pitch meetings while at Banff – we

nities. Our program competition is

touch early enough that they can

aware of everything we have to offer.

really try to help delegates achieve

the biggest in the world and many

get Banff in their calendars with

success.

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enough advance notice.

Q: What’s involved with wooing

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Q: Why should producers and

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Q: The festival used to have more

content where delegates can learn

of a training component. When I

from the biggest players in the in-

first attended there were a lot more

dustry.

workshops and seminars - I’m just

We offer a forward-looking per-

wondering why those were phased

spective to ensure our delegates

out and is it possible they’ll be

know where the industry is going

phased back in?

and help them prepare and open up

FC: Not sure what specifically has

new business opportunities.

been phased out, but yes, this year

Q: How does the festival select the

there are numerous workshops and

special award winners?

roundtables to allow smaller groups

FC: The board of directors has an

of interested delegates to delve

awards nomination committee who

more deeply into niche issues. We have returning market access

laboration with the festival team

programs like the Shaw Writers

and myself.

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FC: It is the biggest industry event

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Q: How have the Rockies evolved

leaders in the digital space and the

over the years?

evolving industry.

FC: The Rockies Program Compe-

The Festival promotes produc-

tition is the largest of its kind cel-

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Reel West Summer 2015


W e st e rn tv, eh?

My Banff Baby By D ia n e Wild

M

y last time at what’s

and access to screeners and in-

talk about the future of Canadian

– often long after their cancella-

now the Banff World

terviews from US networks, but I

TV, and how its survival depend-

tions – and wondered why these

Media Festival — my

hadn’t even heard of some of the

ing on making shows that would

Canadian

fourth time in five years — I’d had

Canadian shows mentioned on

appeal to international audiences.

weren’t more concerned with mak-

enough. The TV festival had just

Dead Things on Sticks, uninflected im-

Someone mentioned Corner Gas –

ing shows that Canadian audienc-

merged with NextMedia, the digi-

ages juxtaposed, and The Legion of De-

one of the biggest homegrown suc-

es want to watch. Or at least that

television

executives

tal add-on in previous years, and

Canadians know exist so they can

was suddenly treating online me-

choose to watch or not.

dia as not just the poor cousin of mainstream media, but as the poor cousin twice removed. Besides, I felt like I’d heard all the pontificating before and I was no longer covering US shows, which represented the bulk of the programming. Why was I no longer covering American shows? Because my first time at Banff had inspired me to create a website called TV, eh? to cover exclusively Canadian series. That first time I resembled one of the Rocky Mountains’ ubiquitous deer, and the other attendees were like so many headlights. It was 2006, and I’d been writing about TV and movies online for a few years. I’d come for David Shore, since I’d been covering House regularly. I also wanted to hear Paul Haggis and some other great speakers. That my inspirations for attending were Canadian – both from London, Ontario, seriously? — was

That first time I resembled one of the Rocky Mountains’ ubiquitous deer, and the other attendees were like so many headlights.

I wrote companion pieces called The Invisible Networks and then The Invisible Audience about this newto-me attitude in the industry. I lamented the lack of a Futon Critic or TV Tattle for our local industry and I’d been challenged in the comments to do something about it. My reply was why would I? Not my circus, not my monkeys. But what I heard at Banff swirled in my brain and I decided to float a test balloon. I started a crude Wordpress site and when I felt like I might continue, I started letting the people whose blogs I’d been commenting on for the past year know about it. And they told other people, and I had a naming contest and bought a domain and tv-eh. com was born. I’m sure other babies have come out of Banff liaisons, but hopefully none from the kind of frustration and anger I felt listening to the

incidental. In my recent quest to

people who greenlight shows in

understand how television was

Canada dismiss Canadian audi-

made, stumbling onto blogs by

ences. n

Canadian TV writers, I’d had the

cency, to name a few of those blogs

cesses — as an example of the kind

epiphany that homegrown shows

(may the first two rest in peace).

of show that didn’t work globally.

Diane Wild is the Vancouver-based

Then in Banff that first time, I

And I thought of Robson Arms

founder of the TV, eh? website (www.

sat in a giant conference room at

and Alice, I Think and Godiva’s and

tv-eh.com), covering news, reviews

I lived in Canada, I covered tele-

the Fairmont and listened to a lot

other shows I didn’t know existed

and interviews about Canadian televi-

vision, I was getting news releases

of Canadian television executives

until long after their premieres

sion shows.

would come and go without me even noticing.

Reel West Summer 2015

23


24

Reel West Summer 2015


Fe atu re Sto ry

ComedyCoup Winner Preps for CBC Special HumanTown Sets Out to Conquer The World

M

W rit t e n By N athan C adde ll ost friendships

out or something,” replies Macleod,

that begin in

and by the tone in his voice, it’s

the first year

clear he’s not really joking.

of high school are

hard

Asked when the possibility of

to

actually

winning

ComedyCoup

hold onto. Each year new cliques

started to hit home, there’s a mo-

are formed and old friendships drift

mentary silence until Doheny gets

apart. For six young men their 2003

the ball rolling: “For me, not until

freshman year at a Vancouver high

we were in the final five.”

school was the start of a friendship

From there, in typical Human-

that would see the sextet transform

Town fashion, it snowballs. “I don’t

into the sketch comedy group, Hu-

know if jaded is the right word. But

manTown.

just because we had done a couple

The name refers to a fictional

of these and done well, but noth-

community – think SCTV’s Mel-

ing had really come of it, for me

onville - where each small scene

the whole time it was like ‘okay, if

serves a larger purpose in the story

we make it, awesome,’” says Stew-

of HumanTown. It’s a different take

art, referencing the group’s finishes

on the classic sketch comedy troupe to go along with a brand of humour

(Left to right) Humantown’s Jack Heyes, Daniel Doheny, KI Kwiatkowski, Kane Stewart, Miles Chalmers and Liam Macleod.

you won’t see in most towns, fic-

Photos by Steven Morgan

as finalists in both the NexTV Webseries Competition and the Bite TV Webseries Competition.

tional or not.

Kwiatkowski chimes in. “I was

Last December, the high school

ways wanted to work for Stephen

question is asked and the cycle

kinda the same as Daniel where I

pals conquered ComedyCoup, a

Harper,” says Stewart, getting guf-

starts over.

didn’t really think about it until we

ten-week humour Hunger Games

faws from around the room before

And even though Joly refers to

that offered the winners $500,000

everyone else throws in their jibes

the ComedyCoup challenge as “the

in production costs and a half-hour

and jabs.

easy part,” it’s a good thing the men

Doheny says he still wasn’t sold.

“He seems like a fun guy,” adds

of HumanTown are able to laugh

“I always felt like it was kinda out

comedy special on CBC

were doing the live pitch at the end like ‘Oh. We could win.’”

“That was the easy part,” says

Doheny. “His Sweet Child O’ Mine

and joke together or else they might

there, so I never thought we were

J. Joly, founder of ComedyCoup

video, have you guys seen that? He’s

have ripped each other’s heads off.

gonna win really.”

(and its father, CineCoup) who has

got this whole band, he sings Sweet

The competition required the group

“It was definitely one of the big-

joined the group at the east side

Child O’ Mine. It’s horrible; it’s so

to work together every day, while

gest concepts to grasp and explain,”

Vancouver home of one of the Hu-

empty and soulless.”

still holding down their day jobs.

says Kwiatkowski.

manTowners for an interview. “The

That’s kind of how this group op-

Most of the shooting for Comedy-

“And we’re young; we’re pretty

hard stuff is now, now you’ve gotta

erates. A question is asked and one

Coup took place in the wee hours

young too,” Chalmers replies, get-

work with the CBC.” Joly’s new stars

of the members tackles it thought-

– think 8 pm to 3 am – so having a

ting in on the action.

- Kane Stewart, Kajetan Kwiatkows-

fully. When that Human is done

group of six had its benefits.

ki, Daniel Doheny, Miles Chalmers,

talking, another one throws a joke

“Having so many of us helps be-

Jack Heyes and Liam Macleod - are

in and they all laugh, each putting

cause we just fill in when someone

happy to chime in.

their shots in for another minute or

can’t be there,” says Heyes.

“I think our whole lives we’ve al-

Reel West Summer 2015

so. When the room quiets, another

“To tap in, when someone passes

Heyes brings it home. “We were essentially a joke.” They may not have thought they were going to win until their names were called, but that doesn’t repre-

25


proached us to help write a feature film because he knew a relatively well-known actor who was looking to make a low budget comedy,” says Stewart. “So he approached us to help write some material and he only knew us from making short films, so he pushed us to write as many short comedy ideas as we could, which he would then, we weren’t sure how, he was going to connect them all in some Monty Pythonesque way. So we got together for two weeks and just tried all these crazy ideas and he came back to us months later with this feature film script.” “Which wasn’t what we thought it would be, really, or where it would go,” interjects Macleod. “Long story short, that never happened,” says Stewart with the resigned sense of disappointment that comes with almost making it numerous times. “The actor sort of dropped out. So we ended up with all this material we had come up with. And we were pretty happy with a lot of it. So we thought about the best way to fit our talents and we decided that TV was the best medium. And we started compacting all these ideas together. And then when thinking how to create a sketch show we landed on this idea of a cohesive universe.” It’s hard to imagine something like HumanTown airing on the CBC, as many of the group’s sketches aren’t

exactly

family-friendly.

There’s a recurring one about a camera expert who tries to sell (Top) HumanTown’s Kane Stewart and Daniel Doheny. (Above) Stewart and DOHENY with KI Kwiatkowski.

products to customers while show-

Photos by Ian Macdougall

ing them various pictures of his activities - including dressing up

sent a seed of doubt in this group.

remember getting any sleep. We fin-

graduated and we said, ‘Alright, let’s

as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Ask if any of the challenges were all

ished recording it at like 3 am and

keep doing this,’” says Macleod, who

Another sketch involves an Orc who

that challenging and you can liter-

then did a mix and went to work

lives almost exactly a straight shot

strives to be a human, but ends up

ally feel the room shrug. “It wasn’t

right after finishing it.”

all the way across the city from

being beaten by police officers. It’s

that stuff was difficult, it was more

It would be impossible to have

where he and his fellow Human-

definitely not stuff you’re used to

like getting the resources together

reached the heights HumanTown

Town members met at a high school

seeing and that’s exactly the point.

and spending the time. The one

is starting to breach without ex-

on Vancouver’s west side.

competition we decided to do in a

treme dedication and, to a man,

Chalmers also cites support from

and we always go ‘Ah, it’s just the

musical number challenge,” says

each member is steadfast in the

the same teacher. “[He] was a huge

same thing that we’ve seen before,’”

Stewart. The group responded with

company line. They claim there has

influence in one of those first proj-

says Doheny. “So we want to do

a roast of all the other groups, which

never been any doubt that this is

ects in that we were forced to spend

something different.”

may have identified them as the

what they have always wanted to

time together.”

frontrunners. “That definitely took

do and they have always believed

the most work… On the Monday we

they could pull it off.

came up with the idea, on Tuesday we wrote it all out, on Wednesday we wrote and recorded the song.” Macleod

interjects.

“Thursday

we shot the whole thing.

26

I don’t

They also give credit where credit is due. “We had a film teacher early on

“We’ve seen a lot of stuff on TV,

“Especially in Canadian televi-

It’s not uncommon for teachers

sion, nobody’s really doing anything

to guide the way for students in

that’s different or that’s going to

their early formative years, but the

cause a stir,” says Macleod. “Even

story doesn’t just stop there for Hu-

if somebody’s really put off by it,

manTown.

that means in some ways like we’re

who started putting us in festivals

“I guess the Cliff notes of it is that

probably doing something right be-

so we did a lot of that and then we

our high school film teacher ap-

cause it’s not just a straight down

Reel West Summer 2015


S ide re e l

the middle thing. We don’t want to

CineCoup’s WolfCop 2 Howl Again

do another thing that’s just completely normal, we want to push ourselves and see what it can be.” “I think we’ll see ourselves as failures if we don’t do a bunch of ‘First time on CBC, HumanTown did…’” Stewart opines. “I really think that’s part of our game plan. Why can’t Canadian television be as edgy as American television,” asks Doheny. Because of the unique structure of the show that they’re trying to make, where all the characters and scenarios within HumanTown are specific to the show, the group has one general guideline: No pop culture. “It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s more just like from a genesis standpoint, we don’t wanna do a Saturday Night Live like ‘Oh, Liam does a great Christopher Walken, so let’s do Christopher Walken every second episode,’ says Stewart. “But we still want the show to be about the day-to-day pop culture that people are soaking up. So much of our humour is absurd and surreal

Photo c/o Cinecoup

and sensationalized. So we want it to all come from within HumanTown, not from an external place.” Kwiatkowski says he hopes they can avoid humour that stale dates as soon as the current events are no longer current. “That’s why The

Story by Nath a n Ca dell

Simpsons holds up and other shows like that, that have a lot of in-uni-

It doesn’t seem that improbable now, but

ewan folk art - the people who worked on it, the people

It’s clear that the creators of Hu-

the fact that WolfCop 2 is currently in Pre-

behind it. And now it’s an international success.”

manTown see their half-hour spe-

production is pretty unbelievable. The hor-

The logical result of all this, it seems, is a WolfCop 2

cial for CBC as the start of what

ror/thriller about a drunken cop who morphs into a

with triple the budget of the original. But what will that

they hope will be a long run.

wolf had a seriously Snakes on a Plane vibe. This wasn’t

cost on other fronts?

verse characters and humour.”

“Everyone who’s working on this

born out of a need for Samuel L. Jackson to say “Moth-

Joly is currently in discussions with producers and

is looking to package it into some-

erfucking snakes” though. The original was conceived

the Saskatchewan government, trying to get the sequel

thing that’s just going to keep go-

as part of CineCoup – a Dragon’s Den style competi-

shooting in that province, but that might be as tough

ing,” says Macleod in a serious tone.

tion that pits aspiring Canadian filmmakers against one

as going claw to claw with a wolf cop. Joly makes no

“We’re all working hard on every

another in a fan-driven vote that would see the winner

bones about how he is with studios or what he says

end to make sure that we’re ready

taking home a million dollars in financing and a guaran-

to them; rather he admits that he is willing to be the

to take it into something that peo-

teed theatrical release.

bully to get Canadian content made. “I realize that my

ple can accept as a new thing that

The film quickly went after cult status in Canada,

they can just follow and be onboard

with lead Leo Fafard even showing up in a cameo as

cineplexes and convince them to put money behind

with and that we’re going to carry

‘Werewolf Bad Guy’ in Corner Gas: The Movie. When

something. I said ‘Listen, I don’t know what this movie

in to a full season, second season,

the film hit Netflix in April, the cult status was con-

is, but I can promise it will be successful and we’ll be

third season, etc.”

firmed. “It just got released in the states on April 1st

able to do more of them.’”

superpower is being able to bully around, to get to the

“Well I think the idea is ‘How long

and people thought it was an April Fool’s Joke on Net-

WolfCop 2 will hopefully move from pre-production

has Saturday Night Live been on?’”

flix,” says CinceCoup founder J. Joly. “They didn’t think

into full swing in July, but that’s not the only promis-

says Stewart.

it was a real movie. Since then, it’s gone ballistic, just

ing development coming from the franchise. A graphic

In a room of less-confident 24

crazy. I had a guy call me who makes distortion pedals

novel and a full on WolfCop novel are both in the works,

year-olds, a statement like that

for guitars in the U.K. and he wants to make a WolfCop

as is the development of a TV series. “This all just sort

might give some pause. Not here

fuzz pedal.”

of came from the idea that I had to try and showcase

though. “HumanPlanet!” someone shouts. Everyone laughs. n

Reel West Summer 2015

The original was truly born and bred in Saskatche-

Canadians because I really think they are really funny,

wan, as Joly likes to point out. “Ninety percent of that

really fucked up people,” says Joly. Motherfucking

movie is an authentic piece of dysfunctional Saskatch-

snakes indeed.

n

27


Photo: Liz KearsLey

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28

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Reel West Summer 2015


D ig i tally Yo u r s

What Broadcast Media Can Learn From Bloggers About Community Building By er ica ha r gr eav e

T

hose of you who have been

and hope the sales come rolling in.

ies of their blogs and become part

offensive troll behaviour. If someone

paying attention to all the

Building a loyal fan base is a two

of the community of their readers.”

is turning a story negative for the

news coming out of the

way conversation and needs a hu-

~ Raul Pacheco-Vega of raulpacheco.

community, and you have tried to

Banff World Media Festival may be

man approach.” ~ Hayley Griffiths

org. The authenticity and trust that

respond in a manner which creates

aware that one of the new and argu-

of the Lovepuffin Travel Blog. To add

Raul mentions are why brands want

space for a positive debate, yet they

ably overdue additions to the festival

to Hayley’s advice, if you are sim-

to work with bloggers to help them

continue to respond aggressively

is the AMP Accelerator presented by

ply broadcasting your story, you

to tell their stories.

and offensively, making the space

Shaftesbury. The AMP Accelerator

are missing the social part of social

• Keep the scripted content to

and the story toxic, then for the good

focuses on branded storytelling in

media and, quite frankly, missing

the show. Scripted content in your

of the community do not be afraid

the form of scripted digital series

the mark. To build an engaged fan-

social media will be the death of

to delete their comments and ban

and warns that “great story isn’t

base and ultimately a community,

it, and make you look unauthentic

them from the community. Remem-

enough… you need to know who

you need to listen and respond. If

and unengaged.

ber, this is still your story, and these

your audience is, where they are and

your audience feels listened to and

• “Don’t fear negative feedback.

trolls are in all likelihood not your

what they want - and once you have

as though they are a part of your

Social media has created a culture

target audience, so don’t let them

them, how you keep them with you.”

community, they will have a per-

where people demand to comment.

destroy it for those who are.

For anyone who is a decent digi-

• Finally, building an engaged

tal storyteller and/or blogger, this is

digital community is not a “build it

nothing new - building not just audience, but COMMUNITY is the way to reach sizeable worldwide audiences that trust you. Here are some of the lessons traditional broadcast storytellers can learn from bloggers:

You are the story’s guide and decide which roads to take.

• Start developing your story

and they will come scenario,” rather “build it, find your niche community, engage that niche community, and that niche community will help you to grow.” While you are too late to apply for this year’s AMP Accelerator, it should be interesting to check out the pitch-

and/or characters on social media

sonal stake in your story and help

Often traditional media will close

es in the Cascade Ballroom from 10

and in digital niche communities in

to make sure you are a success.

comments on controversial top-

- 11 am on Tuesday June 9th at the

early conception and development.

• Allowing your audience to en-

ics or delete Facebook comments

Banff World Media Festival, and keep

This will allow you to test out your

gage with your story and take a per-

and it’s deadly, because it signals

your eyes open for this or similar

ideas, grow your community, and

sonal stake in it does not mean los-

that the audience’s opinion is of no

competitions at the 2016 festival.

create different opportunities and

ing control of your story’s direction.

value. It’s important for me to give

Don’t forget to connect with Reel

revenue streams for your story.

You are still the story’s guide and

readers the opportunity to provide

West on twitter at @reelwestmag

decide which roads to take.

• Don’t chase after building on

an alternate opinion. This is what

to stay tuned to what we are up to

popular platforms, rather choose

• “Sound, feel and look truthful.

can grow a community, people vest-

before, during and after the Banff

the platforms to build on that make

One of the most valuable elements

ed in a site, because the publisher

World Media Festival. n

sense to your story and that will al-

of blogging is the trustworthiness

values them as readers.” ~ Aynge-

low you to connect with your digital

and community building element.

lina Brogan of Bacon is Magic

niche community.

By being authentic, bloggers are able

• While what Ayngelina says here

weaving stories across platforms, and

• “It’s no longer acceptable for a

to transcend their specific niche

is true, remember there is a differ-

teaching cross-platform storytelling and

brand to broadcast their message

and even the electronic boundar-

ence between healthy debate and

digital media at BCIT.

Erica Hargreave gets her kicks out of

@reelwestmag Reel West Summer 2015

29


T he W indow

Remembering the TV-Pocalypse of 2012 w r it t e n By Mark Le ire n-Yo u ng

F

or years the media warned

tween porn sites it vanished when

Lorre, creator and executive pro-

Telefilm

us that 2012 was the end

the festival’s marquee guest, CNN

ducer of The Big Bang Theory and Two

from some of Canada’s most suc-

Canada, representatives

of the world as we know it.

icon Larry King, canceled his flight

and a Half Men, and Glen Mazzara,

cessful content providers talked

They were close. Apparently 2012

to Alberta at the last second be-

the exec producer who kept the

about what they were up to, but

was the end of the media as we

cause he was “unable to travel” and

zombies animated on AMC’s hor-

mostly they talked about alterna-

knew it. Who knew those wacky

the emergency replacement for the

ror hit, The Walking Dead — but as

tive platforms, transmedia and, of

Mayans were predicting the end of

headliner’s slot was Steve Hannah,

cool as showrunners are to people

course, branding.

television?

president and CEO of the satirical

like me who work in TV-land these

Alex Gault, vice president of Mob-

online, The Onion.

weren’t the names that excited the

ovivo cited stats from Yahoo and

The fact that the most familiar

taxi driver who was wondering, “if

Nielsen claiming that 86 percent

face representing traditional TV

there were any famous people here.”

of mobile internet users were us-

That was my takeaway at the 2012 edition of the Banff World Media Festival. My most recent previous visit

was supposed to be a semi-retired

to the Banff International Televi-

And

I

thought...

Where

are

ing some sort of digital device while

talk show host on the edge of turn-

Obama Girl and the Star Wars kid

watching TV and thirty-one percent

sion festival was in the prehistoric,

ing 80, and the default assumption

when you need them?

of internet use was taking place in

pre-iPhone era in 2007, when every-

when people heard he’d canceled

The big Banff bash — a post con-

front of the TV. Mobovivo was pio-

body was buzzing about how me-

neering a new tech — and possibly

dia would “converge” in the future

next year’s buzz term — “Secondary

world of web 2.0 and the inescapable buzzword of the festival was “monetize.” In 2012, as over 2,500 media makers (aka “content providers”) and

broadcasters,

narrowcasters

and online outlet reps (aka “platform providers”) from around the globe met at the Banff Conference Centre to whine and dine, do deals and maybe even create something we’d be watching on some as yet unimagined device, the future was

It didn’t seem right to be burying TV when the medium — especially dramatic programming — was at the top of its game...

here and the word of the week was

Screen Apps.” These are apps that allow you to interact with what’s up on screen and make the internet an extension of your television experience. But looking at all the shiny places to point and click on the demo, and thinking about how many people still don’t know how to use half the buttons on their iPhones and Androids, it hit me that Gault already knew that as soon as there was a tablet in every house, television would simply become an extension of our internet experience.

“branding.”

As I walked outside the Confer-

Heck, speaking of branding, the

was that he’d had his four hun-

ference party — had three hosts on

ence Centre and looked around

TV festival wasn’t even a TV Fes-

dredth heart attack, seemed like

the ticket, but the name in big block

the Canadiana postcard come to

tival anymore. They ditched that

both a plausible Onion parody item

letters at the top of the list was Net-

life that is Banff there was a song

name in 2011, when they joined

and an unnerving metaphor for the

flix. Meanwhile, YouTube was in at-

I couldn’t shake, a song I hadn’t

forces with NextMedia — a tiny

state of TV nation. But it could have

tendance to launch their first sitcom.

heard in years... by the Buggles... It

event about what was up on the in-

been worse, they could have flown

It didn’t seem right to be burying

was their one hit, you know the one,

terwebs that took place a few days

out Piers Morgan.

TV when the medium — especially

“video killed the radio star.”

before the grown-ups arrived to talk

It was also telling that most peo-

dramatic programming — was at

TV. In 2011, the two converged to

ple probably found out about King’s

the top of its game and even a lot

thrummed in the back of my skull

become the Banff World Media Fes-

no show courtesy of their Twitter

of the cheese is closer to brie than

I was absolutely sure the internet

tival.

feeds.

processed cheddar. Was this really

would kill the video star, except for

the time to replace Don Draper with

one confusing and contradictory re-

double rainbow dude?

ality… the brass ring for every web

If there was any doubt the busi-

With King abdicating, the big-

ness was changing faster than a

gest TV celebs in attendance were

teen with ADHD could scroll be-

a couple of showrunners - Chuck

30

At a panel discussion hosted by

And

as

the

karaoke

version

series is still a slot on network TV. n

Reel West Summer 2015


PERFORMANCE CAPTURE

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Reel West Magazine Summer 2015 Issue  

A Magazine for the Film, Television and Digital Production Industry. In this issue: Anita Adams from the First Weekend Club. Richard Luca...

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