​Projects and Participants Announced for Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab

By CFC Staff October 21, 2009 16:00

Download PDF version


74 producers apply for 5 coveted spots - Jimmy Miller and Ivan Reitman join Chair Eugene Levy to help give five feature comedies a leg up

Toronto, October 21, 2009 – CFC (Canadian Film Centre) is pleased to announce the five filmmaking teams and some of the accomplished mentors and guests for the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab.

Chaired by multi award-winning comedy veteran Eugene Levy, the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab, a CFC Film program presented in collaboration with Just For Laughs, is Canada's first advanced professional program designed to develop and package theatrical feature-length comedies.

A selection committee of international comedy industry professionals were asked to identify the five projects to be awarded spots in the Lab which starts this fall.

The chosen projects and teams include:

Victory Man Productions' workplace-comedy Servitude from writer/producer: Michael Sparaga and director Warren P. Sonoda.

Resonance Films' romantic comedy about the least romantic thing possible... That Burning Feeling from writer Nicolas Citton and producer/director Jason James.

Ballsy in your face comedy Ramington's: Men Of Steel from writer Sacha Pavlovic and producer Mark Montefiore.

The raucous, estrogen-fuelled comedy western, Saddlebags, by writer Christine Lippa, producers Elizabeth Yake (True West Films) and Angela Heck (Three Bags Full Film, Inc.).

Brightlight Pictures' irreverent female comedy Two Of Me from writer/director Mina Shum and producer Stephen Hegyes.

Announced at the Just For Laughs Comedy Conference in July, the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab is a high-level creative and business catalyst for five new comedy projects destined for theatrical release. It pairs experienced Canadian feature film producers, their writer and/or director teams and their comedy scripts, with the best comedy minds in the world to further develop and package for investment five viable English-language theatrical feature comedies for 2010.

"To me, the Features Comedy Lab is one of the most important building blocks to insure a vibrant future for Canadian film comedy,” said Chair Eugene Levy. “For the five projects selected, having access to mentors who have had the experience and their share of success in the field of movie comedies can only serve to benefit each one individually but together should enhance an already healthy Canadian comedy scene. It's just a win win for the Canadian film industry."

Mentors and guests confirmed to date include: esteemed producer Jimmy Miller, Mosaic Media Group (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Elf); Executive Producer Ivan Reitman, The Montecito Picture Company (Chloe, Ghostbusters, Animal House); writer/producer Len Blum (Meatballs, Stripes, Over The Hedge, The Pink Panther); producer Tai Duncan of Paul Schiff Productions (which has produced films such as Epic Movie, My Cousin Vinny, Rushmore, Young Guns) and Executive Producer Alan Blomquist, Parallel Entertainment Pictures (Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Chocolat, Duplex, Walk the Line). More mentors and special guests will be announced at a later date.

"These developments are a huge vote of confidence in the Comedy Lab concept from the English Canadian feature film community, a response that goes way beyond what we expected," said Sheila de La Varende, Director of National & International Business Development for Telefilm Canada, the driving and financial force behind the new initiative.

"The large pool of projects and project teams from across the country made the selection process even more competitive than we planned. Then add to that the stellar nature of the mentors and guests coming forward and it looks like we will be seeing funny films with box office appeal on screen in a few years. This is very exciting."

The Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab seeks to advance the comedy genre in Canada and generate comedies that achieve commercial and critical success. Starting in November 2009, the three-month program will see these five filmmaking teams and their feature comedy scripts engage in workshops, master classes and intimate one-on-one sessions with leading industry professionals to strengthen their scripts and increase their packaging appeal for investment.

About Telefilm
Developing and promoting the Canadian audiovisual industry

Telefilm Canada is a federal cultural agency dedicated to developing and promoting the Canadian audiovisual industry. Telefilm provides financial support to the private sector to create distinctively Canadian productions that appeal to domestic and international audiences. The Corporation also administers the funding programs of the Canadian Feature Film Fund, the Canadian Television Fund and the Canada New Media Fund. Visit http://www.telefilm.gc.ca/

About CFC
CFC is Canada's largest institution for advanced training in film, television and new media. A charitable not-for-profit organization, CFC is committed to promoting and investing in Canada's diverse talent; providing exhibition, financial, and distribution opportunities for top creative content leaders from coast to coast. CFC makes a significant cultural and economic contribution to Canada by launching the country's most creative ideas and voices in film, television and new media to the world. For more information please visit: http://www.cfccreates.com

About Just For Laughs
Just For Laughs is active in many areas of entertainment production including festivals, television, theatre and touring. Its inaugural Montreal Festival 27 years ago is now the world's largest and most prestigious comedy event welcoming over 2 million people each summer. The company has expanded with festivals in Nantes (France), Toronto and with the newest city added to the list, Chicago, with TBS presents a Very Funny Festival: Just For Laughs which debuted this summer. The company also successfully tours across the globe bringing some of the Festivals' best talent to Canada, the U.S., Bermuda and Asia and has personal management offices in Los Angeles, Paris, London and Montreal. Just For Laughs television shows are seen in over 140 countries and on over 100 airlines around the world and have been seen on ABC, Fox, MTV, Showtime, HBO, BBC America, CBC, The Comedy Network, BBC1, TF1, and RTL.