30 Productions CFC Had a Hand in Making

By Cory Angeletti-Szasz ● May 03, 2018 10:25


The CFC is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. To commemorate this milestone, we are introducing a “30 things” series on our website – four stories that share 30 facts, memories, insights and/or pieces of information about the CFC, inspired by occurrences in our 30-year history. In the first piece to kick off the series, learn about some of the groundbreaking, award-winning and flat out awesome film, television, interactive and VR productions that CFC has had a hand in making in its 30 years.

Since our inception, the CFC has continually generated world-class content for the global marketplace. We’ve helped develop, finance and/or produce several productions that have enriched Canada and the world’s cultural and entertainment landscapes. Here’s a look at some of those productions and the programs that they were developed through.


THROUGH CFC FEATURES

One of the CFC’s oldest and longest-running programs, CFC Features has executive produced 23 films and supported the development of more than 50 films. Subsequently, it has also helped launch the careers of several CFC alumni, such as prolific film and television creators Holly Dale, Steve Hoban, Damon D’Oliveira, Clement Virgo, Charles Officer and Vincenzo Natali. Here are just a few of the features CFC has helped develop through this program:

1. ADVENTURES IN PUBLIC SCHOOL (2017)

A mother and son face each other and dance at a home school prom.

This hit comedy, hailed “the Canadian Lady Bird,” has been lauded by audiences and critics alike, earning an award for Best Comedy Feature Film and an Audience Award, as well as receiving rave reviews. It follows a socially inept, home-schooled dropout (Daniel Doheny) who enrols in public school to chase after a one-legged dream-girl (Siobhan Williams), and his mom/best friend (Judy Greer), who teaches him his teenage rebellion while learning to let him go. From writers and CFC alumni Kyle Rideout (director) and Josh Epstein (producer), ADVENTURES IN PUBLIC SCHOOL is a unique film in CFC’s history because it came to the CFC through our Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange, where it received instrumental support in the script’s development, and then it went on to be developed and produced through CFC Features.

Learn more HERE.

2. RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS (2013)

Three people wearing masks sit at a table to organize marijuana.

This critically acclaimed feature provides a gritty, hard look at the residential school system in Canada through the story of a 15-year-old girl who lives on the fictional Red Crow Mi'gMaq reservation in the year 1976. The film was developed and financed through CFC Features and was written/directed by alumnus Jeff Barnaby, produced by alumni John Christou and Aisling Chin-Yee, and stars Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, who would later become a resident in our CBC Actors Conservatory. The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and went on to be selected as one of Canada’s Top Ten features of 2013.

Learn more HERE.

3. CUBE (1997)

Two people trapped inside a cube

CUBE came to life in CFC Features with alumni Vincenzo Natali (writer/director), André Bijelic and Graeme Manson (writers), and Mehra Meh and Betty Orr (producers). This low-budget psychological thriller follows a group of strangers who wake to find they are trapped in an enigmatic and deadly cube and they have to solve the puzzle of the cube’s maze in order to survive. The film was so popular that it developed a cult following, spawned two sequels (Cube 2: Hypercube in 2002 and Cube Zero in 2004), and is said to have inspired other one-room thrillers like Saw.

Learn more HERE.

4. RUDE (1995)

A woman wearing sunglasses holds a microphone and smokes a cigarette

RUDE was created through CFC Features and alumni Clement Virgo (writer/director), and Damon D’Oliveira and Karen A. King (producers). This groundbreaking drama is a pioneering look at race, masculinity, sexuality, love and loss in a Black community living in the inner city and was the first Black-written, -directed and -produced feature film in Canada. RUDE premiered to great acclaim at Cannes in 1995 as an Official Selection of the Un Certain Regard Programme. It also helped solidify the ongoing collaboration between D’Oliveira and Virgo, whose production company, Conquering Lion Pictures, has created a compelling body of high-impact work.

Learn more HERE.


THROUGH THE CINEPLEX ENTERTAINMENT FILM PROGRAM

The Cineplex Entertainment Film Program is CFC’s signature and longest-running program. It champions original voices, entrepreneurism and collaboration and helps residents develop and package original content for the global entertainment market. This is evidenced in the number of films that have been developed through this program – see some examples below:

5. UN TRADUCTOR (2018)

Side profile of a man's face

Un Traductor, the feature directorial debut of alumnus Sebastián Barriuso (co-director/producer) and written and produced by fellow alumna Lindsay Gossling, saw its World Premiere in competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film was developed at the CFC in 2013, when Barriuso and Gossling were residents in the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Producers’ Lab and Writers’ Lab, respectively. The film, which was shot on location in Havana, Cuba, is based on the true story of Sebastián and Rodrigo Barriuso's father, a Russian Literature professor at the University of Havana (played by Rodrigo Santoro), who is ordered to work as a translator for child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster when they’re sent to Cuba for medical treatment.

Learn more HERE.

6. NEVER STEADY, NEVER STILL (2017)

A woman stands in a lake with her clothes on

This feature directorial debut from alumna Kathleen Hepburn, adapted from the short film of the same name, was also developed through the program’s Writers’ Lab. In addition, it features the work of alumni Evan Crowe (associate producer), Lori Lozinski (executive producer), Simone Smith (editor), Ben Fox (music) and Liz Cairns (production designer). Never Steady, Never Still is a tender and heartbreaking story of a mother with physical disabilities and her discontented son – each alienated from their world and struggling to manage in the face of grief, guilt and chronic disease. The film was praised by audiences and critics (including a NNNN rating from NOW Magazine), and picked up 10 awards over the course of its festival run.

Learn more HERE.

7. MARY GOES ROUND (2017)

A woman sits inside a ferris wheel pod.

The debut feature from writer/director Molly McGlynn was developed in the 2015 Writers’ Lab (and was later recommended by the CFC for the Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch Program). McGlynn collaborated with several other alumni on the film: Matt Code (producer), Aeschylus Poulos (executive producer), Christine Armstrong and Bryan Atkinson (editors), Dillon Baldassero and Casey Manierka-Quaile (music), and Bruce Novakowski (actor). Mary Goes Round follows a substance abuse counsellor who gets arrested for a DUI and returns to her hometown of Niagara Falls to learn that her estranged father is dying of cancer. It was one of the most buzzed about homegrown films at TIFF '17 and received critical acclaim (including a NNNN rating from NOW Magazine) and earned McGlynn a spot in Playback’s 2017 5 2 Watch.

Learn more HERE.

8. CLOSET MONSTER (2015)

A man wears face paint around his eyes

The script for alumnus Stephen Dunn’s debut feature, Closet Monster, was revised throughout his residency in the Directors’ Lab in 2012. The film went on to become a huge hit at TIFF '15, winning the award for Best Canadian Feature Film, and was hailed by critics, including The Hollywood Reporter, which named it “an accomplished, courageously strange debut;” Variety, which called it “an original spin on the teenage coming-out dramedy;” and the National Post, which dubbed it “a truly unique coming out story, not to mention a highly original Canadian film." The film also features the work of alumni Todor Kobakov (music) and Bryan Atkinson (editing).

Learn more HERE.


THROUGH THE TELEFILM CANADA FEATURE COMEDY EXCHANGE

Since the launch of our Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange, the CFC has really upped the ante on Canadian comedy. To date, this program has accelerated 10 features and launched them into the global marketplace, including ADVENTURES IN PUBLIC SCHOOL (as mentioned above), as well as these hit comedies:

9. THE NEW ROMANTIC (2018)

A young woman wearing sunglasses with yellow lenses looks up

The latest feature developed through the exchange, The New Romantic saw its World Premiere in the Narrative Feature Competition at SXSW 2018, where it received special recognition for first feature. The film is from CFC alumni Carly Stone (writer/director), Kyle Mann (writer/producer), Christine Armstrong (editor) and also features music by the Slaight Family Music Lab alumnus Matthew O'Halloran. It has received rave reviews and significant attention for its bold female characters and for spotlighting a certain type of female protagonist. The pic centres on Blake, a young woman who, frustrated with a lack of chivalry among guys her own age, turns to life as a "sugar baby" – dating an older man and receiving gifts in return.

Learn more HERE.

10. DON’T TALK TO IRENE (2017)

A teenager wearing a cheerleading outfit walks through the halls of her high school

Don’t Talk to Irene, from CFC alumni Pat Mills (writer/director), Alyson Richards and Michael MacMillan (producers), is the story of an overweight teenage girl who follows her passion for cheerleading and signs up for a talent-search reality show in order to prove that "physical perfection" isn’t everything. It made its World Premiere at TIFF '17 before continuing on a successful festival run, winning the 2017 Comedy Vanguard Feature award and the Audience Award from the Austin Film Festival.

Learn more HERE

11. BIG NEWS FROM GRAND ROCK (2014)

Five people stand around one newspaper

This crowd-pleasing screwball comedy, the first feature from alumnus Daniel Perlmutter (writer/director), with alumni Michael McNamara and Judy Holm as producers, follows small-town journalist Leonard Crane who starts making up stories to save his job, but gets in trouble when one of his fabricated news pieces turns out to be true. The film was wildly popular with audiences, playing packed theatres across Canada with additional screenings being added.

Learn more HERE.


THROUGH THE SHORT DRAMATIC FILM PROGRAM

While this program is currently on hiatus as its being redesigned, it’s known for launching exciting and original voices and concepts into the global marketplace and producing high-quality short films – 173 to date! Here are some of the titles that have come out of this program:

12. STILL (2014)

Side profile of a woman's face with cuts and scratches on it

This affecting short is from alumni team Slater Jewell-Kemker (co-writer/director), Kaveh Mohebbi (co-writer), Courtenay Bainbridge (producer), Maureen Grant (editor), Matthew O’Halloran (music) and stars Actors Conservatory alumni Emily Piggford and Giacomo Gianniotti. In STILL, Sadie (Piggford) is lost in an isolated forest with her abusive boyfriend Jake (Gianniotti). After he falls through the ice of a river and drowns, Sadie discovers duplicates of both herself and Jake, giving her a chance to change their fate and get the love she’s always wanted. The film premiered at TIFF ’14 and went on to be included in Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival. STILL also earned Jewell-Kemker a spot on CBC News’ list of young Canadian filmmakers to watch at TIFF 2014, and on The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen Canada list, which highlighted the 15 hottest talents under 35.

Learn more HERE.

13. FROST (2012)

a woman's face

This CFC short, from CFC alumni Jeremy Ball (writer/director), Lauren Grant (producer) and Richard Mandin (editor), tells the story of a young arctic hunter’s search for food beyond the perimeter of her ancestral hunting grounds as she longs for her father's recognition as a capable disciple. FROST was the first CFC short to be shot in HD. It was done entirely on a studio soundstage with a green screen and snow blankets for all snowscapes, using 80 visual effects completed by five different companies. The film saw its World Premiere at TIFF ‘12 and went on to win the Grand Jury Award for Best Canadian Short (Dramatic) at the 2012 Edmonton International Film Festival.

Learn more HERE.

14. SHORT HYMN, SILENT WAR (2002)

Split screen image of two film stills

This acclaimed CFC short, from alumni Charles Officer (director), Tamai Kobayashi (writer), Kate Kung and Sandy Reimer (producers), and Ian Gardner (editor), weaves together the thoughts and memories of four African-Canadian women after gun violence claims the lives of two young men, and is often referenced for its contributions to Black Canadian filmmaking in the 21st century. Officer (and his films like SHORT HYMN, SILENT WAR) is referenced in the Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora [3 volumes]: Origins, Experiences, and Culture as being a filmmaker who “ … continue[s] to challenge mainstream Canadian cinema through their wilful rearticulations of African Canadian identities within the changing landscape of contemporary Canadian Culture.” SHORT HYMN, SILENT WAR was also included in TIFF’s Black Star Retrospective in November/December 2017, which celebrated Black excellence on screen.

Learn more HERE.

15. EVELYN THE CUTEST EVIL DEAD GIRL (2002)

A young zombie woman holds a knife

Long before he went on to collaborate with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on films like San Andreas and Rampage, alumnus Brad Peyton wrote and directed this darkly twisted comedy about a lonely dead girl who tries to bring herself back to life in order to make new friends (produced by alumnus Jim Mauro, edited by alumna Kathy Weinkauf and starring alumna Nadia Litz).

Learn more HERE.

16. ELEVATED (1996)

A man, holding a knife, stands in an elevator with his back to a woman

Before Natali brought us one-room horror flick CUBE, he co-wrote and directed the CFC short film ELEVATED. Co-written by alumna Karen Walton and produced by alumni Steve Hoban and Vanessa C. Laufer, this horror-thriller tells the story of a routine elevator ride that becomes a living hell for its three trapped passengers.

Learn more HERE.


THROUGH THE TELEFILM CANADA TALENT TO WATCH PROGRAM

Formerly the Telefilm Canada Micro-Budget Production Program, CFC is an affiliate member of this initiative, and recommends and supports one low-budget feature project from CFC alumni annually to Telefilm Canada for production. Some of the productions it has supported and helped develop through this initiative include:

17. THE LOCKPICKER (2016)

A young man sleeps on a train with his head against the window

This feature directorial debut from alumnus Randall Okita (produced by alumni Chris Agoston and Robert Fisher, edited by alumni Jonathan Eagan and Mike Reisacher, with music by alumni Joseph Murray and Lodewijk Vos of Menalon) follows the story of a teen thief who fantasizes about getting out of town after the death of a friend. It won the 2017 John Dunning Discovery Award (Canadian Screen Award), presented for the best micro-budget film of the year.

Learn more HERE.

18. WHAT WE HAVE (2014)

Two lovers lie together on a bed

This debut feature from alumnus Maxime Desmons was lauded for its narrative of self-acceptance and portrayal of gay relationships, specifically the complexities of having them in a small town. What We Have tells the tale of Maurice, a prisoner of his past who is unable to connect with the people in his new Northern Canadian small town, a community that is only too ready to welcome this European misfit into their arms. The film, which was also written/produced by and stars Desmons, features the work of alumni Sally Karam (producer), Damon D’Oliveira (executive producer), Kye Meechan (editing), Nicole Hilliard-Forde (casting), and Jean-Michel Le Gal (star). It won Best Canadian Feature at the 2015 Inside Out Film Festival.

Learn more HERE.

19. CAST NO SHADOW (2014)

A father places his hand on his son's chest to hold him back

This debut feature from alumnus and director Christian Sparkes tells the story of Jude Traynor, a 13-year-old boy who tries to navigate a delinquent life in a rough and rugged seaside town. Cast No Shadow also features the work of CFC alumni Joel Thomas Hynes (writer and star), Chris Agoston and Allison White (producers), and Jonathan Eagan (editor). It took home six awards at the 2014 Atlantic Film Festival (including Best Direction and Best Screenplay) and received four 2015 Canadian Screen Award nominations (including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay).

Learn more HERE.


THROUGH THE NFB/CFC CREATIVE DOC LAB

The doc lab is a creative development process for documentary creators that enables program participants to generate and deliver materials to help catalyze interest in their projects/ideas in the global marketplace. And that’s exactly what it has done for many documentaries, including:

20. THE MESSENGER (2015)

a bird in flight at night

Development of The Messenger, written/directed by alumna Su Rynard, was supported by the CFC through the second edition of the documentary program in 2011. The film explores human’s deep-seated connection to birds and warns that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own. It provides an important look at unsettling ecological changes in our environment and offers viewers an informative journey about various songbird-related issues that have worsened because of human activity. The film was named a Top Ten Audience Favourite at Hot Docs 2015.

Learn more HERE.

21. STORIES WE TELL (2012)

two people walk on a snowy bridge

This critically acclaimed and multiple-award-winning feature documentary, written/directed by alumna Sarah Polley and produced by alumna Anita Lee, was developed through the CFC NFB Documentary Program (as it was formerly called). Through a series of revealing interviews and a mix of pastiche Super 8 footage and faux home movies with genuine archive material, Polley investigates the truth about her family history. It was a wildly successful film, winning numerous awards (including the 2013 Canadian Screen Award for Best Feature Length Documentary, the 2013 Directors Guild of Canada Allan King Award For Excellence in Documentary and 2014 Writers Guild of America award for Best Documentary Screenplay, to name a few) and receiving much critical praise (four stars from Roger Ebert, five stars from The Guardian). It was also named one of “Canada’s Documentary Essentials” by Point of View Magazine.

Learn more HERE.


THROUGH TRIBECA ALL-ACCESS

CFC was an international partner of the former Tribeca All Access program, whereby it would select and support one Canadian project and team from statistically underrepresented communities in the industry to participate in the initiative. The below hit features are examples of productions that came out of this initiative:

22. JEAN OF THE JONESES (2016)

A family poses on a couch

Before CFC alumna Stella Meghie went on to direct blockbuster feature Everything, Everything, which earned her an NAACP Image Awards nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture, she wrote, directed and produced her feature directorial debut Jean of the Joneses through Tribeca All-Access. In the film, chaos ensues after the estranged patriarch of the Jones family dies on their doorstep. When the paramedic who answers their 911 call tries to win over acerbic Jean Jones, his attempts are disrupted by old conflicts that come to a boil at the funeral. Jean of the Joneses, which was produced by CFC alumnus Amos Adetuyi, made its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival and received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.

Learn more HERE.

23. EMPIRE OF DIRT (2013)

Two young people look at each other while sitting next to one another in front of a wall with graffiti art

Photo courtesy of Mongrel Media

This powerful and affecting drama tells the story of three generations of Canadian Cree woman who struggle to deal with the demons of their past. It comes from CFC alumni team Peter Stebbings (director), Shannon Masters (writer), Jennifer Podemski (producer) and Jorge Weisz (editor), and is praised for a script that centres on Indigenous women and for addressing important topics, including the damaging legacy of the residential school system in Canada. Empire of Dirt was nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Picture.

Learn more HERE.

24. HOME AGAIN (2012)

A woman sits at a counter crying, while the man beside her comforts her

Home Again is a dramatic feature film by CFC alumni and husband and wife duo Sudz Sutherland (writer/director) and Jennifer Holness (writer/producer). It tells the story of three Jamaicans (played by Tatyana Ali, CCH Pounder and Lyric Bent), who are deported from the U.S., Canada, and England, and must make their way in a land that they are not familiar with where every day is a fight for survival in which family support, friendships and shelter are elusive. It premiered at TIFF ’12 and won the prestigious PAFF‐BAFTA Festival Choice Award in Los Angeles.

Learn more HERE.


THROUGH THE BELL MEDIA PRIME TIME TV PROGRAM

The Bell Media Prime Time TV Program has become the go-to source for the North American broadcast industry to scout professional series writers, emerging TV creators and exciting original series content. It’s also known for incubating some serious TV hits, like:

25. MARY KILLS PEOPLE (2017-PRESENT)

A woman wears a rubber glove and holds a needlePhoto courtesy of Corus Entertainment

Mary Kills People, which follows Dr. Mary Harris (Caroline Dhavernas), a medical professional who moonlights as a physician-assisted death practitioner for the terminally ill, was created by CFC alumna Tara Armstrong based on a pilot script she entered the Bell Media Prime Time TV Program with in 2014. During the program, Armstrong created a teaser for this pilot, and within a year, had a six-episode series order from Global Television. The series was brought to life with the help of alumnae Tassie Cameron and Amy Cameron (Cameron Pictures Inc.). Additional CFC alumni who have been brought on to work on the show include Holly Dale (director), Roslyn Kalloo (editor), and writers Sherry White, Michael Goldbach and Marsha Greene.

Learn more HERE and HERE.

26. TRAVELERS (2016-PRESENT)

Five people pose for a picture

Photo courtesy of Corus Entertainment

This hit time travelling drama began its development during the 2014 Prime Time TV Program when Brad Wright was Executive Producer in Residence. Wright worked with the nine residents of that year’s program on the series for ten weeks and developed nine episodes, eight of which ended up in Season 1. In this series, technology has developed a means of sending people back in time to the 21st century to help save humanity from a grim future. Travelers was renewed for Season 3 in March 2018.

Learn more HERE.

27. ORPHAN BLACK (2013-2017)

The cast of  TV series

Photo courtesy of Bell Media

This critically acclaimed, groundbreaking conspiracy drama, which captured audiences in more than 170 countries and was hailed as one of television's most compelling genre series, got its start at the CFC. Yes, that’s right – the genesis of Orphan Black can be traced back to the CFC’s 2008 Bell Media Prime Time TV Program when Graeme Manson (series co-creator) was the Showrunner-in-Residence. Manson and John Fawcett (fellow alumnus and series co-creator) collaborated with the eight residents in the 2008 program to help bring their idea for the series to life. During its five-season run, it garnered numerous awards and nominations, including a Peabody Award and 20 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Dramatic Series, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Writing.

Learn more HERE.


THROUGH CFC MEDIA LAB

CFC Media Lab is not only an internationally acclaimed digital media think tank, but also an award-winning production environment for interactive and immersive media experiences, including:

28. SMALL WONDERS: THE VR EXPERIENCE (2016)

A VR image of an ancient prayer bead

A groundbreaking virtual reality (VR) collaboration between CFC Media Lab, Seneca’s School of Creative Arts and Animation and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Small Wonders: The VR Experience enables viewers to step inside the stunningly intricate details of a 500-year-old European prayer bead. The original bead, small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, depicts a complex scene of heaven and hell with elegance and precision. The VR experience adapts one of the AGO’s micro-computed topography (micro-CT) scans, enabling viewers to explore the intricate carvings of the prayer bead from various angles and in detail otherwise inaccessible to the human eye. This incredible VR experience screened in exhibition at the AGO, the Met Cloisters and at Hot Docs 2018 in the DocX series.

Learn more HERE.

29. BODY/MIND/CHANGE (2013)

A man's face

The innovative and award-winning multimedia production Body/Mind/Change, the digital extension of TIFF’s exhibition David Cronenberg: Evolution, was co-produced by TIFF and CFC Media Lab. Starring David Cronenberg, Body/Mind/Change immerses audiences in a “Cronenbergian” world brought to life online and in the real world. It was the first web interactive experience that generated a 3D-printed object based on data collected from the player. This production won several awards, including two MUSE Awards (Jim Blackaby Ingenuity Award; Honorable Mention in the category of Games and Augmented Reality) and the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) Award for Excellence in Special Projects.

Learn more HERE.

30. LATE FRAGMENT (2007)

Three people sit on chairs at a restorative justice meeting

Late Fragment was North America's First Interactive Feature Film, produced by CFC Media Lab in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). This groundbreaking production follows three strangers who have all experienced violence in their lives. Viewers are then able to change the direction of the story, marry multiple storylines, and explore 139 different scenes, three different endings and 380 components such as rabbit-holes and loops all with a simple click. Thirteen different digital tools were created and implemented in the making of this production.

Learn more HERE.


To browse through more CFC Productions, CLICK HERE.

tags:
Cory
Cory Angeletti-Szasz

Manager, Communications (Mat Leave)