Hello and Happy Holidays Canadian Film Fans!
  
We’re so excited to announce that the next two weeks are very exciting for Canadian Film and Talent indeed!

With the prestigious festival shining a special light on Canadian Film this year, First Weekend Club will be alongside Telefilm Canada and the Canadian filmmakers & talent at the star-studded festival, as our screening series producer / host Alexandra Staseson (@MoveThrough) will be on the ground, from the desert, bringing you live coverage, tweets, blogs, photos and more for @1stWeekendClub and FirstWeekendClub.ca.

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Hi Canadian Film Fans! Alexandra here with some fun news! December 4-8th, First Weekend Club as always will be at the peak of #CdnFilm entertainment, at Whistler Film Festival #WFF13, Canada’s “Coolest” Film Festival! I personally will be bringing you live coverage, tweets (@1stWeekendClub / @MoveThrough) blogs, and hosting more video interviews with Canadian filmmakers and talent!

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Opening in Toronto this weekend is Empire of Dirt, one of the standouts at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. It received a special jury citation for Best Canadian Feature Film, and the screenings were packed and the buzz was hot.

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As the MIPCOM conference in France comes to a close, I meet with David Cormican, a young, charming and ambitious producer who has already achieved so much in such a short time. It is the last meeting for both of us and we’re able to enjoy it in one of the many street-side cafes that spill onto the boulevards of Cannes. 

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Another whirl wind day with meetings, interviews, panels, cocktail parties and exquisite food in bite size morsels. Today, the highlight was discovering some new Canadian TV shows. As you may know, for the past ten years First Weekend Club has focused exclusively on Canadian feature films so I’ve discovered I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to the TV world. I honestly had no idea there are so many great and widely diverse Canadian projects. Nor did I realize that Canada is playing a leading role in creating, developing and selling TV content.  It’s a hugely successful industry. Did you know that TV in Canada is a 42 billion dollar industry with consumers hungry for our content around the world. Canada is a game changer in this market place. We are creating bold, risky content that the consumer wants.

One such TV series is “Call Me Fitz.” A highlight for me today was that I got the wonderful opportunity to interview the writer and show runner Sheri Elwood and executive producer Michael Souther. Sheri spoke about how important it is for writers to find their voice and then be true to that voice. When she was first shopping Call Me Fitz she was repeatedly told to re-write the main character, that he needed to be more likable. She didn’t take this advice and decided instead that she needed to find the right partner who was willing to take some risks. She found that partner in eOne Entertainment. Now the show is going into it’s fourth season and has been sold in 82 countries!  

Interestingly, the main character is based on Sheri’s brother (write what you know, as they say)and is a half-hour comedy staring Jason Priestly as Richard “Fitz” Fitzpatrick, a morally bankrupt used-car salesman whose consequence-free life is complicated by the arrival of do-gooder Larry (Ernie Grunwald), another salesman who claims he is Fitz’s conscience.  It’s serialized and very profane, which means its audience is limited and it’s limited to when and where it can be shown. But did I mention it has been sold in 82 countries! Sheri and Michael are clearly doing something right. Check out this YouTube video clip to get a taste of this fun and raunchy show.

If you want to find out more about Call Me Fitz, like them on Facebook

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End of day one at MIPCOM 2013 and I’m absolutely exhausted.

Let me set the stage. 13,000 people from around the world all converge on Cannes. The conference is largely held in the Palais Des Festivals (and surrounding buildings) which is pyramid shaped with five levels (but no second floor) and some crazy code for identifying where all the various booths can be found (I haven’t deciphered the code yet). There are meetings happening in every corner of this building. Posters of all the latest and greatest shows adorn every wall, screens are blipping and bleeping and everyone looks so professional in their suites and fashionable but “I mean business” dresses. This event is way different than the festival experience I’m more use to attending. Everyone is incredibly serious and there to get business done – no messin’ around.

I eased into my day (after getting lost in the pyramid maze) with an interview with Trish Doleman from Screen Siren Films. I’ve known Trish for about 10 years and over that time have come to truly admire and respect this talented creative producer. Simply, she works hard and makes great content.  Her first feature film, Flower and Garnet was also one of the first films promoted by First Weekend Club (and I’m glad to report we helped pack the house on her opening weekend). She’s gone on to produce many great feature length films (a few more FWC supported gems like Day Dream Nation, Foreverland, and Year of the Carnival), documentaries and a number of TV projects. She just finished wrapping her biggest feature film to date: Hector and the Search for Happiness, a 15 million dollar Germany/Canada co-pro starring Simon Pegg, Toni Collette and Christopher Plummer.

My next two interviews were with a couple of Manitoba boys – Clinton Skibitzky, President of Dacapo and Jamie Brown, CEO and Executive Producer of Frantic Films. I learnt that Dacapo started out in audio production 15 years ago and although they still remain primarily an audio production company, more recently they moved into co-producing their own content. One project that Clinton is quite excited about is a co-production with France called Santa’s Apprentice: Magic Snow Flake – an animated feature length film. The film is slated to open in France this Christmas. Hopefully, we’ll see it here in Canada too!

Jamie Brown is a MIPCOM veteran, with this MIP being his 15th. He says it’s a great place to connect face to face and make some deals. Frantic Films has quite a number of projects under their belts. Like Screen Siren, they also play with all formats, including feature length films, TV drama and lifestyle programming. When asked about some of his stand out productions, he was quick to tell me about Todd and The Book of Pure Evil which airs on the Space Channel. I love the title. It’s about a group of pot smoking high school students who confront the effects of a demonic book. Sounds like good raunchy fun so I’m checking it out once this conference is over!

Interviews / meetings for the day now over, I could focus on the next big challenge – to crash the Women in Global Entertainment Power Lunch – an invitation only event. I’m glad to report it was a successful mission and an awesome lunch to boot. Coincidentally, I ended up sitting at a great table with some powerhouse Canadian women. Trish Doleman was one such lady, as was Sheila De La Varende from Telefilm Canada, Carole Vivier from Manitoba Film & Music, Marie Brissette a Montreal based producer, and Deborah Drisdell from the National Film Board of Canada. I felt quite privileged to sit among these woman. Maybe next time I’ll be an invited guest too.

The afternoon was consumed by panel sessions – I’ll save my thoughts on that for another post as there was a lot of great stuff to share and too much to include here. The one thing I will add as a particular highlight though was meeting the creator and founder of iRokoTV – a VOD service for  African Stories – Made by Africans – For Africans. How iRokoTV came about is quite inspiring.

The last event was the red carpet gala event at the Carlton Hotel. I felt like a fish out of water at this thing. I was one of the first to arrive (my upbringing to be punctual is sometimes a curse) and as people slowly filtered in I didn’t recognize a soul. Ugh. So it was time to get out of my comfort zone and talk to strangers. It turned out to be quite a nice evening, with great food and champaign and some new friends from around the world.

All in all, day one at MIPCOM was pretty good. Now to bed as tomorrow is going to be even busier!

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the 32nd Annual Vancouver International Film Festival and First Weekend Club will be right there, on the scene to bring you info on Canadian Images, screenings, awards, highlights and more. Below you’ll find our overview of VIFF13 with some quick-links, key dates for events and galas, helpful hints, and the opening gala info with link to purchase tickets.

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First Weekend Club brings you all the info for Canadian Images at VIFF13. We’ve included a list of the Canadian Images screening at VIFF13, Awards and links to each for a trailer, synopsis, showtimes, and links to purchase tickets.

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It’s that time of year again; mid-summer when Canada begins to buzz with film-frenzy as the #TIFF13 news is unveiled. And as always, First Weekend Club is here to keep you up to speed on everything happening in Canadian Film.

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