Blog

02April

Win a Run-of-Engagement Pass for Cas & Dylan

First Weekend Club has 10 double passes to giveaway to Vancouver members and 10 double passes for Toronto members to see Cas & Dylan (valid starting Monday April 7th)

Winners will be notified by Friday April 4th and contacted by email.
Must be 19 years of age or older.

Here's How to Enter

Option A: Via Email

Step 1) If you are a registered FirstWeekendClub.ca member (you get our newsletters and e-mails regularly) simply send your first and last name, and email address to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The subject line of your email must say: "Cas & Dylan contest - Vancouver" or "Cas & Dylan contest - Toronto" If chosen you will be contacted at the email address you provide.

Not a firstweekendclub.ca member? Click on the link and sign-up to become a member. It's free, and you'll receive our monthly newsletter, and email alerts when a great Canadian Film is coming to your city!

Link:   http://www.firstweekendclub.ca/site12/join


Step 2) When you receive your membership confirmation email, simply forward it to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  , if you are a chosen winner, you will be contacted at the email address you forwarded it from.

 
Option B: Social Sharing Please

Like us on Facebook.com/FirstWeekendClub and share the link to this contest, tag @1stWeekendClub #CasDylanMovie

Or Tweet the link to this blog-contest and mention both @1stWeekendClub and @CasDylanMovie

Winners will be notified by Friday evening, April 4th.
Once again, please note the passes are only valid after the opening weekend.

About Cas & Dylan:
When 61-year-old self-proclaimed loner and terminally ill, Dr. Cas Pepper, reluctantly agrees to give 22-year-old social misfit, Dylan Morgan, a very short lift home, the last thing he anticipates is that he will strike her angry boyfriend with his car, find himself on the lam, and ultimately drive across the country with an aspiring young writer determined to help him overcome his own bizarre case of suicide note writer’s block. But as fate would have it, that is exactly what happens. Suddenly Cas’s solo one-way trip out West isn’t so solo. With Dylan at his side, the two take off on an adventure that will open their eyes to some of life’s lessons – both big and small.

Watch Trailer


 

Posted in Blog

25February

Vancouver Win A Pair Of Tickets To Crazy 8s Film Gala Screening and Afterparty March 1st

First Weekend Club wants to help you  WIN 2 TICKETS to attend Vancouver's Favorite Film Event of the Year, #Crazy8sFilms14 Gala Screening and Afterparty March 1st

Details below, 
Winners will be notified by the evening of Thursday, February 28th!  
Prize = 2 Tickets to Crazy 8s Gala Screening and Afterparty.
Must be 19 years of age or older, with Valid ID.


Here's How to Enter

Option A: Via Email

Step 1) If you are a registered FirstWeekendClub.ca member (you get our newsletters and e-mails regularly) simply send your first and last name, and email address to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  if chosen you will be contacted at the email address you provide.

Not a firstweekendclub.ca member? Click on the link and sign-up to become a member. It's free, and you'll receive our monthly newsletter, and email alerts when a great Canadian Film is coming to your city!

Link:   http://www.firstweekendclub.ca/site12/join


Step 2) When you receive your membership confirmation email, simply forward it to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  , if you are a chosen winner, you will be contacted at the email address you forwarded it from.

 
Option B: Social Sharing Please

Like us on Facebook.com/FirstWeekendClub and share the link to this contest, tag @1stWeekendClub #Crazy8sFilms14 in your post :) 

Or Tweet the link to this blog-contest and mention us both @1stWeekendClub @Crazy8sFilm #Crazy8sFilms14

Winners will be notified by Thursday evening, February 27th.



About Crazy 8's Film 2014


"Crazy8s is truly the single best way in BC to launch your career."
-Zach Lipovsky, Crazy8s alumni, whose film “Crazy Late” helped him secure a spot on the  Steven Spielberg show "On The Lot", where he placed in the top 5.

 
Now 15 years strong, Crazy8s is an 8 day filmmaking challenge that provides funding and support to emerging filmmakers to help them produce a short film. Crazy8s is run by the Crazy8s Film Society, a not-for-profit society.  It was created to foster support for emerging filmmakers who have little or no access to funding for short films.  
Since 1999, Crazy8s has given opportunities to 79 filmmakers and their teams of producers, writers, cinematographers, art directors, editors, composers, and cast, to produce fully funded, professional short films, and present them to an audience of film professionals in Vancouver (as well as non-professionals), and around the globe.  It has become the place to discover new talent, provide valuable on set training, and give opportunities for filmmakers to create work that can be used to launch their careers in the film industry.
Including crew and performers, Crazy8s has provided working opportunities for over 1,650 people in the last 14 years.
 
 
In addition to supporting directors, Crazy8s has provided opportunities for producers, writers, performers, cinematographers, editors, and a host of other crew members who gain valuable experience and build working relationships that often continue for many years to come.
 
Over the past 14 years, approximately 10,000 people have attended Crazy8s screenings, and the films have appeared in over 250 international films festivals with many being broadcast on national television.


HOW CRAZY8S WORKS

Aspiring filmmakers are invited to present their short film idea in a 5-minute video. Every year over one hundred teams apply.
-40 semi-finalists are chosen to pitch in person to a jury of industry professionals, 12 finalists workshop their script with a professional story editor, and 6 winners receive $1,000 and a production package provided by sponsors in the local production community with everything they need to make their short film in just 8 days. Finished films are screened at the gala event March 1st to the who's who of the Vancouver film industry.

2014 CRAZY 8s' SCREENING GALA, AFTERPARTY & TICKET DETAILS
The 2014 Crazy8s filmmakers certainly seem to like a challenge. Ignoring most, if not all, of the low-budget rules of thumb (no animals, no children, no special effects, no period pieces, etc.) The teams this year find themselves in the midst of some pretty interesting scenarios, such as:

• Director Matthew Kowalchuk and the team from Bed Bugs: A Musical Love Story are working with master puppeteer Mauri Bernstein to craft multi-limbed bed bug puppets with distinct personalities (and accessories!) who will sing and dance their way down Commercial Street.

• Director Maéva Thibeault and producer Jon Warne from Body Language have been spending an awful lot of time in local funeral homes lately. They’ll be working with Dallas Harvey from Vancouver Makeup Effects to make their young actress look suitably corpse-like.

• Director Greg Crompton and the team from Dial Y For Yesterday are facing the not-small challenge of how to get a very real dog (Ruckus, from Canine Co-stars) to not only talk but also do some other top-secret, very un-doglike things. 

• Director Tony Mirza and the sexy intergalactic Goddesses of Earthlickers are breaking all the no-budget rules by creating an entire other world for their film. Think Ed Wood Jr. meets Barbarella, and don’t spare the sequins.

• Director Michelle Kee and the team from Mattress are dealing with the expected complications of trying to stage a mini-riot (complete with Molotov cocktails, flying garbage and an RCMP officer on horseback) in a Strathcona alleyway. 

• Director Ryan Atimoyoo and his team from Sacrifice are, in the words of co-producer Lindy Parker-Vega, “…figuring out how to burn a house down without actually lighting any of our locations on fire.”

Definitely a compelling group of films this year!

For being part of Crazy8s, each team receives $1,000 and a production support package that includes an HD camera, sound recording equipment, a lighting and grip package, production insurance, location permits, on-line editing, a professional sound mix, plus much more. Huge thanks to our wonderful sponsors and supporters for making it all possible.

The finished films will premiere at a Gala Screening at The Centre (777 Homer St) on Saturday, March 1st at 7:00 pm, to be followed by an Afterparty at Science World. After sashaying down the red carpet, guests at the Afterparty will dance to DJ Static of WEFUNK Radio, bop to roving performers The Myrtle Family Band, and be tantalized by the True Heroines live cabaret act. All that, plus food, drink and the chance to interact with the fabulous exhibits at Science World! 

Tickets are $30 advance and $35 at the door. More info and tickets 
on our website at www.crazy8s.cc 
or at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/580495

Posted in Blog

31December

First Weekend Club Supporting Canadian Talent at 25th Palm Springs International Film Festival January 3-13, 2014

First Weekend Club is pleased to support Canadian Talent at the 25th Palm Springs International Film Festival January 3-13, 2014


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. Look for her on-camera and written interviews with the Canadian Filmmakers attending!

Below we've included the special messages from Telefilm Canada about the festival, and of course we've made sure to share the film line up and a bird's eye view of important events and awards during the festival which will feature Canadian Cinema. 

Follow us on Twitter @1stWeekendClub & @MoveThrough and Like us on Facebook .com/FirstWeekendClub to stay up to the minute with this, and other great Canadian Film news and screenings!

Most of all, 

Happy New Year from the FirstWeekendClub.ca team!



Spotlight On Canada at Palm Springs International Film Festival

Telefilm Canada was happy to announce "The new year will open in high style for Canadian cinema as the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) has selected Canada as country of honour for the Festival’s 25th anniversary edition. With a dazzling Canadian presence at the 25th Palm Springs International Film Festival with a  spotlight on filmmakers Louise Archambault, Shawney Cohen, Craig Goodwill, Bruce LaBruce, Don McKellar, Richie Mehta, Sébastien Pilote and Wiebke von Carolsfeld."

Telefilm Canada goes on to say,  "This focus on Canada marks the dazzling renewal of the Telefilm Canada-PSIFF partnership launched in 2013, one that promises to be very fruitful for Canada’s film industry. Canadian filmmakers Louise Archambault (Gabrielle), Shawney Cohen (The Manor), Craig Goodwill (Patch Town), Bruce LaBruce (Gerontophilia), Don McKellar (The Grand Seduction), Richie Mehta (Siddharth), Sébastien Pilote (Le Démantèlement) and Wiebke von Carolsfeld (Stay) will be in the spotlight in Palm Springs. 

 The Palm Springs International Film Festival runs from January 3 to 13, 2014. Each year, the Festival pays tribute to a country or region that has made a mark on the international scene. The Festival’s Focus on Canada event will celebrate Canadian cinema on Sunday, January 5, and screenings of Canadian films will also be held throughout the Festival’s run. 

In addition to Canadian producers, Canadian actors such as Marc-André Grondin (Vic+Flo Saw a Bear), Cara Gee (a 2013 TIFF Rising Star) and Shay Eyre (Empire of Dirt), as well as Zoie Palmer and Julian Richings (Patch Town), will be in Palm Springs to help promote their movies.


The Palm Springs International Film Festival is one of the marquee events of the film-festival season in the United States. It draws a high number of attendees every year and generates significant buzz owing to the fact that its line-up includes several Golden Globe and Oscar contenders. The Festival presents more than 100 films from 60 countries, and its more than 135,000 participants include a significant contingent of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voting members.

“I am delighted that the Palm Springs International Film Festival is paying such a wonderful tribute to Canadian talent during its 25th anniversary edition, which will be celebrated in dazzling style,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “Our partnership with the PSIFF allows us to showcase an outstanding Canadian program of films that includes Louise Archambault’s Gabrielle, which represented Canada in the race for the 2014 best foreign-language film Oscar. The Festival generates significant promotional spinoffs, which will have a positive effect—in terms of audience-building and business opportunities—on the Canadian films being screened.”

PSIFF Artistic Director Helen du Toit, added: “Canada's extraordinary success on the international stage this year—as evidenced by the plethora of awards and sales activity—has inspired us to shine a Spotlight on Canadian Cinema at the Palm Springs Film Festival this year. With Enemy and Prisoners (two films in one year!) starring some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Denis Villeneuve is now considered one of the hottest filmmakers in Hollywood. As a lead up to the Oscar race, we will be honouring Matthew McConaughey at our Black Tie Awards Gala this year for his performance in Jean-Marc Vallée’s celebrated new film Dallas Buyers Club. Talent nurtured in Canada is launching at prestigious international festivals and finding distribution around the globe. Out of the 13 films we selected, over half already have U.S. distribution, marking an increased interest from previous years. In the end the evidence is clear: the stars have aligned for Canadian cinema. We applaud you!”


Canadian line-up at the 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival

    •    Another House (L’Autre maison), Mathieu Roy
    •    The Auction (Le Démantèlement), Sébastien Pilote
    •    Empire of Dirt, Peter Stebbings
    •    Enemy, Denis Villeneuve
    •    Gabrielle, Louise Archambault
    •    Gerontophilia, Bruce LaBruce
    •    The Grand Seduction, Don McKellar
    •    The Manor, Shawney Cohen
    •    Patch Town, Craig Goodwill
    •    Sarah Prefers to Run (Sarah préfère la course),             
         Chloé Robichaud
    •    Siddharth, Richie Mehta
    •    Stay, Wiebke von Carolsfeld
    •    Vic+Flo Saw a Bear (Vic+Flo ont vu un ours), Denis Côté


Focus on Canada, January 5, 2014 
On the occasion of the Festival’s Focus on Canada day on January 5, Telefilm has organized several events, including:

    •    A day of Canadian film screenings, including a gala presentation of Louise Archambault’s Gabrielle;

    •    An event featuring Canadian talent attending the Festival; and
    •    An awareness-raising event for the Talent Fund, a private donation fund established by Telefilm to stimulate investment in the production and promotion of Canadian films. Canadian philanthropists Carol and Paul Hill have generously agreed to host this event, which will bring together Canadian and international business people and creative talents.

Palm Springs Speaks French! January 6, 2014 


The Festival, in conjunction with the consulates general of Belgium, France and Switzerland, the Quebec Government Office in Los Angeles, Swiss Films, Telefilm Canada and TV5 Monde, will be holding an event to celebrate French-language cinema.

Close ties between Canada and the Palm Springs International Film Festival 
It’s worth noting that, in addition to the strong Canadian contingent at the Palm Springs International Film Festival each year, Festival Director Darryl Macdonald is himself a Canadian. In 2012, Macdonald received the inaugural Friend of International Cinema Award from the online magazineCinema Without Borders. 

The award recognized his support for the promotion of international film in the United States. The Festival’s Artistic Director, Helen Du Toit, is also a Canadian producer active on the international scene.

The talent with the 13 Canadian films appearing at the Festival will take part through the support of Telefilm, SODEC and the Quebec Government Office in Los Angeles.

For more information on the Canadian selection at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, visithttp://www2.telefilm.ca/email/focus-fest-2013/.

About Telefilm Canada
Telefilm is dedicated to the cultural, commercial and industrial success of Canada’s audiovisual industry. Through its various funding and promotion programs, Telefilm supports dynamic companies and creative talent here at home and around the world. Telefilm also administers the programs of the Canada Media Fund. Visitwww.telefilm.ca and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/telefilm_canada and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/telefilmcanada.

-30-
Media inquiries: 
Douglas Chow, Manager, External Communications
514-283-0838, ext. 2225 or 1-800-567-0890This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Posted in Blog

02December

UBCP ACTRA Awards Gala Honours B.C. Talent

The 2nd edition of the UBCP/ACTRA Awards Gala on November 24 at the Vancouver Playhouse, confirmed what we all already knew: Canadians are damn funny - and talented, too. 

The show's MC for the night, actress Ellie Harvie, led the hilarity, alongside her randomly chosen carrousel of unsuspecting co-hosts, and an on-going creatively-executed gag where those actors who happened to be MIA on the big night would "call in" via Skype, with an assortment of excuses for missing the big night and some clever punchlines.  Not surprisingly, the event was produced by Jay Ono of Vancouver Theatre Sports.

Over 680 industry professionals including UBCP members, industry partners, press and politicians attended.

The evening started with a special presentation inducting Garry Chalk into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.

Proving that it's never a good idea to be nominated in the same category as her, the UBCP/ACTRA Award for Best Actress went to Gabrielle Rose for her role in Bruce Sweeney's Crimes of Mike Recket, whileJohn Pyper-Ferguson won for Best Actor ("Motive").  

“Let’s do more," said Rose while wrapping her hands around her trophy, "Let’s write more Canadian stories.”

Although he noted that he has been acting since he was a kid, Tyler Johnston was acknowledged with a Best Newcomer win.

Unlike the Golden Globes, the UBCP/ACTRA Awards honour voice artists for their contribution to cinema and television. This year, Nicole Oliver was crowned for Best Voice ("Littlest Pet Shop"), to huge applause. Meanwhile, the award for Best Stunt went to Colby Chartrand.

Two special awards were also handed out: The John Juliani Award of Excellence was presented to Ben Ratner and the Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award was presented to Carmen Moore
Before the evening came to a close, there were a few musical interludes in store. The first being a performance of "Down River" from Ratner's film, with singer-songwriter Kevin House taking the stage.

Garry Chalk surprised the audience with an impressive Blues performance of "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer." 

As the lights dimmed in the auditorium, guests made their way to nibbles, drinks, and festive chatter at the after-party.

Posted in Blog

27November

First Weekend Club Covering Canada's Coolest Film Festival

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!

The Whistler Film Festival (December 4 to 8, 2013) is proud
to announce its 2013 film lineup featuring original films from around the world and more feature premieres than ever before. FWC will have more Whistler Film Festival updates coming your way about various programs and industry panels etc, so stay tuned in the coming days.

*Remember, please follow First Weekend Club and Whistler Film Festival on Facebook to keep up-to-the-minute, and remember to follow and interact with us on Twitter and give our friends at Whistler Film Festival the follow too @Whisfilmfest! www.WhistlerFilmFestival.com

Below I've shared what you can expect, and some nuggets about the Canadian Film line-up. But stay tuned for our next blog about the Candian Film Line-up!


See you on the mountain! 

Alexandra Staseson (@MoveThrough)
Screening Series Producer/ Social Media Manager/ Host 
FirstWeekendClub.ca

What to Expect From Whistler Film Festival 2013?

Under WFF’s Director of Programming, Paul Gratton, the festival’s programming team has curated a stimulating lineup that honours established program areas, while revealing emerging trends that broaden the Festival’s reach and appeal to a wide variety of tastes. This year festival goers can look forward to 84 films from 14 countries, selected from over 700 submissions, including 42 features and 42 shorts, exhibited on five screens in four theatre venues over five days. The feature program includes an unprecedented 19 World Premieres, 19 Canadian Premieres, 1 English Canadian Premiere, 34 Western Canadian Premieres, 3 British Columbia Premieres, and 7 Whistler Premieres. Screenings are organized in 11 categories.

"This year’s programming mix has identified a number of emerging trends. Theirs is a focus on Canadian directors who have graduated to large budgets and international casts (Denis Villeneuve’s PRISONERS, Jean-Marc Vallee’s DALLAS BUYERS CLUB and Atom Egoyan’s DEVIL’S KNOT); an edgy collection of original indie productions (THE WAIT, CHEAP THRILLS, THE HUSBAND, METH HEAD, PATCH TOWN); a strong contingent of First Nations themed movies (UVANGA, HI -HO MISTAHEY, EMPIRE OF DIRT, JIMMY ‘P’);and, a significant number of British Columbia- based premieres (AFTERPARTY, IF I HAD WINGS, NO CLUE, CITIZEN MARC, DOWN HERE),” says WFF’s Director of Programming, Paul Gratton. “Overall, our 2013 movie mix is the most exciting collection of films to date and I can’t wait to see how audiences respond to them.”

Canadian Film Line-up?

Congratulations to Canadian director and actor Jason Priestley’s CAS & DYLAN (Western Canadian Premiere) is this year’s Opening Night Gala presentation. This charming road movie features yet another scene-stealing performance by last year’s Borsos Best Actor winner Tatiana Maslany along with a heart-warming turn by movie icon Richard Dreyfuss. FWC is pleased to see an amazing line-up for the Borsos Award nominees this year, returning programming strands include the 10th Anniversary Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature presented by the Directors Guild of Canada–British Columbia featuring six diverse titles competing for the $15,000 cash prize, the second highest award of its kind in Canada. Along with CAS & DYLAN, THE HUSBAND, PATCH TOWN and UVANGA, this year’s Borsos competition will also showcase Quebec’s highest-grossing film LOUIS CYR and the Richie Mehta’s SIDDHARTH.

Posted in Blog

22November

Empire of Dirt opens this weekend in Toronto

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. 

Empire of Dirt is a powerful tale, beautifully directed by Peter Stebbings, and a passion project by the powerhouse Jennifer Podemski who produced it and also stars. It was so refreshing to see a nuanced take on a First Nations family. Three generations of women are played by Podemski as the matriarch Minerva, TIFF Rising Star Cara Gee as a young mother returning to her hometown with her rebellious teenage daughter, who is played by Shay Eyre. They all created stunning performances. The film was made in 15 days on 1 million dollars in Kensington Market and Keswick, Ontario, and looks beautiful. 

Shannon Masters wrote the screenplay, her first feature, and the story forges new territory in portraying a First Nations family in a subtle way, free of stereotypes, but full of complex characterizations. 

Be sure to catch this unmissable film about reconciliation, motherhood and identity this weekend. West Coasters will have to be patient as it opens there December 13th. For more details check out: http://www.firstweekendclub.ca/site12/films/film-database/item/empire-of-dirt

Posted in Blog

18October

How to Succeed in Show Biz: An interview with David Cormican

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.

As Cormican had learned, you never know where each new step will lead you and where you'll ultimately end up. His journey is inspiring.

Cormican started out working in the industry as an actor, but wasn’t getting the roles he really wanted. In his own words, “I was always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” As many other actors before him, he decided to take destiny into his own hands and create his own projects, which got him writing and ultimately led him to producing.

A turning point in his career was the year he went to the Banff World Television Festival to pitch a series, “plus a few other ideas I had in my back pocket.” The series idea got some attention and suddenly he had a number of offers and even a write-up in Variety. Being somewhat new to the game, he realized he needed some guidance. Actually, what he realized he needed was a good agent. Luckily he had some leverage to help secure that "good" agent: TV deal offers. Not a bad bargaining chip, if you ask me -- or anyone, really. After meeting with several agents -- all of whom were interested -- he hit it off with Meridian Artists' Glenn Cockburn. Overnight, one of the offers made for his TV series at Banff, was tripled!

But Cormican wasn't quite on "easy street" yet. Typical of the television industry, the series ended up sitting on the shelf until its option had lapsed. Never mind that, Cormican was not about to give up. He remembered another company that showed initial interest in his project: Minds Eye Entertainment, a Canadian production and distribution company based in Regina, Saskatchewan.
He decided to remind the production company's President and CEO Kevin DeWalt just what a great project he had. Turns out DeWalt was still interested, but had just hired a new Development Officer. He asked Cormican to call back in two weeks.

Two weeks went by and Cormican had diligently followed up. Turns out the development officer didn't quite work out and DeWalt was left stranded, unable to consider Cormican's project for at least another six months.

That's when a light bulb lit up. Why won't DeWalt just hire him as their new head of development, joked Cormican. But DeWalt wasn't laughing. Next thing Cormican knew, he was off to Saskatchewan for a tête-à-tête and was ultimately offered a position, which he accepted.

Within a few weeks of starting in his new role, Cormican was already giving script notes to prominent writers, working on everything from low budget productions to those budgeted at $10 million dollars or more. He said it was “mind blowing to be this young guy giving notes to these seasoned writers and directors, and not only that - they listened." Not only was Cormican new to the role, but he was also young. Most of the meeting were over the phone and he can't help but wonder if these same creatives would take him as seriously if they sat across from him.

Cormican ended up working with Minds Eye for nearly 5 years, quickly rising in stature within the Regina community. He was not only deeply involved with the film and television industry, but also as a prominent member of society, sitting on numerous boards and councils, becoming very active in his new community. He also engaged with politicians, lobbying to renew tax incentives for Saskatchewan's film and television industry. Under DeWalt’s tutelage Cormican was introduced to world markets and significantly expanded his knowledge of the industry.  “The work was intense,” Cormican recalls, “It was like I received a mini MBA.”  

Cormican’s talents did not go unnoticed. Last year, just as he had turned 30, Cormican was recognized by Playback as one of their annual "Ten to Watch."

Shortly after the Playback article was published Cormican was approached by one of Canada's most prolific producers, Don Carmody. He was invited to partner with him on a new television division within Carmody's company. The new opportunity came at just the right time. Cormican had become a bit disheartened by the changes in the tax credit system in Saskatchewan which he fought so hard to keep. Cormican was ready to open a new door and his new partnership with Don Carmody Television was announced in February 2013.

“Working with Don has been an incredible experience,” he admits. After all, Carmody has claimed his stake in an Oscar as producer of 'Chicago' and is responsible for highly successful franchises such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill. In the interview Cormican did with Playback for their '10 to Watch,' he mentioned a mantra that he has: “to be great, surround yourself with greatness.” Clearly he's following it.

Cormican is already busy working on the "next big thing," a sci-fi TV series called "Echoes," which is set to be the first series under the new banner. Stargate’s Carl Binder is already attached to show-run and write the pilot episode.

Not one to shy away from ambition, when asked where he’d like to see himself in five years, Cormican quickly replies that he is looking to have an Emmy under his belt.  In 10 years' time? He wants a series to be going into its fifth season.

If I were a betting (wo)man…

As our interview winds down, I ask Cormican if he has any favourite directors (Canadian or otherwise) that he’d like to work with. He's happy to share two: Kari Skogland (Fifty Dead Men Walking, The Stone Angel) and Jeremy Podeswa (Fugitive Pieces, American Horror Story). Both Canadian.

Posted in Blog

09October

MIPCOM Day Two - meeting the Creators of Call Me Fitz

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

Posted in Blog

07October

Day One at MIPCOM

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 Dolman 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 Dolman 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!

Posted in Blog

04October

First Weekend Club goes to MIPCOM

For the first time in our ten year history, First Weekend Club is heading to MIPCOM - the largest annual global market for entertainment content across all platforms, to be held in Cannes from October 7 to 10, 2013.

I’m personally very excited to be participating at this important global market. A major contingent of Canadian talent will be there, including a wide range of independent producers across all platforms. In the Canadian Pavilion alone there will be over 70 Canadian companies who are there to showcase their marquis productions to potential buyers. My purpose - to discover new content and content creators, to cover the various panel discussion (I’m particularly interested in all the digital content panels) and to provide an inside look into what it takes to sell your project.

If you are interested in joining me on this discovery voyage, follow us on Twitter @1stweekendclub or me personally @AnitaFWC. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel where we’ll be posting interviews with some of the finest Canadian content creators. And of course, Facebook is always a good way to stay engaged with our activities. Like our page at
https://www.facebook.com/FirstWeekendClub

If you are heading to MIPCOM, let me know as I'd love to meet you in the South of France and find out more about what you are working on.

Posted in Blog