Thursday, February 26, 2015

Interview: Jonathan Robbins, star of Out With Dad

Out with Jonathan Robbins

by Allan Tong

Jonathan Robbins is dad in Out With Dad, the most successful Canadian web series today with over 24 million viewers across all platforms, averaging more than 300,000 views per month online, and attracting over 35,000 Subscribers on YouTube. The numbers are all the more impressive when you considered that the show is almost entirely audience-funded. The drama is about about teenager Rose coming of age and coming out of the closet with the support of her single father. At this Sunday's week's Canadian Screen Awards, Out With Dad is up for Best Original Program or Series produced for Digital Media – Fiction. Jonathan is also the creator of Clutch, a crime/thriller web series.

Chino Kino chatted with Jonathan at the start of CSA week in Toronto:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Canadian Screen Awards – Winners in Drama, Children's or Youth, Comedy and Variety

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is pleased to announce that 48 Canadian Screen Awards were presented tonight in Drama, Children's or Youth, Comedy and Variety categories. This Canadian Screen Awards Gala was hosted tonight by comedian Darrin Rose at the Sheraton Centre Toronto.

"The Academy is honoured tonight to be able to recognize the creators and artists of Canada's favorite drama, comedy, and kids' television programming, that entertain and inspire us," says Academy Chair, Martin Katz.

"You - the producers, artists and craftspeople of the Canadian screen industry are critical to this country," says Helga Stephenson, Academy CEO. "The arts - and more specifically, our moving image arts- define us and connect us," she adds.

Hot Docs announces a selection of 17 Special Presentations for the 2015 festival

Hot Docs is pleased to announce 17 documentary features that will be a part of this year’s Special Presentations program, a high-profile collection of world and international premieres, award-winners from the recent international festival circuit and works by master filmmakers or featuring some star subjects. These films will screen as part of the 2015 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, running April 23 to May 3.

The complete Special Presentations program and the full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2015 will be announced on March 17, including the 2015 opening night film. Ticket packages and passes are now on sale online. Single tickets and package redemption will be available beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2015 Canadian Screen Awards – Winners in News & Sports, Documentary, Lifestyle, Reality and Digital Media

by Allan Tong

The first round of Canadian Screen Awards were handed out last night at a gala dinner, celebrating 46 categories in news, factual television and some digital media. The event was hosted by comedian Darrin Rose at the Sheraton Centre Toronto. Highlights include:

Our Man in Tehran which captured Best Direction in a Documentary Program by Drew Taylor and Larry Weinstein as well as best documentary program and Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series for Steve Weslak and Best Sound in that category. It won all five categories for which it was nominated.

HGTV's Income Property winning Best Lifestyle or Talk Program or Series and Best Direction in a Lifestyle/Practical Information Program or Series.

CBC News: Toronto capturing Best Local Newscast, including co-anchor Anne-Marie Mediwake (pictured here).

Monday, February 23, 2015

Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) announces 19th annual WGC Screenwriting Awards finalists

The Writers Guild of Canada is pleased to announce the finalists for the 19th annual WGC Screenwriting Awards. The WGC Screenwriting Awards celebrate the excellence of Canada’s screenwriters with a gala event on April 27, 2015, at Toronto’s Koerner Hall.

This year more than 150 scripts were nominated for awards in seven categories, with 29 scripts chosen as finalists. In total, 53 screenwriters are up for awards. Several special awards, including the WGC Showrunner Award, the Jim Burt Screenwriting Prize, and the Sondra Kelly Award, will also be presented.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

87th annual Academy Awards – winners

The 87th annual Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2014 were presented tonight at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The host for the event was Neil Patrick Harris.

The surprising big winner of the night was Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. It won the top prizes of Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, each of which included Iñárritu as winner. It also picked up a second win in a row for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki who won for last year's Gravity. However, the film's star Michael Keaton did not win in his narrow race with Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor.

Also picking up four awards was Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel. It won for Makeup and Hairstyling, Costume Design, Production Design and for Original Score – the first win in this category for the prolific Alexandre Desplat.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards – winners

Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards, Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA, handed out top honors to Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Boyhood, Whiplash and Nightcrawler at this afternoon’s 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards. Still Alice, Dear White People, Ida, Land Ho! and CITIZENFOUR also received awards at the ceremony, which was held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. Inherent Vice received the Robert Altman Award and Foxcatcher received a Special Distinction Award. In addition to being the celebration that honors artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs.

Over the past 30 years, the Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premiere awards show for the independent film community. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel and Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, Lena Dunham and many more.

Film Review: The Wrecking Crew

Writer/Director: Denny Tedesco
Producer: Denny Tedesco, Suzie Tedesco, Jon Leonoudakis, Mitchell Linden, Claire Scanlon
Cast: Herb Alpert, Brian Wilson, Don Randi, Cher, Micky Dolenz, Nancy Sinatra, Jimmy Webb, Lou Adler, Carol Kaye, Hal Blaine, Roger McGuinn, Earl Palmer, Al Casey, Don Randi, Tommy Tedesco
Music Documentary
1 hour, 35 minutes

They were the unsungs heroes behind so many hits from L.A. in the sixties: “Be My Baby,” The Byrds' “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “You've Lost That Loving Feeling,” “California Dreaming,” “River Deep Mountain High,” the early Monkees, and all of The Beach Boys' legendary Pet Sounds.

This loose collection of studio session players were never credited on album sleeves, but were revered by other musicians for their sheer ability to play Latin, jazz, rock, blues and country effortlessly and reliably.

ACTRA Awards in Toronto 2015 – winners

ACTRA Toronto is proud to announce the winners of the 13th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto.

"The performers honoured tonight make us proud to be Canadian," said David Sparrow, President of ACTRA Toronto. "They show off Canada to Canada and to the rest of the world in all its marvelous diversity. And they do it with unique and outstanding talent."

The annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto were presented at The Carlu on February 20, 2015. The gala evening was hosted by Arisa Cox with live music by God Made Me Funky.

ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA, representing more than 15,000 of Canada's 22,000 professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. As an advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven union that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of professional performers.

ICG 52nd Annual Publicists Awards – winners

More than 900 Hollywood publicity and marketing executives, producers, studio and network executives, celebrities and press gathered for the International Cinematographers Guild 52nd Annual Publicists Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel today, chaired by Henri Bollinger and co-chaired by Tim Menke.

In his opening remarks Steven Poster, ASC., president of the International Cinematographers Guild, in noting the theme of this year’s luncheon, said, “We live in the age of social media and there’s no turning back. That’s why we appreciate social media today and celebrate the talented publicists who are making it work for the dynamic entertainment industry we’re proud to be part of. We have a lot of very impressive people here today, all thanks to our talented publicists.”

Friday, February 20, 2015

Film Review: What We Do In The Shadows

Writer/Director: Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement
Producer: Taika Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley, Emanuel Michael
Cast: Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, Rhys Darby, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford
Mockumentary Comedy Horror film
1 hour, 25 minutes

What's it really like to be a vampire? This insanely funny mockumentary from New Zealand answers that question by hanging out with Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr, four bloodsuckers who share a house in Wellington.

After sunset, they rise and three of them prowl the clubs for fresh blood. (The fourth one, Petyr, looks his age which is 8,000 years old so he stays locked inside his closet. The arrogant one, Deacon, has a human servant named Jackie to run errands for him, like wash his blood-soaked garments and invite unwitting old school classmates to the vampires' home for "dinner." The vampires accept another mortal as a friend, a quiet I.T. guy named Stu, who teaches them how to use modern technology. The vampires live in a sort of frat house and, apart from sucking blood out of people, are good lads.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Canadian Film Fest announces 2015 lineup

Tickets go on sale March 10 at

Executive Director of the Canadian Film Fest (CFF), Bern Euler, has announced the lineup for 2015 CFF, which will open and close with the Toronto premieres of two Toronto-shot films – Murray Foster’s THE COCKSURE LADS MOVIE and Matt Sadowski’s PRETEND WE’RE KISSING. This year’s festival will present eight feature films and 16 short films over its four-day run.

“The CFF has expanded from three to four days, and this year’s lineup is a testament to the wealth of diversity present in the Canadian film industry,” said Bern Euler, Executive Director, Canadian Film Fest. “We’re very proud to celebrate the talent that is present and emerging in our own backyard.”

12th annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Toronto announces lineup

Lineup includes films from established and emerging directors including Joshua Oppenheimer, Wim Wenders, Patricio Henriquez and Hajooj Kuka

TIFF and Human Rights Watch co-present the 12th annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Toronto, with a powerful lineup of eight films that recount extraordinary stories of struggle, survival and hope. Showcasing cinema at the forefront of the human rights movement, the festival aims to draw attention to human rights violations worldwide through brave films from countries including Canada, Indonesia, Sudan, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Palestine, Guatemala, the United States and Hungary.

Running from March 24 to April 2 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the festival kicks off with an opening night fundraising reception followed by the Canadian premiere of The One That Got Away, a documentary chronicling the strength and endurance of the human spirit, and closes with Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story, the inspiring story of an ex-Navy SEAL’s lifelong struggle to find her true identity. Additional highlights include the Toronto premiere of the Academy Award-nominated The Salt of the Earth, a stunning visual odyssey of the world as seen through the eyes of one of the greatest image-makers of the last century, and The Look of Silence, a morally complex, exquisitely crafted work that promises to provoke far-reaching ripples of dialogue. Complete film lineup listed below. All screenings are accompanied by introductions or discussions by filmmakers, Human Rights Watch researchers or film subject experts. Visit for additional guest information leading up to the festival.

17th annual Costume Designers Guild Awards – winners

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Into The Woods and Birdman took home the top awards at the Costume Designers Guild Awards last night.

Milena Canonero's creations for the The Grand Budapest Hotel won the Excellence in Period Film prize while Colleen Atwood was presented with the Excellence in Fantasy Film award for her costumes in the fairytale adventure Into The Woods, starring Meryl Streep and James Corden.
Both films have also been nominated in the Academy Awards costume category.

Albert Wolsky took home the Excellence in Contemporary Film prize for his costumes in the Michael Keaton-fronted drama Birdman, which was presented by Beau Bridges, with True Detective and Game of Thrones taking home the Outstanding Contemporary Television Series and Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series respectively.

Monday, February 16, 2015

American Society of Cinematographers presents 29th ASC Awards – winners

Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC; Jonathan Freeman, ASC; John Lindley, ASC; and Peter Flinckenberg, FSC earned top honors in the four competitive categories at the 29th Annual American Society of Cinematographers Awards for Outstanding Achievement. The ceremony took place last night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. Lubezki won for the feature film Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Freeman won the episodic television category for Boardwalk Empire, and Lindley took the honours in the TV Movie/Miniseries/Pilot category for Manhattan. Winning the ASC Spotlight Award was Flinckenberg for Concrete Night.

Giovanni Ribisi presented the ASC Award for best feature to Lubezki, who also won the organization’s top prize last year for Gravity. This marks the first time that a cinematographer has won consecutive ASC Awards in the theatrical category. Lubezki previously won in 2012 for The Tree of Life and in 2007 for Children of Men, and earned a nomination in 2000 for Sleepy Hollow.