We were so thrilled to attend the Prime Video Presents Canada Showcase at historic Massey Hall. The event highlighted Prime Video‘s place as not only a streaming service, but an Entertainment Hub focusing on shining a spotlight on homegrown talent and voices, to the diverse audience that is Canadians. Partnerships with the likes of StackTV has allowed Prime Video to diversify its audience base which traditionally might’ve subscribed to certain networks and specialty channels only on cable.
Head of Prime Video Canada, Magda Grace tells us, “This has been many years in the making. We want to draw focus to local talent in-front of and behind the camera. shining spotlight on homegrown talent.”. “Our focus is customer obsession and curating the best entertainment for diverse local audiences.”.
To date, there have been 25 Prime Video productions based in Canada and they currently are developing ten Canadian productions to be enjoyed around the globe. The numbers speak for themselves. Prime Video subscribers thanks to hit series like The Wheel of Time, are streaming 70 more hours of programming per year, in over 240 countries around the world.
An exciting slate of programming was unveiled today at the event, focusing entirely on productions that were made here in Canada or have been green-lit to be made in Canada soon!
KIDS IN THE HALL
Iconic Canadian Comedy Outfit KIDS IN THE HALL are back and their hilarious brand of Sketch can be seen on Prime Video beginning May 13, 2022. All five original members reunite on the Series, which just premiered at SXSW ’22 and appearing today at the event were Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson. A two-part Documentary about KIDS IN THE HALL also will arrive on the service May 20, 2022.
On their long-awaited reunion, McCulloch summed it up, “Isn’t it funny to hear old people talk dirty??”.
GARY AND HIS DEMONS SEASON TWO
Toronto Funnyman Mark Little‘s Animated demon-slaying Series called CBC and CBC Gem its own for its first season. Its second season will be coming soon to Prime Video Canada! In 2019 it was awarded Best Web Series at the Canadian Screen Awards.
Little tells us he came up with the idea for the Show while he was in the hospital with a broken ankle, taking stock of life.
Perhaps the most-buzzed title at the presentation this year was THE LAKE. The Series was filmed in North Bay starring Orphan Black‘s Jordan Gavaris, Madison Shamoun and Hollywood star Julia Stiles.
Showrunner Julian Doucet tells us the Series actually is quite autobiographical. He says, “After high school, me and my girlfriend gave-up our baby for adoption. We chose the parents and are very involved with our daughter’s life. The Show explores what if me and my daughter took a vacation together?”.
Stiles tells us, “The experience moving to North Bay was beautiful. I was not familiar with the society of the lake. It was very insular. The lake is the Lake. Their games nights were a ride or die charades. They know everything about each other. Their lake is the only lake on the planet.”.
On her character Maisy, she says, “She’s competitive, petty and selfish. She likes to see the competition fail. It’s so satisfying and now I feel like a horrible person.”.
THE LAKE arrives June 17, 2022 on Prime Video Canada.
Filmed in Quebec, upcoming Series THREE PINES, based on the Novels by Louise Penny, stars Alfred Molina.Penny tells us how moved learning that Molina was cast in the role of Armand, whom is based loosely on her husband whom she says, “understood the gift of life”.
Molina who couldn’t make it to Toronto, tells us via video about his experience filming in Quebec. “My preparation involved reading the Novels. He is operating on different levels. Armand‘s strongest trait as a Detective is his empathy for both victims and perpetrators. I had the best experience working with the Crew, filming from August to late December and you’ll see us following the seasons through the episodes. It was beautiful and I’d work with them for the rest of my life.”.
THREE PINES arrives in 2023 on Prime Video Canada.Left Bank Pictures, which produces THE CROWN, also produces.
THE UNSOLVED MURDER OF BEVERLY LYNN SMITH
This upcoming Docu-Series recalls a 50+ year murder case which still remains unsolved. Smith at the age of 22 was murdered in Oshawa and the Series puts a human face to true crime, while revealing all twists and turns with empathy. Directed by Nathalie Bibeau, the Series arrives May 6, 2022 on Prime Video Canada.
Feature Film SUGAR stars The Shadowhunters’ Katherine McNamara, Jasmin Sky Sarin and Riverdale‘s Anthony Timpano. It is based on a true story of two girls from Montreal who went on a boat cruise, only to get way more than they bargained for. Sarin and Timpano were in-attendance at the presentation.
Sarin says, “These girls go on a beautiful cruise, going to amazing places, documenting everything online. They’re having fun till they aren’t. This is not what they signed-up for and they find themselves in a drug smuggling operation, fighting for their lives.”.
LOL: QUI RIRA LE DERNIER
If you loved LOL: Last One Laughing Canada, hosted by Jay Baruchel, a Quebec version of the Comedy Reality Series Competition putting Comedians against one another, is soon to be filmed! Actor Patrick Huard (Bon Cop, Bad Cop) will host.
JUSTE POUR RIRE
Nav Saini, Head of Content, Prime Video Canada announced today that the service will be collaborating for the first time ever with Just for Laughs on a French Comedy Special, to be filmed in Quebec. The Special is to be titled JUSTE POUR RIRE. More to come.
Just green-lit this upcoming Series, from Executive Producer Jamie Lee Curtis, is based on a true story of Ruth Clarke and the Maple Syrup Heist. Filming for this Blumhouse production is to begin this Summer as Lee Curtis told us via video.
UNTITLED THE TRAGICALLY HIP DOCUMENTARY
Mike Downie, brother of late The Tragically Hip Frontman Gord Downie, helms an upcoming Documentary due in 2024 about his brother and the Band’s success and legacy. The surviving Bandmembers attended the event. Fun fact, we learned that the Band actually got signed to a record deal after playing at the Toronto Music Awards, which took place as Massey Hall – a full circle moment.
(Photo/video credit:Prime Video Canada/George Pimentel)
Bringing-in a whopping 29 medals at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and tallying-in third overall, Team Canada once again made our Country incredibly-proud! While several of our athletes flew-out, Toronto was a hotspot for sightings as several either live here in the City or used the City as a connecting point back to their homes.
Among those to return this way included the likes of bronze medal-winning Track & Field Athlete-turned-Bobsledder Phylicia George; gold medal-winning Team Event Skater Gabrielle Daleman; Canadian Women’s Hockey Team members: Haley Irwin, Natalie Spooner, Jocelyne Larocque, Sarah Nurse and Laura Stacey; and of course our darlings gold medal-winning Figure Skaters Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue.
Courtesy of Air Canada, the ambiguously-romantic Duo along with their Teammates, received a rousing welcome home greeting Fans and the Press upon landing. Moir was asked to hold a baby for a snap, with Virtue on the baby’s other side. They look at home together, don’t they? HINT HINT.
See Virtue and Moir’s touching tribute to The Tragically Hip in their Gala Spot.
See more Snaps. Hover cursor left and right to navigate slideshow:
Now in its 42th edition, the Toronto International Film Festival is set to go Thursday, September 7 – Sunday, September 17, 2017. Normally seen as a major precursor to Awards Season culminating in the Academy Awards, the Festival showcases several of the Films that will go on to prominence and glory in the coming months and also rare Films which may not ever be seen again outside the festival circuit. Cinema Lovers had plenty to rejoice today as the first batch of TIFF ’17 Films were announced this morning at TIFF Bell Lightbox!Several highly-buzzed Films and their stars will be gracing the Festival this year which takes over the City post-Labour Day.
International star of silver screen and television Priyanka Chopra has the honour of being this year’s TIFF Soiree Guest. The Gala is held on the Festival’s opening night. The Closing Night Gala has been unveiled as SHEIKH JACKSON starring Ahmad El-Fishawi and Ahmed Malek.
Cameron Bailey TIFF Artistic Director (sans pocket square) says, “You may have noticed we love movies in Toronto. And the world has noticed also.”. “If you’re somewhere in public and hear a titile you’re excited for, don’t squeal.”. And we certainly have much to squeal for this year!
TIFF ’17 will play host to several high-profile Films and many are talking about Angelina Jolie‘s two Films at the Festival. She serves as Director on FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER and Producer on THE BREADWINNER. Could we be seeing her this year?
Megastar George Clooney returns to TIFF with Crime Comedy SUBURBICON, this time as Director. The Film stars Matt Damon, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin and Julianne Moore.
Matt Damon stars also in Toronto-made DOWNSIZING from Alexander Payne (Sideways) which also appears at the Festival.
Margot Robbie and Allison Janney are getting tons of Oscar buzz for I, TONYA, a Biopic about disgraced Figure Skater Tonya Harding and the controversy surrounding her conspired attack against opponent Nancy Kerrigan.
SUBMERGENCE is a Thriller from Win Wenders, based on J.M. Ledgard‘s Novel of the same name and stars Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy.
Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with romantic drama BREATHE starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy.
THE CURRENT WAR stars red-hot Tom Holland and fan favourite Benedict Cumberbatch, centering on Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse‘s competing to create a sustainable power system and marketing it to Americans.
Stars don’t come more accomplished than Glenn Close who costars with Christian Slater in THE WIFE about a woman who makes the difficult decision to leave her husband.
Elle Fanning and Maisie Williams star in the highly-anticipated biopic about the first lady of horror fiction MARY SHELLEY.
From the director of TIFF ’15’s Mustangs comes KINGS starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig about a foster family in South Central in the aftermath of the Rodney King trial.
Fans of the incredible Annette Benning will be sure to line-up early to see her in FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL co-starring Jamie Bell about a young actor who falls for his leading lady.
Starring Guy Pearce and Paul RuddTHE CATCHER WAS A SPY marks the triumphant return of Director Ben Lewin to TIFF.
Directed by Indie darling Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan, LADY BIRD will open the Special Presentations section.
VICTORIA AND ABDUL reunites Judi Dench with her TIFF ’13 selection Philomena Director Stephen Frears.
THE SQUARE is sure to be a big with fans of Elisabeth Moss and director RubenÖstlund as they visit the issue of more courage and egocentricity.
HOSTILES brings Black Mass Director Scott Cooper back to TIFF with powerhouse actors Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike.
DISOBEDIENCERachel Weisz produces and stars along with Torontonian Rachel McAdams in this story about a woman returning to her Orthodox Jewish home.
THE CHILDREN ACT from the pen of Atonement Scribe Ian McEwan and starring Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci comes a Movie that feels very relatable with headlines in the UK right now.
MOM AND DAD (stars Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair) – a pair of siblings must survive the mass hysteria that ensues over 24 hours as their parents inexplicably attack them.
REVENGE (stars Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Jevin Janssens)
GREAT CHOICE (stars Carrie Coon and Morgan Spector) – a woman gets stuck in a Red Lobster commercial.
LET THE CORPSES TAN (Elina Löwensohn and Stéphane Ferrara), an Adaptation of the 1971 Crime Thriller by Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jean-Pierre Bastid.
Untitled Kevin Hart/Bryan Cranston Project also stars Nicole Kidman and is rumoured to be a remake of the massive 2011 hit TheIntouchables.
Emma Stone, who attended last year for La La Land en route to winning an Oscar, and Steve Carrell join forces in BATTLE OF THE SEXES, based on the true story of the famed 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
Some Trailers from this year’s Films:
BORG/MCENROE (stars Shia LaBoeuf and Sverrir Gudnason) – OPENING NIGHT GALA
BATTLE OF THE SEXES (stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell)
MOLLY’S GAME (stars Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba)
SUBURBICON(directed by George Clooney)
MOTHER! (stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem)
BRAD’S STATUS (stars Ben Stiller and Austin Abrams)
THE BREADWINNER(produced by Angelina Jolie)
THE SHAPE OF WATER (stars Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon)
BREATHE (stars Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy)
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (stars Armie Hammer)
DARKEST HOUR (stars Gary Oldman and Lily James)
PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN (stars Luke Evans and Rebecca Hall)
KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Farell)
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (stars Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson)
STRONGER (stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany)
FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER (directed by Angelina Jolie)
LONG TIME RUNNING (The Tragically Hip Documentary)
THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet)
THE RITUAL (stars Rafe Spall and Arsher Ali)
THE DISASTER ARTIST (stars Seth Rogen, James and Dave Franco)
THE CRESCENT (stars Danika Vandersteen and Woodrow Graves)
DOWNRANGE (stars Kelly Connaire and Stephanie Pearson)
Announcements were made for the Midnight Madness Programme including Opening Night Film, BODIED by Director Joseph Kahn. The Horror stars Anthony Michael Hall and Debra Wilson. BRAWN IN CELL BLOCK 99 (stars Vince Vaughn and Don Johnson). The Programme’s Closing Night Film is VAMPIRE CLAY from Sôichi Umezawa.
TIFF’s DocumentaryProgramme also was highlighted today and some higher-profile titles include Opening Night Film GRACE JONES: BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI, BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, ERIC CLAPTON: LIFE IN 12 BARS, THE FINAL YEAR (features Barack Obama and John Kerry), THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ (as in André Leon-Talley), JIM & ANDY: THE GREAT BEYOND (centes on Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman), JANE (on conservationist Jane Goodall), SAMMY DAVIS JR. I’VE GOTTA BE ME and SUPER SIZE ME 2: HOLY CHICKEN!. The Programme’s Closing Night Film is MAKALA.
Canadian titles have been announced for TIFF ’17 and they include: Alanis Obomsawin’s Our People Will Be Healed, Alan Zweig’s There is a House Here,Simon Lavoie’s The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches (La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes, Mina Shum’s Meditation Park; Robin Aubert’s Les Affamés,Ingrid Veninger’s Porcupine Lake; Pat Mills’ Don’t Talk to Irene; Oscar nominee Kim Nguyen’s Eye on Juliet; Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket; Denis Côté’s Ta peau si lisse (A Skin So Soft); and Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier’s Long Time Running.
An announcement also was made on TIFF ’17‘s Rising Stars and they are: Daniel Doheny, Mary Galloway, Théodore Pellerin and Ellen Wong.
Some additional Galas and Special Presentations for TIFF ’17 were announced today and there definitely are some great ones including Toronto-made directorial debut for Oscar-winning Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, MOLLY’S GAME and KODACHROME from Director Mark Raso.
GALAS added include:
55 STEPS is a patients’ rights Drama starring Helena Bonham Carter and Hilary Swank.
CHAPPAQUIDDICK follows the derailment of Ted Kennedy’s political career after the death of political strategist Mary Jo Kopechne, starring Jason Clarke and Kate Mara.
THE LEISURE SEEKER follows a couple who go on an unforgettable journey in their RV of the same name as the Film’s title, starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.
THREE CHRISTS stars Richard Gere and Peter Dinklage, centering on a doctor treating three paranoid schizophrenic patients, each believing they are Jesus Christ.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS added include:
THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER follows a teenager’s attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family. It stars Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Barry Keoghan and Colin Farrell.
KODACHROME (made in Toronto) is set in the final days of the photo development system of the same name. Stars Elizabeth Olsen, Ed Harris and Jason Sudeikis.
JOURNEY’S END stars Sam Claflin and Asa Butterfield, about a group of British officers in World War I, led a young officer who is mentally disintegrating.
I LOVE YOU, DADDY, Funnyman Louis C.K.’s first feature Film in over 16 years, also stars him as a Producer and Writer. Chloë Moretz also stars in the black and white Film.
THE FLORIDA PROJECT is about a six-year-old and her friends and their wonder-filled summer. It stars Willem Dafoe a Brooklynn Prince.
THE ESCAPE follows an ordinary woman who makes an extraordinary decision one day that changes her life. Stars Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper.
THE CURED is about a disease that turned people into zombies having been cured. The once-infected zombies then get rejected from society and their families. Stars Ellen Page and Sam Keeley.
LEAN ON PETE is about a boy who moves to Oregon to begin a new life and befriends a horse trainer and failing racehorse. Stars Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny and Travis Fimmel.
LOVING PABLO has real-life couple Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz playing Pablo Escobar and Virginia Vallejo.
MICHAEL JACKSON’S THRILLER 3D, preceded by MAKING OF MICHAEL JACKSON’S THRILLER.
MOLLY’S GAME (made in Toronto) is about an Olympic skier who ran the most exclusive high-stakes poker game, becoming an FBI target. Stars Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.
MARK FELT – THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE is about the man who went by the name “Deep Throat” to help journalists uncover the Watergate Scandal. Stars Julian Morris, Liam Neeson and Diane Lane.
ON CHESIL BEACH centers on a young couple’s honeymoon, set in the ‘60s. Stars Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle.
OUTSIDE IN has Laggies and Your Sister’s Sister Director Lynn Shelton returning to TIFF ’17 with her latest effort.
REDOUBTABLE centers on French Director Jean-Luc Godard’s romance with 17-year-old Anne Wiazemsky. From Oscar-winning Director Michel Hazanvicius.
UNICORN STORE has Oscar-winner Brie Larson making her directorial debut. She also stars in it and it is about a woman who receives a mysterious invitation which fulfills her childhood dreams.
WHO WE ARE NOW is about a woman sentenced to ten years in prison and she hires a young public defence lawyer to help her children. Stars Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts.
What didn’t make the cut or yet get announced?
We heard a lot of great titles but not all the Movies on our Wish List were mentioned. The most anticipated and buzzed-about Movie this morning was the Denis Villeneuve-directed Blade Runner 2049. With a Canadian Director and Canadian Ryan Gosling as its star, Blade Runner 2049 seems like a strong guess for future TIFF ’17 announcements. Staying strong on the Can-Con front we were surprised not to hear Xavier Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F Donovan at today’s press conference. What is TIFF without a Movie starring Ethan Hawke? To check that TIFF Bingo box we’d like to suggest Paul Schrader’s First Reformed costarring Amanda Seyfried. Already in town for the Festival will be Julianne Moore who stars in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, based on the book by Hugo scribe Brian Selznick. Wonder Wheel from Director Woody Allen starring Kate Winslet (who is in town for The Mountain Between Us) and Justin Timberlake.
Stay tuned. There definitely will be more…
For more, visit the Toronto International Film Festival website here.