September 2014 Issue

September 2014

Canadaai??i??s Call Sheet

By Judith Klassen

Be Afraid

September 2014According to indie filmmaker Tricia Lee (A Film Monkey Production Inc.), the horror genre is typically a manai??i??s domain. Says Lee, ai???When doing horror youai??i??re encouraged to adhere to the 3 Bs: ai???Beasts, Blood, and Lee, and her collaborator / screenwriter Corey Brown, managed to respect that rule and simultaneously elevate the genre. On their first feature film, Clean Break, they teamed up with Canadian Film Centre grads / producers Geordie Sabbagh and Jordan Gross and tapped the resources of friends and family. For Clean Breakai??i??s protagonist they channeled a little Misery by creating the chipper psychopath, Tracy (Tianna Nori) who is hell-bent on securing the perfect Mr. Man. Noriai??i??s Tracy is a twitchy-eyed Rules Girl Gone Wild and her hostile chemistry with her loverai??i??s housemate — the disaffected Cam (Samy Osman) — is palpable.

Lee and Brown also brought their psychological horror esthetic to their next project, Silent Retreat. The film stars the always-excellent Robert Nolan (Mourning Has Broken) as an oppressive doctor-figure at an alternative rehabilitation centre for girls. This retreatai??i??s philosophy is not so much about letting go as it is about submitting to absolute control.

September 2014Says Lee, ai???I went on a 10-day silent retreat. Corey said, hey, while youai??i??re there, think of a thriller! When it was over, I was going to drive the girls back to the city, and one of them wasnai??i??t there, she had been sent home. We decided it was the perfect place to set a thriller. You have no information on this person, thereai??i??s been no speaking, no eye contact, and no way of finding out what happened to

When asked about the relevance of her gender to the directing process, Lee considered a moment before answering. ai???Thereai??i??s a predominantly male point of view out there, so yes, I do consider myself

Stranger Than Fiction

September 2014No matter what horrors a filmmaker can conjure, itai??i??s hard to compete with the real-life hardships suffered by some of our ancestors. Being a woman in the 1860s in a lawless frontier town on the Alberta-Montana border would have been hard- core. Having the men folk rounded up and shot, and then being forced to work in a brothel would intensify that harshness, but ultimately itai??i??s having the brilliant Laurie Finstad, creator of the hugely successful TMN series, Durham County, as the visionary behind the series that ensures Strange Empire will be deadly dark.

ai???I think weai??i??re all adrenaline junkies,ai??? says Tattiawna Jones. ai???Melissa jumps out of planes and I like to surf!ai???

September 2014Jones, who plays Isabelle Slotter, the madam of the Strange Empire brothel, indicates her cast mate Melissa Farman who has just told a skydiving story. Cara Gee, who describes her character, Kat Loving, as a gun slinging, horseai??i??riding badass admits to being new to riding the range. ai???Itai??i??s the best thing ever!ai???

Farman illustrates her character, Rebecca Bloom, as the benefactor of a social experiment. Bloom was taken away from her family, educated and tested on female ability. Says Farman, ai???Sheai??i??s been raised with stringent educational controls, and here she is in the Wild West ai??i?? understanding the concept of freedom for the first

Hereai??i??s hoping for a Canadian, female-focused Deadwood.

Strange Empire premieres on CBC this fall.

All the Pretty Horses

September 2014As CBCai??i??s Heartland rides into season eight the secret to the success behind the longest-running one-hour drama in Canadian history is described like this by Executive Producer, Michael Weinberg, ai???Heartland first struck a chord with audiences because it was a family show when there really werenai??i??t shows like that out there. And, wow, the writing team, led by this lady, Heather Conkie, is fantastic. Then you have the cast, they
the characters: it was an amazing

Conkie concurs, ai???The cast made the characters real. The most beautifully written show in the world is nothing without the right

Says Heartland star, Amber Marshall, ai???This show has turned the core cast into a family. Sure, we occasionally bicker, just like a real family, but thereai??i??s true admiration, love and

With the cast and creators sitting together in a semi circle after a long day of interviews and presentations youai??i??d expect a little fatigue, a glance at a watch, but the Heartland family exudes a bouncy, grateful vibe as they exchange compliments and wisecracks. Marshallai??i??s co-star, Graham Wardle, jokes about maintaining the romantic tension. ai???I use just the right amount of hair gel to keep Amy

ai???You do have a big head,ai??? quips Marshall, ai???itai??i??s a good thing youai??i??re so handsome or Amy would have given up on you years

Judith Klassen is a Toronto-based writer, comedian, filmmaker, and host of the celeb talk show Judecast.

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