November 2014 Issue

November 2014

Canada’s Call Sheet

By Judith Klassen

Joan of Art

November 2014

Canadian indie filmmaker Joan Carr-Wiggin asserts that to achieve your vision, you need absolute creative control: Make the film you want and then sell it. “For small films, we don’t need big names. We just need big talent,” says Carr-Wiggin. And big talent she attracts. For her 2012 comedy, If I Were You, she landed the fabulous Marcia Gay Harden (The Newsroom) purely on the strength of her script.

The talent on her latest project, Happily Ever After, includes Alex Kingston (Dr. Who), Janet Montgomery (Black Swan), Peter Firth (MI-5), Al Sapienza (Godzilla), Sara Paxton (The Innkeepers), Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey), and award-winning Toronto actor/writer Naomi Snieckus (Mr. D).

November 2014A lover of classic rom-coms like His Girl Friday, Carr-Wiggin is committed to elevating the genre to its former glory.

“I believe rom-coms have deteriorated because it’s hard to get two stars who both want to do it. Films like Pretty Woman work because they’re both wonderful actors. Otherwise, you have Sarah Jessica Parker and some guy with abs.”

When asked what the solution is, Carr-Wiggin is thoughtful for a beat.”Hollywood is sexist; they do simplistic movies that women don’t like. It’s a powerful genre when it asks: `Is this a workable relationship or is it toxic?”

Mercer Mercer Me …

November 2014

Comedian, political satirist, TV personality, and author Rick Mercer thrives on being unapologetically Canadian. “We don’t even commission songs unless they’re Canadian,” says Mercer.

While Mercer is most famous for his political rants and his border jumping brilliance with Talking to Americans (originally conceived for This Hour Has 22 Minutes), he thrives on taking his long-running, hugely popular CBC series, Rick Mercer Report, on the road and interacting with everyday Canadian people.

Says Mercer, “It’s easy to remain relevant in this country because people pay attention – even if governments and political parties are working hard to alienate them. Many who practice the art of politics are not worthy of it– making it harder to vote — November 2014or making people so disgusted with the entire process they won’t show up. Disengagement is something I’m never going to stop talking about.”

Mercer grins and morphs into two men making a backroom deal: “‘Why, imagine, if we could alienate every woman between the ages of 30 — 55?’ `Hell, that sounds great Bob — let’s do it!”

Up In Smoke

November 2014Those who make art together, slay together. When director Roger Evan Larry and his life and writing partner, Sandra Tomc went in search of their next project, they wanted a character in a compelling situation they could follow for years.

Says Larry, “In Marc Emery we found the perfect subject. We started filming in 2006 when he was fighting extradition and facing life imprisonment for what was essentially a political crime. We think of North America as a place devoid of political prisoners, but Emery and others are proof to the contrary.”

When making their riveting biopic, Citizen Marc, Larry and Tomc wrestled with their differing views on the complicated character known as, “The Prince of Pot.” They both changed their minds over time and claim that the film is essentially a map of where those struggles took them.

Throughout the film we see multiple sides of the curious figure that is Emery. Slammed into a U.S. penitentiary for spreading his seed south via the web, Emery became the cocky, sleep-deprived face of the marijuana movement. In Citizen Marc the filmmakers reveal his myriad contradictions: Emery is an exceptionally generous, celebrity-hungry man with some extreme libertarian views you might stumble across reading Atlas Shrugged. Ultimately the filmmakers ask: Did he generate a progressive political dialogue or is it all pot smoke – no cleansing fire..

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

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