by Tara Thorne
The National Screen Institute in Winnipeg funds a number of film and television projects and initiatives for Canadian artists every year, including an annual amateur short-film contest, the Drama Prize for a 13-minute dramatic short and a program for first features. It also runs Totally Television, "designed to help writer/producer teams fine-tune their TV series ideas and work towards landing a broadcast development deal."
This year, seven teams were chosen for the 10-month workshop, including local filmmaker Andy Pedersen, whose bridge documentary In the Cards aired on CTV this spring, and his wife, Mary, for their proposed series Ice Queens, about a girls' hockey team in New Glasgow in the 1920s. Andy will act as the producer, Mary as the writer.
"Andy's father is the executive producer on the Canadian Antiques Roadshow," says Mary of the idea's genesis. "He was at a meeting with some executives who said they were looking for a family show on Sunday night and it should have a dog in it." Add a book featuring a vintage picture of a girls' hockey team in New Glasgow and voila—a series. "The captain and the manager have children," says Mary, "and the children teach the dog to bark when the ref makes a bad call."
As part of the application, which included a development budget, projected episode budget and series outline, "we had to write about why we thought we would work together," Mary says, laughing. "We said, "We're married and we're happy so maybe we can work well together.' We'll find out if that's right or not."
The pair will attend a TV boot camp in Toronto in late September, after which they'll have time to re-work their proposal. Then the teams get whittled down to three and they'll head to the annual Banff World Television Festival to pitch their series to the bigs next June. Watch this space for updates.
Shake on it
The Atlantic Film Festival will open on September 13 with Shake Hands with the Devil, the feature film version of Peter Raymont's 2004 documentary about general Romeo Dallaire's experiences during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The new film is directed by Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies), filmed in Rwanda and produced by Halifax's own Oscar winner, Michael "Bowling for Columbine" Donovan, who also makes his screenwriting debut. Tickets for the opening film and party go on sale at atlanticfilm.com on August 2, with the rest of the program to follow at the end of the month.
Joy to Atlantic Canada
You know we love to tell you when you can get money for art, so here's some info on the Linda Joy Awards, which are handed out during the Atlantic Film Festival. Named for the late filmmaker Linda Joy Busby, the awards offer financial support in amounts up to $18,000 for "emerging filmmakers and video artists seeking to establish their careers and practice." Alumni include Andrea Dorfman, Mike Clattenburg and Shandi Mitchell.
Applications are available for the Broadcast Script Award, supporting development for a TV script; the Joy Award for production; the Joy Post Award for post-production and one each for New Brunswick and Newfoundland filmmakers. All apps are due August 24.
New to the line-up this year is the Helen Hill Animated Award for animation artists. Hill was a beloved member of the Halifax arts community, who was killed in a random act of violence at her home in New Orleans in January.
"It is no exaggeration to say the loss was felt across the continent and the outpouring of grief illustrated the deeply inspiring and lasting impact Helen had in all the communities of which she was a part during her life," reads the official statement announcing the award. "The celebration of remarkable individuals through memorials which continue, in some measure, to pass down the spirit and knowledge which they brought to us, and to continue to do so into the future, seems entirely appropriate. For this reason, the board, sponsors and staff of the Linda Joy Media Arts Society have established an ongoing award in Helen's name, to be presented each year to an artist in animation."
Applications for this award are due October 26. Download them all at: www.lindajoy.com.
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