Tag Archives: Cinefranco

Lifetime grows black Magnolias, Israel sparks MIPtv sales, Nancy’s just Foolin’ and the Junos get Feist-y

LATIFAH: steel lady

FLICKERS: Dynamic leading ladies Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard and Phylicia Rashad have signed on for Lifetime‘s all-black remake of Steel Magnolias, taking over the roles originally played by Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and Sally Field.No word yet as to who will  be cast in the Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts roles …  looking for some laughs this weekend? Servitude is the first film to be developed and workshopped through the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab, the CFC Film Program in collaboration with Just For Laughs, and it opens today with a stellar cast — Joe DinicolJohn BregarLinda Kash, Lauren CollinsAaron AshmoreEnrico Colantoni, Margot

DINICOL: in service

Kidder, and Dave Foley.  Directed by Warren P. Sonada and written by co-producer Michael Sparaga, it looks like a lot of fun … left-wing heroine Jane Fonda will remind us what a good actress she is when she plays right-wing Republican former first lady Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  An Oscar nominee for directing Precious, Daniels describes The Butler as a sprawling historical drama that centers on Eugene Allen, a black man who worked as butler in the White House under eight presidents. Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker is slated to play Allen, and insiders say ardent Daniels supporter Oprah Winfrey may play one of the many supporting roles …and Marcelle Lean‘s 15th Cinefranco filmfest wraps up this weekend at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Hot titles include Ma Part Du Gateau/My Piece Of The Pie, one of

SUTHERLAND: worldwide

the films celebrated on last month’s 12th Floating Film Festival, and L’Art D’Aimer/The Art Of Love. For Cinefranco program notes click here.

BRAVE NEW WORLDS: Did you see the premiere of Kiefer Sutherland’s new series Touch last week on Global? If you did, you had plenty of company. Touch premiered almost simultaneously in 100 countries and territories. In the U.S. it screened on Fox; in Germany, on ProSieben; in Russia, on Channel One. New-world executive thinking indicates that the worldwide premiere signifies a new way of doing business that attracts multinational advertisers (Unilever is a sponsor of the series around the world) and attacks online piracy … also making history: the Adam Beach series Arctic

BEACH: hit series

Air, which averaged almost a million viewers a week in its debut season, the largest audience to follow the first season of a CBC Television drama series in 15 years.  Other CBC shows more than one million viewers weekly include Dragons’ Den, Republic Of Doyle and The Rick Mercer Report. So somebody must be doing something right … Israeli TV formats may prove to be the big buzz at this year’s MIPtv. The annual international television convention opens Sunday in Cannes with a red carpet gala screening of Julian FellowesTitanic, already sold in 86 countries, but it’s the shows from Israel sparking the most interest. HBO‘s In Treatment and Showtime‘s Homeland are both based on hit Israeli TV series. Another Israeli series, The Naked Truth,  a suspense thriller set entirely in an interrogation room, has already been picked up by HBO

WHITE: April Foolin'

for an American remake, and NBC has ordered a pilot called Midnight Sun, based on the Israeli show Pillars of Smoke, about a female FBI agent who uncovers a conspiracy. Other hot prospects at next-week’s four-day marathon in the south of France: Mr. Selfridge, a period drama about the life of the flamboyant founder of the London department story; Tom Fontana‘s Copper, about a police officer in 1860s New York City; the psychological thriller Hemlock Grove, already snapped up by Netflix; the period mini-series Madame Tussauds; dramatic series Hannibal, already sold to NBC; World Without End, a follow-up mini-series to Pillars Of The Earth; and Sinbad, BBC’s update on the tale of the

FEIST: Junos telecast

8th century swashbuckler who battles monsters and visits magical places.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Music man Jack de Keyser strums his stuff tomorrow night at Simcoe Jazz & Blues in Oshawa … perennial crowd-pleaser Nancy White headlines the April Fool’s Matinee this weekend at the trendy Green Door cabaret with pianist Bob Johnston, percussionist Marsha Coffey and singers Ghislain Aucoin, Suzy Wilde, Barb Johnston, Maddy Wilde, Eddy Be, Stella Walker, Bridget Carter-Whitney, Mavis Lyons and Mike O’Hara. “Do not be frightened by the number of singers and the fact that the show is on a Sunday,”

McLACHLAN: singing Sunday

adds the irreepressible Ms. Walker. “No gospel music will be presented. That is our pledge to you.” Showtime is 3 pm  this Sunday April 1, For ticket info click hereMaggie Cassella hosts her own April 1 send-up, Liar Liar Pants On Fire, Sunday night at The Flying Beaver Pubaret. “It’s an April Fools Day event where YOU get up on stage and tell a whopper of a story. The audience votes on weather they think it’s true or false. If you fool them you win a prize!” … and now that deadmau5 and Madonna have called a truce, his fans can see him on Sunday night’s Juno Awards telecast on CTV. Also set to rock the premises: Blue Rodeo, City and Colour, Feist, Hedley, Hey Rosetta!, K’NAAN, Lights, MC Flipside, Nickelback, Sarah McLachlan, and Simple Plan.

Happy weekend!

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Napkin Man gets a Barenaked booster, Seagull stars get set to soar, and Nico dances into Cinefranco

FRENCH WITHOUT TEARS: Hard to believe, but Marcelle Lean’s once-struggling Cinefranco Film Festival is celebrating its 15thstanza this year. After running a successful weeklong school program of screenings last month, the

NICO & MYLENE: They've got Rhythme

festival opens to the general public this Friday at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Weekend highlights already generating a sizeable buzz include Nico Archambault’s splashy performance with Mylène Saint-Sauveur  in On The Beat/Sur le rhythme, directed by Charles-Olivier Michaud; the new Isabelle Hupert entry, My Worst Nightmare/Mon pire cauchemar, directed by Anne Fontaine; director Emmanuel Mouret’s new comedy The Art Of Love / L’art d’aimer, with François Cluzet and Julie Depardieu; and Dominic Desjardins’ opening night film, La Sacrée. For the complete list of films and how to get to see them, click hereet bon cinema!

OUR TOWN: Lots of openings tonight. A revisioned version of The Vindication of Senyora Clito Mestres, directed and performed by Dora nominee Dragana Varagic, is set to run tonight through Sunday at Theatre

RODRIGUEZ: opening night

Passe Muraille’s Backspace, with an additional performance March 31 at the Isabel Bader Theatre … Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie bring back Lemieux’s acclaimed 2003 choreographic work Varenka, Varenka! from tonight through March 31 at the company’s new dance centre in Regent Park, The Citadel. The work is inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s first novel Poor Folk, about an aging clerk and his love for a young woman in mid-nineteenth century Russia … and wow, what an opening night cast! — Guillaume Coté, Greta Hodgkinson, Aleksandar Antonijevic and Sonia Rodriguez. Still wondering if you will be able to keep all the different lovers distinct and separate when John Neumeier’s splashy ballet version of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull opens tonight at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts? Fear not – the National Ballet has produced a cheeky one-minute video guide to all the love affairs in the show. To see it, just click here — and enjoy!

ROBERTSON: Napkin Man

TV SHOP TALK: Corus Entertainment will launch its newest service, ABC Spark, next Monday with the day-and-date season premiere of The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The primetime schedule will also include ABC Family original series Switched at Birth, Melissa & Joey, The Lying Game and Make It or Break It BBC director general Mark Thompson will step down after the London Olympic games this summer … KIds’ CBC is currently developing a new show for small fry called The Adventures Of Napkin Man, hosted by Barenaked Ladies charmer Ed Robertson Discovery Networks International has bought a 20% stake in French pay-TV company Televista, gambling that

SCHONEBERGER: Rose d'Or host

Televista will move into France’s free-to-air market … and only three Canadian entries made it to the finish line as Rose d’Or nominees this year. Storming Juno Interactive, produced by Secret Location for History Television, is a Multiplatform nominee; For One Night Only, produced by Les Productions Rivard for ARTV, is a Live Event Show nominee; and Property Brothers, produced by Cineflix Inc. for the W Network, is a Lifestyle finalist. Winners will be revealed on May 10 when German TV presenter, actress and singer Barbara Schöneberger hosts the Rose d’Or awards ceremonies in Lucerne.

WOMAN’S WORLD: It’s been a year or three since she lit up home screens as Felicity, but now Keri Russell is set to star in FX’s period drama pilot The Americans. Russell will play an undercover KGB spy who starts to fall in love

GUMMER: will First Cut be the kindest?

with her arranged husband (also a spy). Hmmm – wonder if Scott Speedman is available … Meryl Streep’s talented actress daughter Mamie Gummer, so good in her guest stints with Julianna Margulies on The Good Wife, is the lead in CW’s new medical drama pilot First Cut … three-time Oscar nominee Sigourney Weaver is set to star in her first primetime series, Greg Berlanti’s USA pilot Politcal Animals. She’ll play a former First Lady who is now Secretary of State. In the good old days the networks would have waited until Hillary Clinton left the job — but hey, these are the good new days. Or so they tell me.

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Cinema on the high Sees: How to save a village, a top Oscar candidate and a Churchill surprise

SOMEWHERE AT SEA: Yesterday was a beautiful day on the Atlantic ocean –warm, sunny, inviting — on the splendidly comfortable cruise ship called the Seabourn Sojourn. So naturally we spent most of it inside in the dark. But then, what else would you do on the 12th Floating Film Festival? On days when we’re at sea, we see three films. On days when we are in a port, we only screen two.

WHERE DO WE GO NOW at FFF 12

Yesterday was a three-film day, starting with a 9:30 am screening of Where Do We Go Now, a film by Caramel writer-director Nadine Labaki, about a group of Lebanese women who try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village. Selected by Floating Film Festival programmer Hannah Fisher, unfortunately sidelined at the last minute by foot surgery, Labaki’s film came to us with solid credentials, having already won Audience awards at film festivals in Oslo, San Sebastian and TIFF. It’s not hard to see why. Introduced by Cinefranco filmfest chief Marcelle Lean, the film is a bizarre, strangely engaging mix of pop music, death and destruction, and was very well received by our dedicated band of early-morning moviegoers.

FOOTNOTE: Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film

After lunch we screened our second film, Footnote, which came to us with even more dazzling credentials – it swept last year’s Israeli Oscars, picked up Best Screenplay at Cannes, and was cited as one of the top foreign language films by the National Board of Review – not to mention its nomination for Best Foreign Film at Sunday night’s Oscar giveaway. Writer-director Joseph Cedar creates a scenario in which a father and son are rival professors in Talmudic Studies. When both men learn that the father is about to be lauded for his work, their complicated alpha-male relationship gets even more complicated. What makes it particularly fascinating, for me at least, is the concept of self-sacrifice — as in , no good deed goes unpunished.

CHURCHILL: Unexpected champion of Israel

Before dinner we screened our third film of the day, a documentary originally made for television by Floating filmfest commander and filmmaker Barry Avrich (The Last Mogul, Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project) and one which is seldom seen on the big screen. An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill And The Jews is a powerful celluloid spin-off of a book by Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert, and details Churchill’s ultimate and unlikely obsession in becoming a supporter of Jewish causes — most notably being responsible for determining the future status of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. It’s an intriguing story, and one which both surprised and pleased Floating Film Festival patrons last night, and one which should intrigue American audiences when it premieres in the USA in May.

Today we are scheduled to see three more films: Darling Companion, from Big Chill director Larry Kasdan; Woody Harrelson’s controversial new drama Rampart; and Exporting Raymond, in which the creator of the hit TV series Everybody Loves Raymond goes to Moscow to try to help produce a Russian version for Soviet TV.  So, as we say in TV Land: Stay tuned.

DEFINITELY OVER THEIR HEADS: DNTO host Sook-Yin Lee and her guests take a dive in “over their heads” at a special live recording of CBC Radio One’s Definitely Not The Opera tonight at the Tranzac Club on Brunswick

LEE: over her head

Avenue in Toronto. Scheduled guests include Little Mosque on the Prairie creator Zarqa Nawaz, As It Happens host Carol Off, writer/performer James Gangl, comedian Ron Josol and writer-performer and motivational speaker Deborah Kimmett – all of whom will share real-life stories about how they found themselves truly in over their heads. Musical guests are Corin Raymond (crowd-funding his newest recording with Canadian Tire money donated by his fans!) and Montreal-based Little Scream. Admission is free. You can reserve a ticket by emailing CBCtorontocommunity@cbc.cawith DNTO in the subject heading … and in one of the most anticipated shows of their high-rated season, the Dragons leave their

OFF: Definitely Not

studio tonight to catch up with memorable entrepreneurs who once braved the Den. This special edition of Dragons’ Den promises to reveal what’s happened to your favourite pitchers, track down the most memorable disasters and catch up with some of the biggest success stories in the show’s history, tonight at 8 pm on CBC Television … and calling all Lighthouse fans! The band that am (and continues to be) plays tonight at Casino Nova Scotia, tomorrow night at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, Friday night at The Playhouse in Fredericton, Saturday night at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John NB, then on to Ontario to play March 9 at the Sound Academy in Toronto, March 10 at the Opera House in Orillia and April 4 at the Richmond Hill Arts Centre. And yes, they still meet with their fans in the lobby after the show. So catch ’em while you can!

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