Tag Archives: ReelWorld Film Festival

Three years ago you had never heard of Susan Boyle. And then the dream she dreamed came true.

BOYLE: three new albums in three years

Three years ago, to this very day, Susan Boyle boldly strode on stage in Glasgow to audition for Britain’s Got Talent. (If you’ve forgotten just how powerful that moment was, treat yourself by clicking on the word ‘audition’  — as long as you have Kleenex handy.) All told, she was only on stage and on camera for seven short minutes — but those seven minutes changed her life.

Well, okay, YouTube changed her life. Some 100 million ‘hits’ later, Boyle even has that famous audition footage on her own website, including her statement that she hoped to be as successful as her musical idol, legendary British diva

BOYLE: the historic audition

Elaine Paige. It was Paige, an OBE currently regarded as the First Lady of Musical Theatre, who introduced the world to such Andrew Lloyd Webber classics as Memory and Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. At the time Boyle’s remark drew audible snickers from the audience, but then she started to sing, and they stopped snickering and jumped to their feet cheering.

Since then, of course, Boyle has been making up for lost time, releasing three, no kidding, three albums – I Dreamed A Dream, The Gift and Someone To Watch Over Me – an autobiography, The Woman I Was Born To Be, and a website that sells not only her CDs but also Susan Boyle merchandise. A new crowd-pleaser musical based on her life story, I Dreamed A Dream: The Susan Boyle Musical is currently touring the provinces (Liverpool next week, then Cardiff, Birmingham, etc. until opening in Glasgow in October.)  So Susan Boyle, the unemployed Scottish villager, is pretty much her own industry now.

What somehow escaped me along the way was the fact that, after all those headlines and YouTube hits, Piers Morgan arranged for Boyle to not only meet her idol Elaine Paige but to actually duet with her on television, to one of Paige’s hit songs from Chess. And yes, YouTube has that one too. To see and hear the incomparable Paige and the transformed Ms. Boyle, just click here – and enjoy.

ELAINE PAIGE duets with uber-fan SUSAN BOYLE

OUR TOWN: Hey, who’s superstitious? Official opening night for this year’s 15th annual TIFF Kids film festival (it used to be called Sprockets)  is this

WILLIAMS: year 11

Friday the 13th, and Chimpanzee, a brand-new True-Life Adventure from Disney, is the official opening film. And there’s even a GapKids red carpet for young fest-goers to stroll. For more info on the TiFF Kids filmfest, click here … Cadence, Countermeasure, New York Voices, The Nylons and The Swingle Singers are among the glory-voiced performers set to light up the stage this weekend when the Toronto Vocal Arts Festival Sing! opens at Harbourfront, with Micah Barnes, Dylan Bell and Heather Bambrick among those leading vocal workshops. One of Barnes’ workshops

HAYSBERT: ReelWorld star

sounds like it has the makings of a reality show. He calls it the “quick Speed Dating version” of his Singers Playground Performance Workshop, where he works one on one with each A Capella singer for the benefit of both themselves and the class … and has it really been 11 years? Tonya Lee Williams’ 11th annual ReelWorld Film Festival opens tonight with Luv, with Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Michael Rainey Jr. and hip-hop hero Common, at the Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Cinemas. To check out this year’s impressive list of films, click here.

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Shirley goes Downton, Patricia goes down that Gardens path & Kate goes from Horror to Netflix

GOIN’ TO THE ABBEY: Unsinkable movie queen Shirley MacLaine, still star-bright at 77, is packing  to leave for the U.K. and filming for the next season of Downton Abbey.  She ‘s looking forward to playing the American mother of

MACLAINE: off to the U.K.

Lady Cora Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern,) she says, because “there is sure to be a variance of opinions when you mix the staidBritish upper crust with brash American views of the 1920s.” She’s also taking her one-woman show, An Evening With Shirley MacLaine, on the road in March, with test runs in Arizona, Connecticut and New York state. But she’ll be back in Hollywood on June 7  to pick up an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award — the 40th in American Film Institute history. “2012 is off to an amazing beginning for me!” Shirley

McGOVERN: make room for momma

exclaims … Larry King will get his Lifetime Achievement Award the same month, from the 2012 Banff World Media  Festival … comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, whose light touch brightened  23 of the last 25 Oscar shows, won’t be typing backstage this year because he’s busy writing for Broadway. Also MIA this year: A  performance of Oscar-nominated songs. Producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer have voted to scrap ’em (there are only two.)  But in the nostalgic spirit of Best Picture nominees The Artist, Hugo and Midnight In Paris,  the Kodak Theater on Hollywood

MESSING: she's a Smash

Boulevard will be decorated to resemble a timeless movie theatre like the University and the Imperial and other picture palaces of old  … Liz Smith says the producers of Smash are wooing Broadway baby Lesley Ann Warren to join the cast as a Broadway diva on the comeback trail. Liz says Smash star Debra Messing would love having Warren on board, because they worked so well together on Will & Grace when Warren played Will’s father’s  dizzy mistress … and friendly fire-breathers Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson are teaming up to do a Dragons’ Den spin-offIn each episode of Big Decision, Treliving and Dickinson assess two struggling businesses and decide to save one company. Or both. Or neither.

OUR TOWN:  Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage launches this weekend with the world premiere of Everything Under the Moon, a collaboration by innovative performance artist Shary Boyle and songwriter Christine

WILLIAMS: NAACP nominee

Fellows. A year and a half in the making, Everything Under the Moon is reportedly their most ambitious creation to date, pairing hand-animated projected image with narrative song. An extra show has already been added next week due to bubbling ticket demand … Dave Bidini and the BidiniBand are giving a free concert as part of the SK8 festival at Harbourfront this Sunday from 2-4 pm. “Bring skates,” says the renaissance musician & writer. “The gig is just off the Natrel skating rink, and there’ll be lotsa stuff for kids and non-kids alike!” … and Second Harvest’s grassroots fundraising campaign Lunch Money Day wraps up today. Volunteers will be shaking their cans at subway stations across the city during the

RAINN: Office spin-off?

morning and evening rush hours, so  “peas give” the equivalent of what you usually spend on lunch to Second Harvest. Remember, with only $10 they can provide 20 meals! So show them that you “give a shiitake” and reward those valiant volunteers with more than just a smile.

THE WRITE STUFF: Award-winning director Patricia Rozema will take participants through her transformation of the classic Maysles Brothers documentary Grey Gardens into the hit HBO feature with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore at the 3rd annual Toronto Screenwriting Conference on March 30-April 1. It was Rozema’s shooting script that got the green light for the movie and the Emmyv and Golden Globe

ROZEMA: Grey Gardening

awards that followed … screenwriter and novelist Ron Base, author of those wildly entertaining Sanibel Detective yarns, shares trade secrets in his equally amusing tell-almost-all blog Writing Sanibel: Or How An Old Dog Used A Unique Island and Technology to Learn New Tricks … and Hollywood-based writer-producer Kathy Slevin has launched  a new blog focused on disseminating successful actions – her own and those of other writers and producers from whom she has learned.  “Its purpose,” she explains, “is to help writers bring their work closer to the kind of product a producer needs and wants and will hopefully be the kind of resource that both find useful.” Her current posts include Secrets Of Series Creations  and How To Hook An Audience, and would-be series writers can check ‘em out right here.

STARS IN OUR EYES:  Indefatigable ReelWorld filmfest founder and director Tonya Lee Williams, who most recently received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award in Montreal, has been nominated for a

BASE: Sanibel sleuthing

2012 NAACP Image Award for her role in the long-running CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless. The awards will be telecast live from Hollywood tomorrow night on NBC …  American Horror Story heroine Kate Mara has joined Kevin Spacey in producer David Fincher’s original Netflix series House of Cards … Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) is set to join Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Steve Carrell, Catherine Keener and Kevin Kline in Charlie Kaufman’s new flight of fantasyFrank or Francis … and Rainn Wilson is in talks to continue with his character Dwight Schrute in a spinoff of The Office.

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Kim conquers London, the Daniels tell us what happens & Raquel warns us not to judge a book by its Cover (Girl)

CATTRALL: on stage in Private Lives (photo: Nobby Clark)

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Guess who’s a smash hit in London’s West End? Kim Cattrall, who is blissfully collecting rave reviews for her performance in the revival of Noel Coward’s Private Lives with Pride & Prejudice scene-stealer Matthew Macfadyen, “I feel like I have everything I dreamed of,” Kim told the New York Times – “a hit show in the West End that could go to Broadway, great family and friends. This is really one of the happiest times of my life.” She’s also on view in Roman Polanski’s Ghost Writer, will soon be seen in Sex & The City II (coming soon to shake up a box office near you,) and is reportedly considering another British stage gig, this time as the Queen of Egypt in Mr. Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra. And yes, the line for hot young actors eager to play her Antony forms to the right.

MACIVOR: what happens next?

OUR TOWN: ReelWorld Film Festival kicks off its 10th anniversary this week with the North American premiere of Off World, the much anticipated feature from writer, director and co-producer Mateo Guez, on Wednesday night at the Scotiabank Theatre … ReelWorld master programmer Bobby Del Rio confides that his new play The Market is set for a three-week test run in May … and previews start next week at Canadian Stage for the much-anticipated new Daniel BrooksDaniel MacIvor collaboration This Is What Happens Next, a scary fairytale with a happy ending. MacIvor describes it as “a journey deep into the heart of the Kingdom of Kevin with an astrologer, a lawyer, an absent father, the embodiment of our own Will and Me, which takes us through the dark forest of addiction, divorce, Arthur Schopenhauer, The Little Mermaid and the life of John Denver.” (!!!)

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “My father had been hoping for a firstborn son and got me instead. He didn’t have much regard for the female of the species, unless they were parading around in swimsuits. Do you get the picture?”

WELCH: new book

The speaker?  Still-sultry sex symbol Raquel Welch, in her new memoir, Beyond The Cleavage. Raquel came into public consciousness more than 40 years ago in a doe-skin bikini designed to bring out the caveman in every red-blooded male and the poster for One Million Years B.C. became a sensation all over the world.

“The irony of it all is that even though people thought of me as a sex symbol, in reality I was a single mother of two small children! … Can you picture the girl in the poster with the baby in one arm and pushing a stroller with the other? Kind of destroys the fantasy, doesn’t it?”

Now, as she approaches her 70th birthday, she feels duty-bound to do just that.

“My task of destroying the myth,” she insists, “is long overdue.” (Awwwww!)

Fact is, she made more millions with her Spotlight line of designer wigs — yes, wigs — than she ever earned from her screen roles.

Ain’t show biz grand?

COMIN’ AT YA SOONER THAN YOU THINK: Manufacturers of 3-D TV sets believe that new 3-D technology will usher in an era where “there will be less passive sitting back and watching television, and a more immersive, interactive experience.”  Uh-huh.  Panasonic is already out there. LG’s 3-D televisions will be in stores in May or June, and Sony’s new 3-D sets will be available in June.

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Get ready for GLEE’s sophomore season, Justin in August, and a surprise from the fair maid Marion

THE POWER OF GLEE: First it conquered TV, then the music charts, and now it’s going legit — big time. Cast members from the hit FOX series Glee, led by Spring Awakening star

MICHELE: Glee girl

Lea Michele, have added yet another performance to their run at Radio City Music Hall, so they’ll now do five, count ’em, five shows in that 6,000-seat New York room on the weekend of May 28-30. In addition to Michele, who plays Rachel, the tour cast will include Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Mark Salling (Puck), Dianna Agron (Quinn), Naya Rivera (Santana), Heather Morris (Brittany), Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike), and Dijon Talton (Matt). And a third CD from the cast, this time featuring the music of Madonna, will be released on April 20, the same day the show’s Madonna-inspired episode is scheduled for telecast. And before you ask: The series’ second season starts Tuesday April 13 on Global.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Prolific TV producer Laszlo Barna (The Bridge) tells Academy of Canadian Cinema breakfast club attendees what it takes to get a Canadian

BIEBER: T.O.-bound

production on a U.S. network this morning at the Academy’s T.O. office  …  teen sensation Justin Bieber is set to rock the ACC on Aug. 21. Will he arrive driving those new wheels Usher bought him for his birthday? … Broadway lion Victor Garber guests with Allan Hawco on Republic Of Doyle tonight on CBC …and ya gotta love music mogul David Geffen‘s off-the-cuff remarks when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week in New York. “I had no musical talent, but after working in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency I knew how to bullshit, and that’s how I got to handle Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Cher and all the others.”  Whatta charmer!

A DRAGON IN THE DESERT: “I’m in a place some call the ‘Sandbox.’ It’s Dirty. Dusty. Dangerous. Bomb infested. My mission is to boost morale but I am the one who is walking away inspired. I won’t be able to think the same about my life ever again. This trip is having a profound effect on me.”

The speaker? Dragons’ Den diva Arlene Dickinson, tweeting from Afghanistan.

REYNOLDS: light touch

FLICKERS: Crowd-pleaser Paul Giamatti will co-star with Amy Ryan in Tom McCarthy’s Win-Win … Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, both masters of the light touch, will co-star in Universal’s body-switching comedy The Change-Up John Malkovich will reportedly start shooting Transformers 3 with Frances McDormand (now that’s off-the-wall casting!) before winging to T.O. for his Luminato gig in June …the latest film by Donna & Daniel Zuckerbrot, My Nuclear Neighbour, is now a Yorkton filmfest nominee. Neighbour premiered last month on CBC’s The Nature of Things … and the April 10 premiere of Maria Del Mar’s new flick, A Touch Of Grey, at the 10th annual ReelWorld filmfest is reportedly all sold out.

COTILLARD: closet comedienne?

SEE/HEAR: Young French import Marion Cotillard, seems to bring a special elegance to all her work, from her Oscar-winning turn as tortured chanteuse Edith Piaf to her portrait of Daniel Day Lewis’ betrayed wife in Nine. So what you are about to see is, I promise, a complete departure from the Marion we’ve seen on screen so far, but perhaps an indication of the secret Cotillard that lies within. It’s a fabulously funny send-up of so many commercials we’ve suffered through, and it comes, yet again, from Will Ferrell’s fertile Funny Or Die comedy site.  Click here, and enjoy!

TOMORROW:

Margaret Atwood, Shia Lebeouf, Jann Arden, Roger Ebert and more.

More rain from Prince? More Hobbits from Jackson? More big screen roles for Dexter and Cristina? Stay tuned

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Hypnotic Six Feet Under alumnus Michael C. Hall, so good as Dexter, is set to move to the big screen. He’ll costar with Brie Larson [United States of Tara] in a new flick called East Fifth Bliss … is Prince planning a film  sequel to his

MARSHALL: fan fave

’80s megabit Purple Rain? My spies swear it’s so. In the sequel (or ‘the squeal,’ as his fans adoringly refer to it) his character The Kid is now 50, has lost his record deal and has to go up against much younger (and supposedly hipper) artists. Talk about spectacular comeback material … .Joe Manganiello has been cast in HBO’s True Blood as the series’ very first werewolf (who knew?) … Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Josh Brolin, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan and Charlie Sheen are reportedly committed to attending the Cannes Film Festival now that Wall Street II has been selected as the closing gala …  and fan favourite Amber Marshall, who stars in CBC’s hit Sunday night series Heartland, was thrilled by the turnout this weekend when she agreed to sign autographs at the Can-Am Equine Emporium, a popular all-breeds horse show in London, Ont. “The signing was unbelievable!” she reports. “We had originally planned for a one-hour signing at 2 pm, but by 5 pm I was still signing away!!  Girls started lining up at 11 in the morning, and some drove for seven hours to get there. All in all, simply wonderful.”

OH: teacher, teacher

FLICKERS: First release of the 2-D DVD of Avatar is reportedly due this Saturday — Earth Day. So turn off the lights and enjoy …  d’ya suppose Tim Burton is as surprised as I am that his 3-D Alice In Wonderland topped box office grosses for the third consecutive weekend? Chalk up first week grosses to Johnny Depp star power, but it’s all word-of-mouth since then. And word-of-mouth on the film continues to be spectacularly good … screen-stealer Sandra Oh took a break from Grey’s Anatomy just long enough to play with Josh Duhamel and John Corbett in the upcoming Ramona & Beezus. Ms Oh plays school teacher to rambunctious pupils Selena Gomez and newcomer Joey King … and Sir Ian McKellen will return as Gandalf when Peter Jackson starts shooting The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel to Lord Of The Rings, this summer in New Zealand.

WILLIAMS: happy anniversary

CALENDAR JOTTINGS: The new Canadian Media Fund, which opens for business next week, kicks off this Friday with a bilingual webcast launch and virtual town halls … speakers set for April 10-12 Toronto Screenwriting Conference include Tim Long, Writer/Executive Producer of The Simpsons, Chuck Tatham, Co-Executive Producer of How I Met Your Mother, and Robert C. Cooper, writer/Executive Producer of Stargate Universe … Hot Docs is set to announce its top picks for its April 29-May 9 2010 festival tomorrow morning … it doesn’t seem possible that a decade has passed since Tonya Lee Williams first championed it, but her ReelWorld Film Festival celebrates its 10th Anniversary season April 7-11. Wow! … and yes, it’s March 22. Happy 80th (!!!) birthday, Stephen Sondheim, And many more, please!

TOMORROW:

Rick wraps, k.d. sings and Zach chats up Jerry.

Lily conquers Vegas, Bette plans a Showgirl exit, and meet the new Susan Boyle (he’s a guy!)

LOVIN’ LAS VEGAS: Don’t know why I thought that Lily Tomlin and Sin City were not a natural fit. Turns out they are. La Tomlin premiered her new

TOMLIN & WAGNER: Viva Las Vegas

one-woman show, Not Playing With A Full Deck, at the MGM Grand, and reportedly loves Las Vegas! Lily’s partner and personal muse, the unabashedly brilliant humourist Jane Wagner, is the mighty pen behind her new show as well as such previous Tomlin megahits as The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe and Appearing Nitely. Lily’s new show is a mix of Greatest Hits – the characters her fans still can’t get enough of, like Ernestine and Edith Ann – and new characters, and

SHORT: Damages control

new technology. Tomlin’s new show ‘try-out’ played in MGM’s Hollywood Theater, which seats about 2,000 people at each performance. And when Tomlin isn’t hanging out with her Big Business co-star and Caesars Palace headliner Bette Midler (The Showgirl Must Go On) or trying to coax Jane (“it’s come down to begging, really,”) into writing a new Broadway show for her, she’s commuting to New York to shoot her scenes in the new season of Damages with Glenn Close. In it she plays the matriarch of a powerful family determined to destroy shady legal eagle Close. Assisting Lily in this mission are Martin Short as her high-powered attorney and Campbell Scott as her son. And yes, she confesses, she and Marty did misbehave one day on the set, when

MIDLER: The show must go ... off

she read her lines as Ernestine and he did his as Ed Grimley. “But never when the cameras are rolling!”

THE SHOWGIRL MUST GO OFF: P.S. for Vegas-bound Bette Midler fans: Your heroine ends her two-year residency at The Colloseum – aka The House That Céline Built – on January 31. Says Bette: “These legs have had such a great run in the desert, it may be time to haul them to places with more humidity and fewer slot machines.”

GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS: Yes, it’s true, the latest YouTube sensation is a recent audition for Simon Cowell’s British talent show The X Factor. The singer is a 40-year-old cabinet-maker named Daryl Markham. Markham has his own website now, and is now a household

MARKHAM: YouTube sensation

name for millions of people all over the world. But can he sing? You be the judge. To see his now-historic audition, just click here.

NO BIZ LKE SHOW BIZ: Leave it to Reg Hartt to find a copy of the sumptuous MGM musical Kiss Me Kate, with Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel and young hoofers Bob Fosse & Tommy Rall competing for Ann Miller’s machine-gun taps., in — wait for it — 3D, its screen original format. Cineaste extraordinare Hartt unspools the classic Cole Porter musical this Sunday and next at 5 pm at his Cineforum HQ at Bathurst & College. Adds Reg: “Bring your own popcorn and we will zap it for you.”

WILLIAMS: ReelWorld decade

Hmmmm, wonder if Stratford’s Kiss Me Kate star Juan Chiorian, now on stage at the Factory Theatre in The Madonna Painter, has ever seen this version? … fan faves Colin Mochrie & Deb McGrath guest with Ron James tonight at 8 pm on CBC Television …  the Kate Rogers Band performs live tomorrow morning on CBC Radio One’s GO! Show. “Tickets are free and everyone is welcome!” sez Ms Rogers … speaking of tickets, you can still snag some for this weekend’s performances of the National Ballet’s spectacular Sleeping Beauty revival before it closes Sunday .. and can you believe that Tonya Lee Williams’ ReelWorld Film Festival, the little movie marathon that grew, celebrates its 10th anniversary next spring? Ms Williams, of course, is currently stationed in Washington, D.C. — on screen, at least — in The Border. And BTW, the ReelWorld call for submissions has already started. So if you have a feature, documentary, short, music video or animation from the Aboriginal, Asian, Black, Latino, Middle Eastern, South Asian or other multi-racial community, click here and fill out the submissions form.

Happy weekend!

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