On the cusp on the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival (February 6-16), Telefilm Canada has announced its Ten Canadians to Watch list. The diverse list is comprised of both established and emerging filmmakers and talent from across the country who are making an impact, either on the creative or business side of the film industry domestically and internationally. All selected individuals will be present at the Berlinale and/or the European Film Market. Here is the Ten Canadians to Watch list in alphabetical order:
JENNIFER BAICHWAL, WATERMARK – European Premiere, Berlinale Special
Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Jennifer Baichwal and her co-director and collaborator Edward Burtynsky, recently won the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) prize for Best Canadian Feature for WATERMARK ($100,000). This visually stunning, and thought-provoking film about human interaction with water around the world is Baichwal’s second collaboration with photographer and artist Burtynsky. Previously, the duo’s MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES won several festival awards as well as the TFCA’s Best Canadian Film and Best Documentary awards.
PAUL BARKIN, AFTERLANDS – a participant with a project at the Berlinale Coproduction Market
One of Canada’s producers to watch, Paul Barkin has worked on such award-winning films as THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS with director Bruce MacDonald, acclaimed international coproduction AMREEKA, and most recently THE COLONY – a sci-fi action-thriller directed by Jeff Renfroe and starring Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Zegers and Bill Paxton. This year he is at Berlin with one of his projects in development – AFTERLANDS, a horror/thriller based on the true account of the 1872 USS Polaris Arctic Expedition, where 17 men, women and children of different national identities who are cast adrift on an ice floe and forced to survive together.
ADAM BEACH – a Producers without Borders participant promoting the Adam Beach Film Institute (ABFI)
Adam Beach, President & Founder of ABFI and co-founder of Bandwidth Digital Releasing, is an award-winning actor who has appeared in over 60 films and television programs. One of his more memorable performances was as Ira Hayes, a Pima Native American, in the Academy Award-nominated Clint Eastwood directed FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (2006). Beach is committed to sharing his dreams and vision of a better future through film and storytelling for Aboriginal youth and his mission is to provide resources and training to Aboriginal youth interested in the film industry. The ABFI will develop a distribution system to serve the needs of its clients and the audiences those clients are to reach.
Producers Without Borders is an initiative of Telefilm Canada organized in partnership with the Berlinale Co-production Market.
JEAN-FRANÇOIS CAISSY, GUIDELINES (LA MARCHE À SUIVRE) – World Premiere, Forum
Jean-François Caissy is an acclaimed photographer, and documentary filmmaker. GUIDELINES explores the world of adolescence through a series of tableaux that illustrate the trying existence of young people at a rural secondary school. Emphasizing the contrasts between the regulated environment of the classroom and the beckoning freedom of the great outdoors, the film is structured around the teens’ meetings with various authority figures in the institution whose job it is to “set them straight.”
In 2010, Caissy’s JOURNEY’S END (LA BELLE VISITE) premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival to critical acclaim. The film also played other prestigious festivals such as the BFI London Film Festival and the Mumbai Film Festival. Caissy is currently producing a third feature-length documentary with the National Film Board of Canada and in pre-production on a short film.
DENIS CÔTÉ, JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING (QUE TA JOIE DEMEURE) – World Premiere, Forum
Denis Côté is a critically acclaimed and award-winning Canadian auteur, director, writer and producer. He returns to Berlin for the third time having premiered his VIC FLO SAW A BEAR (VIC FLO ONT VU UN OURS) in 2013 – which won the Alfred Bauer Prize for Innovation – and BESTIARY (BESTIAIRE) at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival.
Côté’s feature CURLING was presented at the Locarno Film Festival in 2010, where it won the prize for Best Directing as well as the prize for Best Actor. In 2009, Côté’s documentary CARCASSES was presented at the Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight. The same year, the film was also part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) annual Canada’s Top Ten list. His first feature film, DRIFTING STATES (LES ÉTATS NORDIQUES), won the 2005 Golden Leopard – at the Locarno International Film Festival
FÉLIZE FRAPPIER, KUESSIPAN – a participant with a project at the Berlinale Coproduction Market
Félize Frappier is a producer at Max Films, a Montreal-based production and international sales company. Her recent films include ANOTHER HOUSE (L’AUTRE MAISON) by Mathieu Roy and THE GRAND SEDUCTION by Don McKellar. She has produced the award-winning film WETLANDS (MARÉCAGES) (2011). She is in Berlin with her project KUESSIPAN, which is in development, and a drama based on the novel by Naomi Fontaine about an Innu teenager.
PHYLLIS LAING & LIZ JARVIS, BUFFALO GAL PICTURES, producers of ALOFT – World Premiere, Competition (minority Canadian co-production with Spain and France)
Buffalo Gal Pictures is an independent production company based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and is run by president and producer Phyllis Laing and producer Liz Jarvis. Together they have produced many challenging and diverse projects by developing collaborative relationships with creative talent and building successful co-production partnerships. Laing and Jarvis have an ongoing collaboration with artist and auteur Guy Maddin producing the critically acclaimed KEYHOLE, and award winning THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD and MY WINNIPEG.
Phyllis Laing’s experience in the industry includes over 60 credits in TV and film. She recently produced ALL THE WRONG REASONS (2013), which won the TIFF Discovery Award at the 2013 edition and producing partner Liz Jarvis has been instrumental in building alliances with national and international producers. She produced THE STONE ANGEL with writer-director Kari Skogland. ALOFT, which screens at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival, is directed by acclaimed award-winning Peruvian director Claudia Llosa, and stars a stellar cast of Jennifer Connelly, Mélanie Laurent and Cillian Murphy.
ROBERT LEPAGE, TRIPTYCH (TRIPTYQUE) – European Premiere, Panorama
Film director, playwright, actor, and stage director, Robert Lepage is one of Canada’s most honoured, versatile and creative artists. The haunting TRIPTYCH – which is co-directed by the Emmy-award winning Pedro Pires – is based on the Lepage’s celebrated theatre work LIPSYNCH, and explores our means of communication and language and the loss of language.
Lepage’s extensive artistic career includes the award-winning titles THE CONFESSIONAL (LE CONFESSIONAL) and FAR SIDE OF THE MOON (LA FACE CACHÉE DE LA LUNE), as well as such plays as THE DRAGON’S TRILOGY (LA TRILOGIE DES DRAGONS) and NEEDLES AND OPIUM (LES AIGUILLES ET L’OPIUM). Lepage was awarded the Companion of the Order of Canada in 2009 “for his international contributions to the performing arts, particularly in film, theatre and opera, as an actor, producer and director.”
ROBERT MORIN, 3 INDIAN TALES (3 HISTOIRES D’INDIENS) – World Premiere, Generation
For the past 30 years Robert Morin has created a series of very personal films starting with REQUIEM POUR UN BEAU SANS-COEUR (1992), which won the Best Canadian Feature Film award at the Toronto International Film Festival. His 2002 feature LE NÈG’ was named one of TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten films by an independent, national panel of filmmakers, programmers, journalists and industry professionals. In 2009, Morin was awarded the Governor General of Canada Award for his work in visual and media arts.
INGRID VENINGER – a participant at the Berlinale Coproduction Market
Described by The Globe and Mail as “Ingrid Veninger: the DIY queen of Canadian filmmaking,” Veninger is an award-winning producer, writer and director, as well as an actor. Veninger formed pUNK Films in 2003 with a “nothing is impossible” manifesto. An award-winning creative producer, Ingrid has made numerous films, including: GAMBLING, GODS AND LSD, (TIFF 2002, Genie Award for Best Documentary), THE LIMB SALESMAN (TIFF 2004), ONLY (TIFF 2008), NURSE.FIGHTER.BOY (TIFF 2008, nominated for 10 Genie Awards in 2010, including Best Motion Picture), and MODRA (TIFF 2010, TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten). Last December, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists presented the Narrative Feature prize to Veninger for her most recent film THE ANIMAL PROJECT, which has screened extensively at festivals around the world.