♦ The imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival begins October 18, bringing the best of film, radio, new media, art and music by aboriginal artists from all over the world to downtown Toronto. The four-day event’s opening night gala at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema will feature a screening of Waru, a thoughtful film composed of eight chronological vignettes — each directed by a different female Māori filmmaker — that follow the events of a young boy’s funeral. Other festival highlights to look forward to: a jam-packed schedule of film screenings, workshops and panel discussions at TIFF Bell Lightbox, a unique walking tour/film screening hybrid exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario and a launch presentation of the new imagineNATIVE iNstitute. See the complete calendar of events here!
♦ Ottawa Film Commissioner Bruce Harvey is determined to bring the nation’s capital further into the film industry fold… but there may be a bit of work to do before it can be considered a serious contender. While the picturesque city generates plenty of interest from producers, it still lacks the film-friendly infrastructure offered by Toronto and other blossoming Ontario film destinations like Hamilton, Sudbury and North Bay. Still, Commissioner Harvey and his colleagues at the Ottawa Film Office are certain that, with a little partnership funding, O-Town can rise up quickly to help meet the industry’s growing demand — in 2016 alone, Ontario had to turn down over $75 million worth of film and television work due to a shortage of soundstages and studio space. Mayor Jim Watson is reportedly aware of the opportunity for growth and is open to consider proposals.
♦ Emmy-nominated LA Casting Director Seth Yanklewitz, CSA has been announced as a special guest speaker at an industry Q&A in Toronto next month, hosted by Vancouver Film School. As the former Vice President of Casting at FOX, Yanklewitz has overseen casting on successful series like Gotham, X-Files and New Girl (for which he received the aforementioned Emmy nod). His career has also included collaborations with several other acclaimed LA Casting Directors on hit films like Pearl Harbor, Blades of Glory and The Hangover. Yanklewitz will lend his expertise and insights on the ins and outs of the casting process, the importance of professional training for actors and the role Canadian talent play in the industry. The event (taking place November 2 at a yet-to-be-announced location) is free to attend, but seating is limited — register here to reserve a spot!
♦ The Stratford Festival recently revealed some surprising casting selects for the 2018 season, with more women taking on roles typically portrayed by male actors than ever before — a significant departure from the theatrical norms of William Shakespeare’s heyday, when only men and boys were allowed to act on stage! Veteran Stratford actor Seana McKenna (who has been cast in other traditionally male roles in past seasons) will play Julius Caesar in the 2018 production of the classic Roman tragedy, alongside Irene Poole as Cassius and Michelle Giroux as Marc Antony. Another Shakespearean festival mainstay, The Tempest, will feature some gender-bent casting: the legendary Martha Henry is slated to play a female version of Prospero, Duke (or, in this case, Duchess) of Milan. In an amusing twist of fate, Henry first joined the Stratford company in 1962… when she was cast as Prospero’s daughter, Miranda!
By Miranda Cross