Tag Archives: Canadian film

“IN THE ROOM” tv show taping this Sunday featuring top Canadian talent

My friends at RDG Entertainment Inc. are taping another episode of their IN THE ROOM actors’ round-table series this Sunday at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto and I’m thrilled to learn that some of Canada’s most popular actors will be appearing.

RDG producers and show hosts, RAFAEL KALAMAT and JASON BARBECK (below, L-R) will be welcoming …..

photo 1 (5)…..the star of TV’s Lost Girl, KRIS HOLDEN-RIED (below) who was also one of my faves from The Tudors series and, of course, The Listener.

Kris HR KHR2Also on this week’s panel are Canadian stage & screen icon Art Hindle (Black Christmas, FaceOff, Murder She Wrote, ENG) – below…..

Art H Hindle

…..multi-award winning Shawn Doyle (below) of Endgame and countless Canadian television appearances (Rookie Blue, Covert Affairs & Reign)….

Shawn Doyle Shawn….recipient of this year’s ACTRA Award of Excellence Tantoo Cardinal (below) of Dances with Wolves (my personal fave performance of hers – she brought the heart and soul to the story) , Legends of the Fall, Blackstone

Tantoo dances….Total Recall’s Philip Moran (below)…

Philip….and young Zoe deGrand Maison (below) currently making a name for herself with appearances on Orphan Black, Murdoch Mysteries, Rook Blue and this year’s Bad Hair Day (TV movie).

NicoleI’m looking fwd to watching the taping and meeting these incredible ambassadors for the Canadian TV and film industry.  To learn more about In The Room and other RDG projects, please visit:  http://reeldealguys.com/  and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.




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RDG’s Jason & Rafael celebrate last night’s ACTRA Toronto Awards

Rafael Kalamat and Jason Barbeck (below, left to right) of RDG Entertainment Inc. attended last night’s ACTRA* Toronto Awards held at the Carlu in downtown Toronto. The fabulous soiree was hosted by TV and radio personality Arisa Cox, host of Big Brother Canada. The RDG guys were thrilled to meet up with ACTRA colleagues and friends, and they shared the evening with me via photos.

photo 1 (5)Actor and comedian Gavin Crawford (below right with Rafael) garnered the Outstanding Male Performance award for his role as Adam in the comedy-drama film Two 4 One, about a transgender person who unexpectedly becomes pregnant.

With Gavin CrawfordStar of sci-fi series Orphan Black, Tatiana Maslany, won her second Outstanding Female Performance Award, and Cory Doran won in the category of Outstanding Voice Performance for playing Multiple Personality Mike in the “Final Wreck-ening” episode of the animated series Total Drama, a parody of reality shows.

Veteran film and TV actress Tantoo Cardinal, pictured below with Rafael (left) and Jason (right), was honoured with ACTRA Toronto’s annual Award of Excellence.  I will always remember Tantoo for bringing the real heart to Dances With Wolves and Legends of the Fall and many more productions over her 4+ decades of acting.

Tantoo CardinalJamie Jones, winner of the ACTRA Stunt Award, is pictured below (2nd from left) with fellow stunt actor Clyde Phillips Sr. (left), Rafael and Bart Badzioch, stunt actor (right)


Philip & Jamie JonesAnd actor Philip Moran shared a celebratory cocktail and V for Victory with Jamie.

“The performers honoured tonight make us proud to be Canadian. They show off Canada to Canada and to the rest of the world in all its marvellous diversity. And they do it with unique and outstanding talent,” said David Sparrow, President of ACTRA (pictured below 2nd from right with Jason, Philip and Rafael)

ACTRAAwards 1

Congratulations again to all the winners, nominees and ACTRA Toronto organizers.  Next up, Canadian Screen Awards on March 1st.  See you on the red carpet!

* ACTRA is Canada’s national union representing more than 22,000 performers in English-language recorded media. The Toronto chapter represents 15,000 union members.

 Visit Rafael and Jason at  http://reeldealguys.com/

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Back in the 80’s, I ran Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Kabaret in Toronto, helping build the network of clubs across Canada and acting as agent for the amazing stable of stand-up comics represented by the YY-owned Funny Business Agency. One of those comedians was Frank Procopio, a handsome young Italian Canadian with a wry sense of humour and great writing chops. Skip ahead some 25yrs and I find myself again representing a Procopio, this time it’s Frank’s son, Joseph – a budding young filmmaker who starting making short films at age 9 and started winning international short film awards…at age 9!

Films By JPOver the past few years, I’ve watched Joseph grow as a writer, director and an excellent casting director, too – he seems to know instinctively which actors can bring his stories to life. Frank co-produces with him and after 12 short films, over 40 int’l film festival awards and being named one of Canada’s top under 25’s by Maclean’s Magazine in 2011, at age 19, Joseph is now working on his first two feature film scripts and is already in talks with leading LA industry professionals. I figured it was time I sit down for a chat with this uber talent.

Joseph Procopio, writer_director

Starting at such a young age, were you aware that it was not “normal” for 9yr olds to be writing and directing their own movies? I had no clue that what I was doing was not normal. I just grabbed a video camera, started putting together my own little stories and began editing them on Windows Movie Maker. Thanks to my parents, I had computers and video cameras around me my whole life; I just saw them as the tools with which to tell a story. Watching movies with my family on a weekly basis inspired me to want to try making ne of my own.

Were you ever bullied or teased by your classmates or friends? I was the class outcast because I was making films when the other kids were playing hockey or baseball. As a kid, I didn’t play as much sports as my friends – I was doing a lot of film work on my own instead playing team sports. I had a few good friends and I guess they were okay with it; thankfully they weren’t making fun of me because I saw life through a camera.

How did your parents come to understand your need to make films – were they supportive and encouraging? My dad was always talking to us about films, telling stories and everything just fell into place. My parents brought me to point where I knew how to tell a story and that was how they really supported me, apart from providing the equipment and acting as crew (and my mum’s “craft services” is the best!). I didn’t have to wait for film school to learn how to write a script, light a scene, or how to polish an edit. My family supported me from the beginning and helped make my dreams a reality.

When you received your very first accolades and awards, what was your first reaction (if you remember)? When I received my first award for my very first film “Nine Times Eight” at TIFF, it felt like I was as the Academy Awards. I couldn’t wait to go back home and start filming another story. It felt as if I really was part of show business.  I remember that night, when I got home, all I did was stare at that crystal award and I couldn’t believe that TIFF gave one to me.

Over the past 9 years, you have created some soulful, emotional shorts that were more mature in subject matter than your years. How would you explain your own capacity for “feeling” them, understanding them, then capturing these emotions on camera? All I was doing was filming exactly what I was feeling. For example, in my film “Drive” I was worried about my future and what would become of me, just like many teenagers do from time to time. And then when I started dating, what I felt after each breakup became my next film. I’ve continued to grab the camera to express how I felt and to get it out of my system.

While most young emerging filmmakers insist on making shoot ‘em up/bang-bang, sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll movies, you have chosen to focus on story-driven and character rich scripts that you’ve written yourself – please explain your rationale behind this decision to go against the grain. All of my stories are rooted in the same emotions that I felt while I was growing up, for example: when I realized that I would be parting ways with a good friend who went away to university, I wanted to write about the possibility of meeting her again one day and what I would be feeling. That thought became the basis for “Sundae”. (see on-set stills below)

Still 1 Still 2 Still 3

Your latest and last short film, Sundae, has already captured a major award (Rhode Island Film Festival 2013) and is slated to be screened at many other int’l festivals and the upcoming TIFF Short Film Fest – do you feel that Sundae is the perfect final short film in your repertoire? Sundae was the largest of all my projects and I wanted to create a “calling-card” film that would deliver an original screenplay, performed by ACTRA talent, shot on professional camera systems and edited/coloured/mixed at Technicolor. I wanted to deliver Sundae so that the only difference between this short film and a feature film was the page length of the material.

As you now move on to writing your first feature film script, do you feel all the previous work done has prepared you for filmmaking on a grander scale?  My last four screenplays have allowed me to explore plot structure, character, and arc development which is now making the writing of my two feature screenplays much easier than I anticipated.  Lately, I’ve been feeling that I can’t contain the stories in only a few pages and feel ready for the long form so I can really get into my characters.

Do you currently have any interested parties for your feature script(s) and/or who are your “mentors” moving fwd in your career? I’m currently in talks with a noted Hollywood mentor and well-known filmmaker with whom I hope to work, and I should have an announcement early in 2014. So watch this space for news!

Joseph’s Fast-5 Q&A

Favourite film? Forrest Gump

Favourite director? Steven Spielberg

Favourite period or style of filmmaking? 1990’s  

Favourite actor/actress? Michael Caine

First purchase you plan to make once you hit that first big Hollywood payday? A bungalow on the Universal Studios back-lot. 

Keep up with Joseph’s career via his website www.josephprocopio.ca  and follow him on Facebook: ProcopioFilms

TIFF Shorts






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2129-joseph-procopio-young-rising-talent-lensI’m thrilled to share this great article written by Rosanna Bonura for Panoram Italia magazine showcasing young Toronto-based filmmaker JOSEPH PROCOPIO [ www.josephprocopio.ca ]. With over 45 international film awards to his name, Joseph is currently writing feature film scripts and has just returned from LA where he met with leading agents and producers to discuss his next project.

Panoram Italia interview with Joseph Procopio

Watch this blog for my own interview with this multi-talented young director-writer-producer who’s creating such a buzz in the biz!

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SILENT RETREAT, the terrifying new horror film presented by A Film Monkey Production, from Canadian director TRICIA LEE, makes its World Premiere at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival this coming Sunday October 20th (4:15pm) at The Scotiabank Theatre (cnr Richmond W & John Sts, Toronto).  Ms. Lee is thrilled to have Silent Retreat be a part of Toronto After Dark, which has proven to be one of the world’s most exciting and cutting edge genre festivals since its debut in 2006.

Silent Retreat is a creature feature that tells the story of Janey Andrews, a first time criminal offender, who is sent to a facility in the middle of the woods to be rehabilitated. The men who run the retreat ask for complete silence from the inmates but Janey soon discovers they are brainwashing the women to be quiet and submissive. When the women don’t comply, the men aren’t afraid to show them what lurks beyond the trees and Janey realizes that the only way to survive the horror is….. to scream!

VIEW THE SILENT RETREAT TRAILER: http://vimeo.com/66453502

While horror has seen a remarkable influx of strong female voices in the last decade (including Canada’s own Soska Sisters – American Mary), it is still a male dominated genre. For Tricia (pictured below), it was time to add her own spin to the genre – strong female characters and emotionally resonant themes, with classic horror imagery, and a baroque melodramatic flair. Tricia LeeIt was Lee’s fierce determination to make her voice heard at any cost that allowed her to bring together an incredibly talented cast and crew, featuring actors Chelsea Jenish, Robert Nolan and Sofia Banzhaf.

Website:  www.filmmonkey.ca      

Facebook: silentretreatmovie       

Twitter: @filmmonkey_ca   (#silentretreatmovie)

For more information, ticket sales and the show times for Silent Retreat & all Festival screenings, please visit: http://www.torontoafterdark.com/


Stop WATCHING movies…start EXPERIENCING them!


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