Canadian Film Review

Canadian Film Review -

The Sweet Hereafter: Moving Onward from the Canadian Film Industry



I know how to fix the Canadian film industry. I know how to make it lucrative, at little cost, and how to make it successful and vibrant so that Canadian audiences would stand in line for the next big Canadian film. Doesn’t that sound amazing? It is true and I have been saying it to the Canadian entertainment industry for seven years now.

This decision comes at a high point for the Canadian Film Review. After developing a successful publication, TV show and web series, the CFR has not only accomplished what it set out to do, but it shattered myths that these types of things could not be done. We are extremely popular with Canadian audiences. I am so incredibly proud of what my team and I have accomplished. We have proven that Canadians love Canadian content and there is an audience out there for it. This is groundbreaking in the eyes of the entertainment industry but it isn’t enough.

I am moving onward at a high point of my career in this industry. What I am creating is being noticed and respected, especially by Canadian film audiences, but I am also moving forward during a Canadian film industry all-time low. After years of investing in, developing ways, and lobbying the Canadian film industry for effective change from within, it has crystallized to me the implausibility of that happening.

I am closing down the Canadian Film Review.

Those sat in jobs of power, dictating how Canadian films should be funded are missing the point completely. They don’t get it and aren’t passionate about it, and as a taxpayer, who is funding their jobs, you should care why they don’t.

Maybe I am being too hard on them, maybe it isn’t a matter of caring but a matter of business acumen. After all, celebrating a film’s success over a year later with tens of thousands of dollars – that would fund another indie Canadian film – for being the biggest box office success from a year ago is not only not newsworthy, but redundant. Why give a pat on the back with a paycheck for something that has already occurred instead of investing in the future?

Funding for Canadian film, and the promotion of it, should go to organizations that are passionately dedicated to connecting Canadian audiences to homegrown cinema, not those that vainly imbibe on red carpet events and cocktail/swag parties for a select few in the name of CanCon that don’t resonate with larger audiences. I can name Reel Canada as an organization that truly affects change and is raising awareness for youth to love Canadian films. If only all organizations were as dedicated to such a premise. No flash and glitz, just a commitment to getting the word out like the Canadian Film Review did.

Who loses out when funding is so poorly misspent? The filmmakers. The audiences. Most of all, a thriving future for our film industry. Over six hundred jobs cut at the CBC isn’t the deepest cut that will happen to arts funding in Canada and the terrified looks in those higher ups who all too often wanted meetings to merely pick my brains have every right to be concerned because they are missing the mark completely and those shortcomings are being duly noted by more than just myself.

I feel blessed for the people I have met along the way who are the champions of Canadian films such as the under-appreciated and scarcely recognized Canadian Film Festival (it is called the CANADIAN Film Festival for goodness sakes!), the perennially innovative National Film Board, the outstanding team at the Toronto International Film Festival who actually understand the value of promoting Canadian films, tireless indie publicists, and those who take the time to build a Canadian film industry despite a closed-door policy.

Most of all, I am grateful for my team of writers and editors who believe in Canadian films as I do, the fans of the CFR who support Canadian films not because they are Canadian but because they are good, and the filmmakers who I have met and interviewed over the years who make some beautiful movies – you have moved me in ways that only a great story well told can.

Thank you to Alana Marchetto for being as dedicated as I, to the passionate filmmakers who have made me believe in this industry for years, and especially to Director Jean Marc Vallee for telling me I was genuine and authentic, that being the nicest compliment I have ever received from one I feel the same way about.

The Canadian film industry needs an influx of business sense that will allow it to transition from government funding dependency to becoming a viable business, whether that is achievable is no longer a question for me at least.

So it is, I will sign off one last time with that one question I have asked every fan, filmmaker and industry heavyweight “Canada, what was the last great Canadian film you saw?” Do you have an answer?


Kindah Mardam Bey

Publisher | Editor-in-Chief | Canadian Film Advocate | Fan

Canadian Film Review

Aaron Poole and Jacob Switzer Talk The Animal Project

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In the process of creating The Animal Project, writer/director Ingrid Veninger kept things informal and unconventional. She shot many scenes in her own home, cast her son and daughter in the film, and posted playful lightning-round interviews with the cast as early teasers prior to the TIFF world premiere. Aaron Poole plays lead character Leo, frustrated by his students and his distant relationship with his son (played by Veninger’s son Jacob Switzer). Together Switzer and Poole indulge me in my own lightning-round, to chat about their experiences making this unique film.

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Director Ingrid Veninger Talks THE ANIMAL PROJECT


Ingrid Veninger wrote, directed and produced The Animal Project, which had its world premiere at TIFF 2013.  Frustrated acting coach Leo (Aaron Poole) challenges his acting students to an experiment: dress up incognito in animal costumes, and see who you are when you can be anonymous and do anything you wish. After initially rejecting the silly-sounding idea, his students eventually agree to try it with him. The project leads each one, in a different way, to a point of self-discovery and new possibilities. I sat down with Veninger to learn more about her creative process, and how she uses micro-budgets, life experience and gut instincts, to make film from the heart.

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Daniel Radcliffe at The F Word World Premiere

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To the throngs of screaming fans outside the Ryerson theatre during TIFF 2013, Daniel Radcliffe was synonymous with beloved wizard boy Harry Potter. Hours later, charmed by the quirky rom com The F Word at its world premiere, the audience would acknowledge Radcliffe as a talented comedic actor all grown up. Radcliffe’s reputation for being gracious held true, as he diligently scurried to sign every requested autograph possible. He also gave thoughtful answers to the press – about love, comedy, and his musings on being stuck in the “Friend” zone.

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The F Word Red Carpet Premiere (TIFF2013)

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The F Word stars Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan as should-be lovers, stuck in the “Friend zone”. The movie, which was set and filmed in Toronto, prominently features the CN Tower, the Beaches and other notable T.O. haunts. How fitting to have its world premiere at TIFF 2013, where fans enjoyed a stellar red carpet of Canadian and international talents. Actors Radcliffe, Meghan Heffernan, Tommie-Amber Pirie, as well as writer Elan Mastai and director Michael Dowse, chat about the film and their aspirations.

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