Telefilm Canada  has announced its support, through the Canada Feature Film Fund, of the production of nine English-language films and one French-language film for a total investment of $7.1 million. The projects selected for funding are Borealis (Sean Garrity), How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town (Jeremy LaLonde), The People Garden (Nadia Litz), People Hold On (Michael Seater), Prisoner X (Gaurav Seth), Room (Lenny Abrahamson), The Steps (Andrew Currie), Undone (Director X), The Waiting Room (Igor Drljaca), and Ego trip (Benoit Pelletier).
“Canada’s remarkable filmmakers tell stories that explore the variety and richness of the human experience, and do so with distinct voices, imagination and originality,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “We’re very pleased to be supporting this selection of 10 films, which includes debut features by Director X, Benoit Pelletier and Michael Seater, as well as films by more seasoned directors Lenny Abrahamson, Andrew Currie, Sean Garrity, Nadia Litz and Gaurav Seth. From intimate family dramas, to comedies, to searing drama, these films are sure to resonate with audiences in Canada and elsewhere.”
Ontario and Nunavut Region
How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town*
Director: Jeremy LaLonde
Screenwriter: Jeremy LaLonde
Production: Neophyte Productions
Confirmed talent: Jewel Staite (Stargate: Atlantis), Ennis Esmer, Lauren Lee Smith (The Listener), Katharine Isabelle (American Mary), Lauren Holly (Dumb and Dumber, Picket Fences)
How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town is about a group of friends who live in the picturesque town of Beaver’s Ridge—the epitome of wholesomeness and strong family values. Their orderly life is interrupted by the homecoming of Cassie Cranston, whom they slut-shamed into leaving town when she was a teenager. Now a big-city sex writer, Cassie returns home to face an unwelcome reception by her former friends, and finds an opportunity to seek revenge by writing a book about them when they ask her if she’ll help them plan an orgy.
The People Garden*
Director: Nadia Litz (Hotel Congress)
Screenwriter: Nadia Litz
Production: Scythia Films, Jobro Productions, Aiken Heart Productions
Confirmed talent: Dree Hemingway (Starlet), Pamela Anderson (Scary Movie 3), François Arnaud (The Borgias, J’ai tué ma mère), Liane Balaban (The Grand Seduction, The Trotsky)
Sweetpea travels to Japan to discover her rock-star boyfriend has vanished into a mysterious forest. As Sweetpea comes closer to the truth, she discovers what lies beneath the surface of her own world.
People Hold On*
Director: Michael Seater
Screenwriters: Michael Seater, Paula Brancati
Production: BrancSeater Productions
Distribution: Shaftesbury Sales Company
Confirmed talent: Katie Boland (Reign, Gerontophilia) Paula Brancati (Being Erica, Degrassi: The Next Generation), Mazin Elsadig, Ashley Leggat, Jonathan Malen, Al Mukadam, Noah Reid, Chloe Rose
Release: Fall 2015
People Hold On is an intimate exploration of relationships, friends, enemies, love and loss set during a weekend away at the cottage.
Director: Gaurav Seth (A Passage to Ottawa)
Screenwriter: Gaurav Seth
Production: Federgreen Entertainment, Sir Harry Films
Distribution: Indiecan Entertainment
Confirmed talent: Michelle Nolden (Saving Hope), Romano Ozari (Turbo Kid), Damon Runyan (Gangland Undercover), Julian Richings (Orphan Black)
Release: Spring 2016
As the world rages in war and civil strife, a CIA agent arrives at a secret underground prison to interrogate a time-traveling terrorist, whom she believes is responsible for the unfolding catastrophe.
Room (majority Canadian coproduction with Ireland)
Director: Lenny Abrahamson (Frank)
Screenwriter: Emma Donoghue
Production: No Trace Camping, Element Pictures
Distribution: Elevation Pictures Corporation
Confirmed talent: Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Jacob Tremblay (The Smurfs 2), Joan Allen (The Bourne Supremacy, Nixon), William H. Macy (Shameless, Magnolia, Fargo)
Told through the eyes of five-year-old-Jack, Room is a thrilling and emotional tale that celebrates the resilience and power of the human spirit. To Jack, Room is the world…. it’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. But while it’s home to Jack, to Ma it’s a prison. Through her fierce love for her son, Ma has managed to create a childhood for him in their 10-by-10-foot space. But as Jack’s curiosity is building alongside Ma’s own desperation—she knows that Room cannot contain either indefinitely.
Director: Andrew Currie (Fido)
Screenwriter: Robyn Harding
Production: Quadrant Motion Pictures
Distribution: Entertainment One Films Canada
Confirmed talent: Jason Ritter (Parenthood, Joan of Arcadia), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Entourage), James Brolin (Catch Me if You Can, Sisters), Christine Lahti (Chicago Hope, Running on Empty) , Vinay Virmani (Dr. Cabbie, Breakaway), Benjamin Arthur (Less Than Kind), Kate Corbett (Family Biz), Steve McCarthy (Picture Day)
Jeff Stabler, a former financial planner from New York, has lost everything: his apartment, his job and his fiancée. When he learns that his wealthy dad, Ed, has married Sherry, a cocktail waitress from Northern Ontario, Jeff agrees to accompany his party-girl sister to an opulent lake house to meet their new step-family. The clan arrives to the announcement that Ed and Sherry are planning to adopt Mingmei, a young orphaned girl from China. The Steps is the story of two disparate families, with all their issues and baggage, learning to come together over the course of a weekend.
Director: Director X (aka Julien Christian Lutz)
Screenwriter: Floyd Kane
Production: Freddie Films, Circle Blue Films, DHX Media
Confirmed talent: Stephan James (Selma), Sarah Jeffery (Wayward Pines), Steven Love (1313: Bigfoot Island), Shamier Anderson (The Next Step), Cara Ricketts (The Book of Negroes)
Undone follows two Nova Scotian high schoolers—Mattie Slaughter, a black NHL prospect, and Jayme Crawley, an aspiring talent manager—who find their post-graduation dreams jeopardized when a race riot at their school engulfs their personal lives.
The Waiting Room*
Director: Igor Drljaca (Krivina)
Screenwriter: Igor Drljaca
Production: TimeLapse Pictures, Gearshift Films, YN Films
Confirmed talent: Jasmin Geljo (Land of the Dead), Filip Geljo (Odd Squad), Ma-Anne Dionisio, Masa Lizdek, Cynthia Ashperger, Goran Slavkovic, Zeljko Kecojevic
Release: Fall 2015
Jasmin, a once successful actor in pre-war Yugoslavia, is now living in Toronto with his second wife and 10-year-old son. He secretly plots to return to Sarajevo to restart his acting career.
Director: Benoit Pelletier
Screenwriter: François Avard
Distribution: Les Films Séville
Confirmed talent: Patrick Huard (Mommy, Bon Cop, Bad Cop), Guy Jodoin (Dans une galaxie près de chez vous), Marie-Ève Milot (Le vrai du faux), Gardy Fury, Antoine Bertrand (Louis Cyr, Starbuck)
Release: Summer 2015
After having achieved professional success, talk-show host Marc Morin finds himself at both a personal and professional crossroads. In an attempt to get him back on track, his agent decides to send him to Haiti, five years after the 2010 earthquake, to serve as the spokesperson for a Quebec NGO. Marc has neither the time nor the inclination for the trip. But the adventure he embarks on eventually changes his life, for the better. Accompanied by a shallow communications officer, a zealous photographer and an amateur singer, Marc undertakes an action-packed media tour of Haiti. The adventure leads him into the most unexpected, funny and sometimes risky situations, which will change his outlook on life.
Director: Sean Garrity (My Awkward Sexual Adventure)
Screenwriter: Jonas Chernick
Production: Buffalo Gal Pictures, Banana-Moon Sky Films, Vigilante Productions
Distribution: Northern Banner Releasing (Canada)
Confirmed talent: Jonas Chernick (My Awkward Sexual Adventure), Joey King (White House Down), Kevin Pollak (A Few Good Men, The Usual Suspects), Emily Hampshire (Ruby Gloom, Snow Cake), Clé Bennett (Barney’s Version), Jake Epstein (Degrassi: The Next Generation)
Release: Fall 2015
Jonah (36) is unemployed, his girlfriend just dumped him, and he owes a substantial gambling debt to the local bookie. Aurora (15), Jonah’s pot-smoking daughter, has problems of her own. Her vision disorder is getting worse and she’s losing patience for her apathetic single father, who disappoints at every turn. When Aurora’s optometrist tells Jonah that his daughter is losing what’s left of her vision and that she’ll soon be completely blind, Jonah drags Aurora on a dangerous road trip north to Churchill, Manitoba, determined to show her the most beautiful sight he’s ever seen in his life—the magnificent Northern Lights—before she loses her vision completely.
*Lower-budget feature films