Author Archives: fordhampr


As you know, I search out any Australian film or TV news I can find online – so much content is not shared with those of us on the other side of the world: streaming platforms for films are geo-blocked due to distribution deals that don’t include the Canada/US territory so I have to live vicariously thru my Down Under production mates and various news sources. I recently discovered a very talented filmmaker, BENJAMIN SCOTFORD (pictured below) who produced an exciting behind-the-scenes documentary titled IN THE TRENCHES that follows the machinations of a feature film production called Before Dawn, directed by Jordan Prince-Wright.Benjamin’s doc has been getting lots of buzz on the festival circuit and this past weekend, was premiered at the Revelation Film Fest presented in Perth, Western Australia (my childhood/teenage home) – the WWI action/adventure feature was filmed in the southern part of the state complete with muddy trenches (hence the title of Ben’s film), cannons and gunfire, and Ben took his own crew into the fray, following the actors, the director and crew, to shoot all the activity from the busy set. It was quite the feat – staying out of the way yet capturing all the action of a war film production in close-up.
Director’s Statement: This documentary is intended to be a standalone story, enjoyable for a wide range of audiences, even if they are unfamiliar with Before Dawn or Australia’s involvement in WWI. I have aimed to capture the story in a manner that closely reflects my first-hand experience of witnessing a group of dedicated filmmakers working against a mountain of obstacles before knowing the final outcome.
I spoke with Benjamin recently and asked that he share his thoughts and stories…from the trenches.

How difficult was it for you to shoot all the behind-the-scenes footage amongst the film crew, the mud and the actors?  There’s always an element of challenge with BTS footage because the most important part of your job is to stay out of the way and avoid disrupting the production itself. That said, it’s quite a fun challenge to find ways of filming what’s happening while keeping a low profile and staying out of the way. One big challenge with this project was that I also had to look out for my own camera gear among the rainy conditions and muddy set. By the end, I had worked out a streamlined setup that protected my gear from the wet weather, while still having the flexibility to move quickly and get quality footage.
Aside from that, a lot of the creative challenges come down to building scenes through the on-set footage to help tell the story in the edit. I had to make sure that each time we moved location, I got a variety of shots that could build upon each other. Sometimes this meant following different crew members in a way that would showcase their process. It is easy to get one or two good angles of something happening, but having a series of shots that tell a full story really helps in the edit. What inspired you to undertake this project?  I love watching behind the scenes content and noticed recently that there hasn’t been a regular influx of high quality, insightful documentaries in that space. I’ve always thought it would be a fun area to work in, and since I’ve started doing it, I’ve grown more and more passionate about seeing it done in an innovative way.

I know you’ve submitted to film festivals around the world…are you hoping to showcase your doc via streaming platforms, too? Maybe Prime or Netflix?  Absolutely! Details to come soon. Am sure there was a great deal of camaraderie on-set – were you and your small crew included or did you remain separate from the feature film folks?  A bit of both. During lunch breaks and other moments throughout the day, we enjoyed getting to know the cast and crew and feeling like a part of the team. However, we did try to stay a little bit separate on set so that we could tell the story from a more observational perspective. Overall, it really did feel like we were all part of a big team, since we were all going through a very similar experience together. Did you relate to the young director/producer Jordan Prince-Wright, both being of the same generation of filmmakers? Did that make you sympathetic to his tremendous responsibility?  Yes, I’ve got a lot of respect for the way Jordon works and how much he is able to accomplish. I’m not sure I would want as much pressure as he’s under, but it’s been inspiring to see him make it work as well as he has. I think passion breeds passion. Seeing how much he was putting into the project got me really excited to bring the same level of passion to my part, which also transferred to the team I was working with for the behind the scenes. Hopefully, we’ll see you at film/doc festivals over the coming months – what’s next for you?  Exciting times! We are hoping to screen In the Trenches in some more film festivals, since a lot of our target market is made up of people who are excited by the filmmaking process. I’m also producing behind the scenes content for a few other films, and working towards doing a lot more of it in the future.

Thanks, Benjamin. So here’s a taste of what an incredible shoot this was, for both the feature filmmaker AND documentarian, Scotford.

Photos courtesy of Keana Naughton

You can follow Ben on his filmmaking journey via LinkedIn or

The doc made me proud to be an Aussie, especially one who loves the movies. Bravo, Ben…I can’t wait to see more of your work.


The International Film Festival of Australia aims to recognize and honor exceptional artists, directors, producers, and the commendable works of feature films, short films, and documentaries from around the globe. The IFFA reaches out across all continents, unites cultures, and celebrates the power of storytelling. So after seeing numerous Instagram and Facebook posts (you know I love anything about my homeland of Australia) I decided to reach out and learn more about this new, diverse film festival.

When was the IFFA established and why – was there a specific creative gap to fill?  IFFA was established in 2021 with its first Awards night in 2023. The International Film Festival of Australia (IFFA) is dedicated to celebrating the captivating world of cinema. As a key player in Australia’s film and digital industry, IFFA showcases outstanding work in feature films, short films, documentaries, and digital media. We are passionate about both local and international talent, and our mission is twofold: to promote Australian films globally and to bring exciting cinema to Australia.  At IFFA, we firmly believe that art transcends boundaries, bridging gaps between cultures, nations, and communities. Through innovative storytelling, technological marvels, and raw human emotions, we strive to foster connections and create a global community united by the power of the silver screen.Who is the Founder and what is his background?   The IFFA’s director and the creator who brought the festival to life is Jatinder Kumar (pictured below). Born in Delhi, India in 1980, he moved to Melbourne in 2007 and embraced an entrepreneurial spirit which began in India after he graduated from the University of Delhi in 2002. He encountered many people from the film industry and began networking with them; having always been interested in film, this began his passion for the world of cinema, culminating in the creation of his own production company, Creative Production Studio, with a short film shot and several projects in development, including a series and a feature film.
Kumar’s IMDb profile:

This passion for film and cinema is what ultimately led Kumar to create IFFA. Born from the challenges he faced in his own career, IFFA represents his ideals for removing barriers of diversity within the industry, bringing all communities to one stage, and providing an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to showcase and celebrate their work. Starting a new festival from the ground up is no easy task, and Kumar had to wear many hats to bring his brainchild, IFFA, to life. The first annual IFFA (2023) had a great attendee turnout including local and international VIPs, such as consulates and international film stars and directors. Reception from guests, filmmakers and actors alike was one the biggest highlights, and the venue and sponsor support was phenomenal. More than that, support and submissions flowed in from around the world, which was the best proof of IFFA’s concept and reach. (Canadian Consulate representative pictured below L)Does the Festival target emerging filmmakers or does it embrace established, more mature creators?  The festival targets both emerging and established filmmakers on the one stage.With the numerous online platforms for viewing films, docs, shorts, etc. do Australian filmmakers embrace non-theatrical distributions for their projects and how does IFFA support that?  Australian filmmakers have increasingly embraced non-theatrical distributions through online platforms, driven by the need for wider audience reach and the flexibility of digital viewing.

IFFA supports this trend through:

  • Partnerships with Streaming Platforms: We are open to collaborating with leading online platforms to showcase films globally.
  • Promotion and Marketing Support: We promote films on our website, social media, and through press coverage.
  • Dedicated Non-Theatrical Awards: We recognize excellence in online releases with our annual awards night.
  • Networking Opportunities: We facilitate connections between filmmakers and digital distributors.

Being based in such an isolated country, how does IFFA reach out to filmmakers and industry creatives from around the world?  IFFA employs several strategies to connect with the global film community:

  • Online Submissions and Networking: We use a robust online platform for film submissions, making it easy for filmmakers worldwide to participate. Our virtual networking events also facilitate global connections.
  • International Partnerships: IFFA collaborates with international film festivals, industry organizations, and cultural institutions to foster global relationships and cross-promotional opportunities.
  • Social media and Digital Marketing: We leverage social media and digital marketing campaigns to engage with a global audience, keeping filmmakers and industry professionals informed about festival updates and opportunities
  • Festival Ambassadors: We appoint festival ambassadors in various regions to promote IFFA and encourage submissions from their local film communities.

Through these efforts, IFFA successfully bridges the geographical gap and maintains a strong global presence, ensuring diverse and international participation.Does IFFA offer any online/streaming of the awards or special screenings for those of us around the world?  IFFA does not offer online streaming, but we hope to stream the annual awards night through our website in the future.
You can follow the Festival’s activities via social media:

Instagram:  @iffaawards
and their website:

Well congratulations to Kumar and all at IFFA and we’ll look forward to this year’s festival later this year, on the 5th of November at the Palms at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.



Congratulations to Bruria Cooperman and her director Eva Almos on last night’s opening of Rebel Bubbie, Inc. at the Alumnae Theatre as part of this year’s annual Toronto Fringe Festival. The theatre was mostly populated by friends and family (and Bruria has a big family) who laughed throughout her 60-minute show recounting stories of her life and what it means to now be a “bubbie” (Jewish grandmother). Even as a first-timer at the Fringe, Bruria owned the stage and seemed very comfortable sharing her thoughts and experiences, never shying away from recounting some of the naughtier moments in her life.So here’s a little background on the show, the stories and the bubbie….  Hot off her scene-stealing appearance in the Adam Sandler film, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, Bruria Cooperman is a semi-reformed, self-confessed renegade who wrote and stars in an unfiltered one-woman comedy, co-written with Almos.  As we learn, she was always in search of adventure, discovering that marriage won’t stop you from being arrested, banned from a casino, being taken into police custody in Yugoslavia for nudging a mule (!) or getting kicked-out of a bagel joint. From performing improv in NYC in the 60s & 70s, being at Woodstock, to drag racing, floating in a weightless space tube, authoring books – Rebel Bubbie has done it all…and only arrested twice (she holds up 3 fingers in a sly aside from the stage!) Cooperman has led a life of trail-blazing: she was part of the first generation of children born in Israel, post-Holocaust. From an early age, she exhibited an attitude of “Hey, look at me!” This adventurous child got into all manner of scrapes with her playmates and on her own. Always finding humour in the darkness, she wrote a book about children born to Holocaust survivors titled For This I Survived? Children of Survivors Beyond the Trauma (avail. on Amazon). When the curtain came down on last night’s show, Bruria was surrounded by well-wishers who embraced her and offered kudos and encouragement for the rest of the run.

And head of ACTRA Toronto, David Gale (pictured below L) also dropped in to congratulate Bruria on her show Emmy-nominated creator Eva also had friends come out to support the show (pictured below, R) and she was pleased to sit and relax after the show…The Toronto Fringe Festival runs over the next 10 days at various locations with numerous plays, musicals, puppetry and dance so check out their website for details Rebel Bubbie, Inc. show is 60-min. and all shows are staged at the Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkley Street, Toronto.
Info & Tickets:
Here are the dates and times:
Thursday, July 4th   6:00 pm  $10.00     Thurs July 11th   8:15 pm $15.00
Saturday, July 6th   12:30 pm $15.00      Friday July 12th  6:00 pm $15.00
Sunday July 7th      2:15 pm   $15.00       Sat. July 13th  3:15 pm $15.00
Wed. July 10th  6:00 pm   $15.00

Again, congrats to the one and only REBEL BUBBIE!


Australian writer, director, producer AND lead actor, MARA JEAN QUINN, can finally take a breath, sit down, relax and reflect on the cinematic journey she’s (almost) completed. Her first indie feature film project ANDAMOOKA, is now completed and after a little respite to re-energize, Mara Jean is now on a quest to get the film distributed across Australia and around the world. Major decisions still being made include whether to screen in theatres, at festivals, or via one of the many streaming platforms that international audiences can access…and getting the $s to take her to all the film festivals as well.
I originally spoke with Mara Jean back in May of 2023 when she was still fundraising to finish the last stages of production (search previous blog using key word “Andamooka”) and I’m thrilled to hear all her positive news, especially that she has recently expanded her non-film family to include a baby daughter – congratulations, MJ!  So let’s catch up with her and learn how the process of making an indie film has enlightened and empowered her…..

Now that the film has been completed, was the effort (production, travel, funding quest, sleepless nights) worth it?   I think so, but because it hasn’t been seen by audiences yet, it’s hard to be resolved in all the work that’s gone into it. Once it’s premiered and done some festivals, it will feel more real. Right now the film exists in a bit of a vacuum, only the creators and a few other people have seen it. In terms of learning, the last five years feels like I’ve completed a PhD in filmmaking. I am still no master by any means, but I do feel I’ve got a real understanding of what goes into a film and I am grateful for that. I also look forward to seeing what opportunities arise as a result of completing my debut feature, hopefully those make it all worthwhile too.In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently, either as producer or director? There are so many things I did wrong at literally every stage of the production. I think this was mostly due to my naivety and lack of producing experience. If I had the knowledge and wisdom I have now there is no way I would take such risk and sink so much time and money into a project. So from that perspective I’m grateful I had no idea what I was doing, because it means I actually did it.
Next time I would like to have a distributor behind me from the start as well as a producer (and some decent funding!).  I am not a producer at heart, only out of necessity. There are far more talented and skilled producers out there who I’d love to work with. I also don’t think I’ll direct myself in a lead role again, I really love collaborating with other artists and the director-actor relationship is very special.

Congratulations on a beautifully shot film – the country is clearly a character itself and many of the shots are nothing short of breathtaking. Who scouted locations for you?  Thank you, I really do love the cinematography; Adamooka’s DOP Danni Ogilive did an incredible job.  I agree, the landscape is a character, it’s often just Alex set amongst an epic landscape. In terms of finding the locations, I had conversations with people I knew in the Territory when I was writing the script so I had a few ideas of places to go and particular spots to shoot scenes. We also happened across lots of places along the road, often by just needing somewhere to camp that night. Of course, the locals in each place shared some of their favourite spots and we were able to explore those. We went to so many amazing places, it actually pains me how much had to end up on the edit room floor.
In the middle of shooting and funding campaigns, you had a baby….talk about multi-tasking!! Now that both your babies are alive and kicking, I have to ask: would you undertake such a cinematic journey again?  Hmmm, that’s a good one. I would love to shoot another film, and even another road movie/adventure film, but I would need someone there to help with my baby. Either my partner or my Mum, but my partner is an amazing filmmaker too, so I’d want his attention on the film. To make another film in general I would need a lot more support anyway. My little girl would just add to the madness. She was actually born shortly after the completion of the film, thankfully.

Have you had a screening for cast, production crew, friends and family? And if so, what was their feedback? My friends and family want to see it at the premiere and actually celebrate it, so they’re holding off. Some have seen little snippets and have been very supportive. There’s a huge section in the credits called “Encouragement Thanks” with a huge list of names. I think in general it’s hard for people who know you to see you acting and separate you from the character. Also, the screenplay is very personal and my friends and family witnessed some parts of the story that are inspired by real life (big break up, I was a mess etc.), so it’s hard for them to see me in such pain, even though it’s years after.Have you secured theatrical distribution or festival showcases?  I have had lots of good feedback from the distributors I’ve chatted to, and there are a couple of offers, but it’s really hard to know which way to jump. A number of distributors have said it may not suit a theatrical release, unfortunately, but we’ll see. As long as it has a life and finds its audience. There are a few festivals I am currently waiting to hear from and am actively entering more – though everything costs money, so this limits the entries.

And what is your next film project…after a suitable rest, of course?  I have a couple of series in development and there are a few feature screenplay drafts from over the years too, plus the want to make multiple documentaries about things I am passionate about, but nothing I am actively pushing. Being the only one managing Andamooka I simply don’t have time or mental capacity to be creative or really start on the next project until it’s released. Who knew a film took so much paperwork! Having a nine week old baby takes a fair bit of my time too.  Thanks, Glenda

I’m so happy to see Mara Jean reach completion of the film, overcoming all the inherent challenges that stood in her way. Pure guts and a belief in herself and her script, as well as surrounding herself with the right people to drive the project to the finish line. Bravo!

You can follow Mara Jean’s creative journey via: and


Just 6-weeks until Toronto welcomes the annual theatrical Fringe Festival, offering a multitude of comedy and drama presentations by hundreds of actors, writers, directors and hard-working crews. Hot off her scene-stealing appearance in the Adam Sandler film, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, 75yr old Bruria Cooperman, a.k.a. Rebel Bubbie, a semi-reformed, self-confessed renegade, stars in an unfiltered one-woman comedy at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. Always in search of adventure, Rebel Bubbie has discovered that marriage won’t stop you from being arrested, banned from a casino, or getting kicked-out of a bagel joint. From performing improv in NYC in the 60s & 70s, to directing and producing theatre, to drag racing (the 4-wheeled kind), floating in a weightless space tube, writing books – Rebel Bubbie has done it all! And only arrested twice! Cooperman has led a life of trail-blazing: she was part of the first generation of children born in Israel, post-Holocaust. From an early age, she exhibited an attitude of “Hey, look at me!” This adventurous child got into all manner of scrapes with her playmates and on her own. Always finding humour in the darkness, she wrote a book about children born to Holocaust survivors titled For This I Survived? Children of Survivors Beyond the Trauma (avail. on Amazon).Rebel Bubbie posts fun videos sharing her “Yiddish Word of the Day” on her YouTube channel – subscribe to: @RebelBubbie. Follow on Facebook & Instagram.

Definition: Traditionally, a bubbie (the Yiddish word for grandmother) wore floral housecoats, made chicken soup and gave you the biggest hug. Today’s bubbie still loves you, but wears designers suits, plays tennis and orders in.  Bruria’s co-writer, executive producer and director is Eva Almos (pictured below) who has found success as a writer/executive producer on both the East and West coast. A graduate of the Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop, Eva began her career as staff writer of multiple episodes of Duckman.  She won a CableACE Award and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for the episode “Noir Gang.”  She has worked on numerous live action and animated series including The Wild Thornberrys, Pinky and the Brain and Invader Zim.Eva went on to develop and executive produce the animated series Carl Squared for Teletoon, developed Dave Darling-Head Case for Starburns Industries, and developed/wrote the popular TVO/PBS series Wild Kratts where she also plays fashion-designing villain Donita Donata.  I remember Eva as the voice of so many brilliant radio commercials in the 80s/90s – so good was she, that Eva became the go-to voice actor for every advertiser, but bigger things beckoned her in Hollywood…and the rest is tv history!I’m thrilled to be publicizing Rebel Bubbie, Inc. throughout the Toronto Fringe Fest period so watch for news on my social media throughout the next 6 weeks.

All 60-min. shows take place at the Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkley Street, Toronto
Thursday, July 4th   6:00 pm  $10.00
Saturday, July 6th   12:30 pm $15.00
Sunday July 7th       2:15 pm   $15.00
Wed. July 10th         6:00 pm  $15.00
Thurs July 11th        8:15 pm   $15.00
Friday July 12th      6:00 pm  $15.00
Sat. July 13th           3:15 pm   $15.00


Thanks to my friend Justin Poy, I’m pleased to share information about an important exhibition that’s part of May’s Asian Heritage Month here in Canada. The ACCT Foundation (Action! Chinese Canadians Together) in partnership with the CCCGT (Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto) and The Justin Poy Agency, supported by ACENet (Asian Canadian Educators Network), are pleased to announce a new national touring exhibition titled, “Eating Bitterness: The Canadian Journey from Exclusion to Inclusion”.Eating Bitterness (吃苦 – chi ku) refers to the Chinese proverb indicating how the endurance of hardship can lead to strength. This exhibit examines the little-known history of anti-Chinese immigration legislation in Canada, which included the Chinese Exclusion Act (1923-1947) and segues to stories of resilience and triumph. Visitors will learn about the circumstances that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act and the legacy that it left behind.  Anti-Chinese legislation kept families apart, created so-called “bachelor societies” and led to mandated registration and documentation under the threat of fines, detainment, deportation and humiliation. This very special exhibit opens the dialogue for all Canadians to examine their own communities and to feel proud of the success that members of their communities have achieved despite a history of adversity. Below: Toronto Mayor, Olivia Chow at the exhibition openingBelow: Alan Lam, Chair of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto.
Canada’s future depends on how we treat others and embrace inclusiveness – after the law was repealed in 1947, Canada saw the rise of many prominent Chinese Canadians, a hope that never would have been possible before. This project is part of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The exhibit features footage from The National Remembrance which took place on June 23, 2023 inside the Senate Chamber where the act was passed on July 1st, 1923 and features, “A Song for the Paper Children”, a poem written and performed by Christopher Tse. Visitors to the exhibit will be guided through this journey via a combination of images, stories, videos and an interactive component which will enable them to participate, relating to the experience of Chinese Canadians with their own stories. “Eating Bitterness” will be shown as well as the film, “No Canada Without Me”. This exhibit is funded by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. “Eating Bitterness: The Canadian Journey from Exclusion to Inclusion” opened this past Friday, May 17, 2024 at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto located at 5183 Sheppard Ave East, Scarborough, Ontario. The exhibition is part of the 2024 Asian Heritage Month series supported by The Ministry of Education in the Province of Ontario, and will be open to the public from May 17 to June 15, 2024 from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday at the Cultural Centre and entry is FREE of charge.  Please visit for more information and future touring dates.

And I have to give a grateful shout-out to Justin who, over the years, has invited me to so many interesting exhibitions that have educated me and exposed me to so many different cultural engagements. The Justin Poy Agency (JPA) is an award-winning Toronto-based full service advertising agency and production house founded in 1993. The Agency was created on the basis that all promotional campaigns in Canada should speak directly to the diverse audiences that make up this country. JPA produces award-winning advertising campaigns and videos in multiple languages and includes casting that represents Canada’s multicultural mosaic so that every project can REACH. EVERYONE.  Justin Poy (pictured below) during the opening ceremony.


Was thrilled to be put in touch with first-time author PAUL FISHER via our mutual friend, Carla Collins. Strange how we are all connected…but maybe not so strange according to Paul whose debut novel LIKE A RIVER TO THE SEA encompasses life, death and beyond.  When Paul was 20, his father died at the young age of 47. Paul was with his father during the last few days of his dad’s life and, in fact, was with him in the Intensive Care Unit as his father’s heart failed on several occasions, resulting in a series of near-death experiences. His father, upon resuscitation from each of these events, told Paul that there was a world that existed beyond this life, and did his best to describe the feelings and philosophies that he had been exposed to during his brief sojourns into the “other side”.Like a River to the Sea is the story of an ordinary man, who, it turns out, has a most extraordinary story to tell. Joshua Davidson was born in Nashville Tennessee; in his 41st year, he is about to die there. This is the story of his life, his loves, his hopes, dreams and fears. It is also the story of what happens to him at the moment he shuffles off this mortal coil, and then what lays beyond. It will change the way you look at your own life, and how you tell your own story. Joshua’s story will help you understand how all the seemingly random people and events that collide with us in our lives are, in fact, quite premeditated and full of purpose. The book explores life, death, connections, mystery and the metaphysical. Here is what Paul shared with me….

Paul also shared his thoughts on things metaphysical or spiritual, that he always had questions since childhood and how that impacted his writing…

Paul has enjoyed a successful career in media, first as a popular radio announcer, then media executive and now author. Recently retired from the radio industry, he worked with several major Canadian media companies including Rogers Media, CHUM Radio and Bell Media.

I asked Paul that knowing what he learnt from his father’s passing and coming to terms with the experience over the decades in-between, would he change anything about his own life or career choices….

The book has been out for a few months now so I asked Paul what sort of feedback he’s received from readers, both friends and strangers….

So is there a second book in the works? And who are your readers?

It was a pleasure chatting with you, Paul, and so the promo dance begins. I’ll be reaching out to Canadian & int’l literary, arts & entertainment media for interviews and reviews so thank you to everyone for supporting Canadian authors. Follow Paul’s writing journey on Fcbk & Instagram:  @PaulFisherauthor

Author:   Paul Fisher
Publisher:‎ Ozark Mountain Publishing Inc.
Soft cover $22.00 (285 Pages)
Kindle or audio book: $9.99
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other popular platforms
ISBN: 9781950639090


TODAY IS NATIONAL CANADIAN FILM DAY! Here’s how we can celebrate our films and filmmakers….

Today, April 17th, is National Canadian Film Day (CanFilmDay), presented by REEL CANADA, which will shine a spotlight on Canadian films so distinct, delightful, eccentric, and profoundly human that even the most advanced Artificial Intelligence couldn’t conceive them!  The 2024 programming spotlight, Films That A.I. Could Never Make, reaffirms that no algorithm can embody the essence, or conjure the creativity inherent in a Canadian film.The beating heart of CanFilmDay celebrations are the more than 1,000 screenings, in every province and territory, and in more than 39 countries around the world and hundreds of offerings on broadcast and streaming services for every human to enjoy. Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada is once again the Vice Regal patron of National Canadian Film Day.  “With more and more of our lives governed by algorithms, it seems more important than ever to highlight the originality, passion and, well, humanity that infuses the best of Canadian cinema,” said Artistic Director Sharon Corder.

Programming highlights across the country include:

Premieres & Sneak Peeks

An exciting lineup of pre-release screenings, giving audiences nationwide a chance to see the top new offerings before their official release. Films include:

  • Ally Pankiw’s debut feature, I Used to Be Funny, in a cross-Canada sneak preview ahead of its June 7th release date on more than 20 screens thanks to the Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE).
  • The red carpet premiere of The King Tide in St. John’s, NL, featuring members of the cast and director Christian Sparkes.
  • In Toronto, the World premiere of Caitlin Cronenberg’s film Humane, with special guest stars Jay Baruchel and Emily Hampshire.
  • A sneak preview of the new Highball.TV film Mother of All Shows at the Stirling Festival Theatre in Stirling, ON, where the film was shot. With director Melissa D’Agostino.
  • In Vancouver, a sneak of The Great Salish Heist, Darrell Dennis’ hilarious new no-budget Indigenous caper flick.

In Memoriam
Three major figures have sadly passed since our last CanFilmDay. They will be honoured with tributes spotlighting their indelible legacies.

  • To honour the passing of acclaimed filmmaker Charles Officer, also a CanFilmDay board member and beloved friend, join us for a special screening of Akilla’s Escape, and a discussion with filmmakers he inspired, hosted in Toronto by Regent Park Film Festival and BIPOC Film & TV.
  • VIFF will host a rare presentation of the biographic documentary The Life & Times of Norman Jewison to honour the passing of the legendary director.
  • Two major events – by the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa in partnership with the Director’s Guild of Canada in Ontario – will pay tribute to the late pioneer Don Shebib, with screenings of his groundbreaking feature, Goin’ Down the Road. A live Q&A with Jayne Eastwood and DGC Ontario chair Annie Bradley, his friend and colleague, will follow the CFI screening in Ottawa.

Film Festival Partner Screenings

  • In Toronto, writer/director Matt Johnson joins The Canadian Film Festival for a special screening of his smash-hit comedy Blackberry, which recently earned a record-setting 17 Canadian Screen Award nominations.
  • The Vancouver International Film Festival is going all out for CanFilmDay!  Programming includes a special 30th-anniversary screening of Double Happiness with director Mina Shum, a tribute to the late iconic director Norman Jewison, and more.
  • The Oakville Festival of Film and Art presents Barney’s Version, the adaptation of the beloved Mordecai Richler novel, featuring a discussion of the film with producer Robert Lantos hosted by Daniel Richler.
  • Reelworld Screen Institute presents a special 25th-anniversary screening of the landmark film Another Planet, the first Canadian feature film directed by a Black woman, followed by a Q&A with the film’s director, Christene Browne. This screening is proudly supported by Ontario Creates.
  • imagineNATIVE presents a special screening of their 2023 Audience Choice Award winner, Café Daughter, followed by a Q&A with director Shelley Niro (Mohawk), all happening in her home community.
  • 35th-anniversary screening of ROADKILL by Bruce McDonald, followed by a Q&A with co-writer & star Don McKellar, at the recently opened Redwood Theatre in Toronto.
  • TIFF presents a special screening of Philippe Falardeau’s breakout hit, La moitié gauche du frigo (The Left-Hand Side of the Fridge). The screening will be followed by a virtual Q&A with Philippe Falardeau about the film.
  • Calgary Underground Film Festival presents a rare 35mm presentation of the classic Alberta-shot horror film Ghostkeeper, with a Q&A with director Jim Makichuk, screenwriter Doug Macleod, story consultant Dave Makichuk and the lead of the film, Murray Ord.

Plus, these highlights:

  • A partnership with Global Affairs Canada will bring Canadian films to 39 countries worldwide! Special events range in size from the Argentinian premiere of Intercepted at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival with the director in attendance to a charity screening of Tu te souviendras de moi benefiting the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
  • An estimated 20,000 high school students from more than 200 schools from every province and territory will engage in RCtv, our annual interactive livestream event. This year,  journalist Kelly Boutsalis (Mohawk) will host a discussion with Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki) to discuss her film, Honour to Senator Murray Sinclair, and will facilitate a nationwide student conversation reflecting on Canada’s legacy of Indian Residential Schools and pathways towards reconciliation.
  • Friends of Canadian Media presents a virtual screening of Sarah Polley’s documentary Stories We Tell, followed by a conversation between REEL CANADA Executive Director, Jack Blum, and Marla Boltman, Executive Director of Friends of Canadian Media.

Communities across the country that are going all-out for CanFilmDay include: 

  • The First Ontario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, ON, is screening Anne of Green Gables with raspberry cordial-themed mocktails, PEI photo props and musical enhancements.
  • La Maison des artistes visuels in Winnipeg, MB, is screening Ru with a local professor of Vietnamese history.
  • In Slocan, BC, the local Legion is screening two films and holding a silent auction.
  • The Milton Public Library in Milton, ON is screening Canadian films throughout the week of April 15 – 19.
  • In Annapolis Royal NS, the King’s Theatre Society is showing five films on April 17, with refreshments available.
  • A companion workshop on Indigenous traditional arts will run before a screening of Bones of Crows in the Jasper, AB Community Habitat for the Arts.

More than two dozen major broadcast and streaming partners will be scheduling Canadian programming in honour of CanFilmDay. Visit the official website for info:  Founding Sponsor Cineplex is providing over two dozen cinema screens across the country.  The Landmark Cinema chain is also contributing venues in several communities. Both partners will screen the CanFilmDay promo PSA as part of their pre-show presentations.

Events across Canada and worldwide will feature appearances by special guests including Barry Avrich, Kelly Boutsalis, Christene Brown, Caitlin Cronenberg, Renee Courchene (Anicinabe), Melissa D’Agostino, Atom Egoyan, Philippe Falardeau, Tareq Hadhad, Emily Hampshire, Matt Johnson, Robert Lantos, Jason Loftus, Jim Makichuk, Dave Makichuk, Don McKellar, Doug Macleod, Alison Murray, Murray Ord, Alanis Obomsawin, Matthew Rankin, Mina Shum, Gail Singer, Christian Sparkes, Éric Tessier and Vinay Virmani.

CanFilmDay is a huge endeavour that’s made possible through the efforts of dedicated sponsors and partners who support filmmakers year after year, including Telefilm Canada, CBC, Hollywood Suite, Cineplex, Landmark Cinemas, Ontario Arts Council, RBC Foundation, DGC Ontario, Ontario Creates, CMPA, ACTRA, AFBS and more.

Visit for more information and you can also visit Facebook, TikTok and Instagram: @CanFilmDay and #CanFilmDay.

REEL CANADA is a charitable organization that promotes the diversity of Canadian film and its power to spark important conversations about what it means to be Canadian. Through our core programmes — Our Films in Our Schools, Welcome to Canada, Reel Opportunities, and National Canadian Film Day (CanFilmDay) — REEL CANADA has reached millions of students, new Canadians, and general audience members.


Oh, how I LOVE this funny lady! Carla Collins has been making me laugh for many years (I won’t say how many ‘coz a lady never tells her age – Carla’s or mine!). This Canadian-born comedy powerhouse has created a brilliant creative niche for herself in Los Angeles that puts Ryan Seacrest to shame – Carla does it all.  She’s won awards for her acting, has built a HUGE fan-base for her stand-up comedy and tv series, modelled, authored an hysterical autobiographical book, and is now conquering the radio airwaves as co-host of the LA AF show. She also Founded a unique comedy/meditation program that launched just as Covid hit us (and it took off online throughout pandemic isolation) and is currently applying her artsy-fartsy sketching skills to produce custom “vision boards” for friends and clients. Way too many skills and credits to list here…whew! So why don’t I just let her tell it herself….laughing out loud is permissible and inevitable!!Carla, as the old ad says… “you’ve come a long way baby”. Did you ever imagine you would be such a successful creative producer, web series hostess, author and comedy goddess in Los Angeles when you first stepped onto the comedy stages here in Toronto?  Oh Honey, you’re so sweet but I’m just out here hustling and happy to be doing what I love. Been a rough couple of years for the industry with the strikes and the Jean-Claude Pan Damme so I’m lucky I’m a bit of an arts Swiss army knife and can do some comedy, some acting, some voiceover work, some hosting and even some drawing. You’ll know that I’ve finally made it when I have a butler called Cavendish, warm kittens stacked up next to my bidet instead of moist toilettes and I’m wearing Fruit of the Illuminati underwear!I remember back in…well, quite some time ago… when the CTV network sent you to Hollywood to host their Oscar red carpet news and interviews. Was it terrifying or did you feel you were finally with “my people”?   Yup, it’s been a minute since my red-carpet days and I think I was one of the first Canucks covering the Oscars red-carpet. It was pretty nerve wracking at the time because we were live, and I used to get very anxious doing new things. Now I would jump up and do 45 minutes of stand-up at a garage sale! I have always loved LA but I don’t think this place is necessarily anyone’s tribe or people, more like another planet with great weather! It was wonderful to meet Sting in person and ask him what would last longer, an Academy Awards acceptance speech or a tantric orgasm? As I remember, I took a lot of heat for the Judy Jetson outfit I wore. No regrets!  (G: Oh I remember that orange sparkly thing well)

Comedic Meditation – you launched this initiative several years ago, helping people reach nirvana (or at least sort out some shit) via comedy and yoga and just chillin’ out – a strange intersection of philosophies, sure, but it all worked. How/why did you launch CM and how important did your online presentations become during Covid?  Actually, there’s absolutely no yoga involved whatsoever, even though I’ve been practising yoga for a couple of decades now. This is simply stand-up comedy followed by an authentic, original guided meditation. It happened pretty organically as I have been a big fan of meditation for years. My Mom practiced Transcendental Meditation so I’ve always known how beneficial meditation can be but so many people in LA are self-proclaimed gurus and many of my friends were too intimidated to go to a meditation center. I started this at a friend’s chiropractic and wellness space here in the valley one night a few months before the pandemic. I had been writing my own meditations for a couple of years because I wasn’t loving the ones online and I wanted to remove the woo woo factor and make meditation more accessible and digestible to everyone. I’m also a very hyper person, most of the time I shake like a chihuahua on meth after a couple of 5 Hour Energy drinks so I figured laughing for 20 or 30 minutes before sitting or lying still to meditate would help burn some energy, release endorphins or at the very least, people would hear about my crazy life and feel better about theirs! Turns out laughter and mediation are a great combo because they both produce the same gamma brainwaves.People seemed to really enjoy the odd marriage right out of the gate, and I was lucky to get some lovely media coverage early on. Chuckle & Chill (that’s what I call it now) combines my two greatest passions: comedy and wellness/spirituality. I think it seems natural that haha moments would lead to aha moments. I was in Canada doing a mini-Chuckle & Chill tour when the world shutdown and C&C transitioned fairly seamlessly online. I believe people were very stressed and felt more comfortable doing this in their own places. Everyone loved that they could just roll over and go to sleep after a session and didn’t have to drive home! I tailor both the comedy and the meditations to make them more personal for each group or individual.  I mean who doesn’t need to laugh and relax more in these rapture adjacent times?

You currently have several projects on the go, including Laugh of Attraction, and especially your unique Vision Pop Boards. You’re helping people create visualizations of their wishes and dreams, right? So how can we get our own customized vision boards? Yes! The Laugh of Attraction family now includes Laffirmations (merry mantras that make you giggle and punch through to your subconscious more easily than the generic affirmations. For example: “My skin is as smooth as jazz” or “I have an attitude of gratitude when I’m in the nude”), “Chaneling” instead of channeling with my French lingerie model stand up psychic character Souffle (“Knock, knock, I know who’s there and what to wear”), Vision Pop Boards where I draw you and what you want to manifest (see below) and coming soon my Tarot Grigio comedic tarot card deck.When I was a kid and throughout high school, I wanted to be a fine artist. Shout out to my Facebook friend and high school art teacher Mr. Olsen! I would overthink and stress about each drawing or painting, so I abandoned my watercolors even though art was my first love. This year I started sketching again on the down low. My brother and best pal Rick, who teaches Art History at a private school in New Zealand, saw my sketches when he was visiting over the holidays and encouraged me to keep going.  I was sketching little vision boards because I heard it was a great manifestation tool and I found it very therapeutic. Rick asked me to make him one. I posted a couple of them online and started getting orders from friends and lovely people on socials. Rick felt my style was more pop art/cartoon thus Vision Pop Boards! Basically, I ask people to send me a few pictures of themselves along with things they love and want to bring into their lives. I sketch the person in the middle of the piece and use symbols, drawings of their desires, pastels and some magic to create the boards. I also do some generic feelgood boards like a winning scratcher ticket. These can all be used as phone or computer wallpapers. You can order your customized VPB by hitting me up on Insta or FB or emailing me directly: So tell me about your “professional 3-way” with Grace and Jimmy co-hosting the LA AF podcast – how did you meet, what was the “lightbulb moment” that focused your sights on hosting the show? And what is LA AF all about?  Jimmy McCammon and Grace Fae McCammon reached out to me on Instagram back in December and asked me to be a guest on LA AF, a Los Angeles-centric show that has some fun at the city’s expense. I believe their tagline is News. Culture. Snark. As a good, trusting Canadian, I literally drove to a stranger’s home in Pasadena whom I had never met out in the wild or even spoken to. I keep joking that I could have ended up on Dateline. Instead, I was really impressed because Jimmy is an amazing producer and is very funny. He reminds me of my bro. The whole show has a morning radio vibe, is jam-packed with pop culture and is loosey goosey but professional. Grace is a phenomenal jazz singer, like a modern-day femme fatale from the 1940s and a beautiful spiritual soul. They are just the most lovely and talented couple. The chemistry was straight fire and there was a seamless ease to the hour when I was a guest. In January, Jimmy reached out to ask if I would be interested in being a regular host for two of their three shows a week and it’s been a delight ever since. We are getting some great guests and numbers and I’m loving it. It reminds me of my radio days. I have been asked to join several podcasts but this time it just worked. I believe Jimmy started this podcast during the pandemic then Grace joined him and now, we’re a throuple! Professionally speaking of course.Listeners can stream the shows on Spotify, iTunes, etc. and join LA AF Patreon for the entire show with lots idle extras for just $1 a month

We all loved you in Carlawood – the comedic tv series telling of your quest for fame and paid gigs in Hollywood. So has your life actually mirrored those tv episodes?  Often and it’s only become weirder and more entertaining, I wish we were still filming. It was back on good, old fashioned cable TV in Canada. More recently on Amazon Prime. When I first moved here, I thought people in LA didn’t understand sarcasm but it’s more that it’s so wild and weird in this city, anything is possible and can happen. Los Angeles is almost impossible to parody. I think there is always a lot of fodder in my life mostly because I constantly find myself doing comedy in the oddest places: funerals, wealthy people’s living rooms, nudist colonies (I mean, where am I supposed to keep my phone?). I’ve had to follow Burlesque performers who are wearing less material than Carrot Top’s act and doing gymnastics on stage with great names like BonBon Paris and Lola Boutee. At that moment, I don’t want to do comedy, I just want to become a Burlesque dancer called Gigi Hadidn’t. I’ve performed stand up at a hospice here (that afternoon we were all dying…) and I’ve even performed at the Kabbalah Center in Beverly Hills where I told them my Hebrew drag queen name was Yum Yum Kippur! Also, LA is loaded with so many delicious, crazy characters right outta central casting, literally. There’s never any shortage of material here. I recently found out my yoga instructor was a coke head. This explains why we kept only taking in deep inhales. It’s very convenient to take a snort in downward facing dog! I also now know it wasn’t yoga keeping her so slim and confident.Any more fabulous books in the works? Angels, Vampires & Douchebags (2010) was brilliant, hilarious and a very insightful look into the life of a vixen on her journey to tinseltown. You must have enough material for at least 3 or 4 more books….  Aw, thank you so much Doll, you are too kind. I have recently completed writing a children’s/inspirational book called The HuaHua Way. It’s a love letter to my beloved Chihuahua mix Dr. Zira who passed away. It’s the “true” story of my three dogs: Buster, Miles and Dr. Zira (pictured below with their mistress) which subtly tackles some heavy issues like grief, divorce, sexism, etc… and I hope it brings comfort and joy to animal lovers everywhere. It’s currently being illustrated and should be released in time for the holidays this year.  Right now, I’m working on another non-fiction book called Botox in my Third Eye which, like Angels, Vampires and Douchebags, is somewhat autobiographical and combines comedy with self-help.And your stand-up comedy – you’ve headlined and guested on so many of the BIG stages (and TV specials) across the US and Canada…where are you appearing next, where can fans come out to worship you?   Hahaha worship! Welp, you can come laugh at me for sure. I will be on at The Laugh Factory on April 18th with iconic host Frazer Smith. Just follow moi on Instagram @carlacollinscomedian for all upcoming dates and hopefully I’ll be back in Canada for some shows soon.Any other news or stories you’d like to share?  Just that I appreciate wonderful goddesses like you who have always been wonderfully supportive. You have been a tireless champion to many Canadian entertainers, and we really appreciate your expertise and wit Darling. Remember, every time you laugh…an angel gets knocked up by Nick Cannon or Elon Musk so keep laughing! xo

Visit Carla’s website for all her social media links, videos, funny business, news and more… blog is dedicated to Carla’s muse, the late great Dr. Zira (below)


A tribute band is a music group who specifically plays the music of a well-known music act, evoking a sound, look, time, place of a past (or, in some cases, current) popular artist whose loyal fans want to recapture the spirit of the original.  Sadly, many music purists think that being a tribute band is equivalent to being a cover band – skilled musicians who play other artists’ hits you hire for a wedding or filling out the weekly performance bills at clubs and bars. But it takes a considerable talent to actually inhabit the style, the musical interpretation and the stage delivery of a respected artist who is no longer with us.

Yes, a true tribute band is something very special: they play lick-by-lick, capturing the unique sound of the original artist. The vocals, the staging, the wardrobe, even the instruments played are the same or as close to original as possible.  The supremely gifted DAVE RYAN,  Founder and lead vocalist/guitarist for The SRV Experience and, more recently, The ZZ Top Experience, goes even further; he has sync’d his band’s live performances with videos of their inspirations – Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and ZZ Top – which are played on giant screens behind the band on stage. To watch such an accomplished artist as Dave and his musicians is to be back on the road with Stevie or the ZZ’s – his presentations are a fully immersive audio/visual experience that amaze dedicated fans as well as engaging audiences new to the now-legendary artists. Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a plane crash over 30 years ago, but just listen….Dave will transport you back in time to one of Stevie’s exciting concerts (he even sports Stevie’s blue peacock tattoo on his chest!).  I asked Dave to share his thoughts on performing in front of die-hard SRV and ZZ Top fans and here is what he told me….Dave, when did you first pick up a guitar and/or any other instruments?  Apparently, I started playing the drums at age 2. I switched to guitar at age 13 and fell in love with it, averaging 4 hours of practice a day some days.

Prior to launching your own SRV Experience, did you play with any other bands?  I played in some other bands but nothing as focused or as enjoyable.

What first drew you to Steve Ray Vaughan’s music? And when did you realize your amazing resemblance to the guitar legend?  I always knew about Stevie; I first saw him on the MTV videos but it was watching his El Mocambo performance in Toronto in 1983 that gave me the “deer in the headlights” reaction. I started learning one of his songs then another and another and suddenly I had 7 songs. I decided at that point to start up a tribute show…having to learn another 30 songs, of course.  I give a taste of what it would have been like to see an SRV show. I realized several years ago that I was able to deliver a very high-level respectable facsimile of Stevie Ray.

You must have put in thousands of hours of rehearsing and learning his playing style, vocals, stage presence – how did your early audiences respond to what you presented on stage?  Yes, I’ve averaged a thousand hours per year over 16-17 years. Early on audiences were very receptive. As the project grew and became more polished, we started getting standing ovations and booked many theatre shows. We always got a very appreciative and receptive audience.

“This is music of the highest order, playing and paying proper tribute to these Texas Blues/Rock legends.  Not to be missed”…Q 107 Radio, Toronto

Vaughan’s influence has inspired hundreds of artists since his untimely death, and his legacy lives through you with the SRV Experience – do you feel the responsibility and weight of perpetuating his legend?  I don’t feel a responsibility but It feels really good to know that I’m helping to keep and build his legacy, keeping his music fresh in people’s minds.You’re a brilliant artist in your own right, do you ever feel like stepping out from behind the “tribute” brand to pursue your own original music?  I’ve written many songs and would like to revisit that one day and finish the many songs that I’ve started. Possibly become my own recording artist.

More recently, you created another performance entity, that of legendary southern rockers ZZ Top. Combining the two bands on one bill satisfies both blues and rock audiences – how are people responding to the ZZ’s?  People are very receptive of the dual show as well as ZZ Top on its own. We go all out and model our show on the 1979-1980 Rockpalast era (an annual televised German concert) of ZZ when they were in their musical prime. We have the authentic look, beards and all, and are delivering note for note performances of their greatest hits. At a recent show at the Aeolian in London, Ontario, we were honoured with standing ovations for each band. “Musically and visually the real deal…a must-see performance!” Q107’s John Garbutt

2024 looks like it may be a busy year for you – can we expect to see SRV/ZZ perform at any of the big music festivals now that Covid seems to be in our rear-view mirrors and crowds are coming back to the big gigs?   We’ve played many blues / rock / RibFest shows in the past and we’re looking forwards to playing more this year! We’re hoping to be booked into the Orangeville Blues/Jazz this summer and working on many more.  With Covid fading, audiences are starting to come back to live shows and we’re hoping that venues will keep filling up more and more as this year progresses.Thanks, Dave, I can’t wait to join your next audience!  Look for The SRV & ZZ Top Experience performing in your area over the summer and early fall, and music festivals are confirming their appearances as I type!

Follow Dave on Instagram: @the_srv_experience  or visit the SRV Experience website: