Canadian Copro Opportunities: Producers Without Borders

09 • 02

From the immigrant experience to fights for social justice; coming-of-age tales to antiheroes seeking redemption, the ten Canadian projects of Telefilm Canada’s annual Producers Without Borders initiative 2022 reflect the incredible scope of Canadian talent and global appeal of our cinematic stories! Selected to participate in the Berlinale Co-Production Market Visitor Programme these 10 projects in-development are seeking international coproduction partners. Their producers’ presence at the virtual market is a chance to explore networking opps, meetings, conferences, and more.

Spanning the spectrum of drama, comedy, documentary, and more, here’s an introduction to the Producers Without Borders projects:

Nicolas Krief found inspiration in family history when penning Carcajou, this police drama centered around young Nicolas, who finds a large stash of money after his house is searched by police. The 14-year old is determined to follow his Tunisian father’s footsteps and start a business with the questionable windfall. Like in his 2021 short film Opération Carcajou, the feature delves into themes of cultural heritage and filiation. (Produced by Julie Groleau, Couronne Nord.)

Geneviève Dulude-De Celles’s Fleur bleue explores the immigrant experience and the concept of home. Romanian expat Mihai is sent by his art collector boss to his birth country to assess a child-prodigy painter. However, Mihai hasn’t been back since leaving three decades ago. Recognized for 2018’s A Colony (Une colonie), which won Best Film – Generation Kplus at the Berlinale; Best Canadian Feature at the Whistler Film Festival; and three Canadian Screen Awards (including Best Motion Picture and Best First Feature Film), Geneviève Dulude-De Celles is a co-founder of Colonelle Films. (Produced by Fanny Drew, Colonelle Films.)

Set in the 1950s and ’60s, Harry Cepka’s coming-of-age story Eddie echoes similar diasporic concepts. Following the filmmaker’s 2019 feature Raf, the narrative takes place in a small Canadian town, and follows the six-year old titular character and his Czech immigrant family. The boy comes to terms with differences between his parents’ old world values and experiences with those of their new home and culture. (Produced by Sara Blake, Ceroma Films Inc.)

From left to right, Arun Fryer, Fanny Drew, Jake Yanowski, Jason Levangie, Jenna MacMillan

Focusing on the relationship between a traditional Muslim mother and her lesbian daughter, who travel to Pakistan for a funeral, Fawzia Mirza’s Me, My Mom & Sharmila examines the immigrant journey across generations and decades. Born in Ontario to Pakistani parents, raised in Nova Scotia, and now based in Chicago, actor, director, and writer Fawzia Mirza is renowned for representing queer Muslim and South Asian stories in her award-winning work, including writing for the Greg Berlanti and Ava DuVernay exec-produced series The Red Line. (Produced by Jason Levangie, Shut Up & Colour Pictures.)

Investigating the revolutionary work of midwives, Nance Ackerman’s documentary series, The Delivery Line shares stories of birth and community from Afghanistan, Mexico, Colombia, Malawi, and Canada (focusing on an Inuit community in Nunavik). Ackerman’s previous films, Conviction, explored alternatives to imprisonment and earned a 2020 WGC Screenwriting Award for Documentary from the Writers Guild of Canada. (Produced by Sergeo Kirby, Loaded Pictures.)

Righteous rebellion and fighting for one’s community are at the heart of Charles Officer’s Africville, to be produced by the filmmaker’s company Canesugar. In 1960s Halifax, a teenager leads resistance to a government urban renewal program set to destroy a small Black settlement and force the inhabitants out of their homes, nefariously under the guise of improving racial integration. Charles Officer’s 2020 film Akilla’s Escape (starring Saul Williams) won four Canadian Screen Awards, including Original Screenplay. (Produced by Jake Yanowski and Charles Officer, Canesugar Filmworks.

Ana Carrizales and Arun Fryer’s documentary project, Chemical Consent, dives into the experiences of women who have suffered abuse during psychoactive treatments. The feature will follow a survivor’s fight to change the protocols for the multi-billion dollar psychedelic industry on the cusp of legalization.” (Produced by AGA Films Inc.)

From left to right, Julie Groleau, Stephanie Sonny Hooker, Sergeo Kirby, Sara Blake, William Woods

An antihero’s search for redemption takes a dark turn in Connor Marsden’s Violence. An ex-junky punk looking for a way out of a violent gang, is instead pulled further into a drug fueled war that is tearing his city apart. This thriller is based on the 2017 short-film of the same name co-directed by Mardsen and Devin Miller.(Produced by William Woods, Woods Entertainment Canada Inc.)

Natty Zavitz’s A Nose For Trouble brings a comedic antihero story to the silver screen through detective Össler B. Mündsey and his ex-wife Marian. When a valuable truffle-hunting pig vanishes in Italy, the stage is set for comedy, intrigue, and kooky characters. A former Degrassi: The Next Generation cast member (fans will recognize him as Bruce the Moose), Natty Zavitz’s recent directorial work includes the award-winning features Acquainted and Edging. (Produced by Stephanie Sonny Hooker, Hometeam Films Inc.)

Rounding up the antihero slate is Jeremy Larter’s comedic feature Who’s Yer Father. Set on Prince Edward Island, this tale is centered around a quirky divorced insurance fraud investigator. A new case embroils him into a world of blackmail, adultery, and the black market lobster trade. Jeremy Larter is known for 2019’s Just Passing Through and the webseries Pogey Beach; both won Canadian Comedy Awards! (Produced by Jenna MacMillan, 63 Lights.)

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