Tag Archives: Spiral

TV Eh B Cs podcast 83 — What’s “Nou” with Karen McClellan

Karen McClellan is an executive producer and co-showrunner of The Next Step, Family Channel’s No. 1-rated series and an international hit which has garnered multiple BAFTA awards and Canadian Screen Award nominations.

Karen’s other credits cover an array of drama and comedy, including the award-winning series Cracked, Being Erica and Robson Arms. She has developed one-hour and half-hour shows for all the major Canadian broadcasters. Karen has been nominated for several Writers Guild of Canada awards for her work and won the award for her web series, Spiral. She is an alumna of The American Film Institute.

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Spiral, Anne, Letterkenny and Cardinal top 22nd Annual WGC Screenwriting Awards

Writers for Spiral, Anne, Letterkenny and Cardinal were among the winners at the 22nd Annual Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards in Toronto on Monday night.

The event, held at the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning’s Koerner Hall, celebrated the country’s screenwriting talent in television, web series and film. Spiral writer Karen McClellan (pictured above) won in the Shorts & Webseries category for her script “The Girl in the Dream.”

“Writers don’t get here on their own,” McClellan said. “I want to say a special shout-out to some writers who have taken a chance on me in the past: Susin Nielsen, Shelley Eriksen, Bruce Smith and a dear friend who is not here tonight but always in my heart, Denis McGrath.”

Letterkenny‘s Jared Keeso and Jacob Tierney won the TV Comedy category for their Season 2 script, “Relationships,” while Cardinal‘s Aubrey Nealon took home the TV Drama trophy for the Season 1 episode, “John Cardinal.”

Gavin Crawford, comedian, writer and host of CBC Radio’s Because News hosted, starting the night off with a surprise appearance by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne a.k.a. Crawford. As Wynne, Crawford extolled the virtues of Canadian television and film writers while taking a jab at recent adaptations of Anne of Green Gables and Alias Grace.

“I’m particularly excited about Kale & Prune, a six-hour CBC miniseries adapted from a Margaret Atwood’s Whole Foods receipt,” he joked.

Alison Lea Bingeman, Marsha Greene, Rachel Langer, Joseph Kay, Cynthia Knight, Adriana Maggs, Elize Morgan, Jiro Okada and Sugith Varughese presented the night’s categories.

Mark Ellis was the recipient of The Denis McGrath Award for his service to the Writers Guild of Canada, Michael MacLennan was given The WGC Showrunner Award, Sarah Dodd the Sondra Kelly Award and Sherry White the Alex Barris Mentorship Award. WGC president Jill Golick, whose term has ended after eight years, had the final say of the night with an impassioned plea to the group’s members.

“Stories are the best way to change hearts and minds,” Golick said. “Keep writing my friends. Keep finding ways to bring truth to light. ”

The category winners are:

Shorts & Webseries
Spiral, Episode 101 “The Girl in the Dream,” written by Karen McClellan

Children’s
Mysticons, Season 1 “Sisters in Arms,” written by Sean Jara

Movie of the Week & Miniseries
Alias Grace, written by Sarah Polley

Best Script from Season 1
Anne, Season 1 “I Am No Bird, And No Net Ensnares Me,” written by Moira Walley-Beckett

TV Comedy
Letterkenny, Season 2 “Relationships,” written by Jared Keeso and Jacob Tierney

TV Drama
Cardinal, Season 1 “John Cardinal,” written by Aubrey Nealon

Tweens & Teens
The Stanley Dynamic, Season 2 “The Stanley Cheer,” written by Matt Kippen

Feature Film
Entanglement, written by Jason Filiatrault

Documentary
The Hundred-Year-Old Whale, written by Mark Leiren-Young

 

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Cedar Island launches at Hot Docs

From a media release:

Cedar Island is a Canadian production company formed by seasoned producers Henrik Meyer and Andrew Williamson to produce meaningful documentaries, feature dramas and digital media projects with a focus on international co-productions.

Bringing together their decades of domestic and international experience, Andrew and Henrik develop, finance and create captivating content for broadcasters, distributors and audiences in Canada and around the world.

“Inspired by our interest in producing ‘content with purpose’, we’ve joined forces to bring engaging, exciting projects to audiences in Canada, Germany and around the world. At a time when story matters more than ever, our slate of projects in production and development, focus on telling original, compelling stories.” – Andrew Williamson

“Building on previous service productions in British Columbia and Alberta for European partners over the past 14 years, we now expand our services to the Yukon where we are scheduled to go into production with a German television production already this summer.” – Henrik Meyer

Cedar Island Films has an active development slate including:

• In development with Knowledge Network for the short doc series Wild and the feature documentary River with director Simon Schneider

• In development with Emmy award winning writer and investigative journalist Kristina Borjesson and TriCoast Worldwide, Los Angeles on The Whistleblowers

• In development with the feature drama Dragonfly Summer with director Marie Clements, a Canadian/German co-pro with Kinderfilm GmbH, Erfurt

Website: www.cedarislandfilms.com

— BIOS:

Andrew Williamson is a seasoned producer and director who executive produced the critically acclaimed doc series Emergency Room: Life & Death at VGH for The Knowledge Network/Discovery and High Moon, a co-venture with Universal Cable Productions and Executive Producer Bryan Fuller. He also produced Gastown Gamble for the OWN Network.

Andrew is producing The Whale and the Raven, a Canadian/German feature documentary with the National Film Board of Canada/ARTE and The Magnitude of All Things with the NFB and TELUS Health Fund.

Andrew is the founder of Crazy8s, elected to the Branch Council of the CMPA – BC Producers Branch and on the Film Advisory Board for Langara University. He volunteers with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project to help educate people about climate change.

Henrik Meyer has produced film and television for over 25 years. His last film as a German producer was Margarethe von Trotta’s Venice-contender Rosenstrasse, and his first production in Canada after immigrating in 2004 was Douglas Coupland’s Everything’s Gone Green, which won Best Picture and Best Screenplay in British Columbia in 2006. Since then, Henrik has produced over 1500 minutes of German television in Canada and co-produced 2013 Berlinale-contender Gold and multi-award winning, Indigenous youth drama Shana – The Wolf’s Music, which is being aired at Canada’s APTN in 2018.

Before moving to Canada and becoming a dual German-Canadian citizen, Henrik was the inaugural head of Letterbox Filmproduktion at Studio Hamburg and produced for all leading German broadcasters as well as Disney, Warner Bros. and the Tele Munich Group. He joined forces with Andrew Williamson on the international feature doc co-pro The Whale and the Raven for the NFB and ARTE.

 

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TV Eh B Cs podcast 68 — Greg Gets Carter

Jill Carter was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, and has an extensive background as a script supervisor along with a keen interest in all forms of the arts. Carter’s first short film as director, Moment (2006), screened at festivals around the world. Following two more successful short films, Ninety-One (2010) and Little Larry (2011), which was nominated for a Directors Guild of Canada Award, she has gone on to direct episodes of such television shows as the CW’s Beauty and the Beast and CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries and Global’s Private Eyes.

Jill recently completed directing a seven-episode dramatic web-series Spiral for Telus, which will be released on Sept. 6. Jill participated in the incubator program run by the Toronto International Film Festival TIFF Studio 2016 and has a number of film and television projects in various stages of development.

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Spooky web series Spiral connects college pals to past lives and murder

College is the place people tend to begin friendships that last a lifetime. But what if those friends you made turned out to be buddies from a past life? That’s the gist of Spiral, a new seven-part web series debuting Sept. 6.

Kailey Spear, Cody Kearsley, Corteon Moore, Louriza Tronco, Angela Palmer, Brennan Clost, Alexandra Beaton and Enuka Okuma topline the project about college students who realize they’ve been connected over multiple lifetimes … and the murder of a classmate threatens them all. For co-creator and executive producer Andrew Williamson, who has worked in reality television with projects like Gastown Gamble and Emergency Room: Life and Death at VGH, Spiral has been a long time coming.

Spiral is an idea that I’ve had for a really long time,” Williamson says over the phone from Vancouver. “This idea that friends could be joined by something that had happened in the past. It’s always been something that I’ve been interested in.” He adds that writing isn’t his strong suit, so he contacted Karen McClellan—currently co-showrunner at The Next Step—to flesh out the idea. After securing development money from Creative BC, the pair set up a writing room in Toronto with McClellan, Daegan Fryklind, Ian Carpenter and Felicia Brooker with Jocelyn Cornforth as story consultant and story editor. Then Telus stepped into the picture with web series funding and filming began in and around Victoria, B.C.

“They’re the only people commissioning original digital content in this way,” Williamson says. “This project was inherently meant to be for a digital audience.” Spiral is aimed at the 13-21 demographic, the same group Williamson says Facebook is targeting with their online videos. He hopes the unconventional storyline Spiral offers allows for a deeper connection with the online audience and encourages discussion about whether or not past lives are a reality, if dreams can be portents and if someone you’ve met for the very first time and connect with means you’ve known them before.

The first episode of seven introduces Emma (Beaton), Clark (Clost), Alex (Palmer), Sophie (Spear), Grace (Tronco), Davis (Moore) and Josh (Kearsley), students at Victoria’s King’s College who build friendships and make quick connections. By episode end, one of them is dead, and the dreams the group members have been experiencing are explored to unlock the mystery.

“One night over a few bottles of wine, they discover they have all had this dream in common from different points of view and the suggestion is it could be a past life they’ve all shared,” McClellan says from Toronto. “What they discover is that they’ve shared many lives together and that they’re a soul cluster: souls who have travelled through time.” Each eight-minute episode brings the viewer deeper into the mystery; McClellan tackled writing a web project the same way she does a traditional television series, breaking it down into acts and posing a cliffhanger at the end of each act.

“It’s looking for that hook,” she says. “What’s going to drive your viewer to click to the next episode? And by the end of the 70 minutes, you feel satisfied … but you also want more. TV is still my first love, and always will be, but being able to tell a serialized story through a web series and test the concept is very exciting and the closest we have in Canada to shooting a pilot.”

Spiral‘s seven-episode first season will be available online beginning Wednesday, Sept. 6.

Images courtesy of Off Island Media.

 

 

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