Everything about Anne with an E, eh?

Northwood Entertainment and Canadaland partner to develop Thunder Bay TV series

From a media release:

Northwood Entertainment (ANNE WITH AN E, THE GRIZZLIES) has partnered with the producers of the Canadaland podcast ‘Thunder Bay’ – and together they are developing the podcast into a drama series. Miranda de Pencier’s Northwood Entertainment will co-produce the series alongside Anishinaabe comedian, writer, & podcaster Ryan McMahon, and journalist & Canadaland founder/publisher, Jesse Brown. Executive producers McMahon, Brown, and de Pencier are currently considering showrunners for the series.

Hosted and co-written by McMahon, the serialized, true crime podcast examines the systemic racism, corruption, and crime that runs rampant in Thunder Bay and the factors that make the city amongst the most dangerous for Indigenous youth in the world. THUNDER BAY plans to bring all of these issues to light in a searing and riveting drama series that considers not who killed nine Indigenous high school students, but what killed them. The series begins with an examination of nine deaths and goes on to explore the broader impact of colonialism and racism.

THUNDER BAY executive producers are Miranda de Pencier, Ryan McMahon, and Jesse Brown. Northwood Entertainment and Canadaland will co-produce the series.

Image courtesy of Christopher Wahl.

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Cameras roll on Northwood Entertainment’s third season of the award-winning Anne with an E

From a media release:

Principal photography has commenced on the much anticipated third season (10×60) of CBC and Netflix’s Anne with an E. From Miranda de Pencier’s Northwood Entertainment and Emmy®-winning showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett, Season Three continues the coming-of-age story of Anne Shirley-Cuthbert, an outsider who against all odds, fights for acceptance, for her place in the world, and for love. After an extensive cross-Canada search, Walley-Beckett and de Pencier cast 12-year-old Kiawenti:io Tarbell, a Mohawk from Akwesasne, who portrays Ka’kwet, an independent, resilient Mi’kmaq girl who befriends Anne. The third season airs on CBC and Netflix in 2019.

Returning cast include Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R. H. Thomson, Dalila Bela, Corrine Koslo, Lucas Jade Zumann, Aymeric Jett Montaz, Dalmar Abuzeid, Cara Ricketts, Joanna Douglas, Kyla Matthews, Cory Grüter-Andrew, and Miranda McKeon. Directors Norma Bailey, Paul Fox, Amanda Tapping, and Anne Wheeler return for Season Three as does the entire all-female writing team led by Walley-Beckett (Kathryn Borel, Jr., Shernold Edwards, Amanda Fahey, Naledi Jackson, and Jane Maggs, with the addition of Tracey Deer). New directors this season include Kim Nguyen and Michelle Latimer.

In addition to Kiawenti:io Tarbell and Brandon Oakes (Through Black Spruce; Arctic Air; Saving Hope) new Indigenous cast members include Dana Jeffrey (Heartland; Teenagers). To find the perfect ‘Ka’kwet’, Anne with an E producers and casting team conducted an open-call search across Canada. Two hundred and thirty candidates auditioned in person or via tape, from coast to coast. Shortlisted actors were invited to take part in an acting workshop in Toronto, where the producers and casting team landed on Kiawenti:io Tarbell.

As the world of Avonlea continues to expand, Anne turns 16 – a momentous occasion which cements her desire to discover more about her birth parents and family history. But this new quest isn’t comfortable for everyone, as Matthew and Marilla grapple with the fact that Anne may have a life outside of Green Gables. Meanwhile, the residents of Avonlea interact with a camp of members of the Mi’kmaq nation, causing tensions to rise – and deep bonds to be forged. The future looms large as the kids enter their senior year of school – some prepare for their college entrance exams, while others set their sights on more exotic shores. But first, everyone must survive the perils of romance, friendship, first love, first kisses, and much more. Sebastian and Mary settle into domestic life, while Gilbert dreams big about his future as a doctor. As Anne matures, she’s increasingly forced to grapple with difficult topics — from gender equality to Indigenous rights — and learns that the fight to make the world a better place never ends. As the characters prepare to enter the twentieth century, some continue to look forward while others cling to more traditional ways, but one thing is clear – nothing will ever be the same again.

While Anne with an E continues to honour the foundation of L. M. Montgomery’s novel, this reimagined series explores identity, racism, feminism, friendship, bullying, gender parity, and empowerment through the lens of its fierce, starry-eyed, irrepressible 16-year-old protagonist.

A CBC and Netflix original series, Anne with an E is produced by Northwood Entertainment and created by Moira Walley-Beckett. The executive producers are Miranda de Pencier, Moira Walley-Beckett, Tina Grewal, Debra Hayward, and Alison Owen. Anne with an E is inspired by the timeless Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

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Winners: The 17th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto

From a media release:

ACTRA Toronto is proud to announce the winners of the 17th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto.

Outstanding Performance – Female Voice
Bryn McAuley as Shirley Squirrley in Top Wing, “Shirley’s Sleepover Adventure” (9 Story Media Group)

Outstanding Performance – Male Voice
Mark Little as Dino in Cupcake & Dino: General Services, “My Life in Radio (Stinks!)” (Cupcake and Dinosaur Productions Inc.)

Outstanding Performance – Female
Amybeth McNulty as Anne in Anne with an E, “The Determining Acts of Her Life” (Northwood Anne)

Outstanding Performance – Male
Stephen McHattie
as Gus Power in Crown and Anchor (Crown and Anchor Films)

The Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award went to Schitt’s Creek.

Sketch troupe Women Fully Clothed presented ACTRA Toronto’s 2019 Award of Excellence to Jayne Eastwood.

Matt Birman presented ACTRA Toronto Stunt awards to Rick Parker and Sue Parker.

The 17th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto were presented at a live show and gala tonight at The Carlu. Onstage DJ hey! dw energized the room and Juno award-winning soul singer Sean Jones brought them to tears singing “When I’m Gone” to the In-Memoriam roll. The show was written by Sugith Varughese and directed by David Gale.

This year the voice award was split into Female Voice and Male Voice, giving female voice performers more recognition. President Theresa Tova made note of the change in her remarks, also mentioning the ACTRA Ontario Census results which demonstrated a continued earnings gap for female performers, and the release of a joint bulletin on consent-based interactions in entertainment workplaces.

“The ACTRA Awards in Toronto is our time to shine,” says President Tova. “It’s a great celebration of Canadian talent.”

The 17th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto were sponsored by: DIAMOND: Actra Fraternal Benefit Society. PLATINUM: Bell Media; SAG-AFTRA. GOLD: ACTRA National; CBC; CMPA; Deluxe; IATSE 873; NABET 700-M UNIFOR; United Steelworkers. SILVER: Cavalluzzo LLP; Don Carmody Productions Inc. & Don Carmody Television Inc.; JLL; RBC; Take 5 Productions Inc.; Whizbang Films. BRONZE: Addenda Capital; Creative Arts Savings & Credit Union; Entertainment One; Film + Entertainment Industries, City of Toronto; Directors Guild of Canada (Ontario); Grant Thornton LLP; HUB International; New Real Films; 9 Story Media Group/Brown Bag Films; Rhombus Media; Serendipity Point Films; Thunderbird Entertainment; Universal Promotions; Writers Guild of Canada.

ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA, representing more than 15,000 of Canada’s 25,000 professional performers working in recorded media in Canada. As an advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven union that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of professional performers.

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Anne with an E: Lucas Jade Zumann describes Gilbert’s Season 2 journey

While Anne Shirley has been experiencing life in Avonlea and all that entails—school, friendship, chores and two sneaky grifters—Gilbert Blythe has been on an adventure of his own in Season 2 of Anne with an E.

Leaving Prince Edward Island following the death of his father, Gilbert has been shovelling coal into a ship’s boiler alongside Bash in the Caribbean. The two have established a strong friendship, and there has been great personal growth for Gilbert already. It’s not clear exactly when Gilbert will return to Avonlea—it depends on how fast Anne’s letter reaches him—and Lucas Jade Zumann won’t tell me.

I spoke to Zumann earlier this year about how he was cast in the role, what’s in store for Gilbert this year and his plan to study … astrophysics and quantum theory.

Gilbert’s got a lot going on from what I’ve seen so far in Season 2.
Lucas Jade Zumann: Yeah. Absolutely, I think he’s getting a much more worldly perspective during Season 2. Even more so than I think the character had in the book. [Showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett] is really writing in between the pages on this one and really adding a lot to his character’s backstory. I think it’s really important and it lends a lot to his natural worldly character that he has in the book. And I think that this journey of his kind of, it lends an explanation to Gilbert’s perspective.

How did you end up with the role in the first place? 
LJZ: It wasn’t actually very traditional. When I got the offer for the audition, I was on tour for the publicity for 20th Century Women, a film that I did. And the director of 20th Century Women worked with the producer of Anne with an E. She liked the film. She saw the film early and she liked my work and she requested that I read for the role. So I came in, the first thing I did was actually a chemistry read with Amybeth McNulty. And then after that point, it was maybe a couple of weeks before my agent called me and let me know that I had gotten the role of Gilbert Blythe.

To be skipping that step because executive producer Miranda de Pencier had seen you and thought that you’d be a good fit … were you a little bit extra nervous going into this?
LJZ: Oh, absolutely, especially considering the rank of these people that were sitting at the table in front of me. I mean, Moira Walley-Beckett is a phenomenal writer and director and I have been inspired by her work for many years beforehand. Just sitting in a room with these people is intimidating. Even the waiting room. I was, yeah, I was very nervous to say the least. I’m just really lucky that we kind of clicked in a certain way.

Gilbert lost his father in Season 1. That was a very dark and serious storyline that you had to take on.
LJZ: Yeah. Absolutely. I think losing his father was a huge deal for Gilbert’s growth and it pushed him to grow up really fast and have to start supporting himself and discovering his own place in the world. I think being in school just … and then having to support yourself, just in a little life change like that, I can only imagine how hard that must be for a person. And the kind of toll that that has on their personality. I think that lends a lot to his mentality and his maturity.

Where’s Gilbert’s head at in Season 2?
LJZ: I think he’s just so excited to be exploring parts of the world. I think he’s so accustomed to the way of life in Avonlea, where it’s snow almost all year and just farm work every single day. And I think that just being on a boat and even just shovelling coal, like, that was, that’s part of the exploration for him. I definitely can see that in my own life, too. I mean, I personally like working in a restaurant in my free time, just simply because it’s a more mindful type of workspace, in a restaurant. And I appreciate that there so many different roles that people can play in this world. I think Gilbert is taking the time in to explore that.

What can you say about his relationship with Sebastian?
LJZ: Sebastian really is kind of his leader to the world outside of Avonlea. I think when Gilbert leaves Avonlea, all he knows is, well, I mean, he’s been surrounded by white people and this culture, this European Canadian culture that he’s had his whole life. Seeing Trinidad and seeing what it’s like on a steamship, all the other trials that he goes through, I think that being with Sebastian and seeing that these are trials that people like him would go through on a daily basis just to survive.

That grants him perspective. Coming from a classroom full of people worried about what they’re going to wear the next day, to people worried about how they’re going to eat the next day. That was something that’s really important for him to understand. There’s a whole other world outside of Avonlea.

Is there something that you’re working on now that you can talk about? Are you back working in a restaurant? 
LJZ: Well, I just took a break from the restaurant because I am starting my senior year in high school. Which I did not necessarily think I was going to go back and do because I did take my GED. I tested out of high school, but I don’t have enough credits to apply for a college and make it look cool. I don’t have all the college credits that I would need.

I do eventually want to go back and I really am interested in studying astrophysics and quantum theory. That would definitely require some mathematics or history, you know. Coming back to school with that kind of new drive for learning, specifically with the astrophysics, understanding that calculus and math is like the language of how we humans quantify and understand things about our universe, it could be beyond our perception, I’m so fascinated by that. I really want to explore everything that we can about the universe that we live in.

Anne with an E airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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