Tag Archives: Cineflix

Pure: Creator Michael Amo on the return of Season 2 and a favourite character

Spoiler alert: Do not continue reading unless you have watched the first episode of Pure, Season 2.

Pure‘s second season premiere was notable for a few reasons. It introduced Hector Estrada (Victor Gomez), the drug dealer who demanded Anna Funk re-start the Mennonite cocaine pipeline. And, just to give her the little push Anna needed to do that, took Isaak (Dylan Everett) as collateral. When we last saw Isaak, he was naked, caged and (rightfully) screaming for his mother. Last Tuesday’s return also brought a favourite character back from the grave. It turns out Noah’s (Ryan Robbins) brother, Abel (Gord Rand), suffered merely a flesh wound when Eli Voss shot him; the siblings shared an emotional reunion.

With so much going on not just with the characters but the show itself, we got Michael Amo on the phone to discuss it.

What were your thoughts when you were told by CBC that the second season of Pure wasn’t going to be happening with them?
Michael Amo: [Laughs.] I remember being surprised because I think we averaged over 700,000 viewers per episode which, for a freshman drama on CBC, is pretty good. But, I guess it wasn’t on brand for them. I did move on to other things and developed some other shows. It was really Cineflix. It was Brett Burlock and Peter Emerson, who are our Ontario production partners, were the ones who said, ‘You know what? It’s not going to die so easily.’ They’re the ones who engineered the deal between WGN America and Super Channel and put their own kind of equity into it as well.

Three people, dressed in black, stand next to each other.Was there a phone call to you to say it had been greenlit?
MA: For me, it was me talking to Brett about some things I was working on and him saying, ‘Not so fast, Pure isn’t dead yet.’ But I’ve got a family to feed and said, ‘I welcome the opportunity to do more of Pure.’ I hung up the phone and went about my business. Months went by and, behind the scenes, Brett and Peter were working feverishly to make it happen. So, when you get the call and are told your baby has been brought back to life, it’s a happy day indeed.

You’ve spent at least one full episode keeping Noah away from his family. What was the thinking behind that?
MA: Actually, we keep Noah away from Anna until Episode 3 because I don’t want to make it easy. [Laughs.] The audience should be rooting for this family to get back together and they can’t do that if they’re together from the get-go. It was challenging to keep them apart for so long, but I did put them on a collision course to tie in with the law enforcement angle of the show. It was a challenge to do that. Season 1 was all about their fall from grace and expulsion from paradise and Season 2 is about them, all in their own way, trying to get back to paradise and the innocence they lose along the way.

How has being on Super Channel Fuse changed the tone of the show? What have you been able to do that you couldn’t on CBC?
MA: There were fans of the show, to begin with, so when they took it on, they said, ‘We’re a premium cable network, so feel free to play in that space.’ I didn’t go too crazy because I, personally, am not a huge fan of vulgarity and the show really never had the creative bandwidth for sex. But we could push the elements that were already in the show a little harder.

Hector Estrada is, literally, taking no prisoners. What’s it been like to create this guy?
MA: In Season 1 we had Eli Voss, who had very specific spiritual views that were in opposition to Noah’s. In Season 2, I really wanted to do something different, from a character point of view for the villain, so Hector is all about the here and now. He does not believe in an afterlife, he does not believe there are any consequences for his actions in this world whatsoever. He is all about the material pleasures, but he’s sort of lonely too. So, he bonds with Isaak and that’s his Achilles heel in a way. [Actor] Victor Gomez is both extremely charming and when he wants to be, ice cold.

I was surprised to see Gord Rand returned to Pure. In Season 1, Abel was shot by Eli and left for dead. Were you always intending to bring the character of Abel back?
MA: [Laughs.] I’m going to be honest and say perhaps not. What happens is, you fall in love with these characters, and the actors who play them, and you say, ‘Oh my goodness, I have to find a way to keep Gord in the picture.’ I’m glad I did.

Pure airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Super Channel Fuse.

Images courtesy of Super Channel.

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Class action lawsuit a big step toward fairness in factual and reality TV

From a media release:

The Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada is welcoming a $35-million class action lawsuit [http://www.cavalluzzo.com/factual-televison-classactionfiled by law firm Cavalluzzo on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers who have worked at Cineflix Canada, which produces such TV shows as Property Brothers and Mayday.

The legal action follows a five-year campaign by CMG and its parent union CWA Canada to bring fair working conditions to this part of the entertainment industry.

“Reality and factual TV are the wild west of the entertainment world,” said Lise Lareau, a co-ordinator of the CMG’s Fairness in Factual TV campaign. “People working in this area of production are cut out of labour laws. They don’t have the rights of other employees, and historically they’ve been left out of union contracts enjoyed by the rest of the entertainment industry.”

Most reality and factual TV production companies make their workers set up their own corporations or sign contracts saying they are “independent contractors” and then don’t provide overtime pay, vacation pay and paid holidays. The failure to pay these basic entitlements is the basis for the Cavalluzzo class action lawsuit.

The statement of claim for the suit is based on the experience of Anna Bourque, a production worker whose most recent contract at Cineflix was September 2017 to February 2018.

“Picture editors and story editors work together taking hundreds of hours of footage and sharpening it into 43 minutes or so of entertaining television, but as schedules get squeezed our hours expand and there is never compensation for that, so our pay becomes inversely proportional to the hours worked,” Bourque said.

The ‘Fairness in Factual TV’ campaign began five years ago when a group of reality and factual TV workers decided enough was enough and sought the support of the Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada. More than 400 people have signed up as supporters since the campaign began.

“Since these workers aren’t covered by union contracts, production companies often use them as a way to create less expensive but still lucrative programming,” said CMG organizer Denise O’Connell, who has spent 20 years in the industry.

Kat Lapointe, an organizer with CMG / CWA Canada, said the fact that you sign a contract that calls you an independent contractor does not mean that you are not entitled to basic minimum employment standards.

“It is not that simple. Treating people as outside of employment laws keeps people vulnerable and unable to build sustainable careers.  It means they’re forced to deal one-on-one with the company — putting each individual worker at a disadvantage — rather than having a collective voice to win fairness and respect at work.”

The Guild is urging people in the industry to talk about this issue at work and join our campaign www.fairnessinfactualtv.ca. If you feel your work conditions have been unfair, contact the union at factualtv@cmg.ca. Write a few lines about your experience and attach a recent contract. It will be held in complete confidence.

Those who have worked at Cineflix, Boat Rocker Media, Insight Productions or other companies who want more information about class action lawsuits can visit the Cavalluzzo LLP website at [http://www.cavalluzzo.com/factual-televison-classaction] or email factual-televison-classaction@cavalluzzo.com.

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Additional casting confirmed as Muse, Back Alley and Cineflix start production on CBC original drama Coroner

From a media release:

With production now underway in Toronto, Ontario, Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios today revealed additional casting for new CBC original drama CORONER (8×60), set for a winter 2019 broadcast and streaming premiere on CBC, the CBC TV app and cbc.ca/watch. Inspired by the best-selling series of books by M. R. Hall and created by Morwyn Brebner (Saving Hope), the series centres on newly appointed coroner Jenny Cooper as she investigates suspicious deaths in Toronto.

CORONER stars Serinda Swan (InhumansBallers) as Jenny Cooper, a brave, determined yet vulnerable coroner, former ER doctor, and recently widowed mother, driven by an intense desire for the truth. She loves her son more than life itself and strives to support him while also trying to take care of herself. The passing of Jenny’s beloved husband has unlocked a primal connection to death, tied to a secret in her past that is only now coming to the surface.  With storylines based on real-life cases, Jenny is a coroner for our time, an advocate for the dead even when it’s inconvenient for the living, and a defender of those who are powerless or in peril.

Joining the series are Roger Cross (The X-Files) as Donovan “Mac” McAvoy, a police detective who partners with Jenny; Éric Bruneau (Blue Moon) as Liam, Jenny’s new neighbour; and Ehren Kassam (DeGrassi: Next Class) as Ross, Jenny’s 17-year-old son. Also joining the cast are Tamara Podemski (Rabbit Fall) as Alison Trent, Jenny’s eccentric colleague; Allison Chung (UnReal) as Taylor Kim, a smart, junior homicide detective; Lovell Adams-Gray (Second Jen) as Dr. Dwayne Allen, an idealistic young pathologist; and Saad Siddiqui (Madame Secretary) as Dr. Neil Sharma, Jenny’s insightful psychiatrist.

A CBC original series, CORONER is produced by Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios. Morwyn Brebner is creator, executive producer and showrunner, Adrienne Mitchell (Durham County, Bellevue) is lead director and executive producer for Back Alley Films, Jonas Prupas is executive producer for Muse Entertainment with Peter Emerson and Brett Burlock executive producers for Cineflix Studios. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Helen Asimakis is Senior Director, Scripted Content; and Sarah Adams is Executive in Charge of Production. Cineflix Rights has the exclusive worldwide distribution rights to CORONER.

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Super Channel commissions second season of Pure from Two East Productions and Cineflix

From a media release:

Super Channel is pleased to announce that it has commissioned a second season of PURE, the critically acclaimed, Canadian Screen Award-nominated series from Two East Productions and Cineflix.

The six-part Super Channel Original Production will tell the continuing story of Noah and Anna Funk, Mennonites trying to protect their family and preserve their faith while battling drug trafficking within their community. The second season is scheduled to begin production in Nova Scotia later this spring and anticipated to premiere on Super Channel in early 2019.

“We are thrilled to be working with Michael Amo and the team at Two East and Cineflix to bring PURE back for Canadian fans of the series,” said Melissa Kajpust, Vice President, Programming for Super Channel. “We jumped at the chance to bring this compelling drama set in a unique world to a pay-tv audience. There is so much more to the story to be told and we are excited the creators will have the creative freedom to take the story in new directions.”

Showrunner Michael Amo said: “As a storyteller, I couldn’t ask for better creative partners or more compelling characters. Noah’s path will lead him to redemption or perdition, while Anna, exiled by her community, will be forced to outsmart the new cartel kingpin all by herself. It’s going to be a fun ride.”

“We could not be more pleased and thankful to work with Super Channel to bring audiences a second season of PURE in which Michael is taking Anna and Noah on an even more conflicted and perilous journey,” added Cineflix President, Peter Emerson.

PURE takes us deep inside a closed, secretive subculture through the eyes of a conflicted, good-hearted Mennonite couple trying to protect their family and preserve their faith.

Inspired by actual events, PURE is the journey of Noah and Anna Funk, determined to rid their community of the scourge of drugs and its nefarious ties to a transborder smuggling alliance with ruthless Mexican cocaine cartels. But just when they believe the danger is behind them, they are pulled back into a world of violence, greed, and betrayal. Returning cast for season two include Ryan Robbins (Arrow, The Killing) as Noah Funk and Alex Paxton-Beesley (Cardinal, Copper) as Anna Funk.

Produced by Two East Productions and Cineflix in association with Super Channel, WGN America, Hulu and the CBC, PURE is created and written by Michael Amo (The Listener) with Ken Girotti (Orphan Black, Vikings) as the series Director. Amo and Girotti serve as executive producers for the second season, along with Brett Burlock, Peter Emerson and David MacLeod (Call Me Fitz, Haven). Cineflix Rights has the exclusive worldwide distribution rights to PURE.

 

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