Tag Archives: Jill Carter

W Network and Nikki Ray Media Agency greenlight a set of romantic made-for-TV movies, The Love Club

From a media release:

Finding the love of your life and lifelong friendships along the way go hand in hand as W Network and Nikki Ray Media Agency greenlight and begin production on a set of romantic made-for-TV movies, The Love Club (4x120min). Corus Studios will distribute The Love Club internationally. Starring Brittany Bristow (Holiday Date), Lily Gao (Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City), Chantel Riley (Frankie Drake Mysteries), and Camille Stopps (Running with Violet), the made-for-TV movies are produced by Nikki Ray Media Agency for W Network and Corus Studios. The first of the four movies is currently filming in the Hamilton area with all movies shooting back-to-back until July. The four movies are slated to premiere Winter 2023 and onwards on W Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Corus’ premium streaming service, STACKTV.

At a New Year’s Eve college party, four women, each dealing with their own dating debacle, take a vow as the clock counts down to call on one another if they are ever in romantic trouble again – a vow that has them resurrecting their “Love Club” ten years later as each of them search for their unique happily-ever-after. Over the course of four distinct movies, Nicole (Brittany Bristow), Sydney (Lily Gao), Lauren (Chantel Riley) and Tara (Camille Stopps) each are the lead in their own love story, while their friends are involved in helping them find true love. Each movie, told from the point of view of one of the Love Club women, will thematically open with a flashback that takes viewers back ten years earlier to the fateful New Year’s Eve party where the women meet and form the Love Club. Ten years have passed since the Love Club women made their vow and while they have remained friends, their busy lives have led them to go their separate ways, until now.

The Love Club also stars Marcus Rosner (Arrow), Jesse Hutch (Batwoman), Andrew Bushell (Jump), and Brett Donahue (Private Eyes).

The Love Club is written by Canadian Screen Award winner Barbara Kymlicka (Glass Houses), directed by Jill Carter (The Bold Type), and produced by Nikki Ray Media Agency in association with Corus Studios, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund.


Director Jill Carter talks Astrid & Lilly Save the World

Director Jill Carter has had a wide and varied career. She’s been behind the camera on Beauty and the Beast, Private Eyes, Spiral, Heartland, Murdoch Mysteries and The Murders. But her latest gig, on Astrid & Lilly Save the World, might be the most interesting and well-received so far.

Airing Wednesdays on CTV Sci-Fi Channel, media on both sides of the border have been universal in its praise for Astrid & Lilly Save the World, celebrating its cast—led by Jana Morrison (Astrid) and Samantha Aucoin (Lilly)—co-creators Noelle Stehman and Betsy Van Stone, and plot. Combining the horrors of high school with monsters, a portal to another dimension, humour and regular-looking characters has drawn comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but Astrid & Lilly is definitely a unique beast.

We spoke to Jill Carter about joining the show, her cast and what goes into creating the world Astrid and Lilly are in.

The last Newfoundland-shot supernatural series I loved was Surreal Estate, which was, sadly, cancelled. I’m thinking that Astrid & Lilly Save the World is going to fill that hole. I really enjoyed the first episode.
Jill Carter: Thanks! We definitely had fun making it. I had been to Newfoundland but hadn’t worked there. It was a really wonderful experience and obviously a very beautiful province.

Actors audition for a project. How does it work for a director on something like this?
JC: I have an agent in the U.S. and an agent in Canada, and they have a pulse on everything that’s happening, either that’s already in production or things that are coming into production or in development. They will either pitch their directors or writers or whoever before there’s a call. There are variables that can go into how you are pitched a project or how they pitch directors on a project.

And then they just go through the rounds of meeting who they think might be the type of person that could deliver the type of show that they are looking to deliver, and also might bring some new ideas to the table. They were meeting with people and my agent pitched me and they liked the idea and, I think, the fact that I had just done the opening two episodes of The Bold Type.

I was sent the first two scripts, the ones that I ended up directing, and the show bible. Immediately, on the first three pages in, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is so fun.’ Their writing was so clear, there was a clear POV and you really immediately understood who these people were, the dynamics of the characters and what was happening.

Jana Morrison (left) and Samantha Aucoin. Image courtesy of Jill Carter.

It was so nice to read something that was so strong and had a clear perspective and was also highlighting things that all of us as human beings have been in high school. It doesn’t even happen to happen in high school these days, where we haven’t felt like we’ve been able to be our full selves. We’re judged unfairly or we aren’t able to fully be the unique people that we are for a multitude of reasons. I think it’s a throwback or a fun trip down memory lane.

The show is built on that friendship and they’re very unique girls. Their friendship is so important to what makes the show relatable. I was very charmed by what I was reading and the ideas that were being put forth and then getting to play in a dimension that I actually hadn’t had.

Other than Beauty and the Beast, I hadn’t really done a lot of work in that area. It was fun to have the opportunity to play with prosthetics and visual effects in that way and create a fun language around it.

Being the director of the pilot episode, there’s that added responsibility of helping to build this world using colour. I’m imagining it must be a collaborative process between yourself, your cinematographer and the two co-creators as well.
JC: That idea was something I pitched when I was interviewing. It was a thought that came to me as I was reading the material and trying to figure out what would I want to see. Being a teenager is such an emotional time in your life, navigating feelings, and the colour wheel kind of popped into my head. I started thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to have each monster, because of the nature of how the monsters were being presented, and how they were capturing their prey?’

They were going after people that they wanted to ultimately kill. Our first monster preys on people’s sadness, so what does that look like in a colour and how can you subtly infuse the story and make it stronger without hitting people over the head? Working with Betsy Van Stone, [producers] Danishka Esterhazy and Samantha Levine and Anne Tipper, our cinematographer, our production designer, Helen Kotsonis … working with the key creatives to say, ‘OK, this is the idea, this is what we want to do.’

Jill Carter (left) and cinematographer Ann Tipper. Image courtesy of Jill Carter.

Is this a first for you, working with key creatives who are all female?
JC: It’s definitely up there. I think this is the first show where we’ve had non-binary and women in every key position.

Both the leads are relative newcomers to the industry. What was it like working with Jana and Samantha?
JC: I cannot say enough good things about both of the girls. Day in and day out they blew me away. On Day 1 we had a big steady cam scene that was covering two, three pages through the hallways of the school. I was literally saying, especially to Sam, because she’d never done this before. I’d be asking her to do these things and talking to her, and she was unbelievably natural. I actually don’t know that I’ve ever worked with an actor who was that natural.

They were lovely, lovely human beings, very open, very curious, unbelievably prepared.

Astrid & Lilly has been positively reviewed by Canadian and U.S. media. That must be gratifying.
JC: It’s really exciting. I love the fact that despite the fact that the girls are struggling in high school and trying to figure out how to fit in, one of the things that are so amazing is that they really do like themselves. Everybody has moments of insecurity, but they really are genuinely who they are and you don’t meet characters like that very often. I don’t feel like their struggles are presented in a stereotypical way. It’s very positive messaging that the show puts forward.

Astrid & Lilly Save the World airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern on CTV Sci-Fi.

Featured image courtesy of Bell Media.


The Murders’ Jill Carter: “The highlight of my career so far”

It’s been almost two years since I spoke to Jill Carter. Back then, it was a podcast to discuss her directing work on Spiral, a creepy web series. We also talked about her experiences directing episodes of Murdoch Mysteries and how she got into the Canadian television industry in the first place.

I caught up with Carter last week for her latest project, The Murders. Created by Damon Vignale, the series stars Jessica Lucas as Kate Jameson, a rookie homicide detective whose mistake on Day 1 leads to tragedy. And, unlike directing on an established series like Murdoch, Carter was on the ground level for The Murders, meaning she collaborated with Vignale on how Citytv’s Monday night drama would look and feel for four episodes, starting with the pilot. It is, as she says, “the highlight of my career so far.”

How did you get involved in The Murders? Had you worked with Damon Vignale before? 
Jill Carter: I’d actually never met Damon. My agent was dogged about pursuing this for me. The producers and Damon and Rogers were interested in discussing the show with me, and so they sent me the bible and the pilot episode, and I read it a couple of times, and did some homework in terms of what kind of police homicide detective shows I thought were interesting and maybe kind of relevant to the type of show that they were discussing. Damon had mentioned the show Marcella to me. So, I looked at that and then I looked at a couple of others that I also liked. Actually, they were all British shows.

And then, I let my imagination run wild and had a good conversation with the Muse producers and Damon and they, in the end, obviously, we’re happy with how that conversation went and were interested in hiring me and then they asked me to do one more thing before it could become official. They wanted me to do a look book, which was to basically create a document that represented what my thoughts and visual ideas would be in terms of how I would approach the show.

What was in your look book? 
JC: I pulled some reference stills from the shows that I was inspired by, and also the show that Damon had talked about, and ones that I liked the framing of or the colour palette of. We had also talked about wanting to have a very different take on a police station. I’m really pleased because I think we ended up achieving that. I had pulled some references for police stations, but not specific to that. I actually found, in Dwell magazine, an old post office that this digital company had repurposed, that looked really cool. I thought could be an interesting space or reference for a space for a police station. And then just shots of Vancouver and the diversity in culture and the diversity in landscape, and sort of the beautiful, soft colours of the west coast. But also the sort of darkness and rich colours of the mountains and when you get those rainy grey days, that kind of colour palette.

I basically pooled all of that and then hired a graphic designer to work with me on creating a pleasing book that would represent the show’s feeling. At the end of the day, you want to create something that people can really get a sense of the feeling and the tone and the style that you want to embody.

Is this the project where you had the most input?
JC: I never had that much input on a show before. And obviously, every show that you direct, they’re hiring you for a reason, so you try, within the sandbox that you’re given, to infuse your own taste and style and artistic value to that show. But you’re dealing with, as the director that followed me on The Murders, was they had to sort of follow what we had set out to be the tone and the style of the show. Which is fun, and it’s you trying to find a way in on something that already kind of exists, so it’s a different sort of challenge.

But, obviously, the most fun is when you can really have a hand in creating something and having the most ability to weigh in on what the sets are gonna look like, what locations you have. You always have that when you’re directing, but if you’re directing a show that’s already in place, you haven’t picked any of the original locations, you’re just handed whatever doctor’s office or police station you’ve been given.

I really got to, with Damon, go and decide. We saw a bunch, and there was a couple that we saw that was already dressed as police stations, and I’d look at him immediately and be like, ‘Nope,’ and he would agree. The two of us were very much on the same page about it. And we’re excited to find something different that we hadn’t seen before. And I think we really did that.

One of the things that I loved about our police station is that it’s right at street-level, and you see traffic passing by. I think it adds a real authenticity to the fact that they’re working in a location that they’re also servicing for their job. You feel like they’re in the thick of it, and it just adds another layer and sort of nuance to the scenes that are in the bullpen, and also give a buzz almost, like an extra something to every scene that’s there, and just life that you don’t often get a chance to see when you’re in those type of sets. I loved that element.

What are some of the unique challenges of filming in a city, on location, at night?
JC: The biggest challenge is time because you have restrictions in terms of the hours that you can be shooting. So that, I’d say, is kind of the biggest factor, because how you’re shooting or where you’re shooting really kind of remains the same in terms of like whatever situation you’re gonna have to deal with. It’s really just the restriction on how long you can shoot in that location.

A question about Jessica Lucas. People know her as an actress, but she’s also a producer on The Murders. What was it like working with her? 
JC: As an actress, she’s incredible. She really carries the show. Her character is quite stoic and very internal. Everything’s sort of kept close to her chest, and you know she’s very protective and very serious about what she’s doing. And Jessica is very expressive as an actress, and her face says a lot. Her style and ability as an actress really lends itself well to this character and was wonderful and really killed it, I think.

As a producer, she was open and collaborative and really, I think for her, was an opportunity to get her feet wet in an area that she’s interested in and would probably like to do more of. It was starting out in a space that she’s comfortable, meaning a show that she was working on as an actress as well, I think helps pave the way.

It was an opportunity to have a larger voice in terms of weighing in, especially on the script and in the story in terms of in pre-production and production, on what she felt was working or needed to be maybe adjusted for her character. But, also, the script as a whole, and wanting to make sure that we were all moving forward in the same direction, in the right direction, and having discussions about wardrobe and things like that. Getting more into the nuts and bolts of stuff that you maybe don’t normally get a chance to do as an actor for hire, when you’re not producing as well.

What can viewers expect as they get into the second episode and the meat of the season?
JC: If you saw the first episode and the preview of Episode 2 coming on Monday night, you’ll know that it’s a bank heist, and I had a ton of fun directing that. I’d never done one before, and that was super fun to do. All of my episodes have been different and fun. We learn more about Kate’s past and her family relationship.

And also you start to understand the dynamic of the group of detectives that are working together. If you’ve seen Episode 1, you know that we don’t shy away from presenting images that are difficult or challenging. That stays through the entire season, so I think people can be looking to be gripped and excited and presented with entrusting ideas and also just get to know our characters a little better.

The Murders airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Citytv.

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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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Link: 5×5 With The Hook: Jill Carter

From You’ve Been Hooked:

Link: 5×5 With The Hook: Jill Carter
“I can tell you that I am very encouraged by the new shows the networks have been ordering here. I think Canadian TV is starting to take some chances in their storytelling and that is a good thing. We have a lot of great talent in front and behind the camera. I am hopeful for our future moving forward.” Continue reading.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail