Tag Archives: Northwood Entertainment

Miranda de Pencier describes the detail that goes into Anne with an E

I’ve been impressed with Anne with an E from its debut on CBC. The scripts have been amazing, the performances stellar—and scored trophies for Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James and R.H. Thomson—the sets sublime and the wardrobe incredible.

That’s all by design says executive producer Miranda de Pencier, who along with fellow executive producer and showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett have taken L.M. Montogomery’s creation and truly made it their own. We recently spoke to de Pencier about the importance of being authentic when creating a show like this.

Anne is 16 this season and the hormones are raging. It seems as though all the girls are interested in the boys, but the boys seem to be pretty clueless when it comes to this relationship thing.
Miranda de Pencier: Well, and isn’t that just reality? As we all know, boys develop a little slower than and, eventually, you guys catch up. It’s fun to explore it, and I think there’s going to be a lot of surprises and a lot of relationships blooming and bursting that will be fun for the audience to see.

In the second season of Anne with an E, we had people of colour on the show. In this third season, we’ve got Indigenous characters. Are these are organic things that have been touchpoints for you and Moira Walley-Beckett along the way?
MDP: It has been organic. I think it’s also what’s going on in the world, but also what’s interesting to us. Back in the first season, Moira and I started talking about the idea of Indigenous characters. Then when and how that got introduced came out when it made sense for the story and the show. I think we touch on these things and talk about them in very organic ways and then they need to get executed practically.

According to the press release that CBC sent out earlier this year, it was quite the journey to cast Kiawenti:io Tarbell as Ka’kwet.
MDP: She is amazing. I think, fortunately, I had the experience of finding young Indigenous cast on The Grizzlies, so it was helpful to have gone through that large and challenging process that was so worthwhile. We basically repeated a version of that search to find Kiawenti:io. We wanted to search across the country. We reached out to casting agents from the west to the east. We went everywhere, Quebec, Six Nations and the west coast. Then ultimately from that large search and a lot of submissions, we culled that down to four girls that we brought to Toronto.

Then Melee Hutton, who was the extraordinary acting coach who helped train the young actors in The Grizzlies, also helped out, and still helps out with our younger cast on Anne with an E; she came in and led a workshop over a weekend where those four girls were taken through a number of acting exercises and play, and at the end of that process Kiawenti:io was the actress we felt made the most sense for the role and the other girls in that process we ended up putting into the show in other roles. We were able to give a positive experience and work to all those final actresses.

Sometimes I’ll hear casting agents or producers say, ‘Well, it’s just really hard to find Indigenous actors,’ and it is hard, but it’s not because they don’t exist, and it’s not because there isn’t a lot of talent out there. It’s just because it takes an extra effort and financing to find them, and you’ve got to go to them. You cannot expect to sit back and have those young people already have agents or access to casting directors. So it’s a larger process, but it’s so worth it, and it’s so exciting to find this amazing talent and all these amazing, amazing talents out there waiting to be discovered.

It would have been easy to have the Indigenous peoples speaking English, but you didn’t go that way. 
MDP: From the beginning, our goal has been to create a show that has a documentary level of realism. We’ve maintained that from the very start, whether it’s making sure we’ve got hand stitching on the bottom of the dress because the 4K camera can pick up anything, or whether it’s what would be true and would have been true in that time, socially, visually, economically. [Indigenous peoples in the region were] speaking Mi’kmaq in that time period, so it was important to be authentic. It was a challenge, because Mi’kmaq is a language that that some people would say is moving towards extinction, and there’s a lot of hope and effort in the Mi’kmaq community to bring it back. We were desperately looking for an elder, for instance, to speak Mi’kmaq, and I found one through Jeff Barnaby, who is Mi’kmaq.

A lot of people won’t know about the efforts we made to make sure that the Mi’kmaq was pronounced properly, but it was important for us to get it right. It’s about respect and it’s about being authentic.

The scripts and performances have been top-notch since Episode 1 of Season 1.
MDP: Thank you so much. We were sitting in sound mix. We were looking at the screen and just really in awe of the performances throughout this whole season. It’s been exciting to watch especially the younger actors all grow and start to really get to know their characters in a way that makes them soar. There’s less and less work for the directors to do performance-wise when this cast is just A-plus, and really become who they’re portraying in a way that I think is exciting and extraordinary. Across the board, we work really hard casting the show, each and every role, even if someone’s coming in for just a few lines. We spend a lot of time looking at a lot of actors for each and every part so that the audience is hopefully experiencing a show that feels real, and they’re not ever seeing the acting. That’s something we’re proud of, and I continue to be in awe of all the extraordinary talent in the show.

Anne with an E airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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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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Season 2 of Anne with an E gets September return date on CBC

It’s the news many of us have been waiting for. Season 2 of Anne with an E will return to CBC this fall. Sunday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m., to be precise Plus, two brand-new, exclusive images have been released as well as the trailer.

As per the CBC:

Inspired by the timeless Canadian novel ”Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, the second season continues to chart bold new territory, adding new characters and storylines while further exploring themes of identity, prejudice, feminism, bullying, gender parity and empowerment through the lens of its fierce, starry-eyed, irrepressible 14-year-old protagonist.

A coming-of-age story, reimagined by creator Moira Walley-Beckett, Anne with an E stars returning fan favorites Amybeth McNulty (Anne Shirley-Cuthbert), Geraldine James (Marilla Cuthbert), R.H. Thomson (Matthew Cuthbert), Corrine Koslo (Rachel Lynde), Dalila Bela (Diana Barry), Aymeric Jett Montaz (Jerry Baynard), Lucas Zumann (Gilbert Blythe) and Kyla Matthews (Ruby Gillis). This season introduces audiences to new characters including Dalmar Abuzeid (Sebastian Lacroix) and Cory Grüter-Andrew (Cole MacKenzie) conceived by Moira Walley-Beckett and an all-female writers’ room.

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, Debra Hayward, Alison Owen and Ken Girotti. John Calvert serves as producer.

Are you excited for Season 2 of Anne with an E? Let me know below!

Images courtesy of Chris Reardon for CBC.

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