Tag Archives: Vanessa Matsui

Female-led web series Ghost BFF returns for Season 2

From a media release:

Creator, producer, and star Vanessa Matsui alongside producers Katie Nolan and Lindsay Tapscott of Babe Nation Films today announced Ghost BFF will return to Shaftesbury’s KindaTV for its second season on July 7. Ghost BFF, which stars Matsui (The Handmaid’s TaleShadowhuntersThe Smurfs 2) and Kaniehtiio Horn (Barskins, Letterkenny) in the lead roles, launched in 2018 and received two Canadian Screen Award nominations in 2019 for Best Web Series, Fiction and Best Lead Performance in a Digital Program or Series (Matsui). Award-winning actors Angela Asher (Bad Blood), Jean Yoon (Kim’s Convenience) and Dani Kind (Workin’ Moms), along with Steve Lund (Schitt’s CreekBitten), Yani Gellman (The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Pretty Little Liars), and Thomas Colford (Backstreet) join season one regulars Jane Moffat (Backstage), Dan Beirne (Workin’ MomsMurdoch Mysteries) and Rick Roberts (Fortunate SonThis Life), as part of this season’s stellar cast.

Filmed in Toronto, the fully female-led dark comedy Ghost BFF continues its exploration of mental health as it follows two best friends, Amy (Matsui) and Tara (Horn), one alive, one dead, across planes of existence, as they struggle to find themselves and right past wrongs following Tara’s suicide. Season Two delves deeper into Amy’s struggles as she addresses unemployment, singledom, unexpected challenges, and the grief of missing her friend. Tara returns once again as a ghost to find closure with her mother (Asher), to help Amy heal, and to gain a better understanding of her own narrative of what happened the day she died.

As part of the Ghost BFF experience, eight mental health PSAs have been created by the production team to accompany the eight series’ episodes and will be launched in parallel as a supportive element to discuss mindfulness, depression, anxiety, boundaries, and self-care.

Created and written by Vanessa Matsui, the series is produced by Katie Nolan and Lindsay Tapscott of Babe Nation Films, and is directed by Lindsay MacKay (Wet BumRunning with Violet). Matsui, who is a recent fellow of the Sundance Institute | YouTube New Voices Lab Program where Season Two was developed, also acts as Executive Producer and directs episode #6. Produced with the assistance of the Ontario creates, Bell Fund, Telus, Canada Media Fund. Shaftesbury holds worldwide distribution rights, excluding the U.S.

Season One is currently available on KindaTV.

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Babe Nation Films and Vanessa Matsui announce production on Season 2 of Ghost BFF

From a media release:

Back by popular demand, Babe Nation Films and actress/writer/producer Vanessa Matsui are proud to reveal that the second season of the praised digital comedy series, GHOST BFF, has been greenlit and will begin filming in Toronto this summer.

Ghost BFF follows two best friends, one alive, one dead, across space, time and the suburbs as they struggle to find themselves and right past wrongs following a suicide.

The series will continue to challenge the stigma regarding mental health conversation, by building on the foundation set in season one. The second season of Ghost BFF promises to bring even more light, laughter, and openness to rather taboo topics like depression and suicide.

The series, created, directed, and written by Canadian Screen Award-nominated actress, Vanessa Matsui (The Handmaids Tale, Shadowhunters, The Smurfs 2) and produced and co-written by Babe Nation’s Katie Nolan, will be available for stream on Elizabeth Banks co-founded platform, WhoHaha and Whohaha channels.

“Creating the first season of GHOST BFF was an absolute dream come true,” share Matsui and Nolan. “We were overwhelmed with the amount of the love and acceptance we received from our audiences after watching the first season, that we knew we needed to create more. We are beyond excited to bring back these beloved characters for a second season, and will continue to encourage these important conversations surrounding mental health awareness”.

The series has been nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards. One for 2019 Best Web Program or Series, Fiction; and one for 2019 Best Lead Performance, Web Program or Series for actress/writer/co-creator Vanessa Matsui.

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Web series Ghost BFF puts the focus on mental health via two friends. And one of them is dead.

It’s important to talk about mental health. And while Bell does a great job stressing that one day a year in January, it’s something that should be done the other 364 days too.

Launching its first season of 11 episodes, Ghost BFF is available for streaming on Elizabeth Banks’ WhoHaHa’s website now. The brainchild of creator Vanessa Matsui (Lost Girl, Seed), Ghost BFF explores suicide and mental health through the eyes of Amy (Matsui). It’s been three years since Amy’s best friend, Tara (Tiio Horn, Letterkenny) died of a drug overdose. Amy has given up painting, is engaged to Mitchell (Dan Beirne, Space Riders: Division Earth) and battles with anxiety and a bad tummy. Suddenly, Tara appears—her ghost BFF, get it?—and throws Amy’s life into total disarray.

For Matsui, the idea for Ghost BFF came from a deeply personal place.

(l-r) Cristina Rosato and Vanessa Matsui

“It’s loosely inspired by a time when one of my best friends, following a period of depression, almost died by suicide,” Matsui says. “It was a very dark time. And, also, it was coupled with wanting to create my own work and being inspired by incredible female creators.” Ghost BFF is a project three years in the making, first as a short play Matsui performed in a friend’s basement before the possibility of being a short film was explored; ultimately Matsui pitched Ghost BFF as a web series to Katie Nolan (Hot Mom), who partnered to co-write and co-produce it.

The Centre for Mindfulness Studies features in several episodes as Amy strives to explore her own mental health, where she’s going in life and what her relationship with Tara was and still is. There are, of course, characters in Ghost BFF who advise Amy to “snap out” of what she’s going through mentally and stop taking her medication because they think she’s “fine.” It’s frustrating to know there are still people with that attitude towards mental health, and just drives home the need to educate and discuss.

(l-r) Jane Moffat, Dan Beirne, Rick Roberts

Yes, Ghost BFF concerns a serious topic, but it’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of laughs thanks to Matusi’s physical humour as Amy, Horn’s foul-mouthed Tara and the gloriously shallow Mitchell, and truly heartfelt moments too. Amy and Tara’s screaming match in a later instalment opens the door to honesty and regret.

“We definitely felt like we were walking a fine line [with the content],” Matsui says. “Obviously, I wanted to be respectful and sensitive to anyone who has suffered from depression or is suffering from depression. But, at the same time, my instinct was always to make this a comedy. Comedy can be cathartic. Sometimes through pain comedy emerges.”

Ghost BFF is available for streaming on WhoHaHa’s website.

Images courtesy of Babe Nation Creations.

 

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Babe Nations Creations launches digital comedy series Ghost BFF

From a media release:

Babe Nation Creations is challenging the stigma regarding mental health conversation by empowering women to feel confident in their emotions in their new digital comedy series GHOST BFF, set to launch on Elizabeth Banks’ co-founded WhoHaha platform March 1, 2018.

The 11-episode series was created, directed, and written by Vanessa Matsui (Shadowhunters, The Smurfs 2, Lost Girl) and produced and co-written by Babe Nation Creation’s Katie Nolan. The spirited series sees Vanessa Matsui in the lead role, co-starring opposite Tiio Horn (Mohawk, Man in the High Castle), Dan Beirne (Fargo, Reign, Flashpoint), Cristina Rosato (Bull, Real Detective) and Jon Cor (Shadowhunters, Suits).

Ghost BFF follows two best friends, one alive, one dead, across space, time and the suburbs as they struggle to find themselves and right past wrongs following a suicide.

As once-BFFs, Tara and Amy were inseparable. Tara was a reckless musician; Amy, a promising painter. Their friendship was pure, unadulterated fun. But, everything changed when Tara, following a period of depression, killed herself, leaving behind a shattered and heartbroken Amy.

Cut to present day: Tara has been dead for three years and Amy has seemingly moved on; she’s quit painting and is engaged to a nice but conservative guy. Suddenly, Tara appears out of nowhere and a bizarre yet humorous reunion follows. Amy is left with the stunned realization that her now ghost-BFF is back from the dead and her past and future are about to collide.

Lindsay Mackay (Clue Blue, Wet Bum) directed 9 episodes, Vanessa Matsui directed 2 episodes.The series is accompanied by 12 two-minute video segments, Titled Let’s Talk About our Feels to help better address the stimulating topics discussed in the series through the study of Mindfulness. These video segments have been researched and written in collaboration with a team of mental health professionals at the Centre For Mindfulness Studies in

The series is accompanied by 12 two-minute video segments, Titled Let’s Talk About our Feels to help better address the stimulating topics discussed in the series through the study of Mindfulness. These video segments have been researched and written in collaboration with a team of mental health professionals at the Centre For Mindfulness Studies in Toronto, and produced with the participation of the TELUS Fund and the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

 

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