Review: Spice It Up is a weird yet moving Toronto-film-scene project by Karen Harnisch

Spice It Up started in 2013 as a teen dance comedy with filmmakers Lev Lewis, Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas shooting guerilla footage of teenagers Shivali Barot, Samantha Cole, Déjah Dixon-Green, Jennifer Graydon, Becca Willow Moss, Micaela Robertson and Sara Sue Vallee as they ran around Toronto, improvising their way through a series of goofy situations.

Version 2.0 of Spice It Up is a weird little comedy about buried feelings, personal statements and the terror of showing your art to other people. The film student is Rene (Jennifer Hardy CK), who’s struggling to understand why no one likes her thesis project, a GoPro movie about seven teenage girls who flunk a high school dance class and collectively decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces instead of going to summer school. There’s a simple reason: the film is incomprehensible, but Rene refuses to accept that; she made the movie she wanted to make, and she thinks it’s good, so why doesn’t anyone else?

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Calvin Thomas and Yonah Lewis return to TIFF with WHITE LIE by Karen Harnisch

WHITE LIE by Calvin Thomas & Yonah Lewis will have its World Premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The film about a university dance major who fakes a cancer diagnosis stars Kacey Rohl, who is also one of this year’s TIFF Rising Stars.

“From a production standpoint, this was a major graduation for us, from shooting on 35mm to working with a professional cast and crew,” Thomas and Lewis say in a joint statement to The Globe and Mail about White Lie, which focuses on an undergrad student who fakes a cancer diagnosis. “Most of all, we’re excited by Kacey Rohl’s performance. We always thought this could be a special role for a talented actor, but what Kacey delivered went far beyond what we expected.”

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Karen Harnisch to Executive Produce LGBTQ Family Drama ‘Jump, Darling’ by Karen Harnisch

Academy Award-winning actress Cloris Leachman has signed on to star alongside newcomer Thomas Duplessie in the LGBTQ family drama JUMP, DARLING, written and directed by Phil Connell.

The film from Big Island Productions and Level Film follows Russell (Duplessie), a rookie drag queen who is torn between his precarious future as a queer artist and the comfortable life he’s come to know. He escapes to the country, where he finds his grandmother, Margaret (Leachman), in steep decline yet desperate to avoid the local nursing home. An intergenerational family drama with a juicy queer underbelly, the film examines daunting choices for both Russell and Margaret as the pair must face the consequences that come with choosing unconventional paths.

Jump, Darling also stars Linda Kash (Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show), Jayne Eastwood (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Dawn of the Dead), Marc Caven as well as drag talent Tynomi Banks, Miss Fiercelicious and Faye Slift.

Katie Corbridge serves as producer while Karen Harnisch (White Lie, Sleeping Giant) will executive produce. Casting was done by Jesse Griffiths.

The film is set to start principal photography in early June, shooting in Toronto and Prince Edward County, Canada. The project was a selection at the first annual Inside Out LGBTQ finance Forum in 2017 and is also supported by the Telefilm Talent-to-Watch Fund. Level Film will distribute the film in Canada.

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Playtime Boards Canadian Psychological Thriller "WHITE LIE" Starring Kacey Rohl by Karen Harnisch

One of France’s leading sales companies, Playtime has boarded “White Lie,” a character-driven psychological thriller film from the promising new Toronto-based directors Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas.

Now in post-production, “White Lie” is headlined by Kacey Rohl, who has been seen in hit TV series such as “The Killing,” “Arrow,” “Hannibal” and “Wayward Pines.” Rohl plays Katie, a university dance major who fundraises among her fellow students to pay for her cancer treatment, until her own family questions the reality of her sickness.

Playtime came on board after screening a first cut during the Cannes Market…

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​Celluloid Dreams Boards Brandon Cronenberg's INFINITY POOL by Karen Harnisch

Brandon Cronenberg’s upcoming drama INFINITY POOL centres on an uninspired writer and his wife, who are befriended by a glamorous couple, while on an all-inclusive vacation on a picturesque island. The couples head off on a forbidden picnic in the island’s off-limits countryside that takes a sinister turn.

The Canada-Hungary-France co-production is being produced by Karen Harnisch and Andrew Cividino at Toronto-based Film Forge Productions, and Rob Cotterill, Cronenberg’s longtime collaborator. Daniel Kresmery will serve as the film’s Hungarian co-producer, with Jonathan Halperyn as an executive producer. Paris-based Celluloid Dreams has boarded as a co-production partner and as [the project’s] international sales agent.

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MIZERIA Selected for The TorinoFilmLab 2019 FeatureLab Training Programme by Karen Harnisch

MIZERIA, directed by Eva Michon and produced by Karen Harnisch, was selected for the TFL’s 2019 FeatureLab training programme. The Canadian-Polish co-production is the feature debut for Michon and is being produced through Film Forge and Opus Films.

This year’s line-up has a focus on diversity and links to local culture, according to Vincenzo Bugno and Violeta Bava, curator and head of studies at the TFL.

The FeatureLab will include two residential workshops (in June and in September) during which the participants will work on the various stages of production and filmmaking, from scripting to direction to sound design, financing and audience engagement strategies, alongside international consultants.

The training will conclude with the annual TFL Meeting Event in November, where the filmmakers will present their projects to an industry audience.

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Andrew Cividino Will Be Part of TIFF's Panel on Securing Actors for Low Budget Films by Karen Harnisch

Breakfast at TIFF is hosting a panel discussion on the benefits and obstacles of Canada's model for working with actors within the evolving space of independent filmmaking.

Time: May 10th, 2019 at 9am
Location: TIFF Bell Lightbox

Moderator: Matt Johnson
Panellist: Filmmaker Andrew Cividino, casting director Natalie Semotiuk, actor and filmmaker Deragh Campbell, and a representative from ACTRA.

Source: https://www.tiff.net/events/breakfast-at-tiff-cast-away-securing-actors-for-your-low-budget-film

‘Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences As They Come To You’ Will Have Its World Premiere at the Semaine de la Critique - Cannes This Year by Karen Harnisch

The short was directed by Brandon Cronenberg, shot by Karim Hussain csc and produced by Film Forge Productions. Huge congratulations to our incredible cast & crew!

Emily is a patient at an experimental psychiatric facility where a brain implant prototype allows her to relive her dreams.

Source: http://www.semainedelacritique.com/en/edition/2019/movie/please-speak-continuously-and-describe-your-experiences-as-they-come-to-you

Go Behind the Scenes of Schitt's Creek's Cabaret-Themed Season Finale by Karen Harnisch

The fifth season of the sitcom ended with its characters mounting a community theatre production of the 1966 musical.

The episode, which premiered April 10, featured performances of "Willkommen" and "Maybe This Time." Star and co-creator Dan Levy co-directed the episode with Film Forge’s very own Andrew Cividino.

Source: http://www.playbill.com/article/go-behind-the-scenes-of-schitts-creeks-cabaret-themed-season-finale

Andrew Cividino Nominated for BEST DIRECTION, COMEDY in the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards by Karen Harnisch

Andrew Cividino was nominated under the Best Direction, Comedy category at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards for his work in SCHITT’S CREEK.

Schitt’s Creek – Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose
CBC (CBC)
(Not A Real Company Productions, Inc.)
Daniel Levy, Andrew Cividino

Source: https://etcanada.com/news/435306/the-winners-canadian-screen-awards-presented-for-creative-fiction-storytelling/

Andrew Cividino Co-Directed SCHITT'S CREEK Holiday Special by Karen Harnisch

Fans of Schitt's Creek have been waiting for a holiday special ever since Dan Levy teased one on Instagram this past April, and now he's finally ready to deliver his gift, Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose.

Levy, who serves as an executive producer of the series and stars as David, also wrote the holiday episode and co-directed it with Andrew Cividino.

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/comedy/dan-levy-gets-in-the-spirit-of-the-holidays-for-a-special-episode-of-schitt-s-creek-1.4945038

Karen Harnisch - Jury Member of the Telefilm Talent to Watch Program by Karen Harnisch

Karen Harnisch was part of the five-member jury that selected the English-language project for the Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch program (formerly the Micro-Budget Production program).

”Forty-five projects will be developed under Talent to Watch’s first edition, all from rookie feature filmmakers…Of the 45 projects selected, 20 come from Ontario, 11 from Quebec, five from British Columbia, three from Nova Scotia, two from Manitoba and one each from Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Yukon. Twenty-one have female directors attached, achieving 47 per cent gender parity.”

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Karen Harnisch Selected for Producer's Spotlight at EFM by Karen Harnisch

Film Forge Cofounder Karen Harnisch will represent the company at this year's European Film Market at Berlinale. Harnisch is one of ten producers selected by Telefilm Canada to showcase at the Canadian Producers Spotlight. 

EFM will take place this year on February 15th -23rd. See the full list for EFM here