Month: October 2016

Endeavours 013 – VIFF Wrap-up

Hey again, it’s been a while.

A programming note: Endeavours is now returning to once-a-week. This week is our final Vancouver International Film Festival episode featuring documentary filmmaker Benjamin Ree (Magnus) and Canadian writer-director Kevan Funk (Hello Destroyer) as well as the music of Winnipeg-based quintet Sapphire Empire.

Benjamin Ree is an award-winning documentary filmmaker from Oslo, Norway. His previous films include When Ailin Kissed Lars.  His feature length debut documentary Magnus is a portrait of world chess Champion Magnus Carlsen.

Sapphire Empire is a genre-bending artistic experience from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their self-titled EP was released in March, 2015.

Kevan Funk is a Canadian writer-director. After making short films for nearly a decade, he has come out with his first feature length narrative story. Hello Destroyer is the ultimate Canadian movie experience, as it follows a small-town hockey player whose life changes after an incident of on-ice bullying.

From Sapphire Empire’s self-titled EP
Travels of Today
Nova Scotia

Endeavours 012 – VIFF: Spotlight on LGBTQ+

And a good day to you to!

It was recently National Coming Out Day and coupled with the Vancouver International Film Festival, we are taking a look at the some of the best LGBTQ+ programming! There are two great documentary filmmakers on tap today: Jenny Gage, who helmed the wonderful All This Panic! and Eric Juhola who tells us about Growing Up Coy. For today’s musical guest it is Cymbals Eat Guitars!

Jenny Gage is a documentary filmmaker from New York. Her film – All This Panic! – is a beautifully crafted portrayal of what it means to be a teenage girl growing up in the digital. The film follows seven girls – sisters Ginger & Dusty, Dusty’s best friend Delia, Ginger’s best friend Lena, Lena’s other friend Olivia, Ginger’s acquaintance Ivy, and Ivy’s friend Sage – over the course of three years as they navigate high school, college, career choices, sexuality, love, romance, and ultimately, their future. It is intimate, it is raw, it is wonderful.

Cymbals Eat Guitars are an indie rock band from Brooklyn, New York. Their fourth album, released September 16 is entitled Pretty Years. I spoke with bass Matt Whipple about the project.

Eric Juhola is the director of Growing Up Coy, at times a heart-wrenching documentary that follows the Mathis family from Colorado as they fight for their six year old transgender daughter Coy. The family was told that Coy was not allowed to use the female washroom at her school – the only options available were the boy’s or the nurses station. Her parents – Jeremy and Kathryn – decided to sue. They won a victory for human rights.



From Cymbals Eat Guitars’ fourth album Pretty Years
Have a Heart

Endeavours 011 – David Wilkinson, Ziggy Marley, Andy Thompson

Greetings! Good to see you again!

Today on the show: Documentary filmmaker David Wilkinson, reggae musician Ziggy Marley, theatre director Andy Thompson.

David Wilkinson has spent decades trying to prove something: that the “first film” was actually made in Leeds in 1888. His efforts and evidence are chronicled in the new documentary The First Film. David talks about why he decided to go the film route instead of television, why there will always be critics, an of course, European vs. North American film making.

Ziggy Marley – son of reggae legend Bob Marley – first got his start in The Melody Makers, comprised of him and his siblings. Since disbanding, he has embarked on an ambitious solo career and philosophy of revolution through love. His most recent album – his sixth – his self-titled and was released in May.

Andy Thompson is the artistic director of The Virtual Stage, an interactive theatre company based in Vancouver and makers of the annual Zombie Syndrome. This year, Andy & friends are using the latest in smart-phone technology – Apple’s iBeacon – and working with TerraTap to create the ultimate zombie theatre-going experience.


From Ziggy Marley’s Ziggy Marley
Better Together
Love Is A Rebellion
Weekend’s Long

Endeavours 010 – VIFF Extravaganza

Yo diggity, welcome back!

Today, I wander back to the Vancouver International Film Festival and speak with directors Zacharias Kunuk and Nathan Morlando. Also, we hear from Brooklyn-based indie-dream-pop band Corbu!

Zacharias Kunuk is a Canadian Inuk director, writer & producer whose 2001 film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner was recently voted as the greatest Canadian film ever made. He followed that with The Journals of Knud Rasmussen in 2006, and was an executive producer on Before Tomorrow, the first film made by Arnait Video Productions, an Inuit women’s film collective. Kunuk’s new film is a spiritual sequel of sorts to his groundbreaking debut entitled Maliglutit (The Searchers) and was inspired by the John Ford westerns of Kunuk’s childhood.

Corbu is an experimental dream-pop band based out of Brooklyn, New York. Composed of Jonathan Graves “and friends”, Corbu is what happens if your lucid dreams were played out live on stage. Their brand new album is the aptly titled Crayon Soul.

Nathan Morlando’s first film was 2011’s Citizen Gangster, which he also wrote. His second feature as director is Mean Dreams, written by Kevin Coughlin and Ryan Grassby and starring Josh Wiggins, Sophie Nelisse, Colm Feore and Bill Paxton. It recently screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

From Corbu’s Crayon Soul
We Are Sound

Endeavours 009 – Bitchpop Productions, Jake Bugg, Anosh Irani

You’re still here? Hello!

This episode features Tiarra Sulyk and Athena Dawn Russell of Bitchpop Productions, Author Anosh Irani and musician Jake Bugg.

Bitchpop Productions was created by Tiarra Sulyk and Athena Dawn Russell. Having met in acting school, these ladies quickly realized they both shared a love of comedy and were shocked and surprised by the lack of opportunities for female comedians in Vancouver. The result was Bitchpop Productions and their first internet series was Almost Actors – the first season of which was made at an astonishing quick rate. They followed that up with SHOTS and are now working on their new series Twenties as Bitchpop’s first feature film – the Horrordy House on the Street.

Jake Bugg is a singer-songwriter from Nottingham whose music has been feature in Dumb & Dumber To, Happy Valley, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Giver. He largely self-produced his latest record – his third – On My One.

Anosh Irani is an Indian-born writer whose novel The Song of Kahunsha was shortlisted for Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. His play Bombay Black won the Dora Mavor Moore Award For Outstanding New Play in 2006 and his anthology The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. He lives in Vancouver.

From Jake Bugg’s third album On My One
Gimme The Love
The Love We’re Hoping For
On My One

Endeavours 007 – Sharon and Bram, Royal Wood, Anne Giardini

It’s the James Bond episode!

Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison are icons in the world of Children’s music and entertainment. Since their first album, One Elephant, Deux Elephants, was recorded and released in 1978 – with the third member of their trio, the late Lois Lilienstein – they have produced over 40 albums, including the Car Tunes series. In the 1980s they transferred to television with The Elephant Show and followed that with Skinnamarink TV in the 1990s, named after their hit song Skinnamarink. In addition, they have been the recipients of the Order of Canada, both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and Diamond Jubilee Medal, and and Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Mount Allison University. In addition, in 2014, the “Sharon, Lois, and Bram Playground” opened in Toronto. The trio has also been awarded three Juno Awards.

Royal Wood is a singer-songwriter from Lakefield, Ontario (now known as Selwyn). Trained on a litany of instruments, he performed in jazz halls while studying business at McGill University. He has collaborated with such musicians as Sarah Slean, Emm Gryner, Hawksley Workman, Kathleen Edwards, Jill Barber and Serena Ryder; his songs have appeared on several TV shows including ReGenesis, This is Wonderland, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. His most recent album is Ghost Light.

Anne Giardini is an author, lawyer and academic who is also currently the chancellor at Simon Fraser University. The daughter of late Canadian writer Carol Shields, she has written two novels of her own The Truth About Happiness, published in 2005, and Advice for Italian Boys, released in 2009. As well, she has contributed to the National Post. She is actively involved in the community in Vancouver being a board member for the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, chair of the Vancouver Writer’s Festival, and volunteer for YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards. Her latest book, which she co-edited with her son Nicholas – is a collection of essays and other writings written by her mother – Startle & Illuminate: Carol Shields on Writing”.

From Royal Wood’s Album Ghost Light
I’m Gonna Marry You
Til The Morning Comes

To Forgive

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