Backlot production team — between a male or female applicant, is favoring projects directed and/or written by women. “We want to create a path to success,” says Telefilm executive director Carolle Brabant. “We want to reward the success of the first features by having emerging directors make their second film.” Take Werewolf, writer-director Ashley McKenzie’s debut feature about youth and drug addiction in a small Nova Scotia mining town. The indie received microbudget financing from Telefilm and became a critical hit on the film festival circuit after bowing at Toronto and screening at Berlin. Now McKenzie is eyeing possible Fast Track financing as she develops her second feature. “There’s a gap for filmmakers to take the next step after their first feature,” she says, adding that Telefilm has helped to shorten the time she and her producer Nelson MacDonald need to secure financing for their sophomore effort. Brabant says Canada’s push for gender parity has helped alter long-standing perceptions in an industry where female filmmakers have become accustomed to discouraging barriers to the industry. “It has made women realize, ‘Well, it can happen,’ ” she says. “It’s comforting to know you can get your foot in the door,” adds Sonia Boileau, who leveraged Telefilm investment for her debut feature, Le Dep, to develop her second film, Rustic Oracle, about an 8-year-old Mohawk girl searching for a missing sister. The push for gender parity has implications beyond Canada. Jordan Canning, who HOW CANADA’S GENDER- EQUALITY INITIATIVES ALREADY ARE PAYING OFF In a little over a year, female-led projects backed by Telefilm have more than doubled 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 44% 17% Films directed by women Canada Spotlight 46% 22% Films written by women 2017 2015 In November 2016, Telefilm introduced its initiative to improve gender parity. Source: Telefilm Canada, Women in View on Screen directed more than a dozen short films before completing her first and second features, We Were Wolves and Suck It Up, respectively, says Telefilm’s Talent to Watch and Fast Track programs can help open doors in the U.S. and other foreign markets. “Once you have two features, you’re hopefully at a level where you can access funding in different countries and team up with international co-producers,” she says. With the various gender-parity initiatives gaining steam, insiders say the lure of financing is also leading filmmakers to rethink projects from the conception point. “In the general community at large, people are just hungry to attach women to projects and slates, because it’s smart from a tactical viewpoint. I’d do the same,” says Molly McGlynn, whose debut feature, Mary Goes Round, was produced through Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program. Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer says the initiatives help female filmmakers avoid “going up against the old guard.” After the success of her documentary short film Nucca, which screened at Sundance and Toronto, Latimer nabbed a yearlong filmmaking fellowship with Laura Poitras’ (Citizenfour) documentary unit Field of Vision. “[Telefilm] is democratizing the way we secure film financing, and it’s particularly good for younger filmmakers who can’t go the regular financing route,” Latimer says. The Canadian film sector is also focusing on hiring more women in key positions throughout the industry. Jane Tattersall, senior vp at Sim Post Toronto, who supervised the sound editing on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, says she’s hiring more women as mixers and editors in a traditionally maledominated business. “I’m not being idealistic or doing favors,” she says. “It’s much more selfish — the workplace is more interesting and more normal when you have a mix of women and men.” Marjolaine Tremblay, VFX producer and supervisor at Rodeo FX, insists that the Canadian industry needs to allow women to move from management and backroom jobs to active creative roles, including overcoming technical VFX challenges. “I have a great employer now that believes in all of my skill sets and supports me all the way,” says Tremblay. Another point of emphasis for Minister Joly is creating a healthy environment in the Time’s Up era. To that end, she says the Canadian industry now has a zero-tolerance policy for workplace harassment. “The #MeToo movement for us is clearly a fundamental change of culture,” she says. “It’s changing the way people will interact with each other and make sure there’s more respect between men and women, and ensuring the entertainment-sector workplace, as all workplaces, is much safer.” T he Baltimore of 1962 is meticulously re-created in Guillermo del Toro’s multi-Oscar-nominated sci-fi romance The Shape of Water. From an iconic, neon-lit diner to an ornate movie theater, the film revels in Americana from another age, making the fact that it was shot in and around Toronto all the more impressive. The film marks del Toro’s third collaboration Dale with producer — and Toronto native — J. Miles Dale and is the director’s fourth consecutive feature to be shot in Canada. Dale talked to THR about why the Mexican auteur now calls Toronto home and the Oscar odds for Shape of Water. Toronto hosted shoots for earlier Oscar best picture winners like TURNING A TORONTO SUBURB INTO STOCKHOLM The Ethan Hawke thriller Stockholm chronicles the real-life 1973 bank heist in the Swedish capital that produced the term “Stockholm Syndrome” — shorthand to describe when captors and captives form an unusual bond. With a modest budget of $10.5 million, Canadian co-producer Nicholas Tabarrok effectively cobbled together numerous BTS: COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES. SHAPE: KERRY HAYES/TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX. DALE: BARRY KING/GETTY IMAGES. STOCKHOLM: COURTESY OF DARIUS FILMS. WAPEEMUKWA, FOROUGHI: COURTESY OF SUBJECT. MCLEOD: COURTESY OF JIVE PR + DIGITAL. ENGLISH: COURTESY OF GAT PR. SANCHEZ: LAURENT GUERIN. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 78 FEBRUARY 7, 2018
‘ You Don’t Have to Go Anywhere Else’ Shape of Water producer J. Miles Dale on why del Toro shoots in Canada Chicago and Spotlight. What’s different with The Shape of Water? With Chicago, there were no Canadian designers on that. And even Spotlight, it wasn’t a heavy design movie. On The Shape of Water, other than the cinematographer and a couple of special effects and makeup artists, every single person from the production and costume designers, the sound team, the editor — they’re all Canadian. It tells the world: “We can play with anybody now. Our top people are right up there. You don’t have to go anywhere else.” Does that mean you and del Toro will make all your future movies in Toronto? The script will always tell you what it needs to be. If you need to do something on a mountain, you can’t do that here. If you’re stranded in the Pacific, you can’t do that here. But for anything that’s set in an East Coast Left: Dale (left) on the set of Shape of Water with del Toro. Above: the film’s stars, Richard Jenkins and Sally Hawkins. American city or some generic countryside like the Midwest, you can definitely do it here. Why has Toronto become del Toro’s filmmaking base? Ever since he did Pacific Rim, Guillermo has been here. He lives here and his family lives here. He’s really embraced the community, and he really feels he’s found a filmmaking home in Toronto. I think he likes the Canadian sensibility. Any word on your next project with him? I think he’d like to take a short break from directing. We have a couple of feature projects that we’re producing together. He’s also writing something for himself to direct, maybe next year. He’s going to stay prolific. He can’t really slow down. How do you feel as the Oscars approach? We’ve had a nice run so far. If it ended today, that would be fine. We’re going to the BAFTA Awards in London, where we led the nominations. And two weeks after that, there’s the Oscars. So these last couple of laps should be very interesting. We’re definitely feeling a lot of love right now, so hopefully that continues. — E.V. CANADIAN DIRECTORS TO WATCH WAYNE WAPEEMUKWA Wapeemukwa, 27, won the best Canadian first feature prize at the 2017 Toronto film fest with his debut, Luk’Luk’I. “Walking away from TIFF with the best first feature prize confirmed for my cast, crew and me that we were on the right track,” he says. SADAF FOROUGHI Born in Iran, Foroughi, 41, studied in France and settled in Montreal before writing and directing Ava, a coming-of-age drama that won the FIPRESCI critics prize at Toronto in 2017. SHELAGH MCLEOD After establishing a career as an actress on U.K. TV, McLeod, 57, recently wrapped production on her debut feature, the Richard Dreyfuss- and Colm Feore-starring thriller Astronaut, shot just north of Toronto. JACKIE ENGLISH After a string of acting credits, including CBS’ Beauty and the Beast, English broke into the feature world with Becoming Burlesque, a Toronto-set drama about a young Muslim woman who embraces the world of burlesque dancing. subsidies and incentives available north of the border to make the film happen. The heist flick was shot mostly in Hamilton, Ontario, allowing the producers to nab the province’s 10 percent tax credit. That’s in addition to a separate incentive that refunds 21.5 percent of qualified Ontario production expenditures. As a co-production with Sweden, the film tapped subsidies in both countries thanks to the casting of Swedish actors, including Noomi Rapace. Tabarrok won’t say how much financing came from ← Hawke was the only castmember to shoot scenes in the real city of Stockholm. 79 Sweden, but Ontario Media Development Corp. chipped in $440,000. Telefilm Canada also invested at the script stage. The Hamilton locations were so effective that Hawke was the only actor to travel to the real Stockholm to capture exterior shots. “Stockholm would not have been possible without the support of Telefilm, provincial and federal tax credits and the OMDC,” Tabarrok says. “It’s nearly impossible to finance a film this size without the support of government incentives.” — E.V. JASON AND CARLOS SANCHEZ Allure, the debut feature written and directed by Jason, 36, and Carlos, 41, Montreal-based still photographers turned filmmakers, stars Evan Rachel Wood as a house cleaner with a dark past. Samuel Goldwyn Films plans a mid-March U.S. release. — E.V.