Jeff Woolnough | Director Wed, 22 Jan 2014 01:50:31 +0000 en hourly 1 Midnight’s Children, Jack Layton biopic win big at Directors Guild of Canada Awards Wed, 22 Jan 2014 01:46:03 +0000 admin ARTICLE LINK

Deepa Mehta’s epic film “Midnight’s Children” and the TV movie “Jack” were named best films at the 12th Director’s Guild of Canada awards Saturday.

“Midnight’s Children,” based on the award-winning novel by Salman Rushdie, won for best feature film while CBC’s “Jack,” about the late charismatic NDP leader Jack Layton, was best TV movie.

Showtime’s “The Borgias” won for best dramatic television series and sound editing.

Best director nods went to Michael McGowan for the romantic drama “Still Mine” and to Anne Wheeler for the TV movie “The Horses of McBride.” David Wellington was best director for CTV’s “Saving Hope,” which also won for best picture editing.

The “Heartland” episode “Running Against the Wind,” directed by Stefan Scaini, was judged best in the TV family category while in television, comedy “Call Me Fitz,” directed by Scott Smith, won for the episode “Thirty Percent Less Pulp Fiction.”

Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell,” produced by the National Film Board of Canada, received the award for excellence in documentary while director/producer Christopher Cinnamon’s “The Sound of Willie Nelson’s Guitar” was best short film.

The dramatic film “Rebelle,” Canada’s entry at last year’s Oscars, the TV movie “An Amish Murder” and TV’s “Hell on Wheels” had nods for best production design.

The Spanish-Canadian horror film “Mama” won for picture and sound editing while the TV movie “An Officer and a Murderer,” about the crimes committed by former RCAF colonel Russell Williams, won for picture editing.

A sound editing nod also went to the TV mini-series “Titanic.”

John N. Smith was recognized for lifetime achievement, Lee Gordon was the Don Haldane distinguished service award winner and Peter O’Brian received an honorary life member award.

Comedian Sean Cullen hosted the gala at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

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Copper Gets Second Season Mon, 19 Nov 2012 04:57:36 +0000 admin Source –

The cable network’s first original scripted series, from EPs Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana, will return for a larger order of 13 episodes.

Ahead of Sunday’s season finale of Copper, BBC America has ordered a second season of its first original scripted series.

The cable network has upped the order from the first run, planning 13 episodes to air in 2013.

“BBC America’s first original scripted series, Copper, has proven to be a perfect fit for the channel,” said BBC Worldwide America GM Perry Simon. “Our viewers have made it our highest-rated series premiere ever and highest-rated drama series ever.”

Copper’s August premiere fetched 1.1 million viewers during its 10 p.m. debut broadcast, the largest debut in network history. The episode went on to deliver 2.75 million viewers in Live+7 data, and its performance over the 10-episode freshman season has rivaled former network heavyweight, British sci-fi import Doctor Who.

Copper, from EPs Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana, who co-created the series set in 1864 New York with Will Rokos, is produced by Cineflix Studios in association with BBC America.

BBC America’s second scripted original, Orphan Black, goes into production this month and will debut in 2013. The network’s current distribution is just shy of 80 million homes in the U.S..

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LA Times Copper Review Mon, 19 Nov 2012 04:56:13 +0000 admin Source –

Review: BBC America’s ‘Copper’ a refreshing bit of 1860s grit

Set in the rowdy Five Points area of New York City with a straight-arrow cop at its moral center, ‘Copper,’ the channel’s first original drama, entertains.

“Copper,” which premieres Sunday night, is the first original drama from BBC America, a network that sometimes seems to be made entirely of “Top Gear” reruns. It is rather good.

Co-created by Tom Fontana and executive produced by Barry Levinson, who earlier laid “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Oz” at our feet, with co-creator Will Rokos (who co-wrote “Monster’s Ball”), it is a sort of Eastern western, set around the unruly, pestilent Five Points area of New York City in 1864 — the place and the time, or just after it, of Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York.” If it is more morally straightforward than that film or than “Homicide” or “Oz” or the more artistic dramas that define modern cable television — the hero is unequivocally a good guy, his adversaries are unmistakably evil — I hereby declare that to be refreshing.

Irish American police detective Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) is a straight arrow in a crooked world and plagued by a mystery of his own: the disappearance of his wife and the murder of his daughter while he was away doing brave things in the still-ongoing Civil War. The loss has not exactly been balanced by the acquisition of two new wartime friends, Robert Morehouse (Kyle Schmid), a Fifth Avenue rich kid who left a leg behind, and Matthew Freeman (Ato Essandoh), an African American doctor who has become Corcoran’s uncredited forensic pathologist.

The cast is talented and not particularly familiar. There are a couple of weak links who can’t quite translate the cadences of the studiously antiqued dialogue into natural-sounding speech, but most make pleasant company, even in moments of suspense and tension, and those who aren’t as good to listen to are still nice to look at.

Franka Potente, who starred in “Run Lola Run” and a couple of “Bourne” movies and plays the Good Madam here (there is a Bad Madam uptown), is the biggest name, though some will recognize Schmid from”Being Human”and Tessa Thompson, as Matthew Freeman’s wife, Sara — still recovering from her brothers’ lynching in the Draft Riots — from “Veronica Mars.”

As a rudderless child of privilege who wants to impress or possibly to undermine his unsavory developer father or possibly even to do the first by accomplishing the second, Schmid’s Morehouse (both damaged and enlightened by the war) is potentially the most fluid and interesting character here, though Corcoran, with his leading-man looks, quiet resolve, wounded heart and sexy righteous ways, is still its most attractive: All the ladies love him, while Morehouse praises his “inherent nobility.”

Accompanying Corcoran are a pair of detective sidekicks, one a rogue-ish romantic (Kevin Ryan), the other a big lug (Dylan Taylor). If by modern standards of professional police work they are somewhat backward — they shoot first, interrogate with punches, skim a little off the top from recovered loot — they are made sympathetically modern in other ways: free of the racial, religious and gender prejudices many if not most of their peers would have regarded as scientific fact, relatively sober, good with children. (And so it is with Potente’s warm-hearted proto-feminist Madam. And as in most such screen fictions, all the whores are hotties.)

Something similar is going on with the re-created city itself: For all its down-market detailing, the Five Points of “Copper” looks too clean, less squalid than run-down, a ramshackle backdrop for lusty scenes of urban peasant life — child prostitution story line notwithstanding. It is an impressive piece of work, nevertheless, a warren of streets and alleys re-created on a Canadian soundstage by production designer John Blackie (“Hell on Wheels”). Cinematographer Paul Sarossy (Atom Egoyan’s go-to-guy), tending toward monochrome, works tight to make less look like more, though here and there it does look like a little less.

Research has been done. There are times when the dialogue becomes a kind of dramatic Cliff’s Notes: “Thoughtful men believe that urban growth can be controlled by scientific method and careful planning,” Morehouse tells a friend, “though there are those who hold that the plight of the poor is their own doing.” And you will learn that the age of consent in that place and time was 10. But “Copper” has come to entertain, not to educate, and it discharges that duty well.

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DGC Meet The Directors Video Mon, 19 Nov 2012 04:22:21 +0000 admin

October 17th 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox
HOST: Michael Kennedy

Nominated for Best Director & Best Miniseries
Jeff Woolnough – “Wrath of Grapes: The Don Cherry Story II”

The annual Meet the Directors event is held in conjunction with the annual DGC Awards. Every year we feature nominated directors and their works for an open, informative and entertaining evening. This is a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse into the filmmaking process from some of Canada’s best directors.

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2012 Directors Guild of Canada Awards nominees announced Mon, 19 Nov 2012 04:09:13 +0000 admin Source –

Jeff Woolnough has been nominated for Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series for his work on The Wrath of Grapes: The Don Cherry Story.

Also nominated for:
Best Miniseries & Best Sound Editing

TORONTO, July 11, 2012 /CNW/ – The DGC congratulates the 2012 DGC Awards nominees announced today in Toronto. Selected from close to 180 submissions, the nominees in 19 categories represent a cross section of the industry’s outstanding talent working in the screen-based industry.

The Awards will be presented at the annual Gala on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the prestigious Royal York Hotel. Hosted by multi-talented comedian, actor and musician Séan Cullen, the 2012 edition of the DGC Awards marks the 50th anniversary of the DGC.

“I am proud of the nominees and what their collective body of work brings to this country’s industry as well as to the Guild as a whole,” stated Sturla Gunnarsson, President, DGC. “It is an honour to be a part of this organization and to lead the celebration of the best work created by DGC members last year.”

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Jack Layton Movie – TV Feature Story Mon, 19 Nov 2012 03:58:29 +0000 admin Source –

A biopic on Jack Layton is currently being filmed in Winnipeg.

This made-for-television movie stars veteran Canadian actor Rick Roberts as the former NDP leader, while Definitely Not the Opera’s Sook-Yin Lee plays Olivia Chow.

The film is being co-produced by Pier 21 Films and Winnipeg’s Eagle Vision Inc., and is expected to air on CBC in 2013.

Olivia Chow was on-set this weekend as filming took place at the Manitoba Legislature. CBC caught up with Chow and Executive Producer Laszlo Barna to ask them about the film.

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Jack Layton Movie – Press Mon, 19 Nov 2012 03:57:00 +0000 admin Source –

Jack Layton movie an emotional affair for cast, late NDP leader’s widow

The hospital scenes were toughest on Olivia Chow.

Watching other moments of her life with husband Jack Layton play out before the cameras must have been hard enough. Curious, even, in an out-of-body sort of way.

But a key scene in the upcoming Layton made-for-TV biopic — one in which the couple learns that the man who led the New Democrats to their greatest electoral triumph is beyond medical help — proved especially difficult for Chow.

Earlier this month, Chow — bracing, no doubt, for this week’s one-year anniversary of her husband’s death — visited the Winnipeg set of “Smilin’ Jack: The Jack Layton Story,” which documents a tumultuous period in recent Canadian political history.

At one point, she said, she had to stop listening. She could only watch as one of the most emotional moments of her life was recreated for the cameras.

“There was a scene where Jack was talking to the nurse, and then Olivia walked in to say, ‘We’re going home,’”

said Chow — describing her character in the third person — during a phone interview from her Toronto home.

“So it was a very special moment. They did it really well. So I watched. I didn’t say a whole lot. But that was a bit difficult. It’s fairly traumatic to watch that.”

The film chronicles Layton’s journey last year from the moment he refused to support the Conservative government’s budget, through the so-called Orange Crush that swept the New Democrats into the Official Opposition benches, to the public outpouring of grief following his death mere months after leading the party to its greatest achievement.

It is also a love story.

Interwoven in all the politics is the tale of Layton and Chow, who met in the 1980s when he was a scrappy city councillor and she was a school board trustee. She went on to join him on Toronto city council, and years later followed him to Ottawa when she was elected to represent the riding next door to Layton’s.

The movie stars Canadian actor Rick Roberts as Layton and CBC Radio host Sook-Yin Lee as Chow.

Shooting the hospital scene was a “very palpable, very real moment,” said Lee, adding that she tried to make a mental connection with Chow during filming.

“I think she was aware of our communication. And then I saw her dismiss herself and go,” she said. “It choked me up some, but I knew that for the story, it’s imperative that I go there, that we go there, in order to have the moment resonate.”

“That was a tough day,” said Roberts of having Chow on the set.

“It was a great gift. It just reminds you that this happened and that these are real people. It was a good anchor for the production.”

In Chow, Lee found a kindred spirit. They’re both swimmers who belong to the same pool in Toronto. They live four blocks apart, and a mutual friend sold both of them their homes.

Chow lent the filmmakers some personal items, such as clothing and Layton’s cane. Lee said she never thought she’d fit into one of Chow’s tailor-made dresses, but sure enough, it fit like a glove.

“Either there’s some crazy sort of Chinese reincarnation going on, I don’t know, maybe we were sisters in a previous life or something like that. I think about those things,” Lee said.

“But maybe we’re like-minds that travel in similar circles.”

Director Jeff Woolnough said “a few other serendipitous occurrences left the cast and crew feeling as though Layton was somehow on the set, guiding them.”

The costume designer was having trouble finding the expensive grey Chaps sweater with the high collar and brown elbow patches that Layton often wore during the election campaign.

“And she went into a store that she never goes into and she walked up to a rack, and there that sweater was, and it was on sale for twenty-five bucks,” Woolnough said.

“She took that as a sign that Jack kind of steered her there, you know, and said, ‘That’s where you’ll find it.’”

Pier 21 Films and Eagle Vision Inc. are producing the film in association with CBC for release next year.

Filming began earlier this month in Winnipeg, almost a year after Layton died from a type of cancer that to this day remains a closely guarded secret.

Layton had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but during the 2011 campaign he repeatedly insisted his PSA levels were normal. When he appeared gaunt and raspy-voiced at his final news conference last July, he referred only to a “new” form of cancer.

Although the precise nature of the second cancer is left vague on screen, as it has been in real life, Roberts said facing one’s own mortality is one of the film’s overarching themes.

“There are the real-life events that really take on a mythic journey for a man,” he said.

“So I kind of see all these things — mortality, and what’s your life’s purpose, and triumph — which happened for them in such a condensed period of time. It really is the stuff of drama and storytelling.”

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Directors Guild of Canada – Wins for Being Erica Thu, 24 Mar 2011 20:33:38 +0000 admin Being Erica won for “Best Dramatic Series” at the Directors Guild of Canada Awards for 2010.

Being Erica DGC Awards

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Directors Guild of Canada – Wins for Don Cherry Miniseries Thu, 24 Mar 2011 20:28:44 +0000 admin Don Cherry won Best Miniseries and Best Sound Editing at the Directors Guild of Canada Awards for 2010.

Don Cherry DGC Awards

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Gemini Awards – Jared Keeso Best Actor Thu, 24 Mar 2011 20:26:46 +0000 admin Congrats to Jared for his win at the 2010 Gemini Awards

“Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series”
Jared won for his portrayal of Don Cherry in the CBC mini series “Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story”

The Series also won for “Best Cinematography”

Jared Keeso

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