Dave Lazar

Contact Dave by sending an email to dlazar@brunico.com

Articles by Dave Lazar

DGC nears four-council agreement

Seeking a united voice and a strong, consistent collective agreement for all its district councils, the Directors Guild of Canada is currently in negotiations on a four-council collective agreement, spanning Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. DGC president Alan Goluboff hopes the new agreement will be ratified by February 2002.


WGC steps up lobbying

Executive director of the Writers Guild of Canada Maureen Parker says Canadian screenwriters are like ‘the canary in the coal mine,’ or the first indicator of troubled business. ‘The future is actually very bleak for all of us,’ she says. ‘Writers aren’t working and it will trickle through the system.’ Parker says the danger is a direct result of the decline in indigenous, live-action drama production.


Bald Ego – Craig Bernard

Commercial directors spill on their careers, accomplishments and the ideas that propel them to new advertising heights. This month we check in with…


Nelvana animates Heidi for the big screen

The Swiss Miss has hit. Yes, Heidi, everybody’s favorite character from the Swiss Alps is yodeling her way back to the big screen. Toronto animation giant Nelvana is developing a 50-50 coproduction of the long-loved children’s tale with Germany’s TV-Loonland and KirchMedia. The project was greenlit at MIPCOM earlier this month.
Nelvana promises the newest incarnation of the fable will be true to the popular story and colorful personalities that surround the preteen hero. Nelvana supervising producer Cynthia Taylor says the project is for ‘theatrical release in Europe and very likely theatrical release here. That’s still being worked on.’


Breakthrough hits the niches with a whack of new series

Toronto production house Breakthrough Films and Television continues to produce television content at a breakneck rate. Currently in development are 26 half-hours of the reality documentary series Kids World Sports for Global, PBS and Clear Channel out of New York.
Kids World Sports follows the stories of child athletes from around the world. One episode could include a kickboxer from China, a baseball player in Cuba and a soccer team from Croatia.


This hour has 90 minutes

Canadian comedienne deluxe Mary Walsh has signed on to write and star in Devine Entertainment’s first theatrical feature film, Puppy Love. The project marks another first, with Walsh penning her debut theatrical film script.
Puppy Love is a coproduction of Devine and Debbie Nightingale’s Toronto prodco, The Nightingale Company. For Devine, Richard Mozer will act as producer along with the company’s pesident and CEO David Devine, who will also direct.
The bones-to-biscuits tale follows a golden retriever named Giver who becomes the main beneficiary of his deceased master’s multimillion-dollar fortune. Walsh is cast as Florence Van Loon, who, along with fellow family members, schemes up a plan to deny the dog his due.


Bureau de Post looks to a one-stop future

The wisdom of the real-estate mantra location, location, location was proven for Montreal’s Bureau de Post Productions when a strategic move into a desirable, agency-laden neighborhood helped put the shop on the spot post map.


torontostartv.com pitches Net services and aims to double its digital post biz

Looking to fill a market niche with new digital technologies not readily available at traditional commercial post houses, torontostartv.com, a two-year-old spin-off of infomercial network Toronto Star TV is hoping to capture some of Canada’s post-production business.
torontostartv.com.com is offering digital encoding, Net broadcasts and live webcasting, an ORAD Cyberset ‘O’ system along with digital production and post-production services.
‘We’d definitely like to chew off a bigger piece of the commercial industry,’ says Heather Brunt, torontostartv.com.com‘s operations manager. ‘Given the fact we’re a commercial channel, that was our natural in.’


The Bald Ego – Jame Hyslop

James Hyslop’s directing encompasses both commercial and documentary work – two disciplines that he says inform one another, allowing him to tell stories and hone his craft. Previously represented by Toronto’s Angel Films, Hyslop secured a new representation deal with Toronto-based Bedlam Films after Angel merged with Generator in September. At Bedlam, Hyslop expects to continue to build on his body of work as a storyteller in both short and long forms.


Voodoo behind Players spawn

There’s another player on the Toronto spot landscape. The Players Film Company president Philip Mellows reveals that an as-yet-unnamed satellite of his Toronto commercial house is set to launch in October.
Although the roster has not been announced, a September deal with Montreal’s Voodoo Arts for reciprocal representation of the companies’ directors in the two markets offers a first glimpse at the new shop’s lineup of directors.
Voodoo will work to market Players directors such as Philip Kates, Bradley Walsh, Adam Massey, Jordan Toms and Steve Surjik in Montreal, while Players will make room for Voodoo helmers Jim Donovan, Bernard Nadeau and Francis Leclerc in Toronto.


Wind at My Back keeps on blowin’

Sullivan Entertainment’s Wind at My Back Christmas Movie is shooting this month in dynamic Scarborough, ON. The MOW spin-off of the TV series is not really a finale for the show, according to production manager Dan Matthews.
‘It ties up loose ends from where the characters left off at the end of the fifth season, and it’s packaged in a holiday movie,’ Matthews explains. However, ‘there are no immediate plans’ to do another season of the series at this point, he adds.


Treed Murray

* Director/writer: Bill Phillips * Producers: Helen du Toit, Mehra Meh * Cinematographer: John Holosko * Diary by: Dave Lazar