Weekly roundup: Online projects, acquisitions and greenlights

Hannah Spear

Here is today’s weekly roundup, a weekly compendium of industry news briefs.

Versus Valerie

YouTube vlog Sexy Nerd Girl has gotten a digital makeover. The series, co-created by producer Mike Fly, debuted this week on YouTube as the scripted, 12-part Versus Valerie. The series unfolds in real-time, with episodes premiering every two weeks. The series follows the life of geeky vlogger played by Hannah Spear (pictured).

In its previous Sexy Nerd Girl iteration, the so-called “transmedia experiment” has had an active presence on social media, YouTube and blogs, letting audience interactions and feedback shape its characters and storylines.

Water Docs International Film Festival

Mark Decena and James Redford’s Watershed and Montreal-based Caroline Bâcle’s Lost Rivers are among the documentaries screening at the second annual Water Docs International Film Festival, a Toronto event focused on issues of water awareness.

The screening of Decena and Redford’s Watershed will be a Canadian premiere. The festival is March 21-24.


Breakthrough Entertainment this week acquired feature film Shanghai Gypsy for global distribution through the company’s film sales division. The drama, set during the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, features the authentic Romani language and was made for $4 million.

And Toronto-based Fremantle Corporation announced this week that it is releasing six “classic movies” produced by Hollywood writer and producer Stanley Shpetner. The slate includes thrillers Death Car on the Freeway (CBS), The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver (NBC) and City Killer (NBC). Dramas include The Other Victim (CBS), Secrets of a Mother and Daughter (CBS) and Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker. The titles were acquired in a recent deal with Austin, Texas-based Sunrise Productions.


Tricon Films & Television announced this week that its upcoming youth talent competition series The Next Star has received the season six greenlight from Corus’ YTV. The series is produced by Trion in association with YTV, with Tricon distributing.

Canadian premiere

The sixth annual Vancouver Serbian FilmFest is to include the Canadian premiere of Walter, a documentary by Toronto-based Andrej Acin. The doc tells the story of a Yugoslavian Second World War hero and a film made about him in 1972 which became a popular Chinese Communist propaganda film. The festival runs March 12 to 15.