In brief: Netflix taps Mississauga native for Mindy Kaling series

Plus: RBC reveals the finalists for its short film pitch competition at the Gimli Film Festival and Shredders of Metal sets its rockin' return date.

maitreyi-ramakrishnanMississauga’s Maitreyi Ramakrishnan to lead Mindy Kaling’s Netflix project

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan has been cast in the lead role of Mindy Kaling’s upcoming Netflix series, beating out thousands of other hopefuls. The untitled series is produced by Kaling and Lang Fisher (The Mindy ProjectBrooklyn Nine-Nine) and depicts life for a modern-day Indian-American teenage girl. Ramakrishnan, who comes from a Tamil-Canadian background, received the role through an open casting call put out by Kaling, which garnered 15,000 responses worldwide. This will be her on-screen debut.

Kaling has a history of working with Canucks. Her latest film Late Night, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was directed by Vancouver’s Nisha Ganatra.

RBC, Gimli Film Festival reveal emerging filmmaker pitch finalists

Five short film concepts have been selected for the RBC Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition, run in collaboration with Manitoba’s Gimli Film Festival. The five finalists are Rooted in Magic by Adeline Bird; Choppy Waters by Evan Friesen; shakingwakingnightmare by Eli Matilda Ridley; First Session by Matthew Van Ginkel; and One by Ritvick Mehra. The winning pitch will receive $10,000 to produce the short and $5,000 toward rental equipment from William F. White International. The winner will also receive mentorship opportunities from the National Screen Institute and On Screen Manitoba and will premiere their short film at the Gimli Film Festival in 2020.

Gimli Film Festival has also introduced a new award for its annual gala event. The Indigenous Spirit Award has been created to honour a “deserving Indigenous filmmaker,” presented by APTN. Among the Indigenous-led Canadian features included in this year’s program are Helen Haig-Brown and Gwaai Edenshaw’s Edge of the Knife, Tasha Hubbard’s nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up and Jesse Green and Vanda Fleury-Green’s Urban Eclipse: Rising Tides of Kekekoziibii.

Shredders of Metal sets season two return

Unscripted webseries Shredders of Metal will release new episodes on YouTube beginning Aug. 12. The Banger Films-produced talent competition follows eight guitarists who perform for a panel of three judges to win a prize from ESP Guitars and Marshall Amplifiers. The jury for season two includes returning judges Sam Dunn, Banger Films cofounder, and former Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, along with new judge Ben Weinman, founder of the band Dillinger Escape Plan. Comedian Blayne Smith will also return as host. Episodes will be released daily, with the final episode set for Aug. 18.