In brief: Sinking Ship adds distribution manager

The Future of Film Showcase moves online with CBC Gem, while the Canadian International Faith and Family Film Festival recognizes Shirley Douglas, plus more.

ayesha - sinking shipA new face joins Sinking Ship’s distribution team

Sinking Ship Entertainment has added Ayesha Girgla to its team as its manager of distribution.

Reporting to heads of sales and distribution Marilyn Kynaston and Kate Sanagan, Girgla previously worked as a lawyer and sole practitioner for Ignite Law and as an associate lawyer at Falcone Law. Sanagan confirmed to Playback Daily that Girgla’s first day was this Monday (July 27) and that the manager will specifically be working with the company on distribution contracts, license agreements and international rights management.

Sinking Ship has been on something of a hiring spree lately, bringing on Mehmet Gunduz in a new position as manager of TV sales for Latin America, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa. The company also appointed Jennifer Lee Hackett as manager of museum and non-theatrical sales last year.

FOFS shifts to CBC Gem

The Future of Film Showcase (FOFS) is heading to CBC Gem.

Due to COVID-19, the Toronto-based festival, which showcases films from Canadian creatives under the age of 40, will offer the films a part of its Official Selection for free from Aug. 21 to Sept. 4 on CBC’s platform.

This year’s lineup includes: director Carol Nguyen’s short No Crying at the Dinner Table; Rebeccah Love and Conor Casy’s Ripe; Alicia Eisen’s Deady Freddy; Wang Weibin’s My Ideal Family; Simon Ruscinski’s Urban Planning; and Scott Fitzpatrick’s Fifth Metacarpal Redux.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with CBC this year, to deliver our FOFS 2020 Official Selection. On behalf of our incredible team and filmmakers at The Future of Film Showcase, we are forever grateful to CBC for seeing the value of our festival and partnering with us to provide a platform for the emerging, Canadian filmmakers we’re proud to be showcasing. We are extremely humbled to be presenting some of Canada’s newest and freshest original voices while further enhancing and growing the ever-expanding Canadian filmmaking landscape through CBC’s national audience,” said Eric Bizzarri, co-founder and artistic director of the non-profit media arts organization dedicated to fostering the future of emerging Canadian filmmakers.

Shirley Douglas to be recognized by CIFF

The fourth annual Canadian International Faith and Family Film Festival (CIFF) has announced it will posthumously honour Shirley Douglas with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bestowed upon Douglas for her lifelong work as a great Canadian artist, the award will be accepted by her son Kiefer Sutherland.

A previous recipient of ACTRA Toronto’s Award of Excellence, the Saskatchewan-born television, film and stage actor and activist is best known for her role as May Bailey in TV series Wind at My Back. Her credits also include Shadow LakeStreet LegalFlash Gordon and serving as the narrator for animated TV series Franklin. Douglas was also a member of Playback‘s Hall of Fame and an officer of the Order of Canada. She passed away this April.

Similar to other film festivals, CIFF will go virtual this year via online festival platform FestiVee. CIFF 2020 will run from Sept. 18 to 19, featuring over 30 films – which can be viewed over the course of the month. The festival also plans to offer several online panels with various industry professionals from around the world.

“Amidst the restrictions of COVID-19, we are thrilled to be able to showcase the caliber of talent and films through CIFF online. Ms. Shirley Douglas was a Canadian treasure and I would venture to say one of the founding members of our culture both artistically and politically. She was an advocate to the arts and fought to help shape our industry,” said CIFF co-founder and executive director Jason Barbeck in a statement.

Thomas wins Best Manitoba Director prize at GFF, plus The Twentieth Century and The Body Remembers honoured

The 20th edition of the Gimli Film Festival came to a close this Sunday (July 26) – awarding filmmaker Madison Thomas its prestigious Best Manitoba Director prize for her debut feature film Ruthless Souls.

A previous Playback 5 to Watch recipient, Thomas’ feature following a tough-as-nails Ojibwa artist who must navigate the fallout of her two friends’ relationship, all the while dealing with her own issues, also saw actor Mary Galloway honoured with an achievement in acting award. Tapeworm‘s Milos Mitrovic also picked up Gimli’s other acting award.

Matthew Rankin’s feature The Twentieth Century and co-directors Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open were also honoured.

Rankin snagged GFF’s On the Rise Award: Best Canadian Director to Watch for his gonzo feature about William Lyon Mackenzie King, while the Tailfeathers and Hepburn received the festival’s Indigenous Spirit Award and Grand Jury Prize. Notably, Echo by Runar Runarsson and The Wolf House from Joaquin Cociña and Cristóbal León received honourable mentions in the latter category.

On the shorts front, the Best Canadian Short Film Jury Prize was awarded to Now is the Time by Christopher Auchter, while the Best Manitoba Short Film Jury Prize went to Daniel Gerson and Trevor Mowchun’s Northstarling and Portage Place from Tiff Bartel was presented with Best Manitoba Short Film Audience Choice Award.

As well, GFF named Andrew Ahn’s Driveways its Best of Fest Audience Choice Award winner. Joanne Roberts also walked away with the RBC $10,000 Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition prize for Anak. Meanwhile, the Audience Choice winner for the pitch was Quan Luong and Erin Hembrador’s Roadie.

With files from Kidscreen