In brief: Cronenberg’s Possessor Uncut picks up prizes

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The feature walked away with two honours from the Sitges Festival, while the fourth iteration of the Five in Focus focuses on Indigenous talent and NSI promotes Ursula Lawson.

Possessor Uncut earns two honours

Earlier this week, Brandon Cronenberg secured the 53rd Sitges Film Festival’s Best Feature Length Film and Best Direction honours for his sophomore feature film effort Possessor Uncut (pictured).

The writer/director won the two prizes in the Official Fantàstic Selection of the Spanish film festival which was held Oct. 8 to 18.  Cronenberg previously won the Sitges Film Festival’s Best New Director award for his feature film debut Antiviral in 2012.

Currently in theatres, the horror film produced by Toronto’s Rhombus Films and U.K. prodco Rook Films follows an assassin who uses brain implant technology to take over the bodies of ordinary citizens to murder high-profile targets. Notably, the title cracked the top 10 in the domestic box office in its opening weekend (Oct. 2), coming in at No. 8 with $252,664, according to Box Office Mojo.

Women in View to spotlight Indigenous talent in upcoming Five in Focus program

Women in View is turning its attention to highlighting Indigenous voices in the fourth iteration of its annual Five in Focus program. This year, five Indigenous women creatives with projects in development will take part in a 10-week virtual course, kicking off in January 2021, and participate in master classes, pitch training, project packaging and more. Five in Focus was launched in 2016 with a mandate to engage media industry leaders in the process of identifying and supporting Canadian women media creators.

In its second year, the program partnered with Women in Film and Television-Atlantic and Telefilm Canada to turn the spotlight on five women from the Atlantic region, and last year the program focused on West Coast animation talent. This year’s program is supported by Indigenous Screen Office, Telefilm Canada, Canada Media Fund, Directors Guild of Canada and Telus.

NSI’s Ursula Lawson takes the lead on NSI Business for Producers, NSI New Northern Voices 

Effective immediately, the National Screen Institute-Canada (NSI) has promoted manager, programs and development Ursula Lawson – making her the management lead on the NSI Business for Producers and the NSI New Northern Voices program.

The organization’s largest training program, the NSI Business for Producers is a distance learning and mentorship program that will see Lawson guide 21 Canadian creatives, nurturing their ideas and “the logistics and legalities of screen-based storytelling in a COVID environment.” Additionally, under Lawson’s eye, the NSI New Northern Voices program, which is dedicated to eliminating barriers for northern residents looking to access creative media arts training, will intersect with the Business for Producers program – fast-tracking one alumnus who will develop their emerging producing skills. The selected producer will work with regional writers to develop and produce a project in northern Manitoba.

One of the NSI’s longest-serving staff members, Lawson’s also oversees the NSI/FTM Manitoba Content Creators Development Accelerator as well as the mentorship, development and delivery of projects for Telus Storyhive. She is also credited with being instrumental in developing and delivering delivering training to emerging Indigenous storytellers and previously managed the CBC New Indigenous Voices program, NSI IndigiDocs and NSI Aboriginal Journalism. Secretary on the NSI board of directors, she also coordinated NSI Global Marketing and NSI Totally Television, to name a few.

Blue Ant’s Beach House gets to work on MasterChef Singapore sophomore season

Blue Ant Media’s Singapore-based prodco Beach House Pictures has gone into production on the sophomore season of MasterChef Singapore. The local version of the Banijay-owned culinary competition format is set to air on Singapore’s Mediacorp Channel 5, meWATCH and YouTube in February 2021. Beach House produces MasterChef Singapore alongside Motion Content Group. The Blue Ant-owned prodco, which has this year been expanding its operations in the U.S. and China, specializes in factual and unscripted programming, producing series including Ed Stafford: First Man Out, Wild City, Masterchef Singapore, Raffles: Remaking an Icon and China From Above.

Image of Possessor Uncut courtesy of Elevation Pictures