In brief: imagineNATIVE appoints Jessica Lea Fleming as associate director

Plus: Corner Office starring Sarah Gadon and Jon Hamm rolls in Vancouver, Death of a Ladies' Man set to open Cinequest, and more.

screen shot 2021-03-04 at 11.39.25 amJessica Lea Fleming named associate director at imagineNATIVE

Effective immediately, the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival has appointed Jessica Lea Fleming as associate director.

A Wiisaakodewinikwe (Métis) and Scottish-settler cisgender woman originally from Penetanguishene, ON, she works closely with executive director Naomi Johnson and artistic director Niki Little.

In her new role, she will assist with developing and activating the organization’s strategic plan and mandate. She will also support operational management, fiscal growth and will contribute to the organization’s artistic vision through curatorial collaborations, outreach, and creative partnerships.

Recently, the filmmaker, writer, producer and performer was part of Luminato’s Fall Artist Residency and was short-listed for Canada’s Prism Prize. Currently, she sits on the Aanji Bimaadiziwin Toronto Museums Indigenous Programming Advisory Group and volunteers with organizations working to end violence against women/2S folks and food insecurity.

No Trace earns jury prize at Slamdance 2021

No Trace (Nulle Trace) from Quebec writer/director Simon Lavoie walked away with the Slamdance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Breakouts last week. Produced by GPA Films, the title served as the opening night film for the festival and is set in a near future, following a smuggler who guides a young woman and her child across the border to safety.

Elsewhere, director Sarra El Abed’s Ain’t No Time for Women earned an honourable mention for the documentary shorts prize.

Corner Office rolls in Vancouver

Production is underway in Vancouver on Corner Office starring Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Danny Pudi (Community), Sarah Gadon (Black Bear) and Christopher Heyerdahl (Hell on Wheels).

Directed by Oscar winner Joachim Back, the film is an adaptation of Swedish author Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room. The script was penned by  Ted Kupper and sees Hamm play a compulsive bureaucrat trying to make his way up in the world who discovers a secret room.

Theodore Melfi of L.A.-based Goldenlight Films, Terry Williston and Raymond Fortier are executive producing the feature, while producers include Luke Rivett for American entertainment company Anonymous Content and B.C.-based Tilt9 Entertainment’s Dylan Collingwood, Robert Mitchell, Matt Clarke and David Milchard, in association with L.A.-based Space Pilot Media’s Oliver Ridge and Andrew Harvey. Production is expected to wrap on March 7.

Death of a Ladies’ Man set for Cinequest

Canada/Ireland coproduction Death of a Ladies’ Man is set to have its U.S. premiere as the opening night film at the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival (March 20-30), which celebrates cinematic arts and innovation, held in San Jose and Redwood City, Calif. Written and directed by Matt Bissonnette, the feature is produced by Corey Marr, Don Carmody, Marie-Claude Poulin and Martina Niland. Starring Gabriel Byrne, Brian Gleeson and Jessica Paré, the film tells the story of a college professor whose life takes a series of unimaginable turns. The U.S. premiere comes a week after the Canadian release via Mongrel Media. The film will be released in select theatres and VOD platforms on March 12.

CFC rebrands main film program

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has rebranded its signature film program as The Norman Jewison Film Program in recognition of the acclaimed filmmaker and founder of the organization. “There is no better time than now to rename the film program in honour of Norman Jewison, reinforcing that his fervour for excellence in storytelling, his passion for social justice, and his commitment to the development of Canadian film and filmmakers remains central to the CFC’s ongoing mission and are more relevant today than ever,” said CFC CEO Slawko Klymkiw in a statement. In addition, Shaftesbury and AMC Networks have signed on as lead sponsors for the program, which this year will support 18 residents. The part-time component of this year’s program began in January, with the full-time portion set to begin this month and run until the end of July.