In Brief: Content Catalyst Fund rebrands as Catalyst with new hire

Plus: Indigenous filmmakers are making strides with genre films, the Montreal Festival du nouveau cinéma reveals participants for Nouveau Marché, and more.

The Content Catalyst Fund has rebranded as Catalyst with the appointment of a new development co-ordinator, Mithila Majithia.

Catalyst’s new name and image are intended to simplify its brand proposition and make it the destination for women creators working in non-scripted content. At the same time, the company will also represent IP in all genres and at all levels of entertainment, including scripted, premium features and podcasts.

Majithia’s (pictured) appointment on the executive-producing team comes as Catalyst embarks on an intensive growth strategy, according to a news release. That strategy includes the launch of a series of “Community Connector Events” — the first of which is taking place during the Toronto International Film Festival.

Catalyst has also partnered with the Canadian Film Centre to create a program for women in the unscripted space. Hailing from India and Hong Kong, Majithia joins Catalyst from Toronto-based Alibi Entertainment, where she was business affairs co-ordinator on popular shows including Carnival Eats and Sarah off the Grid.

Indigenous filmmakers making strides with genre films

Indigenous-Canadian filmmakers says they’re finding more opportunities to tell their stories in a more “creative and relatable way” through genre films.

Filmmaker Sonya Ballantyne (Taken) told a panel at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this week that hit genre films such as Hulu and Disney+’s Prey have opened doors for emerging Indigenous filmmakers to create more content that could resonate more with the general public.

Ballantyne added on the panel — titled TIFF Perspectives Narrative Sovereignty: From Slashers to Sci-Fi: Exploring The Significance of Indigenous Genre Films — that some people find it too harsh when films use realism too much, “but when replaced with apes or other characters or a genre, it’s OK and accepted by the majority. Putting the majority in a familiar form helps them understand us more.”

There’s a lot of Indigenous experience in genres like science-fiction, thriller, and speculative fiction, said filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open) during the panel, adding that “we used to focus on telling sad stories because of where we were at that time as a society. Now, we’re in a much better place and we’re able to tell these inspiring new stories on screen in a different way.”

Moderated by filmmaker Bird Runningwater (The Land), the panel explored how genre films are helping shape the way Indigenous stories are being told on screen. Other panelists include Darlene Naponse (Stellar), and Nyla Innuksuk (Slash/Back).

Montreal Festival du nouveau cinéma reveals participants for Nouveau Marché

Three homegrown films have been selected for Montreal Festival du nouveau cinéma’s (FNC) second edition of Nouveau Marché.

Paul Chotel’s Le Seuil du jardin, produced by Jonathan Beaulieu-Cyr of Montreal’s Les Films Rôdeurs; Gavin Seal’s Laughing with God, produced by Chaz Beaudette of Montreal’s Loaded Pictures; and Maha Al-Saati’s Pilgrim in Wonderland, a Canada/Saudi Arabia copro produced by Sahar Yousefi of Nava Projects, are among the films selected for the marketplace.

The international coproduction marketplace runs from Oct. 6 to 9 in Montreal in parallel with the festival and the FNC Forum. Nouveau Marché will host 15 producing and directing teams with projects in development and will have networking events with more than 100 Canadian, American, and European buyers, sales agents and distributors.

Production starts on Civil in Northern Ontario

Cameras are rolling in Northern Ontario for Mackenzie Donaldson’s Civil.

The dramatic thriller is directed and produced by Donaldson under her Toronto banner, The Donaldson Company, alongside Yas Taalat (The Informer), Chantal Kemp (Citizen Bio), and David J. Phillips (Eat Wheaties!) of Toronto and Vancouver-based Electric Panda Entertainment. Civil is currently filming in North Bay and Mattawa, Ont., and marks Donaldson’s feature solo directorial debut after working as producer on TNT’s Snowpiercer and BBC America and Space’s Orphan Black.

Distributor levelFilm has Civil slated for release in Canada next year, with U.S. and international rights are still available.

The story of a civil war in the near-future stars Jasmine Mathews (The Tomorrow War), Douglas Smith (Don’t Worry Darling), Steven Ogg (The Walking Dead), Devon Sawa (Chucky), Lochlyn Munro (Riverdale), Matthew Finlan (Orphan: First Kill), Vinessa Antoine (Diggstown), Sheila McCarthy (Women Talking), Alexander Elliot (The Hardy Boys), Anthony Grant (Polar), Jonathan Cherry (The Novice) and Cody Sparshu (Driveways).

Image courtesy of CCF