Monday, June 29, 2009

Cast and Crew

Come together...

In our crew we have now confirmed Claudine Sauvé as our director of photography! All 5 feet 2 inches of her is packed with energy and talent and sunshine. Whether she's operating handheld or on a dolly, 35mm or HD, Claudine more than holds her own in the heavily male-dominated field of cameraMEN. And holy moley, can she light! In fact, she's so in demand right now that both Barbara and I have been fending off intense phone calls and Facebook messages from an entire television series full of people who wanted her to do THEIR show this summer!

But she told me yesterday that we are going to make our feature together instead! 

Virginie Léger is our production manager. She and Barbara have been joined at the hip since they worked on Francis Leclerc's last film together: Un été sans point ni coup sûr, which coincidentally has the same number of words in the title as The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom. Barbara should possibly explore a niche market...?

Casting-wise, we've been working with the incomparable Andrea Kenyon and her team on several levels, but with most of the financing confirmed and the clock a-running on a summer shoot, we expanded our operations and went international last Friday.  

The homegrown part of our casting adventure has been riddled with so many promising - sometimes surprising - leads all fizzling away into cyberspace that we decided we can't spend any more of our energy trying to penetrate the celebrity cosmos from a distance. So we're continuing our work locally while we hand the A-list mission over to Hollywood casting agent, Heidi Levitt. Now all we have to do is profit from the fruits of her labours! Or at least, that's the plan....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Still Afloat

Even though all the incredible news still has not entirely sunk in and all the celebrating still has not entirely worn off - we have now got to get down to the business of making this movie!

Barbara and I are meeting today to work out The Plan. Liz Jarvis (our co-production partner at Buffalo Gal) will be joining us on the phone to strategize.  Virginie Leger, our production manager, will come in and give us some $ reality checks. We need to determine if we can, and want to, shoot this like, right now. Or if we can, and want to, give ourselves some more lead-in time (casting, casting, casting) and look at shooting next spring... Much to discuss and determine... I'll be keeping you up to date as we get this all in place.  It gets a lot more INTENSE from hereon in!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Taken "Home" by Telefilm

It's more than I can even grasp - 

Telefilm said YES!!! 

I'm writing this after imbibing my share of, okay, a bottle of champagne, so chances are, there will be no intelligent discourse.  I jsut wanted to spread the good news in broad storkes... 

We are financed. 

Holy mother of Godard, we are financed!!!!

Scooped by SODEC

We got a big, fat OUI!!!!!! from SODEC - our provincial  arts institution here in Quebec, that for some reason we were only expecting to hear from next week - after Telefilm!!!  But there it was, right on their website this morning (

To date, the news is only available in French, but even if you're franco-challenged, you'll see it right at the bottom of the page: The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom - big and bold in black and white!!!

WOW!!! So crazy - especially since we weren't even expecting to hear yet.

Huge congratulations to all the people behind the 7 other projects that also received the SODEC nod.  

We now all turn our eyes toward Telefilm ...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tender Hooks

I feel ridiculous saying this again. But there's still no funding news.  We were all holding our breath last Friday. Right up to 5:01 pm - when, if you happened to be on a terrace anywhere in the city, you may have felt a forceful and gassy gale of filmmaker exhale. Because we all know that the usual M.O. of the institutions is to send news (by email or fax) to expectant producers right at closing time, just before the weekend. And that, so there'll be noone for traumatized filmmakers to call and vent to in the heat of a devastating moment. Or, at least that's the prevailing theory...

We did however receive word (around 5:43 pm) from someone at Telefilm that a final decision still had not been made, that they knew they were keeping us all hanging, but they needed more time. I thought that was pretty cool - you could tell they were feeling our pain. 

So, while I've learned there's no way to predict for sure, we can reasonably assume that news will be coming down the pipe sometime this week. Whether or not the Friday at 5 rule will still apply remains to be seen.  

Until then, I - WE - all remain on tenterhooks - or, more accurately, the tender hooks of Telefilm.... Just trying not to wiggle around too much.

Monday, June 8, 2009


We received news from Telefilm late last week. 

Not the news we were anxiously awaiting though. Rather, we got news that the news we were anxiously awaiting will come a little later than we were originally expecting.

So, instead of hearing today whether or not we will receive Telefilm funding for production, it's now looking like we'll have to wait for Telefilm's decision later this week.

Same deal holds, though - as soon as I find out, you'll be the next to know!

While we're waiting, I thought I would highlight an historic event that took place last week, and one that ties in with some of the events and themes in my film...

Last Monday, Ontario's adoption records were officially opened. For the first time in more than 80 years, adult adoptees and birth parents are now legally entitled to obtain identifying information about themselves and each other.

After years of intense lobbying across North America dating back (as referenced in the film) to the 1970's, the tens of thousands of people who have fought for adoption reform in Ontario - for the very basic "right to know" - are finally being granted greater, systemic access to what is rightfully theirs. Their origins.

To all who are searching for that missing piece of their identity - whether an adoptee searching for a biological parent or a birth parent searching for a child - I hope this hard-won piece of legislation will help you find what you are looking for.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Jury Bait

With the knowledge that the Telefilm jury is meeting tomorrow to start their deliberations, I am in last-minute scramble mode: seeing if I can't come up with something solid to feed them, especially in the way of casting, before they start their comparative analysis of all the projects now before them. Knowing too that there's very little film funding money to go around these days, and only a fraction of that for English projects in Quebec, the compulsion to "make as much noise as possible" around this project is strong.

Which is why this anonymous A-lister's SILENCE is so frustrating.

"Ko and Co" wrote in the comments section last week that this kind of thing is rarely genuine - voicing an understandable cynicism about that which looks too good to be true...  But on the other hand, Ko and Co also suggested I respond to the unidentified Inquirer by being coy - by teasing him (is it a him?) with just enough information on the project to heighten curiosity and coax him out of hiding. 

In fact, in this latest episode of getting my Hollywood hopes up and then having them left hanging, I think I've done everything advisable to re-engage this person while still protecting myself ... Because, even though I do believe that these kind of fairy tales CAN come true, I've also watched enough Roadrunner cartoons in my day to know there could be a catch. So I have proceeded with the best combination of prudence and promotion, good faith and vigilance that I can manage. 

As of this blogging however, I still haven't got a "traceable" bite on my bait. On the other hand, there's no anvil-shaped shadow growing larger on the sidewalk beside me... so, something good may still come of this!

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking... and the jury is assembling... By next Monday, I will know their decision. And you will be the very next to know.