The Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange Ups the Ante on Canadian Comedy

By Cory Angeletti-Szasz ● February 01, 2018 13:50

Exciting news out of Austin, Texas: The South by Southwest Conference & Festivals (SXSW) announced its 2018 lineup and we are pleased to share that the latest feature developed through the Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange, The New Romantic, will see its World Premiere in the Narrative Feature Competition. The film, now the ninth Comedy Exchange film to be produced, is from Carly Stone (writer/director) and Kyle Mann (writer/producer), is edited by Editors’ Lab alumna Christine Armstrong and also features music by the Slaight Family Music Lab alumnus Matthew O'Halloran.

A young woman wears sunglasses with yellow lenses and looks up at the sky.

'The New Romantic'

The New Romantic follows the story of a college senior who is frustrated with the lack of chivalrous guys her own age so gives up on dating for love to date an older man in exchange for gifts instead. It stars Jessica Barden (The End of the F***ing World), Hayley Law (Riverdale), Brett Dier (Jane the Virgin), Avan Jogia (Son of Shaft), Timm Sharp (Enlightened) and Camila Mendes (Riverdale).

With the support of lead partner Telefilm Canada and associate partner Just For Laughs, the Comedy Exchange is a high-level, cross-border project and business accelerator that supports a customized approach to advanced project development, packaging and strategic marketplace positioning. Up to four feature projects are invited into the Exchange by an international advisory each year.

The Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange has helped accelerate nine Canadian comedies, including last year’s critically acclaimed feature Adventures in Public School, from CFC alumni writer/director Kyle Rideout and writer/producer Josh Epstein, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), was honoured as one of Canada’s top ten features of 2017, and was recently nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Original Screenplay. Additionally, Don’t Talk to Irene, from writer/director Pat Mills and producers Alyson Richards and Michael MacMillan, also made its World Premiere at TIFF 2017 before continuing on a successful festival run, winning the 2017 Comedy Vanguard Feature award from the Austin Film Festival.

A mother and son face each other and dance at a home school prom.

'Adventures in Public School'

Now, we are pleased to announce the four projects and teams participating in this year’s Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange. These producers and their writer/director teams will head to Los Angeles this March for the L.A. module of the program, which consists of targeted one-on-one meetings and access to high-level creative and packaging expertise, all while building strategic relationships with key decision-makers and comedy experts.


Kate Parker, a young widow still clinging to the past, teams up with five misfit women from her grief support group to steal her dead husband’s last remaining sperm sample.

Jason James (director/producer) is an award-winning producer, writer and director based in Vancouver and Los Angeles. He recently directed/produced the indie comedy Entanglement and That Burning Feeling, which won Best Canadian First Feature at the Vancouver International Film Festival and was released in both the U.S. and Canada by eOne Films and Search Engine Films. His additional projects include producing The Steps, Mountain Men, Repeaters, Cole, Fathers & Sons and Unnatural & Accidental. He also co-created and produced the CBC comedy series This Space For Rent. He is in development on the feature The Mother Outlaws for Brightlight Pictures and on TV series Sleeping Around for Corus/Shaftesbury Films and Lady Business for Bell/eOne Television.

Amber Ripley (producer) worked on Rob Stewart’s award-winning documentary Revolution, produced Ana Valine’s debut feature Sitting On the Edge of Marlene and Jason James’ Entanglement. She recently produced the comedy-horror Dead Shack, and is currently producing I’m Not A Bad Person, the sophomore effort of the team behind the award-winning film Violent, as well as Bruce McDonald’s Dreamland.

Jason Filiatrault’s (writer) credits include Entanglement, the horror/comedy A Christmas Horror Story, and the CBC series Young Drunk Punk. Jason has several projects currently in development, including three features and the half-hour comedy Tracy and Unicorn. Jason was recently selected as one of Playback’s ‘5 to Watch’.


In their final year of College, Emma, an aspiring NASA engineer, and Emmett, a hopeful photojournalist, meet at a party and fall in love, but their passionate relationship ends after they graduate as their paths keep them apart.

Rebecca Swift (producer) is a Toronto-based producer, whose first feature film, Almost Adults, premiered at the 2016 Toronto LGBT Film Festival Inside Out and went on to screen at 12 international festivals. It was acquired by Gravitas Ventures and is now available on various VOD and SVOD platforms worldwide, including Netflix. Her recent project, Nobody Famous, premiered at the 2017 Whistler Film Festival.

Sarah Rotella (director/producer) directs short films, webseries and features. Her debut feature, Almost Adults, was acquired by Gravitas Ventures, was an iTunes pre-order bestseller, and is now streaming on Netflix in 13 countries. Her directing efforts have garnered 118+ million YouTube views on her Shorty Award-nominated channel and her films have been screened in more than 90 international film festivals. Her second feature film, Nobody Famous, was a recipient of Telefilm's Canada Feature Film Fund. Sarah is currently in post-production on two digital series that she directed for CBC Comedy.

Adrianna DiLonardo (writer) wrote Almost Adults, her debut feature, which was acquired by Gravitas Ventures and was an iTunes pre-order bestseller. The film won Indiewire’s 2015 Project of the Year, screened at 12 international film festivals, and is currently streaming on Netflix. Her sophomore feature, Nobody Famous, premiered in 2017 at the Whistler Film Festival and has also been acquired by Gravitas Ventures.


A wannabe romance novelist’s failure in love leads her to “Catfish” her gay male coworker, taking them on an emotional and sexual rollercoaster that jeopardizes more than just their friendship.

Ben Lewis (writer/director/producer) wrote, directed and produced the short films Apart From Everything and Zero Recognition, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Recently, he wrote for the Super Deluxe webseries This Week Had Me Like.

Lauren Collins (writer/producer) is best known as “Paige Michalchuk” on the hit series Degrassi: The Next Generation. In recent years, Lauren produced multiple short films, including Zero Recognition (which she also co-wrote and starred in), Apart From Everything and Lolz-ita.

Matt Code (producer) is an award-winning producer of films and television and founding partner of Wildling Pictures, a Toronto-based production company. Most recently, Code produced Mary Goes Round and executive produced Cardinals, both of which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. He is currently co-producer on A24’s Share. Code was the 2017 recipient of the Canadian Media Producers Association’s Emerging Producer Award (shared with Wildling partner, Kristy Neville).

Harry Cherniak (producer) produced Wexford Plaza, his first feature, which played at Torino and Slamdance. He is currently co-producing The Competition and recently associate-produced Benjamin, Stockholm and The Padre. He teaches medicine in film, TV and the media at USC Medical School, is on Inside Out LGBT Film Festival’s Board of Directors, volunteers with The Trevor Project, and founded United in Film.


A woman is forced to sort through stale emotional baggage when she agrees to co-direct a Christmas pageant with her estranged sister in order to say goodbye to her mother.

Alyson Richards (producer) is a producer and writer. Her latest project, Don’t Talk to Irene, premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and is currently playing in theatres across Canada. Her previous films include: Guidance (TIFF 2014, New York Time’s Critic Pic), Quality Balls (Hot Docs, Showtime) and The Sublet (Whistler 2015), which she co-wrote. She also works in television and has developed projects in both Canada and the U.S., including The Line (TMN/HBO Canada) and Living In Your Car (Channel 5 UK/ HBO Canada).

Clara Altimas (writer/director) is a Toronto-based writer, director and actor originally from Montreal. Her directorial debut, Girl Couch, was selected as the winning screenplay by the Toronto ACTRA Women's Committee in their 2014 competition. Her first feature script, Benson, is set to go to camera in 2018, and her short film, Jeremy and Margot Make a Baby, premiered at the Austin Film Festival and played the NSI Online Short Film Festival. Clara is currently working on two comedies in development, Asshole Detective (Crave) and Girl in the Boy’s Room (CBC), as well as Season 2 of Crawford (CBC) and directing the digital series Off Kilter (CBC).

Learn more about the Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange HERE.

Cory Angeletti-Szasz

Manager, Communications