Projects and Teams Announced for Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange

Toronto, November 19, 2013 - CFC (Canadian Film Centre) is pleased to announce the projects and participants for the fifth year of theTelefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange beginning today in Toronto.

The Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange is a CFC North South Marketplace Initiative in collaboration with Just for Laughs, designed to provide producers and their writers with high level creative and marketplace counsel, as well as packaging and financing expertise from key decision makers and comedy experts in order to increase the strength of their feature comedy projects for the international film marketplace.

Past projects include Jason James' That Burning Feeling, starring John Cho (The Harold & Kumar franchise), Paulo Costanzo (”Royal Pains”), Tyler Labine (Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil), and Emily Hampshire (Cosmopolis). The film shared the prize for Best Canadian First Feature at the Vancouver International Film Festival and will be distributed in Canada by Search Engine Pictures. Daniel Perlmutter's project Big News from Grand Rock (formally known as Fit To Print) starring Ennis Esmer (“The Listener”), Aaron Ashmore (“Smallville”), Kristin Booth (Young People F*cking), and Gordon Pinsent (Away from Her) is currently in post-production. Saddlebags, from writer Christine Lippa has been optioned by Joshua Astrachan's Animal Kingdom Films (Short Term 12). Pat Mills and Alyson Richards won Best Screenplay at the Austin Film Festival for their feature, Don't Talk To Irene.

Sheila de La Varende, Telefilm Canada's Director of International Promotion, added: “Findings in our recently published Canadian film consumers survey showed that genre, with comedy topping the list, is the key factor for movie-goers in their selection process. In this light, we are very pleased to again partner with the Canadian Film Centre on the Feature Comedy Exchange. This initiative engages homegrown talent with US comedy experts, allowing them to work with the brightest minds in the business.”

Projects and teams selected for the 2013-2014 session are:

  • Buzz Me: A journey from knowing it all to knowing nothing,Buzz Me is a coming-of-age comedy about four misfit teens dragooned against their will by their gone-to-seed gym teacher to form their high school's first- ever Young Mind Master Team. The project comes from producers Raj Panikkar and Chris Szarka (“Rent-A-Goalie”), writer Malcolm MacRury (“Deadwood”), and director Ken Girotti (“Rescue Me”).
  • Public Schooled: A socially inept home-schooled teen is forced into public school, where we follow his desperate attempts at finding friendship and true love with a one-legged beauty in a backdrop of outrageous rebellion. The project comes from producer Adam Folk (Stake Land) and writers Kyle Rideout and Josh Epstein (Hop the Twig).
  • Mimi & Me: A teenage wallflower and her gambling-addicted grandma become con artists to save their family home in small town Vancouver Island. The project comes from producer Blake Corbet (Fido), and writer/producer Marly Reed (Lonely Santa).

The participants of the Comedy Exchange will be paired with internationally renowned comedic minds. Past guests and mentors have included Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann (This is 40), Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (This Is the End), Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), Jason Reitman (Juno), Jay Roach (the Austin Powers franchise), Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters), Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde), Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), John Hamburg (I Love You, Man), and former comedy chair Eugene Levy. The initiative advances the comedy genre within Canadian film and generates comedies poised to achieve critical and commercial success.