Watch the full episode of “Pop Life” from Saturday November 10, 2018. This week with Jay Baruchel on where his love of the Habs came from. The Canadian “How to Train Your Dragon” actor and author speaks about this and more. Then, the “Pop Life” panel, “Girl Squads” author Sam Maggs, “United We Fan” director Michael Sparaga and “Jericho” superfan Jeff Knoll, break down the power of fandom and how it is allowing people to connect on and offline.
The “Pop Life” panel, “Girl Squads” author Sam Maggs, “United We Fan” director Michael Sparaga and “Jericho” superfan Jeff Knoll, break down the power of fandom and how it is allowing people to connect on and offline.
Here’s some info on The Richard Crouse Show!: Each week on The Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favorite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Richard also lets you know what movies you’ll want to run to see and which movies you’ll want to wait for DVD release. Click HERE to catch up on shows you might have missed! Read Richard NewsTalk 1010 reviews HERE!
The show airs:
NewsTalk 1010 – airs in Toronto Saturday at 9 to 10 pm.
For Niagara, Newstalk 610 Radio – airs Saturdays at 6 to 7 pm
For Montreal, CJAD 800 – Saturdays at 6 to 7 pm
For Vancouver – CFAX 1070 – Saturdays 6 to 7 pm.
For London — Newstalk 1290 CJBK, Saturdays 10 to 11 pm
Local filmmaker Michael Sparaga was looking to come up with some extra material for the DVD release of his feature film debut, the independently produced superhero flick Sidekick. Instead, he found a whole new movie.
Sparaga took Sidekick on a cross-Canada tour in April 2006 and, while traveling across the country, decided to ask people about their views toward Canadian film on the whole. What he found opened his eyes and formed the basis for a new project, Maple Flavour Films, which is slated to premiere at the 2008 Canadian Filmmakers Festival next week.
“I went out and asked people what they thought about Canadian English-language film and I kind of expected everyone to say that they hate Canadian movies,” he said. “Across the country, what I kept hearing, though, was people saying they really liked them.”
While that came as a surprise to the North Toronto writer/director, the discovery came with a very large – and very unfortunate – catch.
“When I pressed people further about Canadian films, most people didn’t even know one,” Sparaga said. “Why say you like something if you don’t know any?”
As a filmmaker himself, the news was obviously unsettling to Sparaga, who found Canadians’ lack of knowledge over their own film industry daunting.
“I actually wouldn’t have cared if people were saying negative things about the industry,” he said. “If people are bad-mouthing something, at least they’re talking about it.”
Sparaga has some ideas as to why Canadians are so often oblivious as to the films being produced in their own country. The problem, he said, stems from Canadian filmmakers’ own opinions as to what makes for a ‘Canadian’ movie, and how that differs from the tastes of the general public.
“Hollywood concentrates on (drawing audiences of) young boys, but we declare ourselves more of an art house country,” he said. “The thing is, the big, wide release movies in the U.S. finance their production of independent films. We don’t have that; we’d rather say, ‘At least we didn’t have to sink to making The Mighty Ducks.'”
Sparaga said his solution is for Canada to start funding and producing more films that are, if not big-budget blockbusters, perhaps more a form of entertainment for entertainment’s sake. While he enjoys a profound art house film as much as anyone, Sparaga acknowledges the need to meet audiences halfway.
“You can’t deny what the public is saying, and if you look at box office, it’s pretty clear what they’re saying,” he said. “Unlike most of the world, we fund our country’s films through our tax dollars. The industry should give people what they’re paying for and not just (cater to) niche groups.”
While Maple Flavour Films takes various facets of the Canadian film industry to task, it stops short of pointing fingers. Rather than laying the blame at the feet of distributors, producers or funding agencies such as Telefilm, whose mandate is to develop and promote the Canadian audiovisual industry, the movie is more an in-depth investigation into the industry.
“I don’t want this to come across as me making fun of something when it’s hurting or kicking something when it’s down,” he said. “I don’t want people to think it’s an attack on Canadian filmmakers or on Telefilm. Telefilm developed my superhero movie, and they’re developing my Bigfoot action movie.”
If anything, Sparaga hopes to help uncover and tackle some of the issues that have led to Canadian films sagging in popularity even locally. To that end, the film’s premiere will spark a panel discussion featuring top industry professionals and moderated by noted Canadian film critic Richard Crouse.
Considering that Sparaga has screened Sidekick to sold-out audiences across Canada, he is surprisingly anxious about his latest venture, perhaps because it will premiere before many of the Canadian film industry’s movers and shakers.
“I’m nervous as hell, and when I was talking to Richard (Crouse) about it, he said, ‘I’ve done panels before, so don’t worry,'” Sparaga said. “So great, now I only have to worry about the world premiere of my film, not about the hour afterward.”
Maple Flavor Films will premiere at the Carlton Cinemas, 20 Carlton St., at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26 as part of the Canadian Filmmakers’ Festival. For more information on the film, visit www.grindstonemedia.com. For tickets to the screening or information on the film festival, visit www.canfilmfest.ca.
The British Commonwealth spelling of the word “flavor” is your first clue that we aren’t in Kansas anymore. Actually more like Toronto, the home base of Canadian filmmaker Michael Sparaga, whose documentary Maple Flavour Films premiered on Wednesday, March 26th at the Canadian Film Festival.
The premise of Sparaga’s directorial debut is simple but intriguing as it commingles interviews with industry folks and critics alongside those of average men and women on the street to determine the temperature of Canadian moviemaking. Since there are far fewer well-known movie critics in Canada than there are in the U.S., Sparaga felt it imperative that his doc feature one Richard Crouse.
“The lists of professional folks we wanted to talk to were pretty short, and we pretty much got everybody we wanted right off the bat,” Sparaga tells Excalibur, a newspaper published by his Toronto Alma Mater, York University. “I mean, Richard Crouse specifically has the longest running movie review show in Canada, Reel to Reel, and he’s pretty much the only personality that’s recognizable as a critic. So, it just felt like a natural [choice] to talk to him and get him involved.”
Perhaps the most intriguing revelation of Sparaga’s research is the lessons English Canada needs to learn from French Canada, a.k.a. Quebec. Although the perception in the former is that French-Canadians embrace all cinematic offerings in their native language, it’s actually more a matter of a standard preference for high-concept action and comedy.
“Those [high-concept] movies do better because they’re made for audiences, and that’s what English Canada has to realize, that we can’t rely on Away From Her,” Sparaga suggests. “We can’t rely on a drama to be the engine of our box office. A one-million-dollar box office success is not successful at all. It’s successful for a drama, and for the style of film it is, but it can’t be everything we’re betting on that year at the cinema.”
Further confirming Sparaga’s views is the fact that the recent 2007 Canadian film Silk, despite the presence of Keira Knightley in the lead, failed miserably at the box office because of its murky 19th century narrative. Conversely, he suggests that even though the Mike Myers films Wayne’s World and The Love Guru were made by Paramount Pictures, their maker and narratives easily tip them over the 49th parallel.
“The Love Guru is about a guru who comes back to Toronto to help the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup,” Sparaga notes. “That’s going to be the most Canadian movie this year, I guarantee it. It’s a hundred times more Canadian than Eastern Promises. I still think Titanic is more Canadian than Eastern Promises.”