Untitled - ACTRA Montreal by yaofenjin


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                                                                    Grapevine                                 summer 2011
                                                                                      EDITOR     DON JORDAN

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                                                                                                 KIRWAN COX
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                                                                              COVER PHOTO        TOM DISANDOLO
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                                                                       REGIONAL DIRECTOR         RAYMOND GUARDIA (ext. 227)
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Cover: Tyrone Benskin with National President Ferne Downey                         www.actramontreal.ca
contents                                                         Grapevine   Summer   2011


  8                                                                                   12
 by Don Jordan                 Nominees & Honourees Announced

 by Kirwan Cox                  by Debra Kouri


8 COVER STORY:               16  THE STUNT LOCKER                                     16
                                by Michael Scherer
 by Matt Holland
                             17  STEWARDS ON SET

                                   grapevine   1   summer 2011
president’s message


B        y definition, a union is an
         organization of workers who have
banded together to achieve common
goals. And more often than not, those
                                              Back in December 2008, an ACTRA
                                              Montreal Stunt Committee was struck to
                                              create a forum for members of our stunt
                                              community – one where they could identi-
                                                                                             Together, we expect to develop policy
                                                                                             recommendations, specific to the needs
                                                                                             of our brothers and sisters in the stunt
                                                                                             community, which still respect the defined
goals are common to everyone in the           fy struggles specific to their profession      terms of ACTRA’s collective bargaining
union – whether they be improved working      and hopefully work together to formulate       agreements and similar language being
conditions, better wages, or increased        solutions to these problems. The mandate       adopted or considered by other ACTRA
work opportunities.                           for the Committee was two years – as it is     branches across the country.
                                              for all committees – and therefore lapsed
Of course, we would be best served to also    at the end of last year.                       The Ad-hoc Stunt Committee will not solve
remember that we are a union of 22, 000                                                      all of the problems in the stunt world, but
members across this country. We are           In the absence of a Stunt Committee, Mike      it is a strong and positive start which we
actors, singers, voice artists, dancers,      Scherer and Tyler Hall – two stunt coordi-     hope to build on, moving forward. In a
background performers and much more.          nators/performers sitting on the Montreal      member driven, member run organization,
And in this respect, the goals of some        branch council – have signalled a number       this is how real changed is effected.
members are not always common to others       of issues, identified by the constituents of
in the union. The specific concerns of a      the stunt community, as being particularly     Sometimes the needs of the few are just
background performer will likely be differ-   troubling. To respond to this matter, your     as important as the needs of the many.
ent from those of an off-camera narrator.     branch council has moved to establish an       It’s our union. Let’s act like it.
What keeps an actor awake at night may        Ad-hoc Stunt Committee, charged with
not cause a puppeteer to lose any sleep.      meeting during the summer to examine
                                              some of the concerns that have been            In solidarity,
One such faction of our membership is the     raised.
stunt community. Whether they are doing a
highfall, body burn, flipping a car or any    The Committee will be comprised of Mike,
other dangerous work, these men and           Tyler, fellow stunt performer Dave
women form a valuable part of our organi-     McKeown, myself and staffer, Gary Saxe.
zation that makes significant contributions   My fellow officers, Thor Bishopric and
                                                                                             Don Jordan,
to our industry. And while each and every     Cary Lawrence, as well as other stunt
                                                                                             President, ACTRA Montreal
one of us can lament the risk of trying to    performers, Montreal staff and National
survive in this business, most of us do not   staff will also participate, as needed and
have the bruises and broken bones to say      as available.
it with any literal meaning.

                                                         actra montreal   2   summer 2011
Fondly Remembered
Catherine Colvey 1951-2011
Grace.                                                                    together by her inimitable laugh. She loved to laugh. Gathering
                                                                          with her friends – and they are many – was one of her joys.
Of all the words to describe Catherine, this is perhaps the truest.
Warmth, humour, integrity, dedication, intelligence, tenacity and         In the last play she did, Catherine played a mermaid walking this
courage also apply.                                                       earth in a small town. She was so good: seamless, fluid magical,
                                                                          in complete mastery of her art. I can easily believe Catherine was
And oh yes: talent.                                                       in fact an other-wordly creature living among us for too short a
She was one of our best and brightest. A native of Westmount,
she graduated from Sir George Williams’ University (now                   On the night of her memorial service, a huge double rainbow
Concordia) Theatre Arts program, and promptly embarked on a               stretched across the sky. The great outpouring of love and testi-
cross-Canada bus tour with Theatre1. She got to the west coast            monies from her friends and family made it a celebration of her
and stayed for a bit. Then back to Montreal, and off for some wild        life, honouring her graciousness, talent, uniqueness, and class.
and formative years in Europe.                                            Her family deeply appreciated discovering how Catherine was
                                                                          such a cherished member of our lives, how she touched so many
Back home again, she built a solid career, working in both English        hearts in her time here. We could all feel the beauty and warmth
and French, in film, TV, theatre, radio, corporates, narration,           of her spirit around us, giving us a true sense of community and
voice-over, commercials…you name it, she did it - in spades.              comfort. Many of us realized we need to make time to spend time
She was the cool, classy, sassy blonde. Who worked a lot.                 with the ones we love before we, or they, blend back into that
She has played a sweetheart, doctor, teacher, lawyer, princess,           great creative source… once again, Catherine, thank you for that
bag lady, headmistress, wife, politician, businesswoman,                  ‘prise de conscience’…
and vampire among many others.
Always a consummate professional, Catherine could be counted
on to bring depth and dimension to anything she undertook. We             I still can’t get used to that word to describe her. I can still feel her
often talked about the business, and how frustrating it is that as        presence, her joy, her laugh, and I’m still in awe of her creative
you get older and better, work opportunities seem to get smaller          spirit. Fare thee well, sweet Catherine, on the next part of your
and smaller… copious amounts of wine and conversation never               journey. You are remembered, loved, and sorely missed.
made us come up with a solution to that dilemma, but it sure was
fun to try.                                                                                                                        - Lynne Adams

As an actor, she was great. As a sculptor, she was incredible.
Not many people knew this side of Catherine, nor saw the
creatures she wrested from clay to become pure
expressions of human emotion. Catherine was
always a very private person, keeping her
struggles and woes to herself. She was shy about
her art, not believing how deeply her sculptures
touched people.

As the acting work slowed down, she started to
explore new ways to get clay to manifest her
vision, her pieces getting bigger and bigger,
always filled with this raw elemental life-force
that’s such an expression of her. Like Catherine,
her creatures are complex, precious, and rare:
things of beauty.

Catherine was always the epitome of elegance
even when hanging out in Uggs and jeans. She
had a beauty that befuddled and entranced all;
her poise and aloofness were like catnip to the
male of the species it seemed; all this held

                                                          grapevine   3    summer 2011
working together

                                                                                               by Kirwan Cox, Policy Consultant

T       wo years ago we scored a big
        victory. At the time, our industry
was in a major decline, so ACTRA and the
Directors’ Guild hired me to research the
                                              lobbying – we won. But how much did we
                                              win? At the time, we knew that tax credits
                                              went up, but we could not be satisfied with
                                              our victory until we knew for certain if the
                                                                                                It’s not a bad job for a few months of lob-
                                                                                                bying, but the job is not over. While our
                                                                                                efforts have managed to slow the decade-
                                                                                                long decline in production here in Quebec,
problem. We discovered that English lan-      changes we petitioned for actually resulted       there is still much work to be done to
guage production in Quebec had declined       in more production.                               reverse this trend. Domestic production is
by 40% over the previous decade. The                                                            at a historic low of $150 million in annual
main culprit was identified: tax credits in   The Quebec Government recently pub-               production – far from our peak of $300

Quebec were no longer competitive with        lished data on its film and television tax        million in 1999. We’ve stopped the bleed-
other provinces. The result was local pro-    expenditures over the last six years. What        ing, now it’s time to get healthy again.
ducers moved their projects elsewhere.        we saw was a nearly 20% jump in overall
                                              local film and TV tax investments in the                      In order to continue the work of
The two unions then brought together a        first year following our lobbying victory,                  re-building our film and television
coalition which included, producers, stu-     from $100 million in 2008 to $118 mil-                    industry, we have turned our coali-
dios, suppliers and, of course, ACTRA and     lion in 2009. What’s more, this $18                     tion of industry partners into a per-
the DGC. We started lobbying the Quebec       million increase has continued to                     manent group called the Quebec
Government. In a matter of months –           trend upwards the past two                           English-Language Production Committee
that’s lightning speed when it comes to       years, reaching $23                               (QEPC). We are now using the Official

                                              million in 2011.                                  Languages Act in our attempts to increase
                                                                                                support for English-Quebec production,

                                                                                                starting with the CRTC and CMF. The QEPC

                                                                                                has met with the CRTC and presented a

                                                             O             Between 2009         brief demanding more investment in local

                                                                        and 2011, there was     production from CTV and Global at their

                                                                     a $63 million increase     license renewal hearing.

                                                                 in tax investments. Of this

                                                              amount, we estimate that          Over the summer, we are preparing an

                                                           about $15 million was spent on       action plan and will be present when the
                                                       new English-language program-            CBC license and Local Programming
                                                    ming. While we haven’t done a               Improvement Fund are reviewed next year.
                                                    detailed analysis of current produc-        We are also continuing our campaign to
                                                    tion levels, our conservative esti-         increase Canadian Media Fund invest-
                                                          mates lead us to believe that the     ments in English-language production in
                                                            $15 million in tax expenditures     Quebec.
                                                            for new English-Quebec proj-
                                                            ects has resulted in over $100      Stay tuned for more details.
                                                        million worth of actual production
                                                over the three years. In hindsight, it looks
                                              like the new tax credit saved English-
                                              Quebec production from verging on free

                                                         actra montreal   4   summer 2011
membership community

Just six months after the last ACTRA Montreal
Members’ Conference, more than 200 performers
spent the day at the 2011 edition; attending
workshops and the Annual General Meeting,
enjoying some fine food and each other’s company.

T       he event kicked off with the
        morning workshop,
“Thinking On Your Feet: How to
Improv your way to a Better
                                         “Under Pressure: the Art of Taking
                                         Direction on Set” was the second
                                         workshop of the day, following
                                         lunch. Deftly guided by director
Performance.”                            Stefan Pleszczynski (18 to Life,
                                         Sophie, A Life Interrupted) and
Led by acclaimed improv experts          moderated by ACTRA Award
Terence Bowman and Robert                winning actress, Ellen David, the
Higden, members of the audience          workshop aimed to stress the time
were invited to jump on stage and        constraints in shooting a scene for
participate in improv exercises          an episodic television series and
designed to help make them more          the value in adaptability.
open to new ideas, adapt better to
change and improve their ability to      Six brave performers (Craig
make choices in the moment.              Thomas, Vince Benvenuto, Jennifer
                                         Miller, Tristan D. Lalla, Dawn Ford
For those of us watching, it’s hard      and Stephanie Breton) were chosen
to tell where the learning ended         to recreate three scenes from
and the laughing began. “Who             episodes, originally directed by
hasn’t been asked to ad-lib in a         Stefan, from the series,
commercial audition? Or been             Intelligence.
thrown a curveball on set? Being
able to improvise is a difficult skill   With an audience looking on, the
to develop, but it’s a great one to      performers and Stefan blocked out
have in this business,” said             their scene, discussed it, rehearsed
Conference Chair Paula Costain.          it, made adjustments, ran through
“And the courage to get up in front      it a few times and finally “shot” it.
of a room full of peers and try your     All of this was done with a clock, up
hand at it, almost always produces       on the screen, counting down from
hilarious results.”                      fifteen minutes– meant to illustrate
                                                                                             Improv experts Terence Bowman and Robert Higden
                                                                                              (bottom l&r) work with some audience participants.

                                                               grapevine   5   summer 2011
members’ conference cont’d
   the limited time available on set to       Coming just six months after our last
get these things done and the pres-           AGM, the agenda was relatively
sure to deliver in the time allotted. After   streamlined, with updates on branch
each scene, the audience was shown            finances and the ongoing National
the finished product; the scene, as it        Commercial Agreement negotiations,
played in the original episode. The           and reports from National Organizer
purpose of course was not to compare          Gary Saxe and National Executive
– which would be wholly unfair – but          Director Stephen Waddell on how the
rather to give a sense of what the end        work of organizing and bargaining
goal was in each scene; what every-           have dramatically changed in today’s
one was working towards.                      digital age.

Once the scene had been screened,             The meeting concluded with an
Ellen took some time to question              impassioned speech from President
Stefan – on occasion, about the scene         Ferne Downey on the importance of
as it was done live, and often, about         continuing ACTRA’s good work on the
the scene as it was shot; always              public policy front; ensuring that arts
focusing on the performer’s perspec-          and cultural are an integral part of our
tive and the challenges of doing the          government’s agenda – whether it be
job in the under-budgeted, fast-paced         copyright legislation, CRTC regula-
world of Canadian television.                 tions, CMF contributions or any of the
                                              other political issues which impact
As ACTRA Montreal President Don               our industry and the performers who
Jordan remarked, “Usually, when               make their living in it.
you’re not shooting on set, you’re
probably in your trailer preparing. It’s      A special round of applause was
not often you have the luxury of just         reserved for NDP candidate Tyrone
watching a scene come together                Benskin, who came to the AGM, just
under the gun like that, without the          days before from his momentous vic-
pressure of being involved yourself.          tory in the recent Federal election.
You learn a lot.”                             ACTRA has always had a strong voice
                                              in discussing our issues with
The final event of the day was the            Members of Parliament and as Ferne
2011 Annual General Meeting, where            was quick to point out, “soon ACTRA
Branch Councillors were joined by             will have a strong voice as a Member
staff and National President Ferne            of Parliament.”
Downey in delivering reports to the
                                                                                         Director Stefan Pleszczynski (inset) discusses scenes with
Montreal membership.
                                                                                         Vince Benvenuto & Craig Thomas (top), Tristan D. Lalla &
                                                                                         Jennifer Miller (middle) and Stephanie Breton & Dawn Ford
                                              Photos courtesy of Tom DiSandolo           (bottom).

 1                                                                                                   2
                                                              actra montreal   6   summer 2011
                                                              AGM IN BRIEF
                                                              Update on NCA Negotiations              Treasurer’s Report
                                                              ACTRA’s 5 key issues:                   We ended the 2010-11 fiscal year
                                                              1. Working conditions: ensuring that    with a significant surplus, which
                                                              engagers treat us as professional       has allowed us to continue our
                                                              performers, with the dignity and        commitment to services like the
                                                              respect we deserve.                     Members’ Conference. What
                                                              2. Minors: limiting OT hours for        changed? Maybe it was a reflection
                                                              ages 16-17 and enhancing guide-         of the new norm in American pro-
                                                              lines regarding dangerous work.         duction numbers: lower than we’d
                                                              3. Use and compensation: updating       like, but at least, consistent and
                                                        3     compensation payable for specialty
                                                              cable channels like TSN, which has
                                                                                                      attainable. Or maybe it was the
                                                                                                      work we did to boost the local
                                                              over 2 million subscribers and          Canadian industry.
                                                              designating Global as a Network,
                                                              instead of paying use on it as a        Organizing Report
                                                              Wildspot – as they do now.              National Organizer Gary Saxe
                                                              4. New media: first off, renaming it    reported on the particular difficulty
                                                              the more appropriate ‘Digital           of organizing a new influx of small-
                                                              Media’ and secondly improving           er, internet distributed non-union
                                                              provisions for work day and use.        projects. He stressed the great
                                                              Our research has shown that the         importance of member involvement
                                                              pilot program in place generated        in helping find these non-union
                                                        4     more union-covered made-for-
                                                              digital media production – more
                                                                                                      projects so that he can turn them
                                                              work for members – but the
                                                              discounted session fee still made       We were treated to a testimonial
                                                              it difficult to justify.                form one member - Adam Reid -
                                                              5. And as always, a fair general rate   who helped turn a non-union
                                                              increase                                project union by bringing it to
                                                                                                      ACTRA’s attention.
                                                              Some of ACA and ICA’s demands:
                                                              1. Exclusions for “real people” like    Bargaining in a Digital Age
                                                              CEOs and employees, giving              National Executive Director and
                                                              testimonials.                           ACTRA Chief Negotiator Stephen

                                                        5     2. Additional provisions regarding
                                                              large cast productions – this time
                                                              in the area of breaks on Group
                                                                                                      Waddell spoke on Digital Media as
                                                                                                      a major focus in every round of
                                                                                                      negotiations – NCA, IPA, CBC, NFB
                                                              Background Performers.                  and Audio Code. Whether it be
                                                              3. Discounted rates for “Other          projects produced directly for the
                                                              Language” commercials – those           internet or those moved from a
                                                              not in English or French.               traditional medium to the internet,
                                                              4. And, on the issue of Digital         there is no denying the impact
                                                              Media, they want to extend the          Digital Media has had (and will
                                                              terms of the pilot project – with       continue to have) on bargaining a
                                                              further discounts – while we are        collective agreement in our
                                                              seeking to raise those rates.           industry.

                                                              Congrats Tyrone Benskin                 Thank you Jeannie Walker
                                                              National President Ferne Downey         The ACTRA Montreal Women’s
                                                              took a moment to applaud Member         Committee, Chaired by Cary
                                                              of Parliament (then candidate)          Lawrence was proud to honour past
                                                        6     Tyrone Benskin on his campaign
                                                              and encouraged all members to go
                                                                                                      President Jeannie Walker as the
                                                                                                      2011 Woman of the Year for her
                                                              out and vote with Canadian culture       consistent work as a performer and
1. Montreal President Don Jordan, 2. Honouree Jeannie
Walker, 3. Treasurer Cary Lawrence & Organizer Gary Saxe,     in their hearts and minds.              teacher, her commitment and tire-
4. Councillors Mike Scherer, Eleanor Noble, Taylor Baruchel                                           less dedication to her Union, and
& Tyrone Benskin, 5. National Executive Director Stephen                                              her inspiration to her community.
Waddell & National President Ferne Downey, 6. Adam Reid.

                                                                grapevine   7   summer 2011
cover story

MR. BENSKIN                                                                                                       by Matt Holland

The Canadian election that took place on May 2nd of this year brought sweeping
changes to Parliament Hill: the near-decimations of the Bloc Quebecois and Liberal
Parties, the long-sought after majority of the Conservatives, and perhaps most
remarkable, the surge of the New Democratic Party and its emergence as Leader of
Her Majesty’s Royal Opposition. Long-time ACTRA Montreal member, Tyrone Benskin,
had a remarkable emergence as well.

L       ast winter, after a varied and dis-
        tinguished career as a musician,
        director and actor, Tyrone, then
serving as ACTRA’s National Vice President
                                               Tyrone Benskin: There hasn’t been a lot.
                                               The response that I’ve been getting from
                                               the arts community is more a sense of
                                               “We’re behind you,” which is very gratify-
                                                                                             Whereas an audience is there and they’re
                                                                                             prepared to be entertained, (and) the crit-
                                                                                             ics are there ready to do their thing, you’ve
                                                                                             got 130-140-odd people who are looking at
and as artistic director of Black Theatre      ing. I’ve met with some of the individual     you and all they’re doing is looking at you
Workshop, decided to throw his hat into        organizations: The Writers’ Union of          to 1) make a mistake because you’re a
the ring of politics by running for the NDP    Canada and OLE, which is song publishers,     newbie, 2) say something that they can
in the Montreal riding of Jeanne Le Ber. He    and I’ve been getting letters from and        zero in on and heckle. And it’s developing
campaigned well on the major issues, with      inquiries from other organizations but, for   that ability to learn how to respond to that.
a particular emphasis on artist’s concerns     the most part, it’s been a lot of support
(long a staple of the NDP’s platform), and     and, you know, “go ahead and do your
won.                                           thing.”

I sat down recently with the new Member        MH: How is your experience as an actor          “I tell you right now it is
of Parliament for a little Q & A about his     and a musician serving you in your new
recent election experience, his first weeks    role so far?                                     absolutely terrifying to
in the House, and the future political chal-
lenges that he feels must be embraced.         TB: Well, despite all the years of experi-
                                                                                                stand up in the House
                                               ence I’ve had working in front of audiences      that first time to ask a
Matt Holland: When you were on the             - including as many as 2300-2500 people
ACTRA executive, you lobbied often and         at a time – I tell you right now it is           question or make your
very hard for artists’ rights in Ottawa. Now   absolutely terrifying to stand up in the                 speech.”
that you are a politician, what’s it like to   House that first time to ask a question or
be on the receiving end of passionate sup-     make your speech. It’s a different feeling.
plication? Or has there been much so far?

                                                        actra montreal   8   summer 2011
During the recent (Canada Post back-to-         The Question Period, - again, referring to      MH: What are some of the priorities that
work legislation) filibuster, one of my col-    this last filibuster - when you do your 10 or   you heard from your constituents during
leagues was being very loud and obnox-          20 minute speech, then there’s ten min-         the campaign and how do you perceive the
ious and I took an old theatre trick: you       utes of q & a that are allowed afterwards,      challenge ahead of fighting for them?
know, when you’ve got seniors opening           you don’t know what they’re going to ask.
candy or deciding that they’re going to         So you have to know the portfolio and           TB: Jeanne Le Ber includes some of the
have a conversation about the play… you         respond to the attitude that’s coming at        lowest income families and individuals in
don’t stop, you just take your lines and        you as well. That’s where the improvisa-        the city, so that is first and foremost on
look directly at them and they kind of go,      tion comes in.                                  people’s minds, you know people wanting
“Oh, wait a minute, he’s looking at me,                                                         to work and not being able to get work.
he’s looking at me.” So I took that same        MH: Do you have to give up acting and           People who have lost their jobs and are
trick and I did it directly at him and… it      playing music altogether, or is there lee-      having trouble getting access to
works.                                          way to do both?                                 Employment Insurance (Benefits) because
                                                                                                of certain changes that the Conservative
It’s an absolute pleasure watching some of      TB: I’m not legally or ethically obliged to     government brought in.
the seasoned members of our caucus,             not act. I had to resign from BTW because,      Social housing is a huge issue in my rid-
Charlie Angus in particular, Pat Martin,        as the artistic director, I was an adminis-     ing. Verdun has a fairly significant arts
who can just stand up and speak, maybe          trator, we were a federally-funded body,        population, so culture is an issue for them,
refer to a couple of notes, but they’re there   thus conflict of interest. But as an inde-      but I would (also) say health care in gener-
and they’ve got their turns of phrases and      pendent artist, I can still do the work.        al is an issue. People are looking for some-
alliteration and so forth. And you sit there    Really, it’s going to depend on projects        thing to change, even though it’s a provin-
and… it’s just theatre watching these guys.     coming in and my availability and time.         cially governed area, they’re looking
Most of us new people are still working         We’re off and in our ridings for the sum-       towards the Federal government to do
from speeches, but I anticipate once I get      mer, which is the high point of filmmaking,     something.
better and more comfortable in the space        so if anything should come up and I can
that I’ll be able to say what I have to say     get a couple of days on this or that, I can
without having to refer to notes.               do that. I’m still doing some voice work.
                                                                                                                    continued on page 10

                                                          grapevine   9   summer 2011
   There is the Health Services agreement,     ing that they (Conservatives) don’t believe
which is coming up for re-negotiation in       that festivals and arts organizations
2014 – nobody’s looking to take away from      should count on federal funding. So, are             “We’re telling more
the provincial management of health-care,      we looking at the dissolution of multi-year
but I think we do have to have a discussion    funding for arts programs? What are we              sophisticated stories
about what’s happening in general across       looking at? The message that we need to
the country, with wait times, the fact that    send en masse – I will do what I have to do
                                                                                                   and there needs to be
people cannot get access to family doc-        in the House, but it’s got to come from the          a place where we’re
tors, to GPs. That’s something which the       community – that when you take an 85 bil-
whole country is suffering from. Working       lion dollar (a year) industry, that employs,          guaranteed to find
together with the provinces, what can we       by extension, 1.1 million people and you             Canadian content.”
come up with that’ll help? Rather than just    destabilize a core element of that industry,
throwing more money at it, there needs to      how does that help the economy? You
be something.                                  can’t do that to this community and not         atre festival in Toronto that was recently
                                               feel an economic backlash.                      refused funding due to government disap-
MH: Do you find it difficult to position                                                       proval of some of its past content) is
artists’ concerns amid the general             The arts community really needs to be           potentially cutting the next great Canadian
demands of the population?                     aware that there’s an ideological bent to       theatre piece. Why? For ideological rea-
                                               what’s going on and to the decisions this       sons? It makes no sense.
TB: It is a difficulty. We learned something   government is making. There’s an attitude
as artists in 2008. The groundswell from       that if it doesn’t make money then it’s not     And that’s what the arts community needs
the Prime Minister’s (negative) comments       of value, “public funding of the arts is this   to be getting up and shouting about
and attitudes, the reaction was quite quick    new and odd thing that should be gotten         because if we remain silent the general
and profound. Unfortunately, I don’t think     rid of.” And my message to them is that         public is not going to understand why we
the artistic community really tapped into      public funding of the arts has existed since    do what we do. They’re going to hear the
that in this past election. People were ask-   civilization. Back in the day, Ruben and da     Conservative side. If that’s the only mes-
ing, “Where’s the arts voice? We haven’t       Vinci and Shakespeare all were supported        sage getting out there, then the public is
heard from that community.” I really           by patrons of the ruling aristocracy and we     not going to see anything wrong with cut-
believe that we’re in for a rough ride. We     would not have their works if not for… So,      ting funding for the arts.
have the Minister of Finance Flaherty say-     to cut a program like Summerworks (a the-

                                                                                                           Clerk of the House Audrey O’Brien
                                                                                                  congratulates Tyrone after swearing him in.

                                                         actra montreal   10   summer 2011
MH: What do you think the future holds in        MH: Did you see the Sun TV interview with
store for Radio-Canada/CBC and, in your          Margie Gillis? What were your impres-
opinion, what are the Conservatives inten-       sions?
                                                 TB: Canadians are smart. And I think
TB: Signals that we’ve gotten for a long         they’re smarter than many individuals and
time (indicate) that the Conservatives want      companies give them credit for. I think
to privatize the CBC. That’s something that      most Canadians, even at the outset, were
we’ll fight against because, even in the         quite bothered by the fact that somebody
U.S., they have a national public broad-         would try to bring that so-called U.S.-
caster. There needs to be (a place) where        style/Fox TV and try to sell that as hard
information and programming that does            news. I think people were kind of appalled
not have a commercial interest is found, so      at that kind of intrusion into who we are. I
that you can introduce the country to            think it’s going to take more than spitting
                                                                                                             Jack Layton and Tyrone celebrate.
works not only from the rest of the world,       in somebody’s face on television to pro-
but from your own country. Once upon a           mote viewer-ship. I think it’ll backfire.      But Quebec has always been a place that
time, CBC was the voice of Canada; we had                                                       gives the unexpected. And Quebec was
our quirky little shows, like The                MH: Can you talk a bit about what it was       saying, “We’re done; we want to see some-
Beachcombers and things of this nature…          like to ride the “orange wave”?                thing else happening because what’s hap-
                                                                                                pening now isn’t working… so, what do we
MH: The Nature of Things?                        TB: I am going to say here, categorically,     have to lose by trying something else?”
                                                 that I don’t consider myself part of the
TB: The Nature of Things! All these shows        “orange wave”, because there were 4 rid-       MH: What are the challenges you antici-
which came from Canadians and interest-          ings in Montreal that were actually target-    pate facing a majority Conservative gov-
ed Canadians about who they are and              ed by the NDP as being “winnable” with         ernment?
where they’re from, and we’ve grown up a         the right candidate. When I was
lot since then and we’re telling more            approached about running in the election,      TB: The biggest challenge is that it is a
sophisticated stories and there needs to         Jeanne Le Ber, which is where I live, was      majority, one that seems unwilling to lis-
be a place where we’re guaranteed to find        one of those (ridings) even before I was       ten. It has its agenda and seems unwilling
Canadian content. The fight that we have         there (as a candidate). When it was taken      to say, “This is what we want to do” and
now with the commercial broadcasters is          from the Liberals in 2006, Liza Frulla was     hear (suggestions) from the other parties,
that they’re going for the money, which          actually the MP at the time, and she lost it   other members, and say, “Well, that’s
basically means they spend money (on             only by 70 some-odd votes. And in 2008, it     actually not a bad idea; we can incorporate
American programming) down in the U.S.           was only won (by the Bloc Québecois) by        that into this…” which is what one would
and they put a little trickle of money to sat-   300 or 400 votes. So, we were expecting it     hope a democratic government would do.
isfy Canadian content rules – $750+ mil-         to be close, so we campaigned hard. It was     But it doesn’t seem to be what this govern-
lion (on U.S. shows) versus $50 million on       a very concentrated and intense campaign.      ment wants to do. They see things a cer-
Canadian programming. We fight that, but         But we had gone into it to win it. The         tain way and that’s the way it’s going to
the CBC needs to be the vanguard, along          expectation was that we may not because        be.
with the NFB. The NFB has long been the          it was held by a Bloc deputy, but we were
world standard in documentary filmmak-           going to give them a good run for their        The debate process is more of an incon-
ing, in nature filmmaking, and it still is.      money.                                         venience (for them). And you see that in
What needs to happen is money needs to                                                          many of their faces as you’re sitting across
be put back into the CBC so they can pro-        So the question to me was: are you up for      from them: reading newspapers and not
duce in-house.                                   it? As an actor, you don’t go into an audi-    listening, not paying attention. Their
                                                 tion to come in second place, you go into      responses are canned, usually starting off
                                                 an audition to get it. My friends would ask    with, “We received a very clear mandate
                                                 me, “ What are you doing?” And I’d say,        (for a) stable, Conservative, majority gov-
                                                 basically, “I’m auditioning to run the coun-   ernment.” It’s become a marketing thing;
     “Yes, they have the                         try,” because that’s in fact what I was        totally ignoring the fact that 60% of
                                                 doing. The only surprise was the margin by     Canadians didn’t vote for them. It’s not a
    majority of the seats,                       which I ended up winning, which was            majority government. Yes, they have the
    but it’s not a majority                      almost 12, 000 (votes), if not more. It was    majority of the seats, but it’s not a majori-
                                                 a solid, clean victory. When we calculated     ty government as far as its representation
    government as far as                         the votes of the Bloc candidate, The Liberal   of the people. But they’re not hearing that
                                                 candidate and the Conservative candidate,
    its representation of                        I still had more votes. So that was a good
                                                                                                or seeing that, so, that’s going to be the
                                                                                                biggest challenge.
         the people.”                            feeling.
                                                                                                MH: Thank you very much.
                                                 The “orange wave” itself though, there’s
                                                 no shame in saying it, was unexpected.         TB: Thank you.

                                                           grapevine   11   summer 2011
2011 actra awards in montreal

We’re set to honour our own Sunday, September 11th
with the 2011 ACTRA Awards in Montreal.

                                                                                             Awards co-host Holly Gauthier-Frankel brings

                                                                                             the house down at last year’s event.

           ith the ceremony fast approaching, ACTRA Montreal is pleased to announce the nominees and honourees for
           the 2011 ACTRA Awards in Montreal, to be presented at Place des Arts on September 11th. This year's ACTRA
Montreal Award of Excellence will be presented to Dick Irvin and the ACTRA Montreal Community Builder Award will be
awarded to Virginia Ryshpan.

An Audience Choice Award and Jury Prize will be given for the ACTRA Short Film Festival. There will also be three juried ACTRA
Awards presented at the event in the categories of Outstanding Voice Performance, Outstanding Female Performance
and Outstanding Male Performance.

                                                           Virginia RYSHPAN • Community Builder
                                                           First ACTRA Montreal staffer, helped found PRS

Dick IRVIN • Award of Excellence
Author, commentator and legendary broadcaster              Joanna NOYES • Life Member          Joel MILLER • Life Member
                                                        actra montreal   12   summer 2011

Ellen DAVID        Anna HOPKINS        Emily VAN CAMP              Lina ROESSLER           Rachelle LEFEVRE
18 to Life         Barney’s Version    Ben Hur                     Snow & Ashes            Barney’s Version


Joe COBDEN         Nobuya SHIMAMOTO Jesse CAMACHO                  Alain GOULEM            Howard BILERMAN
Peepers            Gangster Exchange   Less Than Kind              18 to Life              Peepers


Angela GALUPPO     Mark HAUSER         Anthony ROBINOW             Teale BISHOPRIC         Alex IVANOVICI
Doggy Day School   Doggy Day School    The Girl with the           Pipi, Pupu & Rosemary   The Girl with the
                                       Dragon Tattoo                                       Dragon Tattoo

                                        grapevine   13   summer 2011
actra outreach

                                                                                                                              by Debra Kouri

A         s an independent feature
          film Producer, I regularly
          get movie idea proposals at
dinner parties, on airplanes, and
even at grocery stores. But what I
                                          After giving the students an
                                          overview of the development and
                                          casting processes, Shannon and I
                                          highlighted the importance of hiring
                                          ACTRA members on films. As a
get pitched even more than film           producer, I usually sit in on casting
plots is fresh blood. Yes, everyone       sessions and can immediately tell
has a son, daughter, friend or            which performers have the track
neighbour trying desperately to           records to back up their auditions.
break into the Canadian film indus-       This experience is equally evident
try. I field a ton of daily phone calls   when later watching back the
and emails from these people ask-         completed movie – lack of training
ing me what steps need to be taken        and experience shows.
in order to make their first features.
                                          Shannon and I also emphasized the
Similarly, when speaking to my            importance of earning respect and
steward Shannon Joutel at ACTRA’s
Montreal branch, she informed me
                                          building one’s reputation in this
                                          industry. In Montreal especially,
that she too fields these types of        the English film and television
calls. However, her inquiries often       community is extremely small.
come from recent film school gradu-       Most producers and directors know
ates looking to make preposterous         each other and so work ethics and
deals with ACTRA for use of their         personality traits of potential cast
performers.                               and crew are compared in off-the-
                                          record environments.
Since Shannon and I have worked
together on numerous low-budget           Overall, the hundred or so future
features over the years, and since I      filmmakers we met were extremely
would never dare ask ACTRA                impressive. The majority seem
members to work for $50/ day(!!),         eager to learn and are willing to
she asked me if I’d be willing to         start off at the bottom and work
help out in a sort of ‘prevention         their way up, while observing the
intervention’.                            professionals at work and taking
                                          lessons learned to heart. And
Shortly thereafter, Shannon and I         therefore, one day these former
were scheduled to guest lecture at        students, will begin making their
Concordia’s Producing program as          own movies with their own
well as at Trebas Institute. Our          professional cast and crews.
main objective was to provide the         It would seem that some fresh
students entering the professional
film industry a step-by-step guide
                                          blood ‘aint bad after all…                                                                             3
of the many ‘do’s and don’ts’,
as working with a crew of pros is              1. (l to r) Jaa Smith-Johnson, Erica Deutschman, Alex Harrouch, Laurin Padolina and Jesse Camacho -
a completely different ballgame                                     cast of the AIP Happy Slapping, produced by Kouri and shot entirely on an iphone,
than working on student films.                                                           2. Concordia University Cinema Department’s annual film fest,
                                                                       3. poster for The Bend, a feature produced by Kouri under the CIPIP agreement.

                                                            actra montreal   14   summer 2011
                                                                                                member news

A Round of Applause for Sacha Pommepuy
Actor, producer and magician, Sacha recently biked the Trans Canada Bike Trail nearly 7500 km coast to coast – from Victoria, B.C. to
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador – to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

The 2011 ACTRA Short Audience Choice winner has been hearing impaired since birth and also suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa,
causing tunnel vision and slowly robbing him of his eyesight. We would like to congratulate Sacha on accomplishing this courageous
feat for a wonderful cause.

If you would like to contribute to the Foundation Fighting Blindness,
please visit Sacha’s website at www.sachapommepuy.com.

                                               Congratulations to
                                               Victoria Sanchez
                                               on the birth of her
                                               daughter Jade Phoenix
                                               Gagnon Sanchez, born
                                               February 23, 2011.

                     Our apologies to
                                                                               Congratulations to Peepers
                     director Denis Villeneuve                                 and everyone involved in the Montreal-made indie
                     for our error in the last Grapevine and                   film which scored five nominations at the 12th annual
                     congratulations once again on the success                 Canadian Comedy Awards. The festival and awards
                     of Incendies.                                             will take place October 13 to 17. Best of luck!

                                                         grapevine   15   summer 2011
                                                                                             by Branch Councillor, Michael Scherer

T      hirty-seven. What significance does
       this number hold for me? I will tell
       you. When I was 37 I felt I was at the
top of my game in the stunt world as a per-
                                                      take a six month sabbatical if people think
                                                      you aren’t functioning at 100%. So I, like
                                                      all my peers, would bite the bullet and
                                                      press on. The scales were beginning to tip
                                                                                                      could keep working. This becomes a
                                                                                                      vicious cycle, blocking pain so you can
                                                                                                      cause more damage. But you can’t let go
                                                                                                      now, you’re just getting started, right? The
former. I had been around for a good 15               from youthful exuberance to practical wis-      grey hairs that had started to come in and
years so I had made all the mistakes on               dom. I was getting it done on the first or      were now threatening to take over. What is
and off camera I was going to make and                second take. The mechanism was now              happening, it’s only been 20 years? And
learned from them. I had done just about              finely tuned and the phone was ringing          who’s the new kid?
every type of stunt there is, even horse              with steady work. I felt secure in my little
work, which I would rather avoid and leave            world and thought it would never end.           To be honest I had a feeling at the time
to the pros.                                                                                          that I had better prepare, which is the
                                                      Wake up call. A few years later the accu-       point of this article. Stunt people have
My body, although damaged, was still in               mulated injuries I had inflicted upon           always been likened to professional ath-
good condition and quite flexible for a big           myself started to manifest themselves and       letes. They are our closest cousins and we
guy. You develop a high pain threshold in             there was a lot of downtime for repairs.        need to learn from them and how they
this line of work and you carry on when the           Once fixed, things didn’t seem to move as       plan for the long term. Many start busi-
work is there. Perish the thought that word           well as they used to. I started using pro-      nesses that are up and running and wait-
gets out you are hurt. You might as well              gressively stronger pain medication so I        ing for them when they hang up the cleats.
                                                                                                      Some actually use the education they got
                                                                                                      with their scholarships and many find
                                                                                                      themselves in the corporate world. Some
                                                                                                      stay with sports, but in other capacities
                                                                                                      like coaching or commentating.

Still flipping cars in his 60s: Dave Rigby on the set of The Expatriate.                             Back in the day: a 30 year old
                                                                                                     Mike Scherer on the set of Delta Force 3.

                                                                 actra montreal   16   summer 2011
                                                                                             COMING TO A
   Others invest their fast made money         has settled. You get used to anything
for the long term. We admire the 42            after awhile and what used to hurt a lot
year old quarterback for hanging in            now hurts just a little, more of an
there, but secretly wonder when he is
going to call it a day? To be fair I can
safely say that a stunt performer’s
                                               annoyance than anything. You adapt. At
                                               one point determination sets in and we
                                               put on the big push to get fit with a
                                                                                             SET NEAR YOU
career expectancy is considerably              renewed vigor so we can get back in           Summertime in Montreal means festivals, con-
longer than that of an athlete if we           the game for another kick at the can          struction work and thankfully, in the past few
want it to be. We can pick our jobs to         and for the most part we are success-         years, an increase in production. What you may
suit our situation. The great Carey            ful.                                          have noticed – if you are lucky enough to be
Loftin had some trouble walking                                                              working on a few of these projects – are the
towards the end but the man still could        Our main ace up our sleeve though, is         familiar faces of your friendly neighbourhood
drive circles around the younger per-          our experience. While an older stunt          ACTRA stewards showing up more often on sets
formers.                                       performer may inwardly dread the              this summer.
                                               thought of flying down a flight of stairs
In this town we have Dave Rigby who            five or six times they usually don’t have     “The most effective way to protect performers is
has been around since it all started in        to because he or she has skills and           to be there – on set – and be proactive in our
this city. While he still drives, which is     intuition amassed over years of work to       job,” says Daintry Dalton, acting Branch
his specialty, he also still mixes it up       pull it off on the first or second go. It’s   Representative. “Preventing a problem is always
too. Last year I hired him and Normand         the signature of a professional.              better than solving a problem.”
Roy to literally get run over by a college
football offensive unit. These guys are        As an older stuntman and working              Whether it be a feature like Snow White, a series
in their sixties. If they felt it they never   coordinator I, like many of my col-           like Being Human, a commercial or a motion
said a word to me or anyone that I             leagues, have always looked forward to        capture session, Carmela Algeri, Shannon Joutel
know.                                          the day when we would get called to           and Claire Martell have had an increased pres-
                                               just drive a car in a chase or be that        ence on sets and in studio. Day or night, week-
So what’s out there? Our jobs are pretty       guy that gets knocked over at the hot         day or weekend, priority for the visits have gone
specialized and don’t really lend them-        dog stand. I suppose you could look at        to sets with minors, nude scenes, stunts or large
selves to an easy transition. Well, some       it as sort of a semi-retirement so to         casts; situations from which complications are
of us go on to be stunt coordinators           speak. Can’t say it’s quite worked out        more likely to arise.
and a select few make it to second unit        that way for most of us.
directing. There is also the occasional                                                      So the next time you are on set, keep an eye out
stunt performer who makes it into act-         So what to do? Do you put on the big          for your ACTRA steward.
ing like Richard Farnsworth. Some pro-         final push or implement Plan B? Like I
duce films themselves and others can           said, it’s hard to let go - especially
be found scattered throughout the film         when your brain is wired like ours are -
industry in different types of jobs.           so I know that for most of us it’s
                                               onward and upwards, at least for a lit-
For myself, I developed a system. Every        tle while longer. But the idea of doing
time I got hurt bad enough that I had to       other things which has always been rel-
stand down for awhile, I would take a          egated to the back of our thoughts is
course or get training in another skill.       now starting to creep forward, like a
Over the years I have acquired a heavy         baseball player looking to steal second.
multi engine pilot’s license as well as
my divemaster and master scuba diving
cards among other things. I have long
                                               I guess the point of all this is to hope-
                                               fully plant the seed in the newer ranks
haul trucking experience and I can weld        of stunt performer out there, to maybe
and machine. These things are all part         get them thinking about what seems
of my plan B, my “just in case” I don’t        like a distant future. Take my word for
make it back to the Big Show. Many of          it; it all comes up on you so fast. Put a
my brothers and sisters in this vocation       little aside, develop a secondary skill
have already had businesses up and             set or get the basic foundation for a
running for some time and are very suc-        business ready to put into place.
cessful at it. Still it’s hard to think
about moving on sometimes.                     To quote a line from a famous film,
                                               “Revel in your time”, but remember
So now a few more years have gone by.
I look in the mirror and my hair has
                                               that we all need an exit strategy of
                                               some kind, whether it’s planned or
gone from the conflicted salt and pep-         forced upon us by circumstance.
                                                                                             1. Claire answers a question for Katherine Mewett on
per to a bright silver. Thankfully grey is     Everyone knows that in the end, the
                                                                                             the set of BMS, 2. Carmela chats with Megan Rath on
the new blond. Oddly enough my body            tortoise won…                                 the set of Being Human.

                                                             grapevine   17   summer 2011
                      ACTRA Montreal
1450 City Councillors, Suite 530, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2E6
            Tel: 514.844.3318 .    Fax: 514.844.2068
     Email: montreal@actra.ca .    www.actramontreal.ca      Publication Mail Agreement #40613589

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