Alumni news in brief, June 2020: NBC picks up Joseph Kay’s Transplant



Published by communications

It’s another monthly news roundup featuring updates from some of our past participants.

If you’re a former NSI program participant with news to share about your latest project, get in touch and we’ll get the word out on our website in alumni news, and on social media.

NBC picks up Joseph Kay’s Transplant

Season one of Transplant (pictured), the hit TV series on CTV by creator, showrunner and executive producer Joseph Kay (NSI Totally Television) and executive producer Virginia Rankin (NSI Global Marketing), has been picked up by NBC.

In the series, a skilled emergency medicine doctor flees Syria for Canada, in hopes of finding his place in a new hospital and country.

CBC orders season two of Michelle Latimer’s Trickster

CBC recently announced Trickster has been renewed for a second season. The drama series is based on the best-selling novel Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. Michelle Latimer (NSI Drama Prize) created the series and directs.

In season one Michelle and Zoe Leigh Hopkins (Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program) were writers on the series, Michelle was executive producer and JJ Neepin (NSI IndigiDocs) was associate producer.

Trickster is a supernatural thriller that follows an Indigenous teen named Jared who struggles to keep his family afloat when a stranger named Wade ruptures the balance (from CBC).

BJ Verot leads shorts to first feature film workshop

Join BJ Verot (NSI Drama Prize) via Zoom for a free workshop guiding you from shorts to first feature film on Thursday June 4 from 7 to 10 p.m. CT.

The workshop will cover BJ’s script writing process, finding the right people to collaborate with, the importance of learning to be your own producer and how to set benchmarks with each film project to have a successful career. After the talk, there will be a 30 minute Q&A.

RSVP to The event is free, but donations to The Winnipeg Film Group are gladly accepted.

Ryan Cooper receives IPF producer bursary

Ryan Cooper (CBC New Indigenous Voices, NSI IndigiDocs) is the recipient of an IPF Producer Bursary for creators/producers of scripted short-form series with his project My Sassy Sasquatch.

Ryan is one of three participants to receive the bursary from the Independent Production Fund and Banff World Media Festival. The bursary provides a full-access virtual networking pass for the BANFF 2020 virtual edition; complimentary registration and a travel subsidy to attend the 2021 Banff World Media Festival; and exclusive mentorship / professional development opportunities over the summer.

Todd McCauley selected to Whistler producer’s lab

Todd McCauley (NSI Features First) is one of six producers selected to the Whistler Film Festival’s Producers Lab, with his project The Medicine Line. The two-phase lab prepares Canadian producers to rework, pitch, market and sell their creative content while also being immersed in business opportunities at the festival.

Chloé Leriche receives Telefilm feature film funding

Telefilm Canada announced nearly $8 million in funding for six French-language feature films, including Soleils Atikamekw by writer/director Chloé Leriche (NSI Drama Prize).

On June 26, 1977, a van carrying seven people plunges into the Rivière du Milieu, north of Saint-Michel-des-Saints. Two Quebecers escape, but five young people from the Manawan community lose their lives. Produced in collaboration with the Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan, Soleils Atikamekw is freely inspired by the dreams, impressions and memories of the family and friends of the victims of this tragedy.

NFB projects from Kat Baulu and Sheona McDonald

The National Film Board green lit a slate of new productions and co-productions including Lab Doc Project and Saturday Night by producer Kat Baulu (NSI Drama Prize), and Out of Darkness by director Sheona McDonald (NSI Global Marketing).

The Lab Doc Project features four short documentaries about Nunatsiavut rituals, history and culture told from Inuit perspectives in collaboration with communities.

Saturday Night explores loneliness in Latin American immigrants living in Montreal and introduces a bittersweet approach to aging through the sensual lens of dance.

Out of Darkness tells the story of a mother’s journey through loss, acceptance and joy as she supports her young child’s gender transition.

NSI alumni films coming to in June

This month two films by NSI alumni will debut on

Starting June 15: The Road Forward, a feature-length musical documentary by Marie Clements (NSI Storytellers, Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program).

Shot in Vancouver, this musical documentary by BC Métis/Dene filmmaker Marie Clements connects a major turning point in Canada’s civil rights history – the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s – with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today. Stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, seamlessly connect past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats.

Starting June 17: The Tournament, world premiere of a short film by Sam Vint (CBC New Indigenous Voices).

Over the course of a weekend tournament in Minnesota, youth sledge hockey teams from the US and Canada battle for supremacy. Designed for players who have a physical challenge, the fundaments of the sport – passing, shooting, trash talking your opponents – remain the same.

NSI Features First-developed screenplay named semi-finalist in Vail Film Festival screenwriting contest

Cherries, developed through NSI Features First by Matt Sadowski and Amelia Wasserman, was a feature screenplay semi-finalist in the 2020 Vail Film Festival Screenplay Contest.

Cherries follows an anxious and cynical young woman who gets caught up in a high-stakes misadventure on her 16th birthday when her flighty and reckless Irish-twin sister befriends a pretty boy delinquent.

Cherries has also placed at Slamdance Script Competition (finalist), Best Feature Script 2020 Vancouver Bad Ass Film Festival (nominee), 2020 Female Eye Film Festival (quarterfinalist) and 2019 Cynosure Screenplay Awards (quarterfinalist).

NSI alumni receive Harold Greenberg Fund support

Congrats to the following NSI alumni who received support from the Harold Greenberg Fund Script Development Program.

Story option 

First to second draft

Second to third draft

Polish and packaging

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If you’re a graduate with news to share about your latest project, get in touch and we’ll get the word out on our website in alumni news, and social channels.

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