(Toronto/Montreal) The Independent Production Fund and its 40-member Pre-Selection Committees have selected 20 short-form series proposals which are now eligible to advance to the next phase of the application process and apply for Production Financing. These include 14 projects in English and 6 in French. Three web series previously funded by the IPF achieved certain milestones of success and are eligible to apply for second seasons.
The IPF received 160 proposals for web series funding from across Canada. Applications included a 2-minute proof-of-concept trailer, creative material, audience engagement strategy and the team for key creative positions. The members of the Pre-Selection Committees who are industry professionals and advanced media students, reviewed, scored and discussed the projects in order to select the short-listed projects.
Producers of these selected projects are now invited to submit complete Production Applications to the IPF by May 1, 2019. An international jury will evaluate the proposals and make recommendations to the Board of Directors of the IPF who will announce final funding decisions in June.
The trailers for all the projects submitted were viewed online during the month of March by hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts who have watched, liked, shared and commented on the content. Avid fans of the IPF trailers can see what a challenge the evaluators had! “Short-listed or not, these productions have already developed fan-bases and the creators have learned a lot from the analytics and audience feedback to the content they posted online”, noted Andra Sheffer, CEO of the IPF. “That information is invaluable to producers and is one of the exciting advantages of creating content for digital platforms and online audiences”.
In 2019, the IPF celebrates a decade of funding dramatic short form web series. The IPF has invested $15M in the production of 131 web series in the past 10 years. It invests $1.5 – $2M annually in 10-15 projects. These series represent all demographics and genres, including comedy, sci-fi, horror, animation, thrillers – and can be accessed at www.ipf.ca/webseries.
Thanks to all our evaluators for undertaking this selection challenge and sharing their insights and viewing experiences.
The IPF is incorporated as a charitable foundation with an endowment valued at $35M. It uses the interest generated by the endowment and return on its project investments for its annual operations and project funding. In addition, it is certified by the CRTC as a Certified Independent Production Fund and is eligible to receive Broadcast Distribution Undertaking contributions. Cogeco Connexion contributes $1.9M annually to the IPF to administer the Cogeco Television Production Program for investment in dramatic television series. The Board of Directors of the IPF is composed of independent representatives from the industry and undertakes all final funding decisions.
The Avocado Toast series is an intergenerational sex-comedy. Have you ever wondered about your parents’ sex life?
Neither did Molly and Elle until coming out and divorce forced them to learn about their parents’ new sexcapades. Now, these 30-something best friends cling to each other as they navigate their parents’ sex lives alongside their own.
Border2Border Entertainment is producing the Avocado Toast series and producer Charlie David recently sat down with co-creators Heidi Lynch and Perrie Voss to discover how they came to create this new show.
Were there any personal experiences that inspired the characters or storylines in the Avocado Toast series?
Heidi: YES! Originally the show was based on the tumultuous time in our lives when we met. I had just ended things with first female partner.
Perrie: And I had received a sudden phone call that my parents were breaking up after over 30 years of marriage. Sadly it wasn’t an amicable split, which made it even harder.
Heidi: We both felt totally discombobulated and leaned on each other – hard.
Perrie: Heidi and I had a bond before those things in our lives escalated, but that bond really deepened through these experiences. There were a ton of tears, a ton of laughter and a ton of wine hahaha. That experience really informed the base of our protagonists.
Heidi: Through drafts, the show has now morphed into an amalgamation of truth, imagination and research.
What hole does this fill in the current TV/web landscape?
Heidi: MEN & WOMEN AGE 23-69 😋 If you type “avocado toast, millennials” into google you will find a litany of articles written on how millennials are ruining their lives and the world that baby boomers created. This way of thinking is toxic and divides the two generations.
The Avocado Toast series aims to bridge the gap between millennials and baby boomers by talking about something both groups will always have in common… sex! We explore the intricacies of platonic female relationships, which is rarely truthfully depicted. ALSO… Bisexual representation needs to happen! It has started happening slowly with recent stars coming out as bi. So if there is anything we can do to help that and to create bisexual representation by telling our story we will!
The Avocado Toast series explores sex and all the awkward interactions that can happen in a conversation about sex between a millennial and a baby boomer parent. It’s weird for parents to think about their kids having sex and it’s weird for kids to think their parents have a sex life. How can we get over this cultural minefield and have meaningful conversations about relationships between the generations?
Heidi: This is such a great question and hard to answer because the entire thing is awkward. I want for everyone to have full rich sex lives and to never feel embarrassed about them.
I don’t think any parent or child needs to “get over” that awkward feeling. BUT I do think a parent and a child need to respect each other and support each other’s happiness. EVERYONE DOES IT. hahaha. We want to explore society’s desexualization of women over 40.
Perrie: And along that line – why we as a society tend to have double standards for men dating younger women (which, let’s be honest, you can’t swing a cat without running into hahaha), but we can be flabbergasted at a middle aged woman dating a man 30 years her junior. There can be more judgment. But obviously women have vibrant sex drives throughout their lives, and there’s still this left-over stigma pre-sexual revolution that they need to be prim and proper and not publicly show desire. I mean – go get it girl! I personally want to explore this and I think we will both learn a lot from this exploration. We don’t necessarily have the answers, but we have a viewpoint on it and we’re excited to learn as the show develops. Sex is so subjective. So let’s start that conversation!
Heidi: We also want to question why SOME parents of LGBTQ people take issue with who their children choose to be with romantically. It really should never matter who your parent/child is having sex with as long as they are happy and feel safe. But some really funny and awkward conversations might need to happen en route to getting there.
The Avocado Toast series is written, starring, directed, and created by women. That’s kick-ass!
Heidi: It is really fun and incredible to get to work on a set that is female heavy. I feel that way especially because I have created a character that is exploring her sexuality. Molly is bisexual so that means some girl on girl action will be required. With Sam Coyle directing I have full confidence that any scene we shoot will be shot with a female eye. The set will feel professional and I will be taken care of. That is not to say that couldn’t happen with a male director but as an actress I have a laundry list of moments where that wasn’t the case, even on “closed” sets. That being said, we absolutely have some incredible men behind the scenes on Avocado Toast which make it clear that gender shouldn’t be the determining factor in why you work with someone. The best human for the job is what we want and is what creates harmony and a cohesive vision.
Perrie: I could talk about this for days, but that’s exactly it. I was a little baby feminist as a little girl even before I knew what that meant. I didn’t comprehend or see that there was an integrated division until I hit puberty. I used to win track races and swimming races over the boys and not even bat an eye about it. So I think I carried this “I can kick your butt in anything” aka “we’re equal” mindset with me and had a hard time adjusting to the idea that women can be considered “less-than” (and I think sadly all women have endless histories of these micro and macro moments that we’ve had to deal with).
Although I didn’t set out to systematically create a woman-heavy project, Heidi and I found these powerhouse humans (who also happened to be women) who fit our project perfectly. Then it got exciting – this industry can be tough for women, and there is something SO empowering about giving other women job opportunities when they perhaps were overlooked in previous years and projects. Women are amazing! Heidi and I have set up collaborative environments and it is super inspiring to be around that energy. And like Heidi said – I LOVE the men that are a part of our project. They have each been handpicked as well. Each of them are hugely kind, understanding, and massively talented humans. They trust us and believe in the project. There’s no tolerance for “mansplaining” on our sets! hahahaha.
Tucking is the art of making your testicles “miraculously” disappear. But just how does a drag queen make that happen? Where do they go?
Drag queens and butch lesbians were at the forefront of the gay liberation movement at Stonewall. Their queer visibility made them conscripted soldiers for a movement in which the majority of its citizenry were invisible/voiceless gay men and women who were mostly in the closet. Who would have thought that sissies and bull dykes would come to our community’s rescue? Our militant forefathers and foremothers had serious balls. And quite frankly, it’s the visible and vocal queers of today that continue to challenge gender, sexuality and sex as our modern day queer warriors.
And that’s exactly what drag artist Barbie Jo Bontemps says in our documentary Balls, ”It takes a lot of balls to be a drag queen!” In the bigger picture, she is certainly echoing our queer herstory, but at that very moment she is specifically referring to the physical, testicular pains that drag queens must undergo to realize their gender illusion. Tucking your balls is common practice for many a modern drag artist. Whether you are using tight underwear, a gaffe (pulling all your junk back with a sock) or duck tape for tucking, the end result is the same; your testicles “miraculously” disappear.
To make one’s testicles disappear, you are essentially pushing your balls back into your body’s natural cavities. It’s kinda uncomfortable, but not overly painful. Unlike Barbie, Donnarama is not overly enthusiastic about tucking, “I hate 3 things. I hate shaving my face, shaving my back and TUCKING”! It’s not easy being gorgeous, but sometimes a girl’s got to do, what a girl’s got to do. Interestingly, this idea of tucking, like wearing high heels or make-up, speaks to the discomfort that many women often endure to also realize the illusion of gender that has been imposed on them by the heterosexual cis-male gaze.
Back in my salad days, I used to do a lot of what I would call “clown” drag. My goal was to look fun and vaguely girly. For me, drag was a multi-layered tool to play with gender and gender expectations. That said, I never tucked or gaffed, in fact, sometimes I wouldn’t even shave. I liked to both shock and amuse my immediate audience. I was never trying to “pass” as a “real” woman. Some drag queens refer to this as “fishy”, a term that I’m not particularly comfortable with. Part of this discomfort stems from an inherent misogyny of cis-men playing with female gender without any real ownership or consequence. If things get too “real”, the drag queen can assume the privilege of being a cis-male, whereas women are systematically compromised without any escape. They suffer physically, emotionally and economically because of their gender. Perhaps it is women who have the “real” balls after all.
Barbie and Donnarama offer a great counterpoint and levity in our documentary Balls. Their playful, off-the-cuff banter help bridge the conversations around testicular health and men’s health in general, both physical and emotional. Because of how men are generally socialized, they are not having open, honest and vulnerable discussions about their own personal health and how to ask for help. In its own small ways I hope Balls, with the help of Barbie and Donnarama, opens that door.
~ Nico Stagias, Director of Photography at Border2Border Entertainment