Cinespace Film Studios (Toronto) officially launches Nick Mirkopoulos Canadian Content Initiative with support of "Grizzlies" feature and "Code 8" project
TORONTO,- Cinespace Film Studios Toronto announced today the formal launch of the Nick Mirkopoulos Canadian Content Initiative, a program to provide rent-free facilities to select Canadian film, TV and digital media projects.
Cinespace President Steve Mirkopoulos described the origin of this initiative by stating, "Our founder and my late brother Nick was continually focused on finding ways to give back to our very creative and dynamic domestic production industry. Since we at Cinespace have always supported domestic projects whenever possible, we have now made a commitment to assist three Canadian projects per year, with as much rent-free space capacity as possible, to help them put as much money on the screen as possible." The initiative is named after Cinespace Founder Nick Mirkopoulos, who spearheaded the development of over 2.5 million square feet of studio and support space in both Toronto and Chicago, and who passed away in late 2013 in his birthplace of Kastoria, in northern Greece.
The Nick Mirkopoulos Canadian Content Initiative will be open to applications from writers, directors and producers for studios, production offices or support spaces to assist projects that feature culturally impactful Canadian stories or that are helmed by rising Canadian artists. Notable past projects that benefited from this rent-free assistance include the 2013 feature "Empire of Dirt", about generational drug addiction in a Native Canadian community, and the 2014 feature "Bang Bang Baby", by Jeffrey St. Jules, the first Canadian film director ever admitted to the Cannes Film Festival's residency program for emerging filmmakers. While both assisted projects won critical acclaim, "Empire" won the 2013 Best Canadian Feature Film Special Jury Citation at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and "Baby" won the 2014 Best Canadian First Feature Film at TIFF as well as the 2015 Claude Jutra Award.
In 2015 Cinespace provided rent-free facilities to the Canadian Film Centre project "22 Chaser", directed by Rafal Sokolowski, and the science fiction drama "Prisoner X", directed by Guarav Seth. In 2016, Cinespace is proud to announce the first two projects that will benefit from the newly-named Nick Mirkopoulos Canadian Content Initiative:
"Grizzlies" – Directed by Miranda de Pencier ("Throat Song", 2013 CSA Winner, Best Live Action Short), and Produced by Hartley Gorenstein ("Room", "Goon 2", "Pompeii") and Damon D'Oliveira ("Book of Negroes", "Poor Boys Game"), this Canadian feature is based on the true story of high school teacher Russ Sheppard, who moves to a northern community with the highest suicide rate in North America and starts a lacrosse league that changes life for the better for countless young Native Canadians. The film currently is based out of a production office at Cinespace Toronto, and then will shoot mostly in Iqaluit, in the Arctic Circle.
"Code 8" – Directed and Produced by Canadians Jeff Chan and Chris Pare, the same director-and-writer combo that shot "Grace" (Sony Pictures, 2014), this recently-announced, Indiegogo-funded project has Canadian cousins and actors Stephen and Robbie Amell attached ("Arrow", "ThePeople"), who are producing the project as well. The high-concept sci-fi feature centres on Lincoln City, where 4% of the population have "abnormal abilities" and comprise 60% of all arrests, and along with spectacular visual affects the project will also feature actors Sung Kang ("Furious 6") and Aaron Abrams("Hannibal"). The production, detailed on Indiegogo, is scheduled to begin shooting in February of 2017, and is currently based out of a writing bullpen at Cinespace Toronto. In just over 24 hours on Indiegogo, "Code 8" is already over 80% funded, powered by a high-quality short concept film featuring the key cast, as well as a slick crowdfunding campaign.
Toronto producer Hartley Gorenstein remarked, "As long as I have been working in Toronto, the name 'Cinespace' has been synonymous with helping Canadian producers succeed. So I am extremely gratified to be producing one of the first projects supported by the new Nick Mirkopoulos Canadian Content Initiative, and the funds saved will certainly help this true story translate onto the big screen far more compellingly".
"Cinespace has been supporting my career from the get-go", said Toronto writer, director and producer Jeff Chan. "Their space support so far on 'Code 8' has been extremely helpful, and my strong hope is that we can continue to work together to produce this exciting project."