The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) hit home for a group of Ryerson Image Arts alumni and their feature film, Cardinals.
The feature drama is the directorial debut for Aidan Shipley and Grayson Moore, who graduated from the film studies program in 2014 and first worked together on Shipley’s fourth-year thesis short, Dorsal later that year. They then co-directed Boxing in 2014, which also premiered at TIFF.
The rest of the creative team was also made up of alumni, with producers Marianna Margaret and Kristy Neville, production designer Thea Hollatz, editor Daniel Haack and director of photography Jackson Parrell.
The 84-minute film stars Canadian icon Sheila McCarthy as “Valerie Walker,” a former convict and mother of two who attempts to move on from her past, but quickly discovers it’s not easy—especially when the son of the neighbour she ran over and killed is still living across the street and demands closure.
The son, Mark, is played by Noah Reid, alongside Valerie’s two daughters played by Katie Boland and Grace Glowicki, who were both TIFF Rising Stars in 2016.
by Chloe MacPherson
Have you ever watched a movie, seen a character, and felt like you immediately knew them? That happened to me when I watched Cardinals. It could be just a White, southern Ontario thing, but I have met many women similar to Valerie Walker in my life.
Canadian acting legend and goddess Sheila McCarthy always delivers a fantastic performance, and her role as Valerie is no exception. The character has this understated passion boiling underneath the surface that McCarthy plays so well. She’s a devoted and loving mother before anything else, and she carries no shame for what she’s done for the protection of her kids.
Valerie is very strong and reminds me of a lot of some women I know (they haven’t killed anyone or gone to prison, but the devotion for defending friends/family is there). However, the urge for preservation leads Valerie to make decisions without consulting her family and yields more strife.
Even if her intentions are good and her point of view is clear, there are negative consequences that affect everyone — specifically her daughters. She made her eldest, Eleanor (Katie Boland), lie for over a decade and kept tons of secrets from the youngest, Zoe (Grace Glowicki). And in the end, they have to pay for her choices. All that effort for their safety meant nothing in the end.
By Lydia Ogwang
Canadian newcomers Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley strike gold with veteran Sheila McCarthy in the lead role of Cardinals. McCarthy is masterful as the damningly self-convicted Valerie, a mother of two recalibrating to free civilian life after serving time for apparent alcohol-induced vehicular manslaughter. While her daughters (played by Grace Glowicki and Kate Boland) earnestly show up and show out to aid in her rehabilitation in their respective (and, as we discover, disparate) capacities, Valerie confronts her return with a guarded stoicism, vainly attempting to force normalcy back into her life.
From its opening scenes, Cardinals sets a standard of no-holds-barred storytelling, with shots of Valerie guzzling vodka in her car and the lifeless foot of her victim presenting the brutal facts of the matter as they are. When the son of Valerie’s victim comes knocking, looking for closure, we’re forced to sit with every excruciating moment of the ordeal; we dwell with the characters in a precarious space where instinct drives action, but courage isn’t guaranteed to buoy us against the consequences of those actions.
For Immediate Release
The Feature Film Directorial Debuts from Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley,
Starring Sheila McCarthy, Katie Boland, Grace Glowicki, Peter MacNeill and Noah Reid,
To Have World Premiere at 2017 Toronto International Film Festival
Toronto. August 9, 2017. Cardinals, the slow-burn thriller from co-directors Grayson Moore (Running Season) and Aidan Shipley (Bridges, Dorsal), whose last collaboration, Boxing, premiered at TIFF in September 2015, will have its world premiere in the Discovery programme at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
Cardinals stars Sheila McCarthy (Considering Love and Other Magic, Orphan Black), Noah Reid, (Kevin from Work, House of Lies), Peter MacNeill (Call Me Fitz, Rookie Blue, A History of Violence), Katie Boland (Born to be Blue, The Master, Daydream Nation), and a 2016 Sundance Jury Prize recipient for Outstanding Performance/ 2016 Rising Star Grace Glowicki (The Paper Year, Her Friend Adam (Special Jury Prize performance, Sundance16), The Oxbow Cure). Cardinals is part of Telefilm’s Micro-Budget Production Program and was filmed in 2016 in Stratford, Kitchener, and Barrie, Ontario.
Cardinals was written by Grayson Moore, directed by Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley, produced by Marianna Margaret (Paradise Falls) and Kristy Neville (Her Friend Adam, A Teachable Moment), and executive produced by Chris Bennett (How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town, The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song), Matt Code (Mary Goes Round), Sheila McCarthy (Orphan Black, Little Mosque on the Prairie, The Wanting) and Kevin Saffer (Whatever, Linda) of Touchpoint Films.
Years after murdering her neighbour under the guise of drunk driving, Valerie Walker returns home from prison to find that the son of the deceased has lingering suspicions.
Co-directors Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley said, “Having shorts premiere at TIFF helped us gain the credibility necessary to have such talented people work on a micro-budget film. As fans, TIFF has given us so many memorable moments. As short filmmakers, TIFF gave us monumental stepping stones toward making a feature. Now that we’ve done it, TIFF gives us a global stage to premiere the film in the city we live in. It’s difficult to articulate how much it means to be selected for the festival, but the thing it tells us most clearly, as it has many others before us, is that the grind of making the film was all worth it and then some."
“We could not be more thrilled that Cardinals will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Canadian through and through, this film showcases the outstanding talent we have in this country, both veteran and emerging,” said producers Kristy Neville and Marianna Margaret.
Cinematography by Jackson Parrell (Slasher, The Lockpicker), production design by Thea Hollatz (Boxing, Running Season), costume design by Robyn Macdonald (She Would Move the Tree Rather More to the Middle), editing by Daniel Haack (Dorsal, Boxing, Dwell) and music composed by Todor Kobakov (Born to be Blue, The Husband).
Cardinals is produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada and the Talent Fund in association with Touchpoint Films, Dazmo Camera and Ryerson University.
ABOUT AIDAN SHIPLEY:
Aidan Shipley is a Toronto-based actor/director. Upon graduating from Ryerson University’s film program in 2014, his thesis film, Dorsal, was awarded the A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film by the National Screen Institute and was recently acquired by the CBC. He went on to co-write/direct the short film Boxing, which premiered at TIFF in 2015 where it was highlighted with eight other short films to be a part of the TIFF Short Cuts Remix Program. He is currently producing the feature documentary, A Girl Named C.
ABOUT GRAYSON MOORE:
Grayson Moore graduated from Ryerson University's film program. He wrote the short films Bridges and Dorsal, as well as the recently completed virtual-reality narrative short Deerbrook. His directorial debut was his thesis film, Running Season, which premiered at TIFF in 2014, was selected at Slamdance, and won ‘Best Canadian Short’ at the Whistler Film Festival. Grayson also co-directed and wrote Boxing which premiered at TIFF in 2015. He’s currently adapting the novel The Extinction Club for Lumanity Productions (Born to Be Blue, Stockholm). Cardinals is his first feature film.
Media contact: Cynthia Amsden 416-910-7740 Cynthia@roundstonepr.com
Canadian programmers Magali Simard and Steve Gravestock discuss their robust lineup of emerging and seasoned filmmakers playing TIFF ‘17
2016 was a year where we couldn’t stop talking about Canadian cinema. After TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey penned an editorial for the Globe & Mailtitled “Dear Canadian Filmmakers: it’s not about you, it’s about us,” Hello Destroyerfilmmaker Kevan Funk clapped back, publishing an open letter on The Reviewabout the uphill battle emerging directors must wage in the industry. TIFF ‘16 also saw groundbreaking first features like Ashley McKenzie’s Werewolf, Johnny Ma’s Old Stone, and Simon Lavoie and Mathieu Denis’ Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves gain international acclaim, reaching the world stage. So after a landmark year where all this talk on Canadian film has reached a fever pitch, how do programmers Steve Gravestock and Magali Simard follow up?
“Culturally, it’s one of the most diverse lineups we’ve ever programmed,” says Gravestock. “There have been years where filmmakers have had a global focus [to their work], which certainly reflects the multicultural nature of Canada, but the depth and detail in which Canadian filmmakers have gone into controversial issues this year is unusual.”
“When you think about the year we’ve just had politically, issues of xenophobia and immigration can’t help but be a part of it,” adds Simard. “These films are huge in scope and feel extremely contemporary.”
Take, for instance, Tarique Qayumi’s Black Kite, which uses an Afghani family’s fascination with kite flying as an allegory for the country’s tumultuous political history before the rise of the Taliban. Festival veteran Kim Nyugen (Two Lovers and a Bear, Rebelle) returns with Eye on Juliet, a portrait of a Muslim community — originally from Northern Africa — that has transplanted itself into suburban Michigan. Iranian-born director Sadaf Foroughi portrays a Muslim teenage girl’s coming-of-age as she struggles with her classmates and her parents’ duplicity in AVA. Meanwhile, Métis filmmaker Wayne Wapeemukwa creates a moving story about neglected outcasts set against the backdrop of the Vancouver Olympics in his first feature Luk'Luk'I. Director Mina Shum returns to TIFF with Meditation Park, a movie portraying an aging Chinese mother’s sudden need for independence with Sandra Oh as her disenchanted daughter. And master filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin will screen her 42nd documentary Our People Will Be Healed at the Festival. Simard calls her documentary, which captures a group of teenagers at a First Nations youth centre, “her most optimistic film yet.”
“There are lots of films this year which play with genre and defy easy categorization,” adds Gravestock. “All You Eat Buddha, a first feature from Montreal by Ian Lagarde, completely breaks the mold. Cory Bowles’ Black Cop is a satire, but to describe it that way seems misleading. It’s about the contradictions of being a black police officer and the way police have traditionally treated Black communities. Here, a black cop inflicts violence on white people. In doing so, Cory uses a wildly divergent amount of styles and techniques to draw the story out.”
One genre that’s always been classically Canadian is the low-budget horror film. Simard and Gravestock assure us that TIFF ’17 has scares to spare, including the French Canadian zombie film Les Affamés, directed by Robin Aubert and starring C.R.A.Z.Y.’s Marc-André Grodin, Seth A. Smith’s psychological horror The Crescent(playing in the Midnight Madness programme), and Adam MacDonald’s supernatural thriller Pyewacket.
There are also several outstanding comedies and coming-of-age films from first-time directors, which boast landmark performances from well-loved actors.
“Mary Goes Round, by Molly McGlynn, has a stellar performance from Aya Cash (FX’s You’re the Worst), as well as a great supporting cast,” says Gravestock. The film takes a serious look at an addictions counsellor in her 30s with a drinking problem, depicting moments (such as binge drinking at a baby shower) with a ring of tragic truth. Everyone’s favourite character actress Judy Greer is paired opposite TIFF Rising Star Daniel Doheny in Kyle Rideout’s sardonic comedy Public Schooled, while none other than Geena Davis makes an A League of Her Own–inspired cameo in Pat Mills’ feel-good high-school comedy Don’t Talk to Irene.
The programmers also suggest we should ready ourselves for the comeback of veteran actor Sheila McCarthy. First-time co-directors Grayson Moore and Aiden Shipley team up with the veteran opposite TIFF Rising Stars Grace Glowicki and Katie Boland in their emotional drama Cardinals.
When Aidan Shipley began shooting his first feature film, it was a no-brainer to shoot some of it in his hometown.
The 23-year-old from Stratford is directing the film with his Ryerson co-graduate and friend Grayson Moore. Both have had individual and shared successes in the past, including a screening of their short film Boxing at the Toronto Film Festival.
But this opportunity is big. Really big.
Getting the money to make a movie is notoriously difficult. As recent graduates, Shipley and Moore qualified to apply for funding from the Telefilm Micro Budget program.
“The program was started to get money in the hands of young directors,” Shipley explained.
To get that money, Shipley and Moore had to present their concept and compete with other young filmmakers.
They were selected by Ryerson as its nominee and earned the funds.
“We were over the moon when we found out about it. It's not often you get to make a feature film in Canada,” Shipley said.
Cardinal is about Valerie Walker, a woman who gets out of prison eight years after staging a drunk driving collision to kill a man she feels has committed an unforgivable crime. While Valerie is spending time with family at home, the man's unstable son, Mark, shows up with unclear intentions.
The film stars Sheila McCarthy (Little Mosque on the Prairie and several Stratford Festival productions) and Noah Reid (Kevin From Work).
It's not often Stratford is the backdrop for scenes in a feature film. The crew shot inside Central Secondary School, Shipley's family home, the iconic Erie Drive-In and during the Stratford swan parade.
Typically a Hollywood production would involve catering services, personal trailers and swanky hotels at a scouted location.
Shipley and Moore are on a tight budget so there was none of that but there was plenty of hospitality.
Continue reading via The Stratford Beacon Herald
'Kevin From Work' Star Noah Reid Nabs Lead in 'Cardinal' Drama (Exclusive) Via The Hollywood Reporter /
The actor will play an unstable son in the Canadian crime thriller.
Kevin From Work star Noah Reid has a new gig.
Reid has nabbed the lead in the indie crime thriller Cardinal from directors Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley. The movie role follows Kevin From Work, the Freeform workplace comedy in which Reid played the title character, being canceled after one season in early March.
In Cardinal he will play Mark Loekner, the unstable son of a man killed in a vehicle accident who arrives on the doorstep of a woman just released from prison for drunk driving and now vacationing with her family. The ensemble cast includes Sheila McCarthy, Peter MacNeill and Katie Boland.
Filming on Cardinal from Touchpoint Films and Dazmo Camera will run through mid-April in southern Ontario. The indie has financing from Telefilm Canada.
Kevin From Work, a single-camera workplace comedy, starred Reid as a young man who declares his unrequited love for his co-worker Audrey (Paige Spara).