Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Supporting the Independents on Community Radio

The Worldwide Short Film Festival is now over for 2008 and I am happy to report that one of my favourite films at WWSFF, The Answer Key, is now an award-winner! Congratulations to Brendan Steacy for his well-deserved award in Cinematography. Director Samir Rehman and actor Joe Pingue (the two met in kindergarten) of The Answer Key were my first guests on this past Saturday's show. The two, along with screenwriter, Sean Moore, have created the wonderful story about a society in which people were dying of terminal loneliness (think Marty with a touch of Philip K Dick). Rehman's tight editing (hurray a director who knows how to edit well--you all know about my disdain for bad editing!), Pingue's embodiment of sadness is well-captured by Steacy's wash of greeny browns and subtle rust tones, as well as productions designer Jim Goodall brilliant set.

It was a day for independent artist as I was next joined on the show by Empress Lyrics discussing the challenges faced by single female reggae singers in terms of sexual propositions and getting air play when your name is not known. She keeps her lyrics clean and positive. Visit her myspace page and check her out: ww.myspace.com/empresslyrics

The beauty of community radio is that as a programmer I chose the music I play and as long as you are good you will get some air time. Any artist is welcome to send their CDs to our Music Department (go to www.ciut.fm for the contact info). Look for Empress Lyrics performing around town and selling her CDs at a mall near you!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

"It's More Than a Stage...It's a Culture"

"It's More Than a Stage...It's a Culture" says producer/actress, Marcia Brown, well-known for her work in promoting Jamaican plays in her native Jamaica and in Canada. Many Jamaicans know her from her work with Oliver Samuels, but Brown has been striving to continue and develop the production of Jamaican works since she arrived in Canada many years ago.

With the new play, Common-Law, Brown brings to the stage the issue of relationships that last for many years without benefit of marriage. In the play, such a relationship comes to an abrupt end when the man announces to his "wife" that he is leaving her after 15 years to marry another woman. The communal aspect of Jamaican theatre, where the audience responds vocally to what is happening on stage, is one of the sweet treats of watching a Marcia Brown production, and I can't wait to hear the audience's reaction to this plot revelation! Brown says this is a "Ladies Night" play so call up your girlfriends and enjoy! Visit www.marciabrownproductions.com for more information.Children's theatre and Jamaican theatre all in one show!


Kathleen Phillips of Cow Over Moon Children's Theatre joined me by phone during the second half of my show to talk about the company's performance of Three Magic Wishes. Cow Over Moon adapts traditional children's stories and updates them with music and movement to make plays an interactive experience for children. Three Magic Wishes will be performed during the Fringe Festival this year, continuing the festival's mission to introduce children to theatre in a variety of styles. Click on the links to find out more information about the play or the Fringe.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Radio Okapi: Connecting the Congolese

Hope you had a chance to hear my interview (Sat. May 29th) with Pierre Mignault re: Radio Okapi, a Congolese radio station that is connecting people in the various regions by broadcasting their own stories. I learned about Radio Okapi after seeing Pierre's documentary (with Hélène Magny) of the same name at Hot Docs.

As career journalists, Pierre and Hélène have worked in danger zones, but what impressed them about working with Radio Okapi was the dedication of the reporters who risk their lives (they face death threats from politicians, the army and local officials) to bring people's voices to the public. They were equally impressed by the strength and courage of the local people talking about the brutal living conditions they face on a daily basis. For more information about Radio Okapi please visit www.radiookapi.net (this site is in French) or http://www.informactionfilms.com/(your choice of French or English).