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Baseball cards set the table for a big left turn in ‘Jack Of All Trades’

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What started as a documentary focused on the nostalgia surrounding baseball cards turned into something very different for director Stuart Stone. (Photo courtesy of Calgary Underground Film Festival)

At the end of the trailer for Jack Of All Trades, director Stuart Stone travels to Toronto in an effort to locate his absentee father. The video cuts to black just as Stone arrives and knocks on the door, presumably waiting for his father, Jack, to answer. Stone’s quest to locate Jack was a hard left turn for the filmmakers, considering the doc begun its life focused on the nostalgia surrounding baseball cards – but like The Imposter (2012) or Dear Zachary (2008), when a new story emerged, they just kept rolling.

“Whatever happens after I knock on that door in the trailer – the other side of the door definitely changed my life,” Stone said. “Once you kind of let your own truth be out there, now everybody who watches it knows it. So I went from never talking about this my entire life with anybody to complete strangers coming up to me and that’s all they want to talk about. It went from never talking about it to only talking about it.”

Stone grew up surrounded by the industry, his father running a store that sold baseball and hockey cards. But as the industry declined, so did Stone’s relationship with Jack.

Stone, a writer, comedian and former child actor whose first role came in 1984’s Heavenly Bodies, said the path the documentary took was an opportunity to change a negative into a positive.

“This wasn’t what I was trying to do, but having a co-director (Harvey Glazer) kind of work with you to think from a different perspective – at some point, it just kind of happened,” he said. “In the end, I’m very happy, obviously – the end result is incredible and it’s powerful and it wouldn’t have been that if I didn’t do that. If this was just a movie about baseball cards, it would only be seen by some people who like baseball cards. This opens it up to a much wider audience.

“Now the people that love baseball cards and their girlfriends will like the movie.”

The documentary is set to air across Canada on the Super Channel starting May 15 and will play at the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) April 19. Stone said previous sold-out screenings have been “really crazy.”

“People were just like, losing their minds – I was getting so many hugs from strangers,” he said. “It’s like a play almost, because you’re watching a live audience and they’re reacting and clapping and laughing and crying – it’s like a live experience that is sort of surreal when it comes to filmmaking.”

Stone said each audience member at the CUFF screening April 19 will receive a pack of 1987 Topps baseball cards.

“I would have to say, I describe it like this – it’s the story of a father and a son and their baseball cards,” he said.

Check out the trailer below.

Jack Of All Trades plays April 19 at the Calgary Underground Film Festival.

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Schitt’s Creek to conclude after next season

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The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will conclude with its sixth and final season, star and co-creator Dan Levy announced in a statement today. Photo courtesy CBC.
The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will conclude with its sixth and final season, star and co-creator Dan Levy announced in a statement today. Photo courtesy CBC.

The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will end at the conclusion of its sixth season, series co-creator and star Dan Levy announced March 21.

“We are so grateful to have been given the time and creative freedom to tell this story in its totality, concluding with a final chapter that we had envisioned from the very beginning,” Levy said in a statement. “It’s not lost on us what a rare privilege it is in this industry to get to decide when your show should take its final bow.”

Schitt’s Creek premiered on CBC in 2015, becoming one of the network’s most successful half-hour comedies ever. The show follows the fish-out-of-water Rose family, forced to assimilate into a small town after they lose their family fortune.

Though the show’s first season received mixed reviews, it grew in regard with both fans and critics over subsequent iterations. Schitt’s Creek’s fifth season, which premiered on January 8, 2019, scored a 100 per cent “Fresh” ranking on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.

The show is also among select company among Canadian sitcoms, drawing strong viewership in the United States and elsewhere thanks to distribution on Netflix and the American Pop network. Critics have reacted favourably to recent episodes, with TV Guide’s Megan Vick writing that each season of Schitt’s Creek has “gotten better and better.”

Read Levy’s full statement below.

New episodes of Schitt’s Creek air Tuesday nights at 9/9:30 NT on CBC.

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Watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short “Animal Behaviour”

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The National Film Board of Canada is offering Canadians the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short film "Animal Behaviour" until the end of today. Photo courtesy NFB
The National Film Board of Canada is offering Canadians the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short film "Animal Behaviour" until the end of today. Photo courtesy NFB

To get prepped for the 91st Academy Awards, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is offering Canadians the chance to check out Animal Behaviour, nominated tonight in the Best Animated Short Film category.

Animal Behaviour is a new short from Alison Snowden and David Fine, who previously won an Oscar in 1994 for Bob’s Birthday. The short is the 75th Oscar nomination for the NFB, and the first short film for Snowden and Fine since Bob’s Birthday. The 91st Oscars air tonight at 8 Eastern on ABC and CTV.

Watch Animal Behaviour below (expires tonight).

Next up on The Mutt: Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed

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Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed

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Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 11/12 - "Daddy Lessons/War Paint". Photo courtesy Bell Media
Wynonna Earp Season 4 is in jeopardy, according to the The Hollywood Reporter, due to financial difficulties. Photo courtesy Space

All of a sudden, Wynonna Earp is in Purgatory.

Earpers were stunned Thursday night when executive producer and showrunner Emily Andras posted (and subsequently deleted) a tweet suggesting that fans of the show may soon have to fight for it. Another tweet, posted shortly later, took a decidedly more straight-forward approach.

Andras appeared to be responding to the news that funding for the fourth season of Wynonna Earp appeared to be on shaky ground, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. According to THR, financial challenges faced by IDW Entertainment have stalled production on Season 4, despite the company being contractually obligated to deliver the show to Syfy.

In response to the news, Earpers took to Twitter with the hashtag #FightForWynonna, which at the time of publication was one of the top Twitter trends in Canada. Though Season 4 has yet to be officially cancelled, IDW has yet to commit to a start date for the new season.

“IDW is committed to continuing to tell the Wynonna Earp story,” the company said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Much like the fans, we are passionate about not only the series, but the comics, the characters and the overall message that the Wynonna Earp franchise carries. We are in the process of working out the details for how the Wynonna story will continue and will share new details very soon.”

Our resident Earper, Ghezal Amiri, was a big fan of Season 3, writing that the show’s season finale, entitled “War Paint”, was a “wildly emotional conclusion.” Read her recap here.

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