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The Crescent is a dark family drama shot on the shores of Nova Scotia

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Directed by Nova Scotia-based filmmaker Seth A. Smith, The Crescent is an "atmospheric ghost story" seen through the eyes of a three-year-old child. Photo courtesy Raven Banner Releasing.
Directed by Nova Scotia-based filmmaker Seth A Smith, The Crescent is an "atmospheric ghost story" seen through the eyes of a three-year-old child. Photo courtesy Raven Banner Releasing.

It’s no surprise that The Crescent, the latest from filmmaker Seth A Smith (Lowlife, Dog Day), utilizes the shores of Canada’s Maritimes to such chilling effect – Smith is based in Nova Scotia, and said he was always fascinated by the emptiness and the vastness of the ocean.

“The seas are like this never-ending horizon. I think people, when they are alone, they get creeped out at this emptiness, this eeriness,” Smith said. “I wanted to make a film about two people who are very alone.”

The Crescent, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, stars Danika Vandersteen as Beth, a woman who retreats with her toddler son Lowen (two-year-old Woodrow Graves) to a family seaside cottage following the death of her husband. There, she loses herself in the art of paper marbling and the pair become engulfed in a dark, strange new reality.

Smith said the story for the film had been kicking around in his head for some time, especially given the fact that he is the father of a three-year-old son himself.

“I was a first-time parent and there are a lot of new feelings that go along with raising a child for the first time – this new sense of worry and dread, or that you’re falling behind at all times,” he said. “What happens if he falls and trips and bumps his head on the wall? These are new concerns that you have.”

Working with a two-year-old actor as one of the film’s leads obviously had its challenges, Smith said, but the filmmakers employed various techniques to smooth the process along. Smith said the boy’s various catch phrases were written into the script, and the crew was made up of trusted friends.

“We shot when he was in the mood for activities, and when he wasn’t, we’d take a break or shoot other scenes,” Smith said. “I kind of let Danika lead the scenes and then tried to stay out of the way, almost treating it like nature photography. And of course there were a lot of camera, FX and editing tricks used in the scary scenes so Woody didn’t have to interact with monsters!”

Part of the film’s distinctive style involves paper marbling, Beth’s art form practiced in the film. Smith said the filmmakers partnered with an art group out of Michigan called BL Visuals, who helped to depict the notoriously difficult technique on-screen.

“It’s an interesting art form. Kind of chaotic but beautiful, and always a surprise,” he said. “I thought in some way the aesthetic lent a melancholic mood to the narrative.”

The film’s mood is also aided by the soundtrack produced by Smith, which is set to see a vinyl release September 7, 2018, via Label Obscura. Smith said he had much of the film’s soundtrack in his head while shooting.

“I find that music, especially in film, it’s so abstract but emotion-based and it really has to be in line with the director’s vision,” he said. “(Making the soundtrack) allowed me to do a couple of interesting things. I wanted to try and find some new sounds – I’m always looking for something I haven’t seen or heard before.”

Smith said viewers tend to take different things away from The Crescent, but that he has always seen it as “a horror film for parents.”

“There are certain anxieties and dangers you become in tune with as a parent,” he said. “I exploited that a bit, I guess. For everyone else, get sucked into the weird, dark realm of the North Atlantic!”


The Crescent opens August 10 at Cineplex Theatres across Canada, running for one week. For more information, click here.

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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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