Yinuo Wang, Johntae Lipscomb receive Brian Linehan Actors Award

Yinuo Wang and Johntae Lipscomb

Above left: Yinuo Wang / right: Johntae Lipscomb

Yinuo Wang (90 Days) and Johntae Lipscomb (Bosco’s Guitar) are the latest winners of the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

For Yinuo Wang’s performance:

Jenna Neepin, documentary filmmaker said: “This is the first time I’ve seen Yinuo Wang and I hope she does more. Her performance was subtle and yet totally striking, not unlike the film’s scarlet lamps.”

Amy Harrison, arts industry professional said: “Yinuo Wang delivers a subtle but affecting performance as Li Jan, a woman indirectly forced into prostitution in Hong Kong. This complex character could have been over-dramatized, but Wang shows restraint in expressing both vulnerability and strength.”

Kheaven Lewandowski, recent winner of A&E Short Filmmakers Award said: “Yinuo Wang’s performance in 90 Days was excellent. Even though her character was quiet, she spoke volumes with her subtle body language and curious eyes. [A] very moving performance.”

Yinuo Wang said, “Winning the Brian Linehan Actors Award is a great honour for me as a non-actor and motivation to keep pouring my heart and soul into all [my] work, for no film is too small – they are machines of empathy.”

For Johntae Lipscomb’s performance:

Karen Swerdfeger, industry executive said: “With a large part of the film resting solely on his performance, Johntae Lispcomb did an exceptional job pulling the audience in so it could respond with empathy. You could do nothing but pause until you knew Bosco was going to be OK.”

John Kozak, filmmaker and professor said: “Young actor Johntae Lipscomb gives a subtle and nuanced performance as a boy whose anger, fear and mistrust resists unexpected kindness.”

Sharon Switzer, artist and curator said: “Johntae Lipscomb managed to convey a world of complex emotions despite hardly saying a word as the young star of Bosco’s Guitar.”

Johntae Lipscomb said, “This is amazing!! I’m very honored to have won the Brian Linehan Actors Award. This is great news.”

Visit the NSI Online Short Film Festival for more great Canadian short films.

The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation proudly supports 2016 TIFF Rising Stars

TIFF Rising Stars immerses four chosen actors in a series of public events and private industry meetings during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

They undertake intensive professional development with international casting directors, filmmakers, producers and development executives. Moreover, the stars will be front row and centre at some of the biggest red-carpet events at TIFF.

Rising Stars 2016

Jared Abrahamson


Jared Abrahamson was born and raised in Flin Flon, Manitoba and currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. After a stint working in the mines and competing as a pro-mixed martial arts fighter, he attended Vancouver Film School. Abrahamson had a lead role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film Finding a Family (11) and parts in the ABC pilot The Manzanis, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (12) and Awkward. Recently, Abrahamson filmed roles in Keep Watching (16); Hello Destroyer (TIFF 16); Gun (16); Veracruz (16); Never Steady, Never Still (16); Hollow in the Land (16); and a recurring character on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead.

Grace Glowicki


Grace Glowicki is an actor, director and writer based in Toronto. She has appeared in films at many major US film festivals this year. At the Sundance Film Festival her performance in Ben Petrie’s Her Friend Adam (16) won her a Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Performance. The film has since played SXSW Film Festival, NYC’s Rooftop Films and the Sundance Short Film Tour. She also starred in Jason Jeffrey’s A Teachable Moment (16) which played the Tribeca Film Festival. Upcoming acting projects include the narrative feature Cardinal (17) directed by Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley; Jordan Canning’s Suck it Up (17), which she co-executive produced; and Tito, her feature-length directorial debut.

Mylène MacKay


Mylène Mackay is an actor and comedian born in Saint-Didace. Currently based in Montreal, she graduated from L’École nationale de théâtre du Canada in 2011. Mackay appeared on television and stage before her first major film role in André Turpin’s Endorphine(15). Upcoming roles include André Forcier’s Embrasse moi comme tu m’aimes (16) and the title role in Anne Émond’s Nelly (16) based on the life and work of author Nelly Arcan. Mackay is also involved in several voice dubbing projects.

Sophie Nélisse


Sophie Nélisse was born in Windsor and raised in Montreal. She starred in Brian Percival’s The Book Thief (13) and Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar (11) which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and earned her a Genie Award for her performance. Nélisse’s latest film credits include Stephen Herek’s The Great Gilly Hopkins (15); Nathan Morlando’s Mean Dreams (16) which premiered at Cannes; Radu Mihaileanu’s The History of Love (16); Dominic James’s Wait Till Helen Comes (16), set to be released this October; and Academy Award nominee Yan England’s directorial debut, 1:54 (16).

Presenting Partner: The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, Supported by: Telefilm Canada, Supported by: CSA, Sponsored by: L’Oréal Paris, Industry Sponsors: Birks, Hudson’s Bay

Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation-supported artists behind the camera shine at Toronto and Atlantic film festivals


Above: Werewolf 

The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation has supported the National Screen Institute’s film programs and students for 11 years.

Fall 2016 is a great example of how that investment has resulted in some impressive showcases for alumni of NSI courses sponsored by the Foundation.

Toronto International Film Festival | Sept. 9 to 19

World premiere features

  • Werewolf from director/producer Ashley McKenzie and producer Nelson MacDonald (both NSI Drama Prize).

When Ashley and Nelson made their NSI Drama Prize short When You Sleep with Martha Cooley, their team was sponsored by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation.

Ashley will be also be on the panel Short Cuts Dialogue Case Studies Transitioning to Features on Wednesday, September 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Glen Gould Studio.

  • Weirdos from producer Marc Almon (NSI Drama Prize)
  • The Headhunter’s Calling from producer Daniel Bekerman (NSI Features First)

North American premiere

  • Two Lovers and a Bear from supervising producer Daniel Bekerman (NSI Features First)

World premiere shorts

  • 3-Way (Not Calling) from director Molly McGlynn (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Mariner from executive producer Jordana Aarons (NSI Features First)

OMDC Producers Lab

  • Glen Wood (NSI Features First)

When Glen was in NSI Features First with Chris Trebilcock developing their feature The Dark Stranger, their team was sponsored by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation.

Atlantic Film Festival | Sept. 15 to 22


  • Weirdos from producer Marc Almon (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Werewolf from director/producer Ashley McKenzie and producer Nelson MacDonald (both NSI Drama Prize)
  • Two Lovers and a Bear from supervising producer Daniel Bekerman (NSI Features First)


  • Ingrid and the Black Hole from writer/director Leah Johnston (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Gnomedizzle from producer André Pettigrew (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Occupied from director Iain MacLeod (NSI Totally Television, NSI Features First)
  • Bill’s Landscape and Exorcism Services from director Angus Swantee (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Age of Reason from writer/director Lisa Rose Snow and producer Lora Campbell (both NSI Drama Prize)
  • The Big Crunch from writer/director/producer Dusty Mancinelli and producer Harry Cherniak (NSI Features First)

Hiraku Ando, Hayley Carmichael receive Brian Linehan Actors Award


Hiraku Ando (River) and Hayley Carmichael (Phone Box) are the latest winners of the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

For Hiraku Andos performance:

Christian Kelley, programmer for the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and Calgary Underground Film Festival: “Hiraku’s performance in River was pitch-perfect. Despite his character’s tragic trajectory, Hiraku plays it with no small dose of courage and agency.”

Liz Janzen, screenwriter and short film champion: “Hiraku Ando’s nuanced performance is so utterly convincing that I felt at times I was watching a documentary.”

Justin Oakey, award-winning filmmaker: “River is a beautiful film, and this beautiful film revolves around a moving performance by Hiraku Ando. Subtle and very compelling.”

Hiraku Ando said, “I am very honoured to receive the Brian Linehan Actors Award and I hereby thank Kheaven, Jason, Darryl, Kyle, Reve and Andrew. To [my] fellow actors: ‘… [we’re] ready for much more living – Elizabeth Taylor.

All the crew who’ve been involved in the production will be pleased to know about this fantastic news. I believe this will encourage fellow actors, especially Asian-originated ones, to come forward and make a path of their own for their life, since life is all about being proactive – overcoming fear and taking risks.”

For Hayley Carmichael’s performance:

Kirk Haviland, film critic: “Hayley Carmichael delivers an inspired performance that is not only the concrete holding Phone Box together, but elevates the entire film with her mastery.”

Inga Diev, general manager, Ouat Media: “A portrayal of vulnerability that is equally powerful and subtle; Hayley’s performance drew me in instantaneously.”

Andrew Moir, filmmaker: “Both heartbreaking and inspiring, Hayley Carmichael brings an unforgettable dignity and grace to Phone Box. Her performance is a humble reminder that everyone we encounter shares a deep need for love, including those of us our society tends to overlook.”

Hayley Carmichael said, “Thank you so much for this award. I am delighted not only to receive the award itself which is unexpected, but also because it reminds me of the journey a film makes.

I work mostly in theatre where the story is experienced by actors and audience at the same time and then it’s over. It’s a different pleasure to be going about my day in London springtime and suddenly in comes this message from Canada, and this award … it is as surprising and delightful as making the film itself. Thank you Alan [Powell, director of Phone Box] and thank you NSI.”

Visit the NSI Online Short Film Festival for more great Canadian short films.

Graham Abbey’s Groundling Theatre Company brings world-class Shakespeare to Toronto


Stage and screen lion Graham Abbey founded his fledgling Groundling Theatre Company because he wanted to employ our top classical actors, directors and designers to produce world-class Shakespeare in Toronto.

Guess who got what he wanted?

Actors supported by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation are working on all shapes and sizes of stages and screens all over the world.

Graham Abbey, who still gets fan mail from his CBC-TV series The Border, is spending most of his time these days on two passion projects – his new theatre company and Stratford’s.

Abbey’s new Groundling Theatre Company received an auspicious christening last month with a 100-seat storefront theatre production of A Winter’s Tale. With Abbey directing a glittering cast including Tom McCamus, Lucy Peacock, Michelle Giroux and Brent Carver, he had to start adding extra performances even before those glowing reviews came out. The show runs through February 20 at the Coal Mine Theatre in Toronto, but good luck getting a ticket.

Abbey admits it took him four years to get his Groundling Company aloft. But it’s taken him 12 years – two thirds of his time as a Stratford Festival player – to breathe life into his other passion project. And no wonder – it’s an undertaking of Shakespearean proportion.

Conceived and adapted by Abbey, Breath of Kings condenses Richard II and Henry IV Part I into one evening, then Henry IV Part II and Henry V into another. In another major casting coup, festival favourites Tom Rooney and Geraint Wyn Davies are set to play Richard II and Falstaff, respectively.

And TIFF Rising Star Johnathan Sousa, another Linehan Foundation beneficiary, will make his Stratford debut as Hotspur. But the good news for his stage and screen fans is that Abbey himself will play Henry IV.

Previews of Breath of Kings are slated to begin at Stratford on May 30 and May 31, with the twin world premiere opening nights scheduled for June 22 and June 23 – and yes, tickets to this ambitious Abbey venture are still obtainable. Get more information.