Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch Program: AFCOOP Recommendation Phase Nominations

Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch Program: AFCOOP Recommendation Phase Nominations

The Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative (AFCOOP) is pleased to announce our nominations for the Telefilm Talent to Watch Program. Based on an open call for applications and a peer-jury process, AFCOOP selected the following teams and projects to compete for funding in the national competition. In the feature film category AFCOOP’s nominations go to APHELION by Karl van Allen (writer/director) and Sean Grady (writer/producer), and Bone Cage by Taylor Olson (writer/director) and André Pettigrew (producer). In the web series category AFCOOP’s nomination goes to I am Syd Stone by Denis Theriault (writer/director) and Gharrett Patrick Paon (actor/producer).

The Telefilm Talent to Watch Program is an initiative to aid emerging Canadian filmmaking talent by supporting them in the production and promotion of their first feature-length film or web series. These projects will be sent to Telefilm’s national competition for a chance to be one of up to 50 productions funded through the program. Results of the national competition will be announced in June 2018.

I am Syd Stone

I am Syd Stone follows the titular character Syd Stone, a former A-List actor, as he finds himself in a small town, reluctantly shooting a B-movie. While getting drunk in a hotel bar, he makes an instant connection with Matt, a young lawyer on the verge of his biggest case yet, and it’s more than friendly. Matt’s appearance stirs up Syd’s repressed feelings about his sexuality. As Syd’s private life threatens to become public, Syd must finally decide who he will choose to be when he steps back into the spotlight. 

I am Syd Stone is based on the short film of the same name made in 2014 by Denis Theriault and producer Colin Davis through AFCOOP’s FILM 5 program. The short went on to have an impressive festival run and was picked up for distribution through UK distributor Peccadillo Picture’s Series Boys on Film. The short can currently be viewed online through Vimeo. Fuelled by the success of the short, Theriault and Paon developed the concept into a web-series with lead actor, Gharrett Patrick Paon now serving also as producer, fresh off his completion of the Canadian Film Centre’s Producer’s Lab.

“A story that was so personal to me ended up striking a chord with so many more people than I ever expected,” says writer/director Denis Theriault. “When we started to near one million online views for the short film, I texted Gharrett and thought: I wonder what Syd is up to these days? Our series became the way to answer that question! And, of course, to come back full circle to AFCOOP, which is where we made I am Syd Stone through FILM 5, is the cherry on top!”


APHELION is about physicist Hank Keating, who just recently lost a family member. Hank opens a gateway to another reality seemingly offering a second chance. But in the space between spaces lurks an alien consciousness that threatens to destroy everything he’s ever known.

“My production team and I are thrilled to have AFCOOP’s nomination for the Talent to Watch Program,” says writer/director Karl van Allen. “To steal a line from Lawrence of Arabia: Big things have small beginnings!'”

Bone Cage

Bone Cage, based on the play by Catherine Banks, follows Jamie who works night shifts operating a wood processor, clear-cutting for pulp. At the end of each shift, he walks through the destruction he has created looking for injured animals, and rescues those he can. Jamie’s desire to escape this world is thwarted by his fear of leaving the place where he has some status.

“This is a story that’s very close to our hearts so we’re thrilled to be recommended by AFCOOP for Telefilm’s Talent to Watch Program,” says Producer André Pettigrew. “We’ve been really fortunate to adapt Catherine Banks’ incredible play to the screen and having the opportunity to share this film to the world would be a dream come true.” 

ABOUT AFCOOP: The Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative (AFCOOP) is a non-profit, community organization dedicated to supporting the production and presentation of independent film and moving image-based work in a collaborative, learning environment.

AFCOOP operates with generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Nova Scotia, Culture and Heritage, and Halifax Regional Municipality.