HighballTV, the Canada-based subscription streaming platform that focuses on curated film collections from leading filmmakers and top titles from major film festivals, has unveiled its 2021-2022 slate of original productions. All of the films are directed by women directors and/or people of color, and every writing team is led by a woman or person of color.
Its 2021-2022 slate comprises three new projects, backed with a combined investment of $12 million. The films are Andre Rehal’s drama “Strangers in a Room,” Melissa D’Agostino’s dark musical comedy “Mother of All Shows,” and the mystery-drama “Paige Darcy: Former Teen Detective,” written by Alice Moran.
“Strangers in a Room,” Rehal’s feature directorial debut, follows a veteran actor in a slump who comes face to face with the idea that his dream is dead, following a micro-aggression steeped in industry politics. The cast includes Jonathan Kim (HBO Max’s upcoming series “Station Eleven”), Chris Sandiford (FX on Hulu’s “What We Do in the Shadows”), Uni Park (CW’s “Coroner”), and Andy McQueen (HBO Max’s upcoming series “Station Eleven”).
Rehal is a music video and commercials director, who has worked with artists such as Maestro Fresh Wes, Kardinal Offishall, Rich Kidd, Lord Quest, Promise, JiMMY BRiCKZ, Rezonate and Eminence.
“Mother of All Shows,” which is D’Agostino’s directorial debut, is written by D’Agostino and David James Brock. It focuses on Liza who, in order to cope with the impending death of her estranged mother, retreats to a 70s variety show in her mind where the all-powerful host is Liza’s own mother. Brock is a screenwriter, poet and opera librettist, and D’Agostino is an actor and writer.
“Paige Darcy: Former Teen Detective” involves a former tween sleuth who has grown into an underachieving millennial, and works to solve both a murder case, and the mystery of how to put her life back together.
The film is written by and will star actress and comedian Moran, who came out of Toronto’s comedy theater Second City, and is best known for her roles on City TV’s “Sunnyside,” as well as FX on Hulu’s “Man Seeking Woman.”
The film received the highest honor, the Lew Hunter Screenwriting Award, at the 2021 American Screenwriting Conference, and its screenplay has received awards from numerous festivals.
“We’re thrilled to be able to support these new and exciting projects from a talented pool of writers and directors, especially as HighballTV’s original productions focus on supporting filmmakers from equity-seeking groups in key creative positions, as well as below the line,” the streamer’s director of production, Matt Campagna, said. The platform is aiming to reach full gender parity by 2022.
“Strangers in a Room” is being shot over August and September of this year, with “Mother of All Shows” lined up for a winter 2022 shoot, and “Paige Darcy: Former Teen Detective” is planned to be shot during spring 2022.
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