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Who Made The Short List For the Inaugural CBC Comedy Originals Pitch Program?

June 28, 2017

This is who! The final five CBC Comedy Originals Pitch Program teams are:

* Christophe Davidson and Courtney Gilmour, Diversity League: Social Justice Division
* Jason Leaver and Kate Conway, May/December
* Geri Hall and Tim Hamilton, Perverts Anonymous
* Melissa Story and Precious Chong, Springtime Horizons
* Ali Badshah and Willem Wennekers, Take a Number

About the Teams and their Projects:

Diversity League: Social Justice Division
How Canadian! Diversity League: Social Justice Division is an episodic animated series about the most culturally, politically and sexually diverse crime fighting team in the universe. Creator Christophe Davidson has toured throughout Canada, including appearances at the Just For Laughs Festival and JFL42. He can also be heard on CBC Radio One’s Laugh Out Loud.  Courtney Gilmour is a Toronto-based writer and comedian. In 2012 she graduated from the comedy writing program at The Second City Training Centre and went on to write and direct sketches for the “Bull Pen” show at The John Candy Box theatre. She has performed at Toronto’s SheDot Festival and the All Jane Comedy Festival in Portland. In 2016 she was a panelist on “Our Cities On Our Stages”, a symposium discussing and exploring diversity and inclusion in Canadian comedy. This is their first pitch appearance at Just For Laughs ComedyPRO.

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May/December
Kate Conway and Jason Leaver make a return to the Stand Up & Pitch stage (last year they presented But How Do You Have Sex at Beyond the Box) with May/December, a story about true love across the generations. Creator, co-writer, actor Kate Conway is best known for her leading role in the CSA-nominated indie series Out With Dad, for which she has received an unprecedented seven consecutive Indie Series Award nominations. She also writes, produces and stars in her own comedic sketch web series #kateconwayisajerk, for which she was nominated for ’Best Actress’ at the 2015 NYC Webfest. Co-writer and director Jason Leaver is an award-winning filmmaker and (according to CBC) “a poster boy for web series creators everywhere”. His labour of love is the internationally acclaimed indie series Out With Dad, which was twice nominated for the Canadian Screen Awards and was the 2015 recipient of the WGC Screenwriting Award for Best Shorts & Web Series.

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Perverts Anonymous
Actress Geri Hall and writer/director Tim Hamilton are the talents behind Perverts Anonymous, the story of a sweet but sexually uptight woman who is compelled to start a therapy group for people with unusual sexual inclinations. Geri Hall is well-known in Canada as the raspy-voiced redhead who spent five seasons co-starring as a roving reporter and anchor on the news desk of This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Geri won the 2013 LA Webfest award for ‘Outstanding Guest Actor in an Interactive Narrative Drama’ for her role as Gifted Sarah in Ruby Skye P.I. The best known example of director Tim Hamilton’s dry, irreverent sense of humour is his short film Truth in Advertising, which he also co-wrote. As well as being an Internet phenomenon, (called by Shift Magazine one of the top six internet films of all time) this film was shown in official competition at The Cannes Film Festival. Tim recently directed The Second City Project, a surreal filmic sketch comedy show which was nominated for five CSA’s including best direction. This is the duo’s first Just For Laughs pitch.

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Springtime Horizons
Springtime Horizons is a half hour comedy about an all-female, government funded employment agency that helps marginalized women enter the workforce. It is co-created by the team of Melissa Story and Precious Chong who are making their first Just For Laughs appearance. Melissa is an actor, writer, comedian and producer. Along with Precious Chong, she is the co-creator of the web series Sex and the Single Parent. Nominated for three Canadian Comedy Awards, it has garnered over 2 million views on the comedy website Funny or Die. Precious Chong is an actress, comedian, writer and stilt-walker. She most recently starred as Pam in Love You Like Christmas for the Hallmark Channel. Her short film Chinatown, which she wrote and starred in, premiered at The Female Eye Film Festival and the New Hampshire Film Festival and is now in development with Frantic Films.

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Take a Number
Creator/writer Ali Badshah and writer Willem Wennekers have teamed-up for Take a Number, a workplace comedy that turns up the heat on romance and relationships. This is their first time pitching at Just For Laughs. Ali Badshah is an accomplished actor, writer, producer, director, and comedian. As an actor, his recent credits include the male lead role in Angelina Jolie’s new feature film The Breadwinner (2017), along with principal roles on Kim’s Convenience (CBC), Odd Squad (PBS), Between (Netflix), and Max and Shred (Nickelodeon/YTV). Willem Wennekers is best known as the co‐creator, executive producer, and showrunner of the adult‐animated hit Fugget About It, which follows the adventures of a New York City crime boss in witness protection in Regina, Saskatchewan. Fugget About It was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award as Best Animated Program in 2014 and an ACTRA Award for Best Vocal Performance in 2017. The show currently runs on Teletoon in Canada and as a Hulu Original in the United States.

The Judging Panel

The judging panel for the CBC Comedy Originals Pitch Program includes:

Fab Filippo. Fab Filippo is an award-winning actor, screenwriter, playwright and director. He has just released a new critically acclaimed digital series for CBC that he wrote and directed called Save Me. He also just developed a new TV comedy for 20th Century Fox. As a playwright, he was most recently nominated for a Dora Award for his play The Summoned and is currently working on a new play for the Tarragon Theatre entitled American Television. He will appear this fall in Rosa Laborde’s new play Marine Life. As an actor he has been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for his performance in the series Guidestones. He wrote and co-produced NBC’s comedy Working The Engels and co-wrote true crime indie Perfect Sisters starring Abigail Breslin and Mira Sorvino. Before that he wrote Too Late To Say Good-Bye starring Rob Lowe and Lauren Holly and also co-created and directed half-hour Showcase comedy series Billable Hours.

Michelle Daly. As Senior Director, Comedy Content, CBC, Michelle Daly leads the team responsible for managing the creative development and production of CBC’s slate of comedic programming. Michelle joined the CBC as Executive in Charge of Production in 2011, and has contributed to the success of hit CBC shows Kim’s Convenience, Baroness von Sketch Show, Workin’ Moms, Schitt’s Creek and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Prior to joining the CBC, Michelle was the Director of Content at The Comedy Network where she managed the creative elements on such programs as Corner Gas, Dan for Mayor, Picnicface and The Jon Dore Television Show. Her passion for comedy extends back to one of her first positions as an assistant to The Kids In The Hall.

Mike Clattenburg. As creator, director, and head writer of Trailer Park Boys, Mike Clattenburg earned a 2004 Gemini Award for ‘Best Comedy Series. His 2006 debut feature, Trailer Park Boys: The Big Dirty, (executive produced by Ivan Reitman) holds a best-opening weekend box office record in Canada. Trailer Park Boys 2: Countdown to Liquor Day holds the same record. Mike also directed the final instalment: Trailer Park Boys 3. His other features include Afghan Luke and Moving Day. Along with Aaron McGruder, Clattenburg co-created, co-wrote and directed two seasons of the Adult Swim TV show Black Jesus. Most recently, Mike received a 13-episode order from CBC and Comedy Central for his new half-hour comedy Crawford.

Event moderator is CBC’s Zach Feldberg. As the Executive in Charge of Production for Digital Originals, Feldberg oversees strategy and programming, developing and commissioning scripted and unscripted series for the network’s streaming service, as well as its social media channels. During his time at the broadcaster, he has overseen such titles as My 90-Year-Old Roommate, Save Me, Brand Canada, The Amazing Gayl Pile, Coming In, and many more. 

About the program

The CBC Comedy Originals Pitch Program presents five never-before-seen projects from Canadian creators – in both long and short-form formats. Home to many of Canada’s hit comedy series (Schitt’s Creek, Baroness Von Sketch, Workin’ Moms, Kim’s Convenience) and digital originals (90 Year-Old Roommate, How to Make a Baby, Newborn Moms and Save Me), CBC has been a long-time Just For Laughs sponsor and broadcaster of the festival’s gala performances.

Mark your calendar!

The CBC Comedy Originals Pitch Program takes place Thursday, July 27 at 1:15 pm in the Inspiration Room, Hyatt Regency Montreal. Included with your ComedyPRO pass. Regular price now in effect. To purchase your pass, please visit Eventbrite.

CBC will also host ‘CBC Comedy Funny Lunch’ where ComedyPRO delegates can meet Canadian comics, creators and representatives from CBC Comedy. That lunch takes place Thursday, July 27 at 12 Noon in the Soprano Room, Hyatt Regency Montreal. Industry pass required.

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