Canucks help each other out in LA

Canucks help each other out in LA

By LINDA MASSARELLA, Special to QMI Agency

Nepotism can sometimes be a little naughty, but the Canadians who help one another in Hollywood don’t see it that way.

“How can we not help our compatriots? This is such a tough town to crack!” said Wendy Eidson, a Toronto assistant film director who moved to Los Angeles to help run the San Luis Obispo Film Festival with Norman Jewison.

“We always put our heads together trying to figure out ways to make Canadians bigger,” she admits.

Jewison, the Oscar winning director for In The Heat of The Night and A Soldier’s Story, keeps residences in Ontario and in L.A.

“Norman always insists Canadian works and actors be included in what we do.”

This last year, the San Luis Obispo festival introduced Montreal’s Albert Nerenberg to Hollywood by screening his documentary, Laughology.

Steal The Deal

Justin Beiber’s portfolio is filled to the brim with contracts, thanks, in part to the help he got from Canadians when he first got to Los Angeles. Fellow award-winning musician Drake was there, talking him up, showing him around — and letting him crash at his place.

Drake, who starred in the Canadian-made TV show DeGrassi: The Next Generation before becoming an international music star, doesn’t leave out his old acting buddies, either.

Shanae Grimes, an alum of DeGrassi who moved to Hollywood to star in 90210, is always invited to the best of the best parties in town, courtesy of Drake.

At one of his concerts, Grimes rushed the stage to give him a hug, but his security detail pushed her back. Drake told them to stop — and then sang the next song for Grimes, looking at her the entire time.

Comedian Russell Peters scored Pam Anderson a cool gig, playing the Virgin Mary for his Christmas TV special.

Boris Brott, the internationally famous musical conductor from Montreal who lives in Hamilton, Ont., is also head of a Los Angeles orchestra called The New Symphony. A great percentage of his guest soloists — including violinist Susan Hou and young pianist Jan Lisiecki — are Canadian.

“I bring in the best musicians,” Brott said. “If they’re Canadian, that’s even better.”

Then there is TV producer Jon Cassar. For his long-running series, 24, he hired fellow Canuks Keifer Sutherland, Elisa Cuthbert and Nazneen Contractor, among others.

“If there is a guardian angel for Canadians trying to make it into this business, it’s Jon Cassar,” Contractor once said.

Cassar shot his mini-series, The Kennedys, in Canada, using as many locals as possible, including actor Larry Day.

For his new sci-fi series Terra Nova, he hired newbie Landon Liboiron from Calgary to play one of the lead characters, Josh Shannon.

I’m sure there are zillions of examples how Canadians look out for one another — not just here, but all over the world.

Whether it be in music, writing or even aerospace, it’s a joyous thing to know the helping kindred spirit is alive and well among Canadians living abroad.


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