Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Frances-Anne Solomon brings the real Toronto to the silver screen in February ‘08
By Stacey Marie Robinson

Frances Anne Solomon’s feature film, A Winter Tale, is destined to touch the spirits of Torontonians with its theatrical release in February 2008. The movie tells a truly Canadian story, with universal messages and international appeal. After a young boy is the victim of a misdirected bullet, his death inspires a healing process in the Parkdale community when neighbourhood men form a support group.

A Winter Tale has already sparked conversation and an optimistic buzz. In 2007, it won the Outstanding Canadian Feature award at the ReelWorld Film Festival in Toronto, it opened the African Diaspora Film Festival in Manhattan, and it has had festival screenings in Trinidad, Halifax, and the U.K.

“I didn’t want to do a hip-hop movie and feed into those stereotypes; I really wanted to pull away from that and go for the human element,” said Solomon. “Second generation immigrant kids born and raised in Toronto – from the projects or not – they don’t see themselves on screen, the breadth and truth of their experience. My intention was to reflect that truth and reality.”

Gemini-nominated Solomon has written for the BBC in London and has an extensive background in film, radio and television production. She was the creative force behind the Canadian sitcom Lord Have Mercy; the current Caribbean-Canadian musician profile series Heart Beat (Tuesdays at 7:00pm on Bravo!); and the Caribbean-Canadian resource LiteratureAliveOnline.ca. All works were produced through Solomon’s sister companies Leda Serene Films and Caribbean Tales.

Much like her other acclaimed projects, A Winter Tale features a cast hailing from a variety of backgrounds and performing experiences. The stars include Genie-nominated Peter Williams (as Gene); African-Canadian actor Michael Miller (as DX), Jamaica’s first lady of theatre Leonie Forbes (as Miss G); and Trinidadian comedian/actor Dennis “Sprangalang” Hall (as Professa). Due to their outstanding roles in the film, Forbes and Williams were recently honoured by the Jamaican consulate, and Hall by the Trinidadian consulate in New York.

“I consider it to be a very ‘Toronto’ movie, and very much about what it’s like to be an immigrant in this city,” said England-born Solomon, who was raised in Trinidad and studied Theatre Arts at the University of Toronto before returning to the U.K. where she worked and resided for many years. Living in Toronto once again, Solomon called an open audition and met with one hundred individuals from across the GTA. She was inspired by their tales, and derived her plot directly from the experiences of her cast members and residents of the Parkdale community.

“I want A Winter Tale to be a slice of life…we have struggled a lot,” said Solomon, recognizing that there is healing in the honest emotional expression of a painful story. Along with the commercial screenings taking place next month, she will be hosting a project called Talk it Out where students and viewers across the country will be able to discuss the film in-theatre. “Young people are not fooled by happy endings. They don’t want to be fed more lies, which is why they have liked the film so much. They recognize it, and answers are provided through its truthful presentation.”

For more information about A Winter Tale and related events in February, please visit www.awintertale.ca.

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