Suggested Servings of Fruit, Part 2

Sunday July 2nd, 2017

I just finished eating a bowl of cherries. I can't remember the last time I bought cherries.

Today's anomaly was 100% because of this:

I've written before about being influenced by children's programming into eating more fruit. Apparently it isn't just kids shows that work on me. Musician and vegan Macka B's "Medical Monday" and "Wha Me Eat Wednesday" videos are currently working as a regular reminder for me that there's a whole world of healthy food out there.

Like so many people, we discovered Macka B when his video about cucumbers (cucumba!) went viral. If you somehow missed it, treat yourself to it and several others below, then treat yourself to some fruit and/or veggies. Also, you can follow Macka B on Faceboook.

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New Video for The Knight's Errand

Wednesday April 19, 2017

Thanks to Brian T. Schultz and the Storybook Land Theatre 2016 company for putting on a fantastic production of The Knight's Errand, hosting me when I came out to South Dakota to see it, and letting me use the footage. :)

Learn more about The Knight's Errand

(The video is also on YouTube, if you prefer:

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TIFF Kids 2017 Feature: "At Eye Level"

Saturday April 08, 2017

Let's cut to the chase - I highly recommend the German film At Eye Level (Auf Augenhöhe) and it's only got one more screening at this year's TIFF Kids; tomorrow (Sunday April 9, 2017) at 3:30 pm.

Suggested for ages 11-13 by TIFF Kids programmers, it's unfortunate that the marketers who put together the trailer and chose the visual look for its title screen seem to be trying to sell it as some kind of wacky family comedy:

There's humour in it, certainly, but this is a lovely relationship film - not just in terms of the blossoming father and son relationship, but in the way it presents friendship as well. Mostly male friendships, which range from being strained within the confines of a group home for children to being thoughtful and compassionate, though still far from perfect, in the adult world. One of the most beautifully understated arcs is how young Michi (Luis Vorbach) changes how he relates to other kids, including his former roommate Justin (Marco Licht), the more time he spends with Tom (Jordan Prentice). This is one of the most genuine-feeling coming of age films I think I've seen, where the changes in the main character are believable, and gradual, and represent the sum total of what he experiences through the course of the film, rather than a single, sudden moment of revelation at the end.

The chance of coming across a movie like At Eye Level is exactly why I go to TIFF Kids every year. If it had been made in North America, it probably would have become exactly the kind of movie the trailer wants you to think it is, instead of the mature drama that it is.

The distraction of Jordan Prentice's English-spoken lines being dubbed into German notwithstanding, this is a wonderful film with an amazing script, great direction, and spot-on performances. It's a little early to say, but I won't be at all surprised if this is one of the award winners at TIFF Kids 2017.

At Eye Level screens again at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on:

  • Sunday April 9, 3:30 pm

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TIFF Kids 2017 Feature: "TRIO - The Hunt for the Holy Shrine"

Saturday April 08, 2017

TRIO - The Hunt for the Holy Shrine is a high-quality adventure film that owes a lot to Indiana Jones. Recommended by TIFF programmers for ages 10-13, this subtitled Norwegian film follows four friends (I assume they started out as a trio in the Norwegian TV show of the same name, and the team gradually expanded) as they race to solve the mystery of Saint Olav's lost shrine before an internationally-known art thief and her henchmen get there first.

Like most movies of this type, enjoying The Hunt for the Holy Shrine starts with a healthy suspension of disbelief. The biggest for me was that the tablet owned by Lars the techie is able to do absolutely anything he wants it to do (where do I get the helicopter flying app?). But it's all in good action/adventure fun, and it's worth forgoing realism for the sake of a good teen treasure hunt.

The production values in this are high, making great use of a variety of locations. From sweeping shots of picturesque fishing villages to an elaborate puzzle-solving sequence inside the Nidaros Cathedral, it's a visually engaging film. The young performers are all strong and they're given just enough personal drama to add a coming-of-age element without bogging down the story.

Even though the movie is based on previously established characters, the filmmakers are quick in getting the audience up to speed. TRIO - The Hunt for the Holy Shrine is a fun choice for older kids who are fine with subtitles but not looking for anything too heavy. Then at home you can watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and discuss who did booby-trapped holy object hunts better.

TRIO screens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on:
  • Sunday April 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm
  • Saturday April 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm

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Attending the Storm (working title)

by Marilyn Anne Campbell

Stageplay: Theatre for Young Audiences, 10 minute play, 1M/1W
It's 1850 in Mimico, Upper Canada. Eleven-year old Janice needs to memorize a play for school, but her father doesn't agree with her choice of literature. Janice's only other option is to write a poem herself, which seems like an impossible idea until help comes from the skies.

A Play in a Day

Attending the Storm was written for the 2017 "A Day, A Play" writing game hosted annually by Write Local Play Global to mark the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People (March 20th). Participants received instructions and elements that had to be included in the morning and had 24 hours to submit what was meant to be a 500 word play. Mine ran a little long (but since there are no winners in this game, they accepted it anyway).

The Pigeons of Mimico

The theme for 2017 was "Where do I come from?" which I decided to use as a prompt to set my play close to home. Mimico, for those unfamiliar, is a neighbourhood in South Etobicoke with a name derived from an Ojibwe word meaning "place of the wild pigeons" or "abundant with wild pigeons." I don't actually live within Mimico, but I do love to bird-nerd, so the chance to have the now extinct passenger pigeon feature prominently in a play was too good to pass up. I play pretty fast and loose with history (very little time to research) but the massive flocks of pigeons were real.

Read Online: You can read all of Attending the Storm on the 1 Day, 1 Play website:

Explore the rest of the site to discover works from playwrights all over the world. You can, for example, see the Canadian plays here (and I must say, I'm pretty excited to have my work listed on the same page as Damien Atkins, who is a fantastic actor and writer).

Status: I may expand this into something more. We shall see.