Canada’s HighballTV unveils $15.6M slate of five original indie productions as it continues “careful organic growth”

Exclusive: Burgeoning Toronto-based indie streaming platform HighballTV has announced five original titles it plans to produce in 2023, with an aggregate investment of $15.6M.

The new slate includes genre comedies from Caden Douglas Mother Father Sister Brother Frank, Music Documentary Working in radioAnthropology film Frog GodAndre Rehal’s crime drama Jean and the Wild Dog and comedy films by Alice Moran bash. (Scroll down for more details).

The company has raised slate financing through private investors and a loan with Royal Bank of Canada and will also tap into regional film tax incentives.

“We are looking at 50:50 between the two types of financing (private financiers and RBCs),” said Matthew Campagna, head of HighballTV production. “They really believe in us and our company’s slow, careful organic growth.

“We’ve got corporate guarantees and tax returns that we can repay these loans because we have a model that’s making enough money to do that,” he added.

Campagna launched indie streamer HighballTV in 2018 with Melissa D’Agostino.

The platform has a focus on indie fiction features and documentaries that have played festivals in Canada and internationally but are not easily seen outside the festival circuit.

Current highlights include the Tallinn Black Nights play MaterBrazilian documentary Obscoro Baroquewhich has played in Berlin, Hot Docs and IDFA, as well as collections dedicated to the Ukrainian diaspora and LGBTQ+ stories.

Former BFI staffer Neil McPherson heads the site’s programming and acquisitions.

Offering both subscription and TVoD options, the majority of the site’s users are based in North America but it is available internationally and has a following in other regions such as the UK.

HighballTV has also moved steadily into production.

D’Agostino and Campagna are their own directors and their productions such as comedy series Tricky girls and with features Six Days to Die, Six guns for hire And The mother of all shows have or will be made available on the platform.

HighballTV began to back away from other directors in 2021, with the first slate focusing on films by women directors and/or people of color. They included Rehal and Moran’s first respective feature, Thriller Strangers in a room and mystery-drama Paige Darcy: Former teenage detective As well as D’Agostino’s The mother of all shows.

D’Agostino and Campagna see their model as a way to make their own films and support a growing network of indie filmmakers outside of Canada’s state-supported funding system.

“All these juried funds are things that you can’t really build a slate because you don’t know until the last minute what they’re going to support,” says Campagna. “It can take three years to get a yes or no. We don’t find it a reliable way to build a sustainable business.”

They point out that the new slate of films reunites HighballTV with directors Rehal and Moran on their second feature, in line with their plans to build a network of related filmmakers.

New picture of Rehal Jean and the Wild Dog Revolves around two private security operators assigned to protect and chauffeur the city’s elite, who become embroiled in a criminal conspiracy that reaches all the way to City Hall.

Moran’s Comedy bash Follows a struggling women’s hockey team in the 1970s that finds new success while their league flirts with the idea of ​​allowing wrestling. Writer, comedian and actress Moran is best known for her role on City TV sunny side up FX on Hulu as well Man Seeking Woman.

Documentary Work on the road Explores the history and legacy of Toronto’s influential alternative music station CFNY and features interviews with The Barenaked Ladies, Billy Talent, Blondie, Blue Rodeo, Joy Division, Metric, Stars, and Parachute Club.

of Douglas Mother Father Sister Brother Frank iA genre comedy about a suburban family who plot a murder when a nosy uncle crashes Sunday dinner with a nasty surprise.

Frog God A monster-themed anthology film exploring the gory unexplained events and features pieces from emerging directors Adrian Bob, Richard Lee, Natalie Metcalfe and Ali Chappell.

“Each year, HighballTV aims to increase our commitment to equity and inclusion within our production slate, and this year we’re thrilled that the majority of our writers and directors come from equity-seeking groups, many of whom are making their feature debuts,” added Campagna.

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