By this time, you've probably seen quite a few IPF trailers floating around (IPF will be funding projects based on how many trailer views they acquire, social media attention, etc.), and one of the projects looking for funding is eOne TV group and 383 Pictures' "The Six". I recently had the opportunity to chat with director Steven Hoffner. Check out our Q&A below:
What inspired you to explore Toronto’s pop culture scene?
I think the inspiration really came from two things. For starters, I think Toronto has evolved from being a cool city in Canada to a real international brand. It's cool to live here. You see it in all aspects of the city, whether it be music, fashion, or sports. Toronto is a cultural melting pot that the youth have come to love and embrace, and I thought it would be really cool to tell these stories and not hide from our city's authenticity.
Secondly, this has never been done before. You see other major cities in North America like New York, LA, Miami, Boston, who all have settings that use the city not only as a place, but also a character. Yes, we have seen shows shot here before (sometimes masked as other cities or sometimes just used as a setting), but I have never seen anything where Toronto is just authentic Toronto. I feel we haven't done this before because we were too self-conscious or maybe we didn't think we were cool enough. But pop cultural icons like Drake and The Weeknd have changed all that. Their territory is music and we want to inspire and entertain our audience through motion picture.
“The Six” is described as “Degrassi on steroids” - care to elaborate?
Haha, well I suppose that's used just to demonstrate a point, but it's true. This is going to be a very raw series. Very honest. Very real. This isn't a PG show. I'm tired of seeing representations of Canada and Toronto as maple syrup drinking, beaver loving hillbillies. Our city isn't like that. I want to toughen the image of Toronto a bit through this scripted series, and demonstrate the sometimes difficult realities first and second generation Canadians face here. All that being said, the series will be an unapologetic 360 look at life in the city; from the musical hip hop movements of Jane and Finch; to the fashion parties of Queen West, we want to show these as authentic things in themselves. And that's something you probably won't see on Degrassi haha.
Why should people watch this series?
First and foremost, we need to receive a green light to film the series. The eOne TV group have done a great job since I partnered with them to get this project off the ground, and our latest round of application funding we hope will complete our budget so we can officially go into production in Fall of 2018. The more views we get on our trailer, the more likely our chances of achieving our goal of getting our digital series made. I wanted to turn heads with the trailer, and I think we have done just that. So please watch and support!!!
I think people should watch this series because the characters are just real and universal. It doesn't matter where you're from, I think you will enjoy this story. With the likes of our CSA nominated lead screenwriter Marsha Greene on board (Mary Kill People, 10 Days in the Valley) Trillium award winning writer Ryad Razaki, and story contributors Jay Baron and Winston Luc (my ears to the street), this is going to be as authentic as it gets. The coming of age story has been done before -- but not in this city and not like this.
Toronto is such a special place, and given the world we live in now, where cultural and racial differences are becoming a breaking point for our neighbors south of us, I think audiences will gravitate toward these diverse characters and story. This is a social experiment found in only a few places on Earth, and I want audiences to watch and be inspired by the world in one city.