Reitman in Comedy Lab to assist new filmmakers

Ivan Reitman is joining a team of comedy veterans who will nurture budding filmmakers through the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab.

TORONTO — Ivan Reitman is joining a team of comedy veterans who will nurture budding filmmakers through the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab.

Chaired by actor Eugene Levy, the program will develop theatrical feature-length comedies for distribution across the country and abroad.

Work begins in November on five projects including: the workplace-comedy Servitude, from writer/producer Michael Sparaga and director Warren P. Sonoda; the romantic comedy That Burning Feeling, from writer Nicolas Citton and producer/director Jason James, Ramington’s: Men Of Steel, from writer Sacha Pavlovic and producer Mark Montefiore; the estrogen-fuelled western, Saddlebags, by writer Christine Lippa, producers Elizabeth Yake and Angela Heck; and Two Of Me from writer/director Mina Shum and producer Stephen Hegyes.

Mentors include Elf producer Jimmy Miller, Ghostbusters, Reitman, Stripes and Meatballs writer Len Blum, Walk the Line producer Alan Blomquist and producer Tai Duncan of Paul Schiff Productions.

The comedy lab is presented by the Canadian Film Centre in collaboration with Telefilm and the Just for Laughs comedy festival.

The three-month program includes workshops, master classes and one-on-one sessions geared to developing the five projects by 2010, with production to begin in the two years after that.

Levy says the lab is key to ensuring a “vibrant future for Canadian film comedy.”

“For the five projects selected, having access to mentors — who have had the experience and their share of success in the field of movie comedies — can only serve to benefit each one individually,” Levy said Wednesday in a release.

“But together, it should enhance an already healthy Canadian comedy scene.

“It’s just a win-win for the Canadian film industry.”

More mentors and special guests will be announced at a later date.