Help us bring this sitcom about a charming, Canadian Lefty family to life. Set at the height of the Mulroney/Reagan 80s it will channel the current zeitgeist for all things Cold War and 80s into a show that shows 1980s Toronto for the 1980s Toronto at at time when laisser faire economics was on the rise and the socialist values of the 60s were starting to fade.
The States has "GLOW, "STRANGER THINGS" and so many other series set during the 80s at the height of the Cold War. But it's so rare to see Canada in the 1980s on screen. Our show is funny, charming and female-driven. And if you are from a Lefty family, or like to tease someone who is, I think you'll get a kick out of seeing our loveable characters on screen.
All the best,
Creator, Writer and Director
The year is 1989 and the times, they are a changin’. But not in a way DUNYASHA McDOUGALD, 15, would like. With the Berlin Wall about to fall and Reagan yelling about the “Evil Empire,” her parents, two dyed-in-the-wool Pinkos, are becoming even more entrenched in their lefty beliefs.
This would all be okay with Dunyasha... if it weren’t for one thing: this dutiful daughter is entering highschool and a desire to fit in as well as a yearning tounderstand this glittering thing known as “pop culture” is winning out.
This puts Dunyasha at increasingly odds with her dad, IAN, 50s, a modern-day Don Quixote with whom she’s always been close. An idealist with a capital
“I,” Ian drives a rusty Russian army vehicle around their very conservative Toronto neighborhood, has subscriptions of Soviet Life magazine delivered to the door and has banned all forms of Main Stream Media from the house.
So when Ian decides to throw his hat in the ring and run for election in a highly embarrassing election campaign, it only serves to fuel Dunyasha’s anxiety.Will she fit in with the cool kids? Win the affections of MARC, 16, the very mainstream son of her Dad’s political rival? Or will she forge her own path and discover where her views lie instead?
LEAH'S CONNECTION TO THE SHOW:
THE COMMUNIST'S DAUGHTER is a comedic web series (8 x 12 to 15 mins eps) set at the height of the Mulroney/ Reagan '80s. Loosely based on creator, writer and director, Leah Cameron's teenage years, it's a fish-out-of-water-story about the McDougalds, a family of charming Canadian Pinkos who approach just about everything in life from a very "distinct" point-of-view.
The series follows 15-year-old Dunyasha McDougald as she tries (and fails) to fit in with the cool kids a new high school in an ultra conservative neighbourhood her family just moved to. She feels even more torn when her Dad, Ian, a Don Quixote-like idealist with a capital "I" decides to run for election for the Communist Party of Canada in a highly public campaign.
Dunyasha loves her Dad — she’s an idealist too — but she's also a wee bit embarrassed by her Dad, like any teenage girl is. Ian is always driving the rusty Soviet army vehicle he owns through their highly conservative neighbourhood for one thing! And he's constantly trying to recruit her new friends to silkscreen signs for his campaign! (The joke, to us, i that her friends actually think Ian, a retro Bernie Sanders, is pretty cool.)
RETRO PHOTOS OF LEAH'S REAL FAMILY AND REAL SOVIET CARS THEY DROVE:
WHY OUR TEAM NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT:
Shows like STRANGER THINGS and THE AMERICANS have depicted 1980s America is all its glory, but it's rare to see our 1980s Toronto and 1980s Canada represented on screen! We want to represent 1980s Toronto and the Cold War in all their glory — from old City Pulse News Clips, to May Day and peace marches, to the bad mall bangs and blue eye shadow and the crappy cars people drove.
But creating 90 minutes of content with this type of 80s Canadian specificity costs a pretty penny? especially if we are going to get it right. Everything from the actor's 80s outfits, to their hair and make-up, to the Lada Niva, an old Soviet car Dunyasha's father drives, needs to be created or rented. (You can think of the Lada Niva as the Yellow Bus in Little Miss Sunshine. The show just wouldn't be quite same without it!.) That archival footage of Gorbachev and Reagan you saw in our teaser? Tiananmen Square? Or the sick synth-infused 80s soundtrack our composers will create? We need your support to channel 80s nostalgia and bring it to the screen.
Leah explains in 60s why she is so excited to make this show:
With the Cold War heating up in new and increasingly weird ways (ahem Trump-Putin), we feel like there has never been a better time to make this show. It's a fun, irreverent look at a distant time and place... that is not to dissimilar from our own. THE COMMUNIST'S DAUGHTER takes us back to the Mulroney/Reagan 80s — a time when Cold War tensions were at a fever pitch. By revisiting the tense times of the past through absurdist comedic lens, our hope is to create a series about a charming, idealistic at times naive family, their neighbours and friends. Because at its heart this is a show about an awkward teenage girl, her loveable family and friends, a show about the awkwardness and hilarity that ensues when we all face that age old question - do I stand up for what I believe in in all its quirkiness and all its glory, or do I conform with the status quo so I can belong?
OUR CAMPAIGN: A 1980s PBS PLEDGE DRIVE!
Since our show takes place in the 80s, we're running our Kickstarter campaign in the style of a 1980s PBS WNED Channel 17 Pledgeathon. Because that's kind of what Kickstarter would have been back in the day, right? Whether you donate $5, $200 0r $2000 to our series, Natalie and I will thank you during our pledge-athon dressed like 1980s public broadcasters! We have a lot of hilarious Cold War and 80s-themed perks and prizes too. (Like meat plates featuring the face of Vladimir Lenin and Tshirts that say " I LOVE LADA“ and “Sharinf Is Caring” with a picture of Karl Marx on the front. We'll be posting pictures here as prototypes roll in!
We have been working EXTREMELY hard over the past year to build the momentum we need to make this show happen. From developing the concept and pilot scripts through Women In the Directors Chair (WIDC) Story & Leadership Program last December, to shooting a proof-of-concept teaser that helped us secure $150,000 of our equity financing through the Independent Production Fund (IPF) to putting together a mini room of brilliant writers this winter. Now all we need is your help to cross the finish line!
The project has also:
*earned shortlists for the Sundance Episodic Lab and NYTVF's Pilot Competition
*won the CBC Originals Pitch Competition in July at Just For Laughs
We are a team of three female creatives who are excited to bring our show to life with a diverse cast and crew that represents the Toronto we know and love. Separately we are:
LEAH CAMERON, Creator, Writer and Director
A graduate of the American Film Institute’s MFA Conservatory Program in Los Angeles, Leah is a writer and director who loves telling funny and awkward human stories. Leah came up with the concept for THE COMMUNIST'S DAUGHTER shortly after graduating from the AFI and moving back to her native Toronto. Reflecting on our childhood, she thought he Dad's love affair with Communism was... more than a little odd. She decided to create a comedic series since about it because she'd never seen a family sitcom that tackled how different ideologies divide us on the air.In November of 2017, Leah was one of 8 female directors from across Canada to be selected for Women in the Directors Chair's Story & Leadership Program, a leadership and development program through which she developed the series. To date Leah and her producer Natalie Novak have secured$150,000 in equity financing for TCD through the Independent Production Fund and in July, their project won the CBC Originals Pitch Competition at Just For Laughs in Montreal. Leah brings a lot of writing and directing talent to the table. She has edited two seasons of the pop cultural web series, WHERE COOL CAME FROM for Stornoway Productions and has directed segments of the show. She has also written and directed several narrative shorts (e.g. SUBWAY HARMONIES, NINULLA, THE LION SHADOWS), many of which have played international festivals (e.g. PALM SPRINGS, CAMERAIMAGE, CANNES SHORT FILM CORNER, EAST END FLIM FESTIVAL, etc.). Leah has also worked as a writing assistant/researcher to show creators Anna Margarita Albelo and Wil Zmak. She is currently working as a researcher on Season 2 of Morwyn Brebner’s prime time drama CORONER. Season 1, which she also worked is currently airing on CBC.
***For embarrassing photos of Leah's Commie childhood, see her My Connection to the Story section, below.
NATALIE NOVAK REMPLAKOWSKI, Producer
Natalie Novak Remplakowski is a producer, director and writer. She founded Natalie Novak Films in 2015 to foster the development of original scripted content, often led by women. Her first digital series, Easy V, by Carly MacIsaac, is available now on Then She Said after playing at festivals worldwide.The Communist's Daughter is Natalie's third content project containing Soviet Themes following the internationally award winning short film PYOTR495 by Blake Mawson and Synthesize by Matthew Edison.
Natalie is a graduate of York University's Acting Conservatory and Second City's Improv Conservatory. She works at Scythia Films as an executive assistant to feature film producers Daniel Bekerman and Ethan Lazar.
LAUREN CORBER, Executive Producer
Lauren Corber is a producer, entertainment lawyer and founder/president of LoCo Motion Pictures. One of Canada's leading digital content producers, Lauren's most recent series, International Emmy nominated, How to Buy a Baby has been named a top web series to watch by the Globe and Mail and Now Magazine. It premiered on CBC in November, 2017 and has won several awards including Best Comedy at the Indie Series Awards, Best Writing and Best Lead Performance at the International Academy of Web Television Awards, was nominated for a Rockie Award and has been invited to screen at festivals in Canada, the US, Asia and Europe.
Lauren has produced two seasons of the CSA award-winning CBC comedy, My 90-Year-Old Roommate starring Paul Soles (Spider-Man) that has over 1 million views. She is also in post-production on CBC Kids series, Detention Adventure. LoCo is focused on innovation in storytelling with an emphasis on digital content production. LoCo takes a non-traditional approach to content creation, pushing boundaries and telling stories to underserved audiences by fostering creators with unique and distinctive points of view. Past productions include award-winning short films that have screened around the world including Emma (TIFF 2016, Canada’s Top 10 2016), Bickford Park (TiFF 2017) and The Balcony Affair (Locarno 2011).
Lauren was voted most vivacious by her graduating class in high school and has lived up to it ever since.
Prototypes (or comps) for three styles of TCD T-shirts are in. ***Note that these are comps and the intention is to print them on Ts in a cozy cotton-poly blend. Backers will be able to choose between a T shirt that a) features the words, "I LOVE LADA" b) features our cool logo c) features an image of Karl Marx with the words, "Sharing is Caring." See below. Note these are comps at this point.
Risks and challenges
We've never been more excited to make a series or prepared to tell it. For us the biggest challenge is having enough funding to pull off period 80s details, while paying all our comrades in the cast and crew a decent wage. That is why we are running this campaign. We're going to be careful to use existing 80s locations and 80s costumes by the oh-so-talented Emma Doyle to deliver 80s Toronto on a budget, but we need this $25,000 so we can get it right.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)