TV

On TV: ‘Full Out’ perseverance: The Ariana Berlin story

Actor Ana Golja, director Sean Cisterna and the real Ariana BerlinCourtesy of Sean Cisterna

“I have a secret for you: this isn’t about gymnastics; it’s about life.” Wise words offered up by “Miss Val,” the celebrated UCLA gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, played by Jennifer Beals, in the made-for-TV movie “Full Out.” And no truer words could apply to the message of this inspiring film, directed by Torontonian Sean Cisterna.

I have a secret for you: this isn’t about gymnastics; it’s about life.” 

– Coach Val

Based on the life of Ariana Berlin, a talented California gymnast who suffered devastating injuries in a debilitating car accident, the film invites viewers to reflect on the true meaning of following one’s dreams in the face of adversity. Confronted with the possibility that she might never do gymnastics again, Berlin inadvertently found herself in the world of hip-hop where she discovered the strength to persevere in both body and spirit.

Cisterna has great admiration for Berlin and took seriously the job of portraying her trials and triumphs. To meet the challenges of making the film, he looked to her story for inspiration.

“We were honestly just taking our cues from this remarkable young girl’s life,” he said.

For Cisterna, the greatest challenge wasn’t shooting the dance or gymnastics scenes; the real question was how to strike a balance between family appeal and the intensity of Berlin’s story. Part of his approach in finding this equilibrium was creating a window into Ariana’s mind, giving the audience greater access to her emotional journey. It also allowed him to enter into some grittier territory, while still maintaining the lighter charm appropriate for younger viewers.

The director said that finding the perfect Ariana was a difficult task, “This was the hardest part we’ve ever had to cast because, not only did they have to be engaging and a talented actor, but they also needed strong dance ability, as well as gymnastics and athletic ability.”

Ana Golja (“Degrassi: The Next Generation”) wound up being the ideal fit – a young actor who not only possessed the dramatic range for the role, but also the physical skills and stamina for what was involved. In preparation for the part, she had to undergo eight weeks of gymnastics training. The real Ariana Berlin was also a key part of the project and performed the complicated gymnastics routines in the movie.

The film does a fine job of alternating between the loose and fun world of hip-hop and the more structured and rigid life of a professional gymnast. It is at times playful and light-hearted but does not shy away from encouraging the audience to ask themselves some hard questions.

“Full Out” will entertain viewers of all ages and, in a world where so many young (and not-so-young) people too easily embrace the words “I can’t,” the film and Berlin’s story move us to think and talk about who and what truly holds us back in life and how we might overcome. It seems Miss Val was right; it’s not really about gymnastics.

 

“Full Out” premieres Friday, September 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on the Family Channel. For additional airing dates, go to the film’s website.

‘Science Fiction,’ ‘Reelside’: Raj Panikkar on the ‘worlds’ behind Canadian film and TV

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“Reelside” producer and co-director of episodes “Science Fiction” and “Superheroes,” Raj Panikkar, talks about creating sci-fi worlds, the genesis of the series and the minds behind Canadian film and television.

Check out the “Reelside” trailer here.

The six-episode “Reelside” documentary series premiered in Western Canada on Thursday, September 3 on Movie Central and is available on TMN GO and On Demand. 

For more information about episode airing dates and VOD availability across Canada, check out the “Reelside” websites on Movie Central and The Movie Network.

Producer: Brandon Ludwig

Producer/Video Editor: Sheldon Ludwig
Journalist: Dave Roberts


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‘Superheroes’: Matthew Lochner on his ‘Reelside’ episode, Stephen Amell, David Hayter and Lloyd Kaufman

“Superheroes” director Matthew Lochner talks about his wild journey making episode six of the “Reelside” series  — David Hayter (“X-Men,” “Watchmen”) braves a Toronto snowstorm, Stephen Amell’s “‘Arrow’ shrine,” and Troma’s “zany” Lloyd Kaufman.

The six-episode “Reelside” documentary series premieres in Western Canada beginning Thursday, September 3 at 9 PM MT/PT on Movie Central and is available on TMN GO and On Demand.

For more information, check out CanScreen’s trailer post and the “Reelside” website.

Producer: Brandon Ludwig

Producer/Video Editor: Sheldon Ludwig
Journalist: Dave Roberts


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Trailer: ‘Reelside’

“Reelside” documentary seriesThe Movie Network

The six-episode “Reelside” documentary series explores the mythology and making of television and film, and features Canadian creators, mentors and actors, including Stephen Amell, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, Don McKellar and Bruce McDonald, Michael Hogan and Graeme Manson, and Sarah Gadon.

Coming soon: CanScreen’s video interviews with “Reelside” creators Matthew Lochner (episode 6, “Superheroes”) and Raj Panikkar (series producer, including episode 4, “Science Fiction”) and a profile on Mathew Hannam (episode 5, “Don McKellar and Bruce McDonald”). 

“Reelside” premieres in Western Canada beginning Thursday, September 3 at 9 PM on Movie Central and is available on TMN GO and On Demand.

For more information, check out the “Reelside” website.

Interview: The cast of ‘Corner Gas: The Movie’ on fans and ‘seizing the day’

Brent Butt, Fred Ewanuick, Gabrielle Miller, Nancy Robertson, Lorne Cardinal, Tara Spencer-Nairn talk with CanScreen about “Corner Gas: The Movie,” the fans and “seizing the day.”

Journalist: Jefri Knazan
Videographer: Zachary Zaza
Video editor: Stephen George


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