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Capital Hoedown’s big announcement 

OTTAWA—NEXT YEAR’S ROUND of summer music festivals may be a while away, but that didn’t stop the Capital Hoedown organizers from announcing next year’s lineup on Nov. 22. Featuring mega country stars such as Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, and Brad Paisley, the announcement proves Ottawa’s country music festival is growing in popularity amongst stars and fans.

Since the first festival in 2010, attendance has more than doubled in size, with 47,000 country-loving attendees last year.

Festival founder Denis Benoit attributes the success to the festival’s youthful makeover. Last year Capital Hoedown attracted well-known names such as Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts, along with more traditional acts like Doc Walker.

“Now someone can’t say, ‘Oh, they didn’t have the right kind of country.’ There’s something for everyone,” says Benoit, of the current lineup.

Capital Hoedown has undergone some other changes for next year. The festival will run Aug. 10–12—Friday to Sunday—instead of previous years’ Thursday to Saturday schedule.

Moving from LeBreton Flats to Walter Baker Park in Kanata, organizers hope a new space will hold more country music fans and solve parking space issues from last year.

—Sofia Hashi

Telefilm Canada’s new success index

TORONTO—TELEFILM CANADA HAS created a new way to measure the level of success a Canadian film reaches. Many viewed the old system as outdated because it didn’t account for DVD sales, worldwide success, and critical acclaim a film received to rate the success of a movie; it mainly relied on box office success within Canada. This prevented movies like Incendies, which didn’t gross a lot in its initial release but was nominated for an Oscar, from being fully recognized.

A Canadian film’s level of success will now be based 60 per cent on box office performance, both worldwide and in Canada, 30 per cent on awards and festival appearances, and the remaining 10 per cent on how much a film was funded, either publicly or privately.

“Just having box office as the most important measurement was not sufficient,” says Carolle Brabant, executive director of Telefilm.

Brabant explains the new success index will give internationally recognized work the chance to be acknowledged in Canada.

“A good example is [director] Guy Maddin,” she says. “He’s a true international star. His work has been recognized around the world. But his films are not necessarily reaching huge box office [numbers] in Canada.”

—Sofia Hashi


 Pamela Anderson as the Virgin Mary

TORONTO—FOURTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD British Colombia native Pamela Anderson has been cast to play the Virgin Mary in Russell Peters’ A Russell Peters Christmas Special. The comedy sketch, which is set to air on CTV and The Comedy Network, has generated reactions of rage and amusement.

“Pammy’s a Born-Again Virgin”, “It’s Praywatch as Pamela Anderson prepares for her most out-of-character role yet— the Virgin Mary”, and “It’s a Miracle, Pammy’s the Virgin Mary” were some of the more tongue-in-cheek headlines surrounding the sketch, but Anderson’s casting has caused a stir among religious groups.

The Boston Liberal Christian Examiner criticized Peters’ sketch in one of their articles asking, “How low can popular culture go in ridiculing and disrespecting the Christian faith?”

While many media outlets were reporting on the irony of Anderson’s casting, the former Baywatch star has remained silent on her newest role.

The comedy sketch will also feature comedian Jon Lovitz and Canadian singer Michael Bublé.

—Sofia Hashi