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By Mark Pavilons
Art Hindle is having the time of his life.
The past 18 months have been exciting, and busy for the iconic Canadian actor with 50 years under his belt.
At this stage of his life and his career, Hindle can be picky about his roles. He's also quite active as vice-president of external affairs for ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists), the union of more than 23,000 professional performers.
While some consider him a “senior,” he's sharp as a tack and still gets giddy when he comes across a beautiful role, big or small. He was thrilled with Robbery, written and directed by Corey Stanton and co-starring Jeremy Ferdman and Sera-Lys McArthur. Even when he talks about the script, months after the film wrapped, his eyes widen, like a kid in a candy shop, anticipating the sugar rush. It's a gem of a film about a veteran criminal with dementia, enticed by his son to pull of a series of robberies.
It received best Canadian feature film honours at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Hindle earned a best supporting actor nod as well. The film is due out in 2019.
Hindle also appeared in a couple of Hallmark holiday films, including Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe, alongside Lacey Chabert and Brendan Penny.
Hindle pointed out Hallmark is a prolific film-maker, churning out almost three dozen films a year, with a dozen or so filmed in Ontario.
Hindle said he's been working with film-maker, Frank D'Angelo, who lives in Kleinburg. He,s a unique, Canadian entrepreneur who does it all – he produces, writes, directs, acts and even sings. Hindle noted D'Angelo has done 10 films in rapid succession since 2013 and Hindle has co-starred in nine of them.
“He always has a great cast of fabulous Canadian and foreign stars, and wins film awards as well,” Hindle pointed out.
As an advocate for made-in-Canada films, Hindle said Sudbury and North Bay are becoming hot spots for feature films and TV shows, such as Hard Rock Medical, Letterkenny, Cardinal and Carter.
Boosting the industry in that region is the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), a crown corporation and economic development agency that supports the development of Northern Ontario businesses.
Hindle has long touted that Canadian talent and crews are some of the best in the world. What's boosting Canuck locales is improved infrastructure in the form of modern studios. Hindle said three new facilities are planned for the GTA.
Leading the charge is Ontario Creates, an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. It's the central catalyst for the province's cultural media cluster including book publishing, film and television, interactive digital media, magazine publishing and music industries. It promotes, enhances and leverages investment, jobs, and original content creation.
The industry is getting a boost from many fronts.
Toronto Mayor John Tory visits the big players in the U.S. to espouse the virtues of filming in Toronto and the GTA. Hopes are Premier Doug Ford will also be a staunch supporter of the industry as well.
One prominent ally is Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, former mayor of North Bay and MPP for Nipissing. Hindle introduced Fedeli at the recent Film Ontario AGM, where he was unequivocal in his support, and the government's support, of the industry (and the tax credits that have helped to build Ontario as a production centre).
Hindle himself wears many hats, including mentor and cheerleader. He's quick to recommend Canadian locales and talent and is always ready and willing to help mentor young actors. He's been a tough promoter and jokingly says his ACTRA role is “vice-president for life.”
Despite having some “snow on the roof,” Hindle quite adeptly handled the role of Santa recently. His 2018 credits are impressive, indeed. They include stints on the Imposters and the Good Witch, as well as movie roles in Northern Lights of Christmas, Beginner's Luck, Woodland Grey, You Don't Know Dick, Sundown, Hunter's Moon, Astronaut and The Performance.
It's definitely been a rather lush Christmas for Hindle and his family. Quite a stark contrast from the “Black Christmas” of 1974.
While busy, Hindle still holds the record for the only Canadian actor NOT appearing on an episode of Murdoch Mysteries, the long-running period crime drama now in its 12th season. He recently “beat out” comedian Colin Mochrie for the title.
The set of a film or movie is Hindle's amusement park. Even when not working, he loves to show up on set just to watch the action. “Those are my rides,” he said. “That's my fun.”
His “fun” extends to his son Zeke Hindle, a budding actor and film-maker based in California. Art appeared in the 2018 coming of age comedy, Happenstance, an incredible movie made on a shoestring budget. The film is garnered Zeke best actor in an indie film at both the New York and Los Angeles Film Awards that year.
Art is extremely proud of his son, noting the industry is a tough one these days, with a huge amount of talented competition out there.
Hindle is not only an industry insider, he's a consumer, and loves some current TV offerings. His favourites include Grace & Frankie, The Kominsky Method (with Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin), Frankie Drake, Murdoch Mysteries, and Schitt's Creek.
Like his colleagues, actors can rise up with some of their best performances later in life – Fonda and Arkin are in their 80s!
Hindle may have an air of a very fine vintage about him, but “they keep calling.” And he answers the call, not only for himself, but for Canadian talent.
Excerpt: Art Hindle is having the time of his life. The past 18 months have been exciting, and busy for the iconic Canadian actor with 50 years under his belt.
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