The Pulse: May 9, 2024

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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  • 18°C: Sunny. High 18. UV index 6 or high. (forecast)
  • Yellow/Orange: The High Level Bridge will be lit yellow and orange for Bus Driver Appreciation Day. (details)
  • 4-5: The Edmonton Oilers lost to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the second round of the NHL playoffs on May 8. (details)

Three actors pose in a dimly lit office set.

How Dept.9 is taking bets to grow local film

By Colin Gallant

Dept.9 Studios is betting a new short-form series called Department of Paranormal Affairs can raise the profile of Alberta's film industry.

The show combines monster-of-the-week storytelling (think The X-Files) with comedic characters in a bureaucratic workplace (à la Parks and Recreation). Each episode follows government workers Jenny (Nancy Ngo) and Scott (David Feehan, who also served as a producer and screenwriter for the show) as they work to settle differences between humans and paranormal beings. It's like if the Ghostbusters were social workers.

"Dept.9 is willing to invest in Alberta," the company's development and production executive, Michael Feehan (no relation to David), told Taproot. "We're punching above our weight in terms of the production value that you see on screen."

Feehan served as a producer for the series, which premiered at the Calgary Underground Film Festival on April 27. The company, established in 2019, narrowed down Affairs from 10 potential scripts for a new venture because it posed the greatest chance for success for Dept.9's digital division.

"For what we wanted to do, which was produce a series that had staying power in the long term, that we could produce, hopefully, dozens and dozens of episodes of, we wanted to make sure that it had the right foundation," Feehan said. "To me, that foundation is the story engine and the format."

While shot entirely in Edmonton, the team behind the show is an "even split" between Edmonton and Calgary talent, Feehan said. Donovan Workun is one-third of the primary cast and plays Jenny and Scott's boss, the curmudgeonly slacker Greg. (Workun also plays the titular character in Jason Kenney's Hot Boy Summer: The Musical, the sold-out, runaway hit by Grindstone Theatre).

"What drew me to the role was an audition," Workun, the co-ringleader of Atomic Improv, joked to Taproot. "As a working actor, you want to work."

But once reading the script, Workun said he connected immediately. "I was like, 'Oh, this is a great little idea,'" Workun said. "They packaged it so nicely. It's in manageable chunks that are suitable for the internet or TV or whatever they want to do. I just thought it was really smart, the way they top and tail it, and throw an adventure in the middle. It's almost like an old Star Trek episode."

Continue reading

Headlines: May 9, 2024

By Kevin Holowack and Mariam Ibrahim

A line of trees hanging over a cedar fence in an alleyway

Calls for public engagement: Urban forest, aging, La Perle and Belmead renewal

By Kevin Holowack

Here are opportunities to help shape municipal planning about Edmonton's urban forest, renewal in La Perle and Belmead, and aging in Strathcona County.

  • Healthy Aging Survey — Strathcona County has begun a three-phase engagement process to understand the needs and priorities of people aged 55 or older. The results will shape a vision for healthy aging in Strathcona County and inform recommendations to council. Residents in the age range can complete a survey until May 10.
  • 2024 Garbage Can Design Contest — The City of St. Albert is holding an annual contest to beautify the city, with this year's theme focusing on the role of pollinators. Residents can review designs submitted by students and vote on their favourite before May 10.
  • Urban Forest Survey: Trees on Private Property — The City of Edmonton seeks feedback about trees on private property, which will be included in an upcoming report on Edmonton's urban forest. The information may inform future projects and programs related to trees on private property. A survey will be open until May 20.
  • La Perle and Belmead Neighbourhood Renewal (planning and design) — The City of Edmonton has begun planning and design work to renew La Perle and Belmead. Open houses will be held May 9 in La Perle and May 14 in Belmead. Residents of both neighbourhoods can review design options and complete an online survey until May 21.

More input opportunities

Photo: The City of Edmonton wants to know how residents engage with trees on private property as it plans its urban forest policies. (Kevin Holowack)

A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: May 9, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening today in the Edmonton area.

And here are some upcoming events to keep in mind:

Visit the beta version of the Taproot Edmonton Calendar for many more events in the Edmonton region.