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By GERRY POSNER Winnipeg is known for many things, not the least of which is its seemingly endless array of young talent in the arts.

 

Whether it’s music, theatre, dance - be it on stage, screen or elsewhere, Winnipeg has, for many years, turned out a long list of people who have made their names in the arts, one way or another. One export from Winnipeg who has made that very trip to the limelight in the arts is Corey Marr, son of David and Terri Marr.

It is not just Corey Marr now, but Corey Marr Productions, his company created in 2004 with a vision to develop and produce various entertainment for the screen and other media. That vision has in fact been translated into concrete results. Marr’s recent work includes a movie called “Passenger Side” starring Adam Scott (star of“Parks and Recreation”) which had definite commercial success. This show premiered at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival and  was also screened at the Toronto and London Film Festivals.
Another Marr production that was well received was “Who Loves The Sun?” starring Molly Parker (of “House of Cards”) and was shown in a number of film festivals prior to its theatrical release in Canada and beyond.
Marr’s background began in the creative advertising and marketing fields, when he worked at some leading Canadian ad agencies. Of course, prior to all of this artistic talent burgeoning, Marr was a student at Ramah Hebrew School, Grant Park High School and the University of Manitoba.

How much any of that contributed to his entry into film producing is the great unknown. What is known is that Marr moved to Toronto in 1993 to do a joint prgramme between York University and Seneca College in the area of creative advertising. Marr had his hand in the advertising world for several years in Toronto, both in the creative area,  also on the account management side. And it is fair to say that experience has aided him in his present work as a producer.

Around 1998, Marr returned to Winnipeg to work for Manitoba Telecom for about 18 months, but he then headed back to Toronto and began his film career running the Toronto office of a thriving film and television production company. It was not long after that Marr decided it was time to make a feature film of his own.
This was a bold move for somebody who had no formal training in this field, not to mention the daunting task of getting the money to make a film. But, Marr is persistent and has an appealing manner which likely helps him when seeking funds.
And so it came to pass in 2005 that “Who Loves The Sun?” was made. That film gave Marr some real experience in the cinematic world that included travel and exposure to the creative process from start to finish. The film sold all over the various continents and soon Marr began the next movie, “Passenger Side”, a film made by his Canadian company in Los Angeles -in reverse of Americans coming to Canada to make a movie. The parity of the dollar at that time did not hurt this enterprise. The movie was a big hit and was voted in the “top 10” by the Toronto International Film Festival. Better was the fact that “Passenger Side” had legs to it as it made its way around the world.

Since his last movie, Marr has been busy with several projects, all testing his creative juices as well his ability to obtain funding. He has ventured beyond film into TV and he’s even made a comeback of sorts into the worworld of advertising  by connecting to what is known as “Branded Entertainment.”
What does that term mean for Marr? He says it is an entertainment-based vehicle funded by and complementary to a particular brand’s marketing strategy.
This kind of advertising to which Marr has hitched his wagon allows the advertiser to get the brand out in front of an audience in an original way that entertains instead of interrupts and is very story focused. He has just finished a production for Nike USA.
The fact is that Corey Marr is one busy boy these days as he mixes his creative energy with his fund raising talents. When I asked him how he accounted for the plethora of Winnipeggers so ensconced in the arts, he wasn’t able to give a definite reason. However, Corey was certain he can trace his ending up in the arts to his Camp Massad days, where he was encouraged to hone his skill set at a place which had a very artistic bent to it.
When Marr is not producing content, he is at home with his wife Candice, and his two sons, Noah (5) and Asher (2).