Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Filmmaker and Author Barry Avrich Laments Lack of Homegrown Star System

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Filmmaker and Author Barry Avrich Laments Lack of Homegrown Star System

Article excerpt

Barry Avrich laments lack of Canadian star system

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TORONTO - Canadian filmmaker Barry Avrich has spent decades documenting the lives of legendary showbiz titans but there's one aspect of the homegrown industry he still finds baffling: the lack of a star system in English Canada.

"I find it extraordinarily frustrating that if you ask the average person to name ... let's say, film directors in this country, you can't name five. Maybe you can name three. That's pitiful. These are artists," Avrich said in an interview at a Toronto screening room.

"You can name singers. You can name authors.... We can name some actors, but most of them don't live here anymore. Why is that? Why do we have to leave?

"If you see Quebec doing so well and building (its) own industry, why can't the industry and the public get behind this and say: 'You know what? I'm going to make them a star. And we're going to keep promoting them and promoting them until they're everywhere.'"

The Montreal-born producer, director and writer had no qualms about pursuing personal success, and credits his late father, Irving, for advising him to stand out rather than retreat into the background.

Evidence of his go-getter mentality is threaded throughout his new memoir, "Moguls, Monsters and Madmen: An Uncensored Life in Show Business" (ECW Press).

In addition to a knack for sales, Avrich writes of inheriting his mother's love of culture and dad's passion for showmanship. He was able to parlay his skills into work as a marketing executive, producing charity galas, and helming film and TV projects.

Avrich offers a glimpse into the development of documentaries, including biographical films on Canadian comic David Steinberg ("Quality Balls") legendary agent Lew Wasserman ("The Last Mogul") and Penthouse founder Bob Guccione ("Filthy Gorgeous.")

Avrich also doesn't shy away from telling stories that his subjects would prefer left under wraps. …

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