Principal photography has started on the queer-led, highly anticipated BACKSPOT, marking the feature film debut of creator/director D.W. Waterson (That’s My DJ), and starring award-winning actor Devery Jacobs (Reservation Dogs, Marvel’s Echo), and newcomer Kudakwashe Rutendo in lead roles. The film’s title derives from a backspotter, or someone who lifts and throws a flyer, or top girl, in the air during cheerleading stunts. It is currently shooting in the Toronto area until mid-March 2023.

The story centres around Riley and Amanda, who are formidable members of their mid-level cheerleading squad, until professional coach Eileen McNamara gives them the opportunity to join The Thunderhawks, a high-performance squad. Young, ambitious and in love, Riley (Jacobs) and Amanda (Rutendo) would be on top of the world if only Riley could get her anxiety under control and Amanda had less overwhelming responsibility. Desperate to be heard and appreciated, two qualities her home life severely lacks, Riley will do anything to ingratiate herself to her new coach. Amanda, on the other hand, has begun to notice a shift in Riley and is a bit suspicious of Eileen’s tactics. Battered, unrelenting and with a competition looming, these two young athletes must negotiate their space, find their voices and come to an understanding with the generation of women who came before them.

I’m so proud and excited to finally be going to camera after five long years. We’ve assembled an absolutely stacked cast, and an incredible crew, and we are thrilled to be creating something that’s truly kick*ass, raw, and that has a magic energy behind it,” said D.W. Waterson, director. “Competitive cheer is incredibly athletic, and our young, queer youth are so resilient. I am beyond looking forward to highlighting both of these communities in Backspot.

Acclaimed actors Thomas Antony Olajide (Learn to SwimWhite Lie, The Spencer Sisters) and Olunike Adeliyi (The Porter, Revenge of the Black Best Friend), the incomparable Wendy Crewson (On the Basis of Sex, RoomGray) and the iconic Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale, Wristcutters: A Love Story, 40 Days and 40 Nights) also join the cast. 

Produced by Alona MetzerD.W. Waterson, Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, and Martin Katz. BACKSPOT is written by Joanne Sarazen, based on a story by Waterson. Executive Producers are Elliot Page, Matthew Jordan Smith, John Davidson, and Katisha Shaw. BACKSPOT will be distributed by levelFILM in Canada, and will subsequently stream on Crave, followed by CBC and CBC Gem. The film is a production by Page Boy Productions, Night is Y and Prospero Pictures, in association with Telefilm Canada, Ontario Creates, CBC Films, and Shaw Rocket Fund. 


Page Boy Productions endeavors to develop and produce entertaining, original, and socially responsible stories. PBP actively seeks creators and content from underrepresented communities and uplifts collaborators who have been denied equitable access to mainstream Hollywood. PBP will pursue storytelling that prioritizes safety, representation, and intersectional equity in all facets of making film and television; we believe that making quality art by and for intentionally marginalized voices is necessary to dismantle and redistribute power balances – within entertainment institutions and broader systems of oppression – and to push the boundaries of what we think subversive storytelling and representation can be and achieve.


Night is Y is an LGBTQ+ and Indigenous-owned production company based out of Toronto. Producers Devery Jacobs and D.W. Waterson specialize in the hands-on creative development and production of compelling, character-driven series and films. With a focus on uplifting queer and BIPOC stories, Night is Y is driven by the common goal of creating visually stunning, dynamic stories with artistic risk and rigor.


Prospero Pictures is the film and television production company founded by Martin Katz, whose credits include Hotel Rwanda, which was nominated for three Academy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. For over two decades, Prospero has produced films with celebrated director David Cronenberg, including A Dangerous Method, which had its world premiere in competition at the Venice film Festival, Spider and Cosmopolis which premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and Maps to the Stars, for which Julianne Moore received the Best Actress Palme d’Or at Cannes. Prospero’s television projects include Ice Road Truckers, now in its eleventh season, one of History Channel’s highest-rated documentary series and Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…, an award-winning music and performance series hosted by Elvis Costello with appearances by Bono, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Herbie Hancock, Rufus Wainwright, Renée Fleming and Diana Krall, coproduced with Rocket Pictures’ David Furnish and Sir Elton John.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.