Corus Entertainment’s Movie Central (Western Canada) and Astral Media’s The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) today announced that seven new Canadian original projects have been greenlit for production. Featuring some of Canada’s top creative talent, this new slate includes original series Bloodletting, Phantom, The Pillars of the Earth, Living In Your Car, Meet Phil Fitz, Durham County and the made for television movie Fakers.
Bloodletting, an eight-part drama series based on Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, the Scotiabank Giller Award-winning best-seller by Vincent Lam, will begin production on June 29 in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario. With the directing talents of Rachel Talalay (Terminal City, Kyle XY), Kari Skogland (The Stone Angel, Terminal City) and Erik Canuel (Flashpoint, Bon Cop Bad Cop), the series will debut on Movie Central and The Movie Network in early 2010.
Fakers, an original pay TV movie from the producers and director of Last Casino starts production on June 20 in Montreal. This provocative story of teen counterfeiters stars Greyston Holt (Durham County), Andrew Francis (L Word, X-Men Evolution) and Alexia Fast (Flashpoint, The 4400) will premiere on Movie Central and The Movie Network in spring 2010.
Phantom, a four-hour, action-packed, dramatic mini-series, began principal photography this past April in Montreal. This updated and urban reimagining of the 1936 Lee Falk classic comic strip character includes second unit filming in New York City and Costa Rica and stars Ryan Carnes (Desperate Housewives), Sandrine Holt (24), Cameron Goodman (Mad Men) and Isabella Rossellini (Alias). A co-production with SCI FI Channel in the U.S, Phantom will debut on Movie Central and The Movie Network in spring 2010.
Also in pre-production with Muse Entertainment, Tandem Communications and Scott Free Films is The Pillars of the Earth, an eight-part limited drama series based on Ken Follett’s bestselling novel of the same name. This epic has a stellar international cast, including Donald Sutherland (Dirty Sexy Money) and Ian McShane (Deadwood, Kings), and will premiere in spring 2010 on Movie Central and The Movie Network.
The Nightingale Company, with creative talents behind The Line and This is Wonderland: Order of Canada recipient George F. Walker, Dani Romain and Joseph Kay return with a new half-hour comedy series Living In Your Car. Set to begin filming in September and scheduled to debut in 2010, Living In Your Car will also feature the talents of Winnipeg native David Steinberg (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld) as Creative Consultant and Lead Director.
Movie Central and The Movie Network are also behind the edgy half-hour comedy series Meet Phil Fitz from Halifax creator and executive producer, Sheri Elwood (Defying Gravity), producers Mike Souther and Teza Lawrence of Amaze Film + Television, E1 Television and David MacLeod of Big Motion Pictures. This 13-episode series is set to shoot in partnership with Film Nova Scotia in the early fall and will premiere in 2010.
The Gemini Award-winning series Durham County starring Hugh Dillon (Flashpoint) also goes into production in fall 2009 for a third season. Durham County (season 2) premieres on July 13, 2009 on Movie Central and The Movie Network.
“Pay TV provides the creative environment that enables us to work with some of the most talented teams in Canada’s production industry,” said Erica Benson, Vice President, Programming, Movie Central. “With these partnerships, pay TV is able to offer home-grown world-class drama series on par with the likes of HBO and Showtime, including the return of the visually stunning and critically acclaimed series Durham County.”
“Astral Media’s The Movie Network has a strong commitment to Canadian film and television and this new round of projects speaks to the proud role we play in showcasing the talent behind this country’s superior, award-winning programming,” said Diane Boehme, Director of Canadian Independent Production, The Movie Network.
Based on the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning book Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam and adapted by Governor General’s Award-winner Jason Sherman, Bloodletting follows a group of conflicted young doctors from medical school through their internships and on to their years as emergency room doctors. Their stories reveal that there are no miracles in hospitals, just hard work, hope, pain, mistakes – and the occasional triumph. The series is produced by Shaftesbury Films with executive producers Scott Garvie, Christina Jennings and Julie Lacey.
DURHAM COUNTY (SEASON 3)
Muse Entertainment Enterprises and Back Alley Film Productions present the third season of Durham County. Detective Mike Sweeney has joined a task force that is investigating the brutal murder of two young boys who were drug runners. While Mike’s family life flourishes, tragedy strikes and his grief forces him to solve a heinous crime that could implicate a friend and confidant. Produced by Janis Lundman, Adrienne Mitchell, Michael Prupas and Laurie Finstad Knizhnik; the series writers are Laurie Finstad Knizhnik and Bruce M. Smith.
LIVING IN YOUR CAR
Steve Unger used to have a great life, now he’s about to have a real one. A corporate exec jailed when he was caught cooking the books, he’s newly released from prison and under a court order to teach an ethics class to others just like him. Shunned by family and friends and clinging desperately to the last vestige of his former self – his luxury sedan – Steve struggles to simultaneously help and exploit everyone he meets. This half-hour, comedy adventure series is produced by The Nightingale Company.
MEET PHIL FITZ
Meet Phil Fitz is a new, half-hour comedy about a morally bankrupt salesman who’s forced to become business partners with his inner conscience: Larry, a prissy do-gooder with a heart of gold. Created and executive produced by Sheri Elwood (Defying Gravity), the 13-episode series is set to begin production in the fall and will be produced by Mike Souther and Teza Lawrence of Amaze Films, E1 Television and David MacLeod of Big Motion Pictures and will be produced in partnership with
Film Nova Scotia. E1 Television International is the international sales agent.
Produced by Muse Entertainment, Phantom is a modern-day re-invention of the popular adventure comic strip The Phantom, created by Lee Falk in 1936. A law student is shocked to learn that he was adopted and is actually the son of The Phantom, a caped crime fighter. He joins the Phantom team in the jungles of Bengalla to train in martial arts and combat, and emerges as the next Phantom. The series’ creative team includes executive producer Michael Prupas, producer Irene Litinsky and screenwriters Charles Knauf and Dan Knauf.
THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH
During a civil war, a famine and religious strife, a magnificent cathedral rises in Kingsbridge. Based on the bestselling novel by Ken Follett, this is the story of the intertwining lives of a master builder, a noblewoman, the Prior of Kingsbridge, an artist and a woman from the forest who casts a spell. In association with CBC, this Movie Central and The Movie Network original series is a co-production of Muse Entertainment and Tandem Communications with the association of Scott Free Films Ltd., with an outstanding international ensemble cast that includes Ian McShane (Deadwood, Kings), Donald Sutherland (Dirty Sexy Money, Cold Mountain) and Rufus Sewell (The Eleventh Hour, The Illusionist). The Pillars of the Earth is directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Battlestar Galactica, Heroes), written by John Pielmeier (The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Agnes of God) and executive produced by Michael Prupas and Rola Bauer with producer John Ryan. Currently in
Fakers tells the shocking story of three ordinary teenagers from one of Canada’s most elite schools who created a major counterfeiting operation under the noses of their teachers and parents, and how it all came crashing down. An original pay TV movie, Fakers is a Cite Amerique production with producer Greg Dummett (Last Casino, Lost and Delirious), directed by Pierre Gill (Last Casino) and written by Jesse McKeown (DaVinci’s Inquest, Robson Arms). Currently in pre-production.