Shooting set to start on sequel to Au Nom du pere et du fils series

Montreal: In Le Sorcier, an $8.5 million, 11-hour drama series, a young Metis doctor leaves his home in rural Quebec for a Manitoba reserve where he makes a profound impression on the Natives....

Montreal: In Le Sorcier, an $8.5 million, 11-hour drama series, a young Metis doctor leaves his home in rural Quebec for a Manitoba reserve where he makes a profound impression on the Natives.

Produced by Claude Heroux and Communications Claude Heroux International, Le Sorcier is the sequel to last season’s highly rated 13-hour series on the TVA Television Network, Au Nom du pere et du fils.

Shooting on 16mm film begins Feb. 26, continuing for five full months through to July.

Set in Quebec and Manitoba circa 1920, the series is based on Francine Ouellette’s novel of the same name. In this drama, Clovis, the Metis son of Biche Pensive, a Native woman, and a Quebecois doctor, emerges as a legend among the Native people of the region as he confronts an old nemesis, the autocratic priest who so opposed his parents’ union in Au Nom du pere. Eric Brisebois (Henri) plays Clovis and Pierre Chagnon plays the priest.

Jean Claude Labrecque (Le Frere Andre, Andre Mathieu, musicien) is directing, veteran cchi collaborator Bernard Chentrier is the dop, and Francois Lamontagne is art director. Diane Arcand is the pm.

Investors include Telefilm Canada, sogic, Maclean Hunter and Tele-Metropole.

In March, tva is expected to boost its standings in the spring sweeps with the telecast of another cchi series, the eight-hour drama Rene Levesque, directed by Roger Cardinal with Denis Bouchard (Tristan et Iseut) in the lead role.

According to Jocelyn Deschenes, cchi vice-president, development and production, the company is actively developing two big-budget tv series – Les Batisseurs d’eau, the nation-building story of the Hydro-Quebec saga, and La Vie de Cardinal Leger, a dramatization of the life work of one of Quebec’s greatest religious figures.

Leger, who was known for his work with the poor, left Quebec at the height of his career to work with lepers in Africa. Jacques Savoie is scripting both projects.

Intrepid sleuths return

Those resourceful adolescent sleuths are back in Les Intrepides ii, the second leg of the live-action Cinar Films family series, which starts principal photography in France Feb. 14. Budgeted at just over $4 million, 26 half-hours will be shot on location in three countries – France, through to mid-March, Canada throughout April and early May, and in Hungary from June 13 to Aug. 12.

Coproduced by Marathon Productions of Paris, the series stars intrepid teen actors Jessica Barker and Laurent Deutch, with Danielle Proulx in the role of mom.

Directorial duties are being shared by our own Jacques Payette and French director Bernard Dubois. Cinar ceo Micheline Charest and Pascal Breton are producing, Madeleine Henrie is the delegate producer and Huguette Valiquette is the pm.

Broadcasters are Radio-Canada, Radio-Quebec and Canal Famille in Quebec, France 3 and the Hungarian Television Network. Taurus holds the distribution rights in Germany.

By mid-August, Cinar will be in great shape with 52 episodes of this 16mm production in the can.

Rose blossoms

Rose Films veteran Marie-Josee Raymond is the producer behind Jalna, a big-budget series being coproduced with France.

Based on the novels of Canadian author Mazo De LaRoche, Jalna is the century-long saga of four generations of the Whiteoak clan. The series opens in India in the mid-1800s and follows the family to Quebec City and then Southern Ontario where they build a huge estate.

Serge Dupire and Mireille Deyglun star as the founders of the Whiteoak dynasty. Shooting is slated to start in early March. French director Philippe Monnier is helming the action, with Sylvie de Grandpre as pm. A spokesman for Rose Films says 50 shooting days are planned.

Action!

This month’s main film action, as reported by the stcvq, consists of two ongoing productions, the 10-hour, $8 million tv series Combien de fois faut-il mourir d’amour?, a coproduction between Montreal’s Telefiction and France’s Groupe Le Sabre, and the $34 million action/ adventure saga Highlander iii – The Magician.

Producer Claude Veillet and director Richard Ciupka will complete the Quebec portion on Mourir d’amour March 4, with shooting in France scheduled to run from May 9 to June 3.

As for Highlander iii, the local portion wraps at the end of the month with more action slated for Scotland, France and Morocco. French heartthrob Christopher Lambert (Highlander i & ii, Knight Moves) plays Highlander Connor MacLeod, one of a unique breed of immortal warriors. Mario van Peebles (Posse, Heartbreak Ridge) is cast as Kane, the evil master of illusion, with Deborah Unger (Whispers in the Dark) cast as a scientist who’s also on the trail of the magician.

Highlander iii producer Claude Leger says he’s hoping to duplicate the success of the original film, which grossed a reported $150 million. The story is from Bill Panzer. Quebec City sci-fi novelist Paul Ohl wrote the screenplay.

Andy Morahan, a top-notch international music video director, is making his feature film debut on Highlander iii. Steven Chivers is the dop, Montreal native Gilles Aird and London-born Ben Morahan are the art directors. The film’s elaborate live-action fx sequences are being created by Oscar-winning Brian Johnson (The Empire Strikes Back, Alien) and Montrealer Louis Craig (The Fly, Leolo, Map of the Human Heart).

The film is a Canada/France/ u.k. coproduction between Leger (Agaguk/Shadow of the Wolf, Eminent Domain) of Montreal’s Transfilm, France’s Initial Group and FallingCloud in the u.k. Malofilm Distribution is the Canadian distributor, Miramax holds the u.s. rights, and international sales are through Guy Collins of IAC Films Sales.

We missed La Fete

A thoughtful note from Productions La Fete producer Rock Demers to tell us about an oversight in the Nov. 8 Quebec Scene. In that column, we published a list of the top 10 Quebec films at the box office since 1986. The info came from the aqrrct, the Quebec directors’ association, but for some reason, it failed to mention two well-known La Fete titles, Andre Melancon’s Bach et Bottine, which would have ranked sixth on the list with earnings of $1.25 million, and Michael Rubbo’s The Adventures of Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller, which earned over $750,000 in Quebec theaters and would have ranked ninth.

Oversights such as this happen, says the veteran producer, because ‘our good friends the directors’ sometimes forget the commercial results for their films.

Benoit’s at the gate

Hoping for a spring shoot, but willing to settle for a mid-summer start-up is director Denise Benoit, whose feature film project Magic Wallet deals with the topical subject of sexual abuse of children. Director/producer is Daniel Morin.

The film has the backing of distributor Cinema Libre and pay-tv movie service Super Ecran. Benoit is best known as the director of Le Dernier havre, a 1986 feature film adapted from the Yves Theriault novel.

Morin says Remy Girard and Marcel Leboeuf are on tap as the film’s adult leads, with the tough job of casting the kids still ahead. SMAC Films, a three-year-old operation headed by producers Morin and Suzanne Gauthier, is producing.

Morin’s first feature, Tendre guerre, premiered at this month’s Rendez-vous du cinema quebecois and is being released to theaters shortly by Malofilm Distribution.

Tendre guerre, a coproduction with D.M.V.B. Films, France, chronicles a long and perilous search for love and tenderness between a Vietnam vet and his 16-year-old son.

Leading players include Leboeuf, Gerald Thomas and Maxime Tremblay. Craft credits include dop Robert Vanherweghem, sound recordist Jean-Michel Rouard, picture editor Helene Girard and music composer Alexandre Stanke.