Atlantic Scene: D’Entremont wins Japan prize and develops situation comedy
Prolific documentary producer/director Peter d’Entremont of Halifax’s Triad Films has just picked up the Japan Foundation’s President’s Prize at the 24th Japan Prize International Educational Program Contest in Tokyo for his direction of the National Film Board documentary Bronwen and Yaffa.
The $100,000 half-hour film about two young women in Halifax who take on the forces of racism by staging a benefit concert was produced by Mike Mahoney for the nfb. It was judged the film ‘to best contribute to the mutual understanding, by nations and races, of different cultures that enhances international cultural exchange and cooperative spirit.’
The award was handed out in late November in Tokyo and carries a cash prize of us$1,500.
Not content to remain solely in the doc realm, d’Entremont is also developing a half-hour sitcom called Swimming With Mackerels. With d’Entremont producing and Imagex’s Chris Zimmer exec producing, the show’s creative team consists of codco alum Greg Malone and Theodore Tugboat (Cochran Entertainment) exec story editor and writer Jeff Rosen.
Set behind the scenes at an independent film company, Swimming With Mackerels has a bible and two scripts completed and talks are underway with various broadcasters including the cbc.
‘Any film or television production always has incredible stories, and if you stop to think about them they are quite rich, so that’s what we’re after with this show,’ says d’Entremont.
And apologies are in order all around. In the Dec. 1, 1997 Atlantic Scene, credits on the Vision/bbc documentary Flight, a Triad/ Imagex coproduction, incorrectly appeared in the item on Steven Comeau and Collideascope. D’Entremont produced the one-hour doc on Scottish immigration, with Zimmer exec producing.
Besides posting Flight and the one-hour documentary The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis, d’Entremont screened his half-hour doc Acadian Spirit, produced for Peter Raymont’s Scattering of Seeds series, in early January to a receptive hometown audience in Pubnico, n.s., where the film was shot.
*Witness To Yesterday rides again
Fredericton’s Cinefile Productions and Toronto’s The Film Works are putting crews through their paces on the revival of Patrick Watson’s 1970s series Witness To Yesterday. Eight of the 13 new half-hour episodes – including Gordon Tootoosis’ (North of 60) portrayal of Genghis Khan and Cynthia Dale playing Marie Antoinette – were shot over a grueling five days in Fredericton in late December, with Alan Gough directing.
Taped live off the floor of a theater in Fredericton, the three-camera digital Betacam sp line-cut setup utilized the space’s lighting board and the theatrical abilities of the talented cast of actors playing historical figures confronted by Watson.
The frenzied and talented New Brunswick crew taped two shows a day under executive producer Victor Solnicki of The Film Works and producer Barry Cameron of Cinefile, who says the challenge for the crew in Toronto, who will be shooting five more episodes, will be to match the excellent look that the New Brunswick production achieved.
The series is scheduled to premier on History Television early this year and on pbs in ’99.
The budget for the entire 13 episodes is around $700,000 and was financed in part with the pbs and History licence fees and with the support of the Film nb tax credit and a $168,500 equity investment from Film nb.
Veteran journalist Watson wrote the brunt of the scripts, which Cameron says are so dramatic that during the taping of a couple of episodes many of the apparently unjaded New Brunswick crew were moved to tears.
*Rose’s mouse, fiddle, cooking and pony show
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