Quebec Scene: Kaufman, Castravelli shoot adventure pic

Montreal: Time At The Top is a new family adventure movie from director Jimmy Kaufman and Taurus 7 Film Corp. producer Claudio Castravelli. It shoots over 22 days this month and tells the story of a young girl's travels through time,...

Montreal: Time At The Top is a new family adventure movie from director Jimmy Kaufman and Taurus 7 Film Corp. producer Claudio Castravelli. It shoots over 22 days this month and tells the story of a young girl’s travels through time, first to Philadelphia, circa 1881, and then way back to an Indian village in 1357, before the European settlers.

‘This is a children’s movie that has adventure, fantasy, whimsicalness and believing in it,’ says the director. ‘The point being it’s a movie that parents can sit down to and enjoy with the kids.’

Kaufman won kudos for his recent work on the Productions La Fete family film Whiskers, yet another Showtime presentation produced in Canada. Whiskers was nominated for an Emmy and won silver and bronze awards last year at festivals in Cairo and Houston, respectively.

Stars in Time At The Top are Elisha Cuthbert (Popular Mechanics For Kids) as 13-year-old Susan, Timothy Busfield (Revenge of the Nerds, thirtysomething) as her single dad and Gabrielle Boni (Daddy’s Girl) as Susan’s ‘parallel world’ friend Victoria. Matthew Harbour, Richard Jutras, Charles Powell, Lynne Adams and Michel Sinelnikoff also appear. Casting is by Andrea Kenyon and Associates.

The film was scripted by Linda Brookover and Alain Silver from the Edward Ormondroyd novel. Francois Protat (Whiskers, The Hunger) is the shoot’s dop. Andre Chamberland is production designer and Francois Barbeau is the costume designer. Frances Boudreault is the shoot’s ad, ‘and she’s fabulous,’ says the director.

Time At The Top is budgeted at $3.5 million and will be broadcast in the u.s. by Showtime Networks. France Film has Canadian rights and Hallmark Entertainment has international.

Kaufman’s upcoming agenda includes an episode of the Cinar Films/Salter Street series Emily of New Moon, a potential movie this fall, and more Vancouver tv action later in the year. Last season he did episodes of mgm’s Stargate sgi, the Atlantis Films/Trilogy series The Outer Limits and Trilogy/mgm’s Poltergeist.

Taurus 7′s ’98/99 slate includes the very promising Chicago Loop, based on the Paul Theroux novel, with Nicolas Roeg slated to direct, hopefully for the fall. Casting remains an outstanding issue, says Castravelli. It’s planned as a $10-million u.k./Canada coproduction.

Another project with ’98 intentions is a Canada/France/u.k. feature remake of the Flaubert classic Madame Bovary.

Taurus 7 was established in 1981 and produced $25 million in 1997 including the supernatural thriller The Minion, the spy drama Provocateur and The Second Arrival, a sci-fi entry.

- Pool directs Emporte-moi

Emporte-Moi, Lea Pool’s sixth feature film, is a coming-of-age story from Cite-Amerique producer Lorraine Richard and established partners in Switzerland and France. The film is coscripted by the director, acclaimed Canadian-born novelist Nancy Huston, who makes her screen debut, and Monique H. Messier.

Beginning in the early 1960s, Emporte-Moi tells the story of a 13-year-old girl’s passage to young adulthood, and her disturbing experiences in a largely dysfunctional working-class family. Players include new teen talent Karine Vanasse as the young girl Hanna, Pascale Bussieres as her mother, Miki Manojlovic (Artemesia) in the role of Hanna’s unemployed poet father, Monique Mercure (Naked Lunch), Anne-Marie Cadieux (No, Le Coeur au Poing) and Alexandre Merineau.

One of the few Canadian directors appreciated abroad and a darling of the festival circuit, Pool’s filmography includes the new documentary Gabrielle Roy and the feature films Mouvements du Desir (1993), La Demoiselle Sauvage (1991), A Corps Perdu (1988) and La Femme de l’Hotel (1984). She also wrote and directed the Chicago International Film Festival gold prize-winning documentary Hotel Chronicles (1990), produced by the National Film Board.

Alfi Sinniger of Captics, Switzerland, and Carole Scotta of Haut et Court, France, coproduced Emporte-Moi. Louis-Philippe Rochon is the line producer and Cite-Amerique’s Louis Laverdiere is exec producer. Jeanne Lapoire is the dop. Serge Bureau is production designer and Michel Arcand is editing. The film is crewed by the stcvq and wraps June 19 after six weeks.

A majority Canadian coproduction (52%), Emporte-Moi is budgeted at $3.16 million, with financing from sodec, Telefilm Canada, The Harold Greenberg Fund, the production house, both tax credit programs and pay-tv movie channel Super Ecran.

Compagnie France Film will distribute in the winter of 1999.

- Ciupka, Vision 4 shoot Nazareth USA

In the new Richard Ciupka feature Nazareth usa, a homicide investigator played by Luc Picard (Omerta) discovers a murdered skinhead victim is actually a member of his own criminalized family. The murder opens the door to a dark family legacy and a nightmarish investigation into the violent heart of America – a small Arkansas town under the jackboots of an extreme right-wing militia.

Something new and indeed welcome in French-track moviemaking, the shoot is from Films Vision 4 producers Claude Veillet and Jacques Bonin and screenwriter Joanne Arsenault (10-07 L’Affaire Kafka). The cast numbers 100, 450 extras. Interiors are being done at Cite du Cinema, with small-town Lachute and Harrington, Que. standing in for Nazareth, Arkansas.

Leading players include Julien Poulin as the Picard character’s alienated, cop-hating father, bilingual actor Serge Houde (Little Men, Grey Owl) in the role of a corrupt redneck sheriff, and Linda Singer and Lorne Brass as a pair of fbi agents.

Steve Danyluk is the dop and Jean Becotte is the production designer.

Funding on this $3.7-million shoot comes from at least three Telefilm Canada envelopes, sodec and Super Ecran. Brasseries Molson, fido and Naya are listed as production partners.

Films Lions Gate has slated Nazareth usa for a March ’99 release.

- Cineflix chronicles prom experience

Montreal producer Cineflix is shooting a multi-camera, 24-hour chronicle of the grueling North American teenage right of passage – the high school prom.

Cineflix president Glen Salzman is producing the one-hour documentary in association with the National Film Board and cbc. Jeremiah Hayes (God Comes as a Child) and Wendy Rowlands (Packing Heat) are the directors.

Salzman says two additional projects are in post and two more non-fiction projects are in the development phase.

The post projects are Article 1, a doc marking the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with funding from Vision tv, Telefilm Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency, and Lysanne et Marie-Claude, a feature story about a lesbian couple who split apart when one of the women shows interest in a male.

The doc projects are Super Dogs, a 13 half-hour series on the lives of working canines, and a profile of internationally renowned Canadian war zone doctor Chris Giannou, presold to ctv.

Cineflix productions are distributed by Mediamax International.

- Plamondon’s Notre-Dame de Paris

Productions Coscient and Charles Talar of France have announced plans to coproduce the Luc Plamondon and Richard Cocciante stage musical Notre-Dame de Paris. Coscient creative vp Paul Dupont-Hebert will also produce a ‘making-of’ documentary tv special for pubcaster Radio-Canada.

A new opera based on the works of Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris was written over three years by Plamondon (Starmania, La Legende de Jimmy), one of the really great artists in the French pop and show biz industry, and Cocciante, a French-Italian composer/performer.

Pas de panique, madame, there’s still time for tickets.

The show’s Canadian tour opens in Montreal March 30, 1999, and moves to Quebec City in June and Ottawa in July. It premiers in Paris this September.

Coscient marketing vp Monique Leonard is managing the legit show’s promotional and sponsorship openings.