SFA Productions has its Own Private feature

Variety, music and comedy producer extraordinaire, Sandra Faire, and SFA Productions are producing a feature film.

A $300,000 adaptation of Jonathan Wilson’s (Second City, In Thru The Out Door) comedy/drama stage play My Own Private Oshawa, currently shooting in Toronto, marks sfa’s first foray into theatrical production and away from television.

‘We decided we wanted to go in a slightly different direction,’ says Faire. ‘So when My Own Private Oshawa presented itself, I thought of it as a feature because it’s something I already know – it’s comedy. So already I’m familiar with the subject matter, our production team has done comedy, it was very low-budget – it seemed like a natural.

‘It’s kind of an interesting genre because we do a lot of serious, worthy films in Canada, but we’re not really the home of low-budget comedy.’

My Own Private Oshawa is a gay coming-of-age story that involves a young man reflecting upon his life at the end of the disco period in a series of flashbacks while on the go train from Toronto to Oshawa.

With the cable fund closed, Faire says the production didn’t access Telefilm Canada and the picture was financed through a bank loan.

Faire notes that Sony Canada deserves a special mention for getting My Own Private Oshawa underway. ‘Sony Canada bought the rights for the very first show that we did with [recording artist] Amanda Marshall, and that was the cheque that we bought Jonathan Wilson’s My Own Private Oshawa with.’

The production has already secured an unnamed Canadian theatrical distributor and a broadcaster has offered to buy the tv rights, says Faire, however, sfa may shop a television sale around.

Gemini-nominated tv comedy director Allan Manson is helming his first feature with Wilson’s script and dop Rob Fresco is lensing on Super 16mm, with a 35mm blowup planned for the comedy/drama’s theatrical release.

The cast is made up almost entirely of comedians, including Wilson, Open Mike with Mike Bullard head writer Lawrence Morgenstern, Brigitte Gall and Tom Stade, who reportedly just signed a development deal with cbs.

Faire and sfa’s Trisa Dayot take producer credits on the film, with Faire also exec producing.

The three-week production should be wrapped by the end of October, with hopes for a summer release in ’99.

*Martin gets legit

While he’s moving to l.a. this month, prolific scribe Donald Martin will be returning to Toronto in January to see the world premiere of his stage adaptation of the 1995 feature film Swimming With Sharks.

Titled The Truth About Lying, the stage reworking of the indie film hit from writer/director George Huang stars Jennifer Dale (Once A Thief) and is produced by prodco dive-verge-ent.

Martin says once live theater rights to the property were obtained, he was approached with the strange request to turn the film into a stage play.

‘It’s usually the other way around,’ says Martin.

With a commitment from wic, Martin has penned an mow titled When There Is A Child for producers Gord Haines and Jean Desormeaux of Coolbrook Media.

The tv movie concerns a 59-year-old woman who decides to have a baby with the help of modern science.

Telefilm Canada has offered some development money for the project, which is in a first draft stage. The expected budget on When There Is A Child is between $3 million and $3.5 million.

Also occupying memory on Martin’s word processor is his rewrite of the epic Diana Mellors biopic for u.s. mini-major Phoenix Pictures The Moving Earth. The true story follows a u.s. woman’s view of China from the Communist and Cultural revolutions up until Tiananmen Square, beginning with her 1948 marriage to a Chinese intellectual.

If all goes well, the big-budget project will begin shooting next summer or fall, perhaps in China. Anna Chi is attached as director.

*More Parkland in T.O.

Perhaps having grown tired of Luxembourg, production company Chesler/Perlmutter has elected to shoot Parkland, the fifth installment of its futuristic tv movie series Nightworld, here in Toronto.

The suspense thrillers were being shot at overseas entertainment powerhouse clt-ufa’s Luxembourg facilities and will be sold in Europe by the company. Parkland, as well as the rest of the Nightworld series, will be broadcast in North America by upn and Citytv.

Clay Borris is directing Parkland for producer Ken Gord and exec producers Lewis Chesler, David Perlmutter and Steve Ujlaki.

*Fox falls in the city

Producer Gavin Mitchell of Toronto’s Gaia Productions (Earthquake in New York) is doing another mow for Saban and Fox Family Channel.

Freefall is a thriller concerning a series of suspicious plane crashes and stars former Charlie’s Angel Jaclyn Smith as an ntsb inspector.

Director Mario Azzopardi (Total Recall The Series) helms the air disaster tv movie, exec produced by Michael Sloan. Like Earthquake – Fox’s most recent mow shot in Toronto – Freefall will be using a large amount of cgi.

tv talent including Bruce Boxleitner, Scott Wentworth and Hannes Jaenick round out the cast.

*Short takes

Other current Ontario productions include the feature Grizzly Falls, produced by Peter Simpson’s Landed Eagle Entertainment. Simpson, the former ceo of producer/distributor Norstar (purchased by Alliance Communications last year), has already completed at least one other feature with Landed Eagle.

It appears that the company is sticking solely to producing in Canada, although Landed Eagle does have an international distribution arm. Some have suggested that as part of the Alliance buyout, Simpson had to agree to a distribution non-compete clause.

Stewart Raffill is directing Grizzly Falls.

Norman Jewison will be producing and directing Lazarus & The Hurricane for Beacon Communications. The film stars Denzel Washington and will be in Toronto from November to February of next year.

New Line is in town with Detroit Rock City, with Adam Rifkin directing, while rival Miramax shoots In Too Deep, with Michael Rumer at the helm.

Meanwhile, Lions Gate Films has just wrapped director Steve Di Marco’s month-long shoot of Prisoner Of Love and Warner Bros. is prepping helmer David Guggenheim’s Gossip, which shoots here from Oct. 14 to Dec. 11.

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The Alpern Group 20th Anniversary Party - Rachel Fulford (eOne), Brenda Greenberg (Frantic Films)

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